Natural Aspirin Alternatives (That Are Anti-Histamines and Mast-cell Stabilisers)
In a recent podcast on cardio-vascular disease, Chris Kresser discussed natural aspirin alternatives (that are anti-histamines and mast-cell stabilisers). (1)
Chris concluded that research showed that natural aspirin alternatives were as effective as aspirin with none of the side-effects.
He identified both Pycnogenol® (pronounced Pik-nah-jeh-nol) and Policosanol to have been found to be as effective as aspirin for cardio-vascular health. (2) (3)
In this post I provide additional information on these natural aspirin alternatives (that are anti-histamines and mast-cell stabilisers).
Aspirin is contra-indicated for histamine intolerance, mast-cell activation syndrome, and mastocytosis as it is a histamine releasor. It has also been shown to cause “significant gastroduodenal damage” and mucosal inflammation. (4) (5).
Pycnogenol® is a potent anti-oxidant that also modulates; vitamin c, vitamin e, and glutathione. (6) (7).
During inflammation the mast-cells release enzymes, that breakdown histidine into histamine, which then increases the permeability of blood vessels. Pycnogenol® appears to inhibit histamine release and prevents the process of inflammation making it a potent anti-inflammatory.
A 2002 study showed that it is a natural mast-cell stabiliser, that is effective as sodium cromoglycate, and can prevent up to 70 percent of all histamines being released from mast-cells.(8)
A further study, conducted by Dr. David White at the University of Nottingham, also showed that Pycnogenol® was a mast-cell stabiliser that worked in a dose dependent manner. (9)
Chris Kresser stated in his recent podcast, that he routinely uses Pycnogenol® for histamine intolerance and mast-cell activation disorder. He modulates the dosage, starting around 100 mg, depending upon the severity of the condition.
There is also strong evidence that Pycnogenol® is effective in treating a wide range of inflammatory diseases including; diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, psoriasis, blood pressure, and heart disease.
Policosanol is a long-chain plant wax. Studies on Policosanol are extremely limited.
A patent pending, however, states “Policosanol is used as a natural antihistamine and can be used for preventing or treating allergic rhinitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, bronchitis, vomiting, stomach and duodenal ulcer, gastoesophegal reflux diseases, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression, and has the advantages of further reducing sleep latency and increasing sleep time.” Histamine is said to be degraded by up to 30%. (10)
As someone who is highly intolerant to prescription drugs, including histamine related, and CYP2D6 mediated, I prefer to get my medicine from food.
I do supplement glutathione due to its critical role as a master anti-oxidant and in methylation.
Whilst glutathione remains my primary focus, Pycnogenol® (and possibly Policosanol although the scientific studies are too scant for me) appears to provide a broad spectrum of anti-inflammatory protective benefits, that is difficult to overlook.
After consulting my doctor, I intend to trial Pycnogenol®, and will report back. If you have trialled Pycnogenol® or Policosanol please share you experiences in the comments field below.
(1) Revolution Health Radio, 6 August 2014 Edition.
(2) M. Pütter, K.H.M. Grotemeyer, G. Würthwein, M. Araghi-Niknam, R.R. Watson, S. Hosseini, P. Rohdewald “Inhibition of Smoking-Induced Platelet Aggregation by Aspirin and Pycnogenol” Thrombosis Research, Volume 95, Issue 4, 15 August 1999, Pages 155 – 161.
(3) M.L. Arruzazabala, S. Valdés, R. Más, D. Carbajal, L. Fernández, Comparative Study of Policosanol, Aspirin and the Combination Therapy of Policosanol-Aspirin on Platelet Aggregation In Healthy Volunteers, Pharmacological Research, Volume 36, Issue 4, October 1997, Pages 293–297.
(4) Endo H, Hosono K, Inamori M, Kato S, Nozaki Y, Yoneda K, Akiyama T, Fujita K, Takahashi H, Yoneda M, Abe Y, Kirikoshi H, Kobayashi N, Kubota K, Saito S, Matsuhashi N, Nakajima A, “Incidence of small bowel injury induced by low-dose aspirin: a crossover study using capsule endoscopy in healthy volunteers”.
(5) Digestion. 2009;79(1):44-51. Epub 2009 Feb 26.Neville D Yeomans, Christopher J Hawkey, Wayne Brailsford, Jørgen Naesdal, “Gastroduodenal toxicity of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid: a comparison with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”, Current Medical Research & Opinion, 2009, Nov;25(11):2785-93.
(6) Packer, L., Rimbach, G. and Virgili, F. (1999) Antioxidant activity and biologic properties of a procyanidin-rich extract from Pine (Pinus maritime) bark, Pycnogenol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 27 (5/6), 704-724.
(7) Dvoráková M, Sivonová M, Trebatická J, Skodácek I, Waczuliková I, Muchová J, Duracková Z.The effect of polyphenolic extract from pine bark, Pycnogenol on the level of glutathione in children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Redox Rep. 2006;11(4):163-72.
(8) Sharma SC, Sharma S, Gulati OP, “Pycnogenol inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells,” Phytother Res. 2003 Jan;17(1):66-9.
(9) Review Of The Scientific Research on Oligomeric Proanthcyanidins (OPC) by Hank Liers, PhD
(10) Histamine receptor antagonist composition containing policosanol as active ingredient. WO 2014069836 A1.