Covid definitely has the potential to trigger Mast Cell activation symptoms, as shown in this paper where Long Haulers were compared to healthy controls.
While many primary care providers are compassionate, excellent listeners, I am still in 2023 hearing stories of patients being told that Long Covid isn’t real or that it could not possibly be the cause of MCAS and other chronic health issues. If that happens to you, leave a copy of that paper on the floor while you walk away and start the long and grueling search for a more competent provider.
Symptoms of MCAS are listed here, to dramatically oversimplify it you can think of it as the worst case of allergies ever it affects more than just your sinuses, and it’s not seasonal it’s pretty much all the time:
Many folks with MCAS seem to react to more things than they don’t react to, and the process of finding and eliminating triggers from their diet and environment often just leads to frustration and confusion. This often makes patients feel like a burden on their friends & family because it can be really hard to eat with other people, borrow a coat, or visit a friend with a pet.
MCAS is also part of a disease cluster that is highly comorbid with fibromyalgia
All of these things are mediated through the human microbiome and its effects on nitric oxide distribution.
So when we use colloqiual terms like a Covid-19 being a “damp plague” or causing “damp diseases” this is what we are talking about.
MCAS has several causes and presentations and it’s important to know these before we can jump in with how to fix it. But as a spoiler: it can often be brought into remission, just like the rest of the cluster.
The main presentation of MCAS revolves around Immunoglobulin E. This is a protein your immune system makes to get rid of germs and it’s behind a lot of what we call the “allergic” or “histamine” response.
Interestingly enough, elevated levels of this on a lab test can indicate two things: allergies or parasites (more on that in a moment).
But IgE-mediated MCAS isn’t the only thing going on here. You can have Non–IgE-mediated reactions from drugs; physical injury, exercise; stress and trauma; acute or chronic infections like a damp plague or Lyme disease; venoms; or even another disease like cancer. Mast cells can also act as sensors for surrounding inflammation and just kind of freak out for pretty much any little thing.
Ever know a person who had an incredibly sensitive shock response and would shriek because they thought they saw a shadow? This is like the immune system’s version of that, but itchier. Not fun.
So: how do we address this. As always we’re going to start with the gut. Because tolerating a more diverse array of foods is both good for your flora and good for your social life and, we hope, mental health.
We start by having our MCAS patients practice abdominal self-massage after every meal. (here is a video from our fibromyalgia series that teaches you how to do it) This is a foundational exercise that helps basically every part of the digestive process. It’s also very safe. Tummy rubs rock and while theoretically it’s possible, I’ve yet to see an MCAS patient who flared after doing one.
Next employ topical herbs (putting strong medicine on the skin, rather than taking it by mouth) because internal can definitely be a flare risk at the beginning of this process.
Enter the botanical biohacking Tibetan foot soak;
This contains very strong herbs that your guts probably wouldn’t tolerate (don’t drink it!) but when absorbed directly through the skin, can modulate an overactive immune response and start to improve that tolerance to diverse foods, leftovers and medicinal botanicals.
After doing foot soaks and tummy rubs every day for a couple of weeks most folks notice they can eat a lot more things than they used to and their reactions, while not gone, are generally becoming much more mild. Then we move on to stage 2.
Here’s where we use Microgard Plus or Chorus to dissolve excess biofilms, promote increased enzyme production and cultivate a healthier GI microbiome profile. This gets taken with meals while you continue to soak your feet daily and rub your tummy after you eat.
In between meals you’re gonna use a 2,000 year old formula that’s been repurposed in the modern era. Remember how I said elevated IgE indicated allergies or Parasites? Well a brilliant doctor named Li Xiu-Min thought that an ancient remedy for parasitic infection might help with allergies due to its ability to modulate Th2 immunity and reduce IgE … turns out she was right.
She took a formula called “Wu Mei Wan” and repurposed it against peanut allergies…and it’s now in phase 2 clinical trials for this with the FDA.
Does this mean that MCAS is caused by parasites? Not so much. Moreso the way that your body responds to a parasite or a perceived allergen is very similar, and can be addressed in similar ways. (From a Chinese Medicine perspective, both of these problems fall on the “cold/damp” side of things. The normal warmth that should be part of the digestive system gets pushed to the exterior of the body, and everything else starts to suffer.
Your microbiome mediates a lot of things that have to do with your immune system so by getting that into a healthier place, you can improve your health in many many ways.
While each of these products are sold separately we’ve bundled them together in one easy kit to keep the price more reasonable. It saves you over $600 versus buying them each on their own.
(Don’t forget: the tummy rub is FREE, and it’s the most foundational step).
And in case you’re in pain (fibromyalgia often accompanies MCAS) we also include a full sized jar of the corydalis relief salve because pain sucks, this works and the main ingredient can stabilize mast cells.