What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

Before we get into explaining Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (often referred to as MCAS), it is important to take a moment to talk about mast cells. Mast cells are a type of white blood cells that are commonly found in connective tissues, skin, intestine lining, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, and neural system. Small in size, they have a cell life span of up to 12 weeks at specific target sites.

In addition, these mast cells react immediately when pathogens attach to their binding sites. Once triggered, they will release alarm chemicals into the blood stream and lymph fluid to set off the body’s immune system. As a result, other types of white blood cells such as interleukins and cytokine will join in to fight against the foreign invader.

In a sense, the mast cells are like the bomb attacks in war combat. Although there is an estimated target area, the exact location and the threat factor is not known. So the body throws a powerful attack with the mast cells to contain this threat and lower the power of the enemy while waiting for the close-distance troops such as the neutrophils to arrive at the attack site. Even though this method has its advantage, it actually produces a lot of undesirable allergic reactions.

Many people in recent past years have hypothesized that increasing cases of allergies and disorders are the result of toxins in the foods and environment, fungal spores, pollutions, stress, and even overpopulation. It is true that poor diet, nutritional imbalance, and psychological stress contribute to many immune diseases. But what many people do not know is mast cell activation syndrome.

What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

Mast cell activation syndrome is classified as one of the mast cell activation disorders (MCAD). It is an immune disorder that is not caused by infection resulting from pathogens or foreign allergens. Unlike some other types of MCAD where the individual suffers from an abnormally high number of mast cells, those who have MCAS have a normal count of mast cells. Instead, what these individuals have are malfunctioning mast cells. These faulty can misfire and trigger release of chemicals without appropriate binding of triggers. They can also malfunction by secreting excessive amount of chemicals to trigger a series of allergic-like symptoms. In a sense, they are over-reactive.