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Histamine Intolerance-How Certain Foods Can Help Boost DAO levels

One of the keys to improving symptoms of histamine intolerance and MCAS is boosting the bodies DAO levels. Certain foods when consumed, can naturally boost these levels. We have talked about many foods you should avoid when you have histamine intolerance, but there are plenty of foods that can actually help your body break down histamine because they are naturally high in DAO.

Diamine oxidase (DAO) is a digestive enzyme produced in many part of the body including your kidneys, thymus, and the intestinal lining of your digestive tract. Its primary function is to break down excess histamine in your body (1). Histamine is a naturally occurring compound that helps regulate specific functions of your digestive, nervous, and immune systems.

At some point in your life you have probably, experienced an allergic reaction. This allergic reaction is caused by your bodies inability to counter the rise of histamine. The end result for people who have low DAO levels often includes itchy skin, headaches, watery eyes and sneezing. Here is where DAO fits into the puzzle.

A Quick Reminder To Those Who Have A Leaky Gut

If you have or suspect you have a leaky gut- I need to warn you of a few things. Many gut healing foods that people intentionally try to eat (because of a leaky gut) are high in histamine. I have seen many many patients health take a turn for the worse when they were following a Leaky gut diet.  So, if you have noticed that foods that are aged, cured, or fermented exacerbate your symptoms then this might be a clue that histamine may be playing a role in your health puzzle.  See my previous article on Foods high in histamine.

Foods that boost DAO levels
Foods that Boost DAO levels

DAO Boosting Foods

The good news is that certain foods contain vitamins and minerals that can naturally boost your DAO levels and can often help improve your histamine intolerance symptoms.

Omega-3 is an important one, they have been shown to release DAO and in women.

  • Olive oil
  • Wild caught salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Walnuts

Healthy saturated fats:

  • Grass-fed butter
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fresh fish
  • Pasture-raised chicken eggs (unless it’s a sensitivity)


  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • White beans
  • Pasture-raised chicken eggs (unless it’s a sensitivity)


  • Dark leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Lentils


  • Grass-fed meat
  • Almonds
  • Lentils
  • Spinach


  • Dark leafy greens
  • Pumpkin
  • Almonds
  • Cashews

Vitamin B12:

  • Grass-fed beef liver
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Wild caught salmon
  • Fresh tuna


  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Broccoli

Foods That Naturally Boost DAO Enzyme Levels 

When it comes to boosting your DAO enzyme levels, you should know that a multipronged approach needs to be taken. In addition to supplementing with DAO supplements, one should always try to minimize foods high in histamine as well as increasing foods that can naturally boost your DAO enzyme levels.

DAO supplements increase your Diamine Oxidase enzyme levels in your digestive tract and enhance histamine breakdown of anything that is consumed is a great start, however DAO supplements only helps break down histamine from the foods you are consuming. DAO enzyme supplements will not break down histamine that’s created by your mast cells, nor will it stop the mast cells from producing Histamine.

Now you’re probably wondering outside of taking a supplement that can increase your DAO levels, how can I boost DAO  with foods?  Scientists have found a number of nutrients that are effective at boosting DAO enzyme levels.Histamine Intolerance-How Certain Foods Can Help Boost DAO levels 1

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Saturated fat
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12


Histamine Quiz

Think you might have histamine intolerance? take the Histamine/Intolerance MCAS quiz.




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