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?
Difficulty falling asleep
Flushing Abdominal cramps
Nasal congested, runny, or itchy nose
Shortness of breath
Hives or red, raised, itchy ,burning bumps
Very itchy skin
What cause high histamine levels?
Allergies (IgE reactions)
Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
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?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, or Zinc deficiencies
Extreme or chronic stress
Injury or trauma
DAO blocking food:
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
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
Wheat Germ Many artificial preservatives and dyes
Low – histamine food:
Freshly cooked meat or poultry
Freshly caught fish
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