Mast Cell Disease Triggers: What Are The Most Common Triggers?

The Triggers / Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Trigger avoidance is essential to managing mast cell activation but it’s not always easy to figure out what’s triggering us. We are all different when it comes to triggers so what bothers me might not bother you and vice-versa. Triggers can change over time as well, making things even more complicated.

Sussing out our individual triggers can be very challenging and as difficult as finding the right medicines! Still, there are some things that seem pretty universal that we all should look out for.

So what are the most common mast cell activation triggers? Here is a list of food, physical and chemical triggers that are known to stimulate mast cell activation in many of us:

Food Based Mast Cell Triggers:

Alcohol (especially malt based, fermented drinks)
Foods with high histamines (tomatoes, spinach, grapes, fresh and fermented cheeses, non-pasteurized milk, yogurt)
Pitted fruits (plums, cherries, peaches, mangoes, avocados)
Shellfish and some fin fish (crabs, lobsters, shrimp)
crayfish, jellyfish (contact)
Pickled foods pickles of any kind (sauerkraut, olives)
Fermented soy products
Spices, especially hot spices
Food preservatives/additives

**Blueberries seem to have a  natural mast cell regulator property. Patients who can tolerate blueberries may benefit from consuming small amounts every day

Physical & Environmental Mast Cell Triggers:

Exposure to sun
Bites from venomous species (snakes, spiders, insects, etc.)
Smells from over ripe foods
Wools, animal pelts, etc.
Moulds and spores**
Metals/alloys (contact)
Flashing lights

**Including moulds in foods such as blue cheese.

Chemical Based Mast Cell Triggers:

Cleaning products/detergents
Make up, soaps, shampoos
Creams, lotions
Medications (pain killers, aspirin type headache pills, antibiotics, tranquilizers, narcotics (codeine, morphine), anesthetics, iodine, quinine, pills that contain artificial dyes, eye and ear drops, laxatives, vitamins)

These are from the Thousand Faces of Mastocytosis booklet which is a must-read for those of us with all forms of mast cell disease.

You can find a more extensive list of foods to avoid by clicking here. DailyMed is also a useful tool for finding out what’s in your medicines including food triggers, dyes (and more).

Good luck!

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