Histamine Intolerance: Could This Be Another Reason Why You Are Sick?
Symptoms Commonly Experienced with Histamine intolerance/MCAS:
Histamine and Eczema
In addition to the symptoms listed above, excess histamine can make some existing conditions worse. Eczema is an example. Eczema is an inflammatory condition in the skin, sometimes called atopic (allergic) dermatitis. When high histamine foods are consumed, people with less than efficient histamine tolerance may experience an increase in the severity of their eczema.
Histamine and SIBO
SIBO is an intestinal motility disorder that leads to an overgrowth of good or bad bacteria in the small intestine, where few bacteria belong. There are many causes of SIBO however diets high in sugar and refined carbs, antibiotics or other medications that disrupt your delicate microbiome, or physical obstructions in the gut such as scarring from surgeries or Crohn’s disease. You can learn more about SIBO here or more about the connection between Histamine and SIBO here.
Food sensitivities to foods high in histamine, almost always indicate there is something going on in your gut. You can learn more about the Histamine Intolerance Gut Health connection Here.
Histamine and Estrogen
The complexity of histamine intolerance extends to the interaction between histamine, estrogen and progesterone in the female body. Mast cells are a key factor underlying these interactions, with the presence of both estrogen and progesterone receptors on mast cells. The binding of estrogen to mast cell receptors stimulates the expression of H2 and H3 receptors, and induces rapid histamine degranulation, synthesis and release. Estrogen can also influence endogenous histamine levels by down regulating DAO activity. This ultimately leads to high histamine levels in the body.
Histamine and The Brain
Having excess histamine goes way above and beyond your typical allergy symptoms. Excessive histamine can also wreck havoc on the brain. Histamine has been shown to play a pivotal role in many psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety. Because histamine plays a role in wakefulness of the brain, too much histamine can overstimulate the brain leading to anxiety and insomnia as well as restlessness. Any unbalance in the chemical makeup of your brain is bound to cause unwanted effects. These side effects can vary drastically from person to person depending on what Histamine receptor (H1,H2,H3,H4) is stimulated. Brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety are all too common for people who suffer with MCAS and histamine intolerance.
Histamine Stress, Panic attacks and Heart palpitations
Histamine receptors are found all throughout the body and as a result, histamine intolerance affects each of us in different ways. The symptoms that present themselves vary based on which o the four histamine receptors are being activated (H1, 2, 3, 4), and where. In the heart, histamine functions as a vasodilator, meaning that it widens our blood vessels, and therefore there is less resistance to blood pumping through the body this causes a drop in blood pressure.
The combination of rapid heart rate and change in blood pressure can cause feelings of high anxiety, especially when they bring with them a pounding heart, shortness of breath, “flushing”, a rise in body temperature, dizziness, and/or redness in the face. Some people might feel that they are having a panic attack, when in reality the problem is excess histamine.
Inflammation in the brain caused by excess histamine has also been linked to anxiety as well as vertigo, vomiting, nausea and headaches. While the causes of histamine intolerance vary (and therefore so does the solution), a low-histamine diet is often a great place to start.
Microorganisms in the Large Bowel
There are a large number of microorganisms that are capable of producing histamine. Many of the bacteria that live in the human large bowel produce histidine decarboxylase and are capable of converting the histidine in any protein that enters the bowel into histamine. Therefore, the more microorganisms that produce histidine decarboxylase that are present in the colon, and the greater the amount of protein material that enters the bowel, the higher the level of histamine in the digestive tract. From here, histamine can be conveyed through the bowel wall to various sites in the body- where they then cause a variety of symptoms.
Causes of Histamine Intolerance
- Gut Dysbiosis
- Small Intestinal Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- leaky gut syndrome
- Food Allergies
- GI bleeding/Inflammation (Ulcers, Crohn’s)
- Certain Amino Acids ie Histidine.
- Histamine Rich foods such (see list below)
- Food sensitivities
- Genetic mutations or SNP’s- can prevent the break down of histamine as well.
- Mold Allergies
- Mold Biotoxins (CIRS)
- Hormones (Thyroid and Sex Hormones)
- Medications: can induce a vitamin deficiency that block the functioning of the DAO and HNMT gene. (You can read more about this below)
Nutritional deficiencies include Iron, Copper, Riboflavin (B2), B12, B6, SAMe, and vitamin C. Deficiency in these vitamins can block the functioning of the DAO or HNMT enzyme.
Foods High in Histamine:
- Processed meats such as deli meat, hot dogs, bratwurst, pepperoni, salami, bacon
- Vinegar rich foods such as pickles, olives, mayonnaise, relishes, dressings, ketchup
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, soy sauce, kombucha, kefir, pickled vegetables- Yes you read that correctly- The very foods you might be eating because of the gut healing properties may be making you worse.
- Soured food such as sour cream, sourdough, buttermilk
- Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, cranberries, dates
- Citrus fruits
- Aged cheese
- Raw and roasted nuts: peanuts, cashews, walnuts
Foods that release Histamine: (Histamine Liberators)
- Wheat germ
- Cow’s milk
- Several dyes and preservatives
- foods that is reheated.
How to Break down Histamine
DAO deficiency can be caused by:
- Inflammation caused by autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, IBS.
- Foods that inhibit histamine break down by blocking the DAO enzyme. Some of these foods include: alcohol, energy drinks, black tea, green tea, and mate tea
- Leaky Gut
- NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin)
- Immune modulators (Enbrel, Humira,Plaquenil) (Meds that are often prescribed for patients with Eczema and Psoriasis)
- Antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.)
- Antihistamines (allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl)
- Histamine (H2) blockers (Pepcid, Zantac,Tagmet)
- Antiarrhythmics (propanolol, metaprolol, Cardizem, Norvasc)
Treating Histamine Intolerance
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- How To Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet – Part I
- How to Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet-Part II
- Supplements to help support Histamine Intolerances
- Histamine Intolerance and Gut Health
- Dr Hagmeyers 4R diet for Leaky Gut
- Why Adrenal Cortisol Testing is so Important for GI Problems