Histamine intolerance

Updated: Sep 15


  • Do you experience unexplained headaches or anxiety?

  • Do you have skin rashes?

  • Do you have flu symptoms?

  • Irregular menstrual cycles?




If you answer yes to any of these questions, you could have a histamine intolerance.


Histamine intolerance can be really frustrating as it's difficult to understand where the symptoms come from. I know what I am talking about as I had histamine intolerance for a long time. Fortunately, I was able to understand the issues and determine what the underlying cause was.



But first, what is Histamine?


Histamine is a chemical present in your immune system, your digestive, and your central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from the body to the brain. It's also a component of stomach acid that helps to break down the food.



What is histamine intolerance?


It’s the result of a disequilibrium of accumulated histamine and the capacity for histamine degradation.



What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?


  • Diarrhoea

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Anxiety

  • Headaches

  • Flushing Abdominal cramps

  • Irritables syndrome

  • Nasal congested, runny, or itchy nose

  • Sneezing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Hives or red, raised, itchy ,burning bumps

  • Very itchy skin

  • Unexplained anxiety



What cause high histamine levels?


  • Allergies (IgE reactions)

  • Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

  • Leaky gut

  • Gi bleeding

  • Diamine oxidase (DAO) deficiency

  • Food rich in Histamine


Histamine is produced by the body but it also found in food. It can release more histamine in the body but also block the enzyme DAO (diamine oxidase) that breaks the histamine in the body.


What makes the DAO lower in the body?


  • Airway medication

  • Heart medication

  • Antibiotics

  • Antidepressants

  • Diuretics

  • Pain medications

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease

  • Alcohol

  • Vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, or Zinc deficiencies

  • Extreme or chronic stress

  • Injury or trauma

  • Leaky gut

  • Gluten intolerance

  • SIBO

  • Genetic mutations



DAO blocking food:


  • Alcohol

  • Energy drinks

  • Black tea

  • Mate tea

  • Green tea



To reduce histamine in the body, here is a list of food to avoid:


  • Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer

  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc

  • Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives

  • Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs

  • Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc

  • Fruits: most citrus fruits, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, papaya

  • Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins

  • Most citrus fruits

  • Chocolate

  • Aged cheese including goat cheese

  • Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts

  • Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes

  • Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines

  • Shellfish

  • Wheat Germ Many artificial preservatives and dyes



Low – histamine food:


  • Freshly cooked meat or poultry

  • Freshly caught fish

  • Cooked eggs

  • Gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa, corn, millet, amaranth

  • Fresh fruits: mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes

  • Fresh vegetables (except tomatoes, spinach, and eggplant)

  • Dairy substitutes: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk

  • Cooking oils: olive oil, coconut oil

  • Leafy herbs Herbal teas



How to test for histamine intolerance


  • Elimination diet: can be done by removing the food high in histamine for 30 days and reintroduce them one at the time.

  • Blood testing: A blood test can be done to evaluate the level of DAO. A positive test should show that a high concentration of histamine is present in the body and as well as a low amount of Dao.



Address the Root Cause of Your Histamine Intolerance


The key to overcoming histamine intolerance is to identify the root cause of the issue. In my experience, I find that histamine intolerance is often caused by a gut health issue and more particularly caused by a SIBO.

Other common culprits behind histamine intolerance are leaky gut and gluten intolerance.


Wants to get Low Histamine Diet Recipes? See here


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