Histamine Intolerance: Uncovering the Symptoms, Causes and Solutions

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is a condition in which the body is no longer able to keep up with the breakdown of the digestive chemical, histamine, and its resulting symptoms. Histamine is a naturally occurring compound stored in cells in the body, including cells in the stomach. It’s also found in certain foods and is often released in response to an allergic reaction or injury.

Normally, an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) degrades histamine. However, some medical conditions, medications or food sensitivities can lead to a decrease in the production of DAO, allowing more histamine to build up than the body can handle. This increase in histamine leads to a range of unpleasant symptoms, collectively known as histamine intolerance.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance

There are numerous symptoms of histamine intolerance, and some can be quite severe. People with histamine intolerance may experience the following common signs:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sinus or nasal congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Hives
  • Digestive issues
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Tissue swelling
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Dizziness
  • Discovering the Causes of Histamine Intolerance

DAO deficiency is commonly associated with histamine intolerance. Various factors can alter DAO production, which in turn results in an inability to properly break down excess histamine.

Common causes include:

  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): Certain gut bacteria produce a high amount of histamines as a byproduct of their metabolism.
  • Leaky gut syndrome: Intestinal permeability can create major inflammatory stress in the body, which can lead to an inadequate amount of DAO.
  • GI inflammatory conditions: Crohn’s, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Celiac disease and gluten intolerance
  • Use of certain medications: NSAIDs, acid-blocking drugs, certain anti-depressants, and immune suppressants
  • Reducing Histamine Levels With Diet
  • Foods that are high in histamine but should be limited include:
  • Alcohol and other fermented beverages
  • Fermented foods and dairy products, such as yogurt and sauerkraut
  • Dried fruits
  • Avocados
  • Eggplant
  • Spinach
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Shellfish
  • Aged cheese
  • In addition to that, there are also certain items that trigger histamine release; they include:
  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
  • Beans
  • Papaya
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, and peanuts.

Foods that are low in histamine, but still rich in minerals and vitamins, include:

  • Fresh meat and fresh fish
  • Non-citrus fruits, such as raspberries and blueberries
  • Eggs
  • Gluten-free grains, such as quinoa and rice
  • Dairy substitutes, such as coconut milk and almond milk
  • Fresh vegetables, with the exception of tomatoes, avocados, spinach, and eggplant
  • Cooking oils, such as olive oil

Diagnosing Histamine Intolerance

To determine whether histamine intolerance may be the underlying cause of particular symptoms, medical investigations, such as the G-DAP test from Precision Point Diagnostics should be considered.

Herbal Supplement and Vitamin Considerations

Histamine intolerance can be managed with supplements, as well as with low-histamine diets. Consider supplementing with two products:

  • Histamine Block from Seeking Health
  • B6, B12, Iron, Copper, and Vitamin C

These are crucial components of the DAO enzyme that can help reduce histamine levels. A copper deficiency is another possible cause for low DAO activity; therefore, it would be wise to consider supplementing with copper as well.

Bottom Line

It’s important to have a good understanding of Histamine Intolerance, its contributing factors, and symptom so that you can make informed decisions about your health and the necessary dietary approaches or supplementation options.