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What is a "Mast Cell" and why is it so important?

Today we talk about one of the most important defenses in our body, "Mast Cells".

A "mast cell" is a migrant cell of connective tissue that contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin. "Mast cells" are located at the boundaries between tissues and the external environment, at the mucosal surfaces of the gut and lungs, in the skin and around blood vessels.

Simply said . . . "Mast cell" tissue cells are cells of the immune system. And the reason they're so important is that they mediate inflammatory responses such as hypersensitivity and allergic reactions. And when they're stimulated by an allergen, the "mast cells" release the contains of their granules into the surrounding tissues. Which in turn, helps defend those tissues from disease.

So by releasing chemicals such as "histamine" . . . mast cells attract other key players of the immune defense system to the area of the body that's having the problem.

Okay . . . so if these "mast cell" activate in your GI tract, you can get nausea, stomach pains, diarrhea or vomiting. If they activate in your brain . . . you can get anxiety, depression, irritability and fatigue. And if they activate in your skin . . . you can get rashes, hives and itching.

Remember we spoke yesterday about low levels of DAO being a problem allowing histamine to run a muck? . . . . Well, these "mast cells" are what release the histamine.

So if we have allergic reactions to anything as we spoke of yesterday . . . it's not only possible that we have low DAO deficiency that can't "control" the histamine that the "mast cells" are producing . . . but we could also have an "overactive" "mast cell" production.

Okay . . . so yesterday we spoke of ways to correct low DAO, and today we need to talk about how to control and/or correct our production of histamine produced by our "mast cells".

So how do we calm these "mast cells" that are part of our immune system?

Well . . . studies have been done on the relationship between "vitamin D" and "mast cells". And they have found that vitamin D is required to maintain the "stability" of mast cells. Therefore a deficiency of vitamin D may result in "mast cell" activation.