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Video: Histamine Intolerance: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment
Unfortunately, nowadays, many people are concerned with food allergies linked to incompatibility to certain foods. Sometimes it is not really a reaction caused by the consumption of a concrete product, but rather an immune response which is caused by a chemical component that the product contains. In this context, we have already talked about gluten intolerance, we now zoom in on histamine intolerance.
What is histamine and histamine intolerance?
Histamine is indeed a chemical found in all cells of the body. It is also a natural component of many foods and an important part of the immune and nervous systems. Its molecules also play a triggering role in inflammatory processes.
It is believed that histamine intolerance is usually related to a buildup of histamine in the body. In a healthy person, this is normally broken down by two enzymes: DAO and HNMT. Symptoms can occur when one of these enzymes is not working properly. DAO, for example, is made in the intestines. If the latter are not healthy, there may not be enough DAO to break down histamine. When an accumulation occurs, adverse reactions occur.
A decrease in DAO levels may explain why symptoms of histamine intolerance are more common in people with gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and SIBO (a bowel disease caused by excessive and abnormal bacteria in the small intestine).
Finally, the activity of the DAO enzyme can also be blocked by taking certain drugs.
- Pain relievers containing acetylcysteines (ACC)
- Cough syrups containing ambroxol
- Asthma medicines containing aminophylline
- Medicines for depression containing amitriptyline
- Malaria medicines containing chloroquine
- Antibiotics containing isoniazid
- Colic medications containing metamizole
- Nausea medications containing metoclopramide
- Cardiac arrhythmia drugs containing propafenone
- Coronary heart disease drugs containing verapamil
What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?
Indeed, among the most common symptoms of histamine intolerance are diarrhea, headache, hives, eczema, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), low blood pressure, wheezing., runny nose, watery eyes, swelling of the face / hands / lips, heartburn from increased acid production, itchy skin, atopic dermatitis, painful cramps around the menstrual cycle induced by histamine in relation to hormone levels.
There is little information on the actual incidence of histamine intolerance. Its correlation with other health problems is emerging. Symptoms can be triggered by certain foods, but it is different from a food allergy. Some of the indications mimic a true allergic reaction; however, skin tests and blood allergy tests will be negative.
It is believed that histamine intolerance is due to a buildup of this substance in the body. For this reason, symptoms may not appear immediately. They can be saved whenever your “threshold” of tolerance is reached. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify a particular culprit.
For example, you ate foods high in histamine in the morning and foods low in histamine in the afternoon. Even if the afternoon food was not a problem, it would put you above your tolerance level. Thus, the symptoms would appear in the afternoon. You might think that your discomfort is a result of the afternoon food, but the morning meal is actually the one that caused the reaction.
What to do if you suspect that your body is not responding well to histamine?
If you think that you are intolerant to histamine, talk to your doctor to assess and rule out other possible problems. In fact, conditions such as true allergies, mast cell disorders or digestive disorders can look like intolerance. If needed, an elimination diet can be started to see if symptoms improve. A food journal is essential. Warning: Since this diet is quite restrictive, please consult a professional to ensure that your nutritional intake will be adequate.
Your doctor will give you a certain amount of histamine, usually in the form of a tablet. On another day you will be given a pill without histamine. The doctor will observe how your body reacts in each situation.
Histamine intolerance test in the laboratory
Currently, there is no proven test to diagnose histamine intolerance. As we have already mentioned, a diet low in histamine is used in most cases to determine the presence of an incompatibility. It is also possible to measure the amount of the DAO enzyme in the blood and the levels of histamine. Common allergy tests will not be positive because this specific condition is not related to IgE antibodies (like true allergies).
Once you are certain that it is truly histamine intolerance, it is advisable to start a diet eliminating foods that are rich in it.
Treatment of histamine intolerance
In reality, histamine intolerance requires an integrative approach as it often occurs in conjunction with other health conditions that need to be addressed beyond dietary modifications.
A diet low in histamine is arguably the most effective treatment. This can be difficult if you are already on a gluten-free or low FODMAP restricted diet, and should be done under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner to maintain proper nutrient intake. Tolerance to histamine varies from person to person, and the amount of the substance tolerated should be determined by the trial-and-error method.
It's important to note that histamine tolerance appears to improve once the underlying issues resolve. On the other hand, changes in eating habits are essential. Once the elimination diet is complete, one should individually assess the reaction to certain foods and liberalize the diet so that optimal nutrition and lifestyle can be achieved.
Seven to eight hours a night are mandatory!
To manage stress
Health issues and dietary restrictions are arguably stressful. So look for support from family, online support groups. Also, avoid those that provide negative interactions as they delay healing.
Any exercise is useful. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day.
Breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation are easy to do. Yoga and meditation are also great. Finally, to relax, you can read, spend time with friends or listen to music.
Antihistamines, steroids or the Daosin product should be taken before consuming a meal rich in histamine.
Antihistamines prevent the release of histamine from cells of the immune system. They are also active ingredients in anti-allergic drugs. Relief from histamine intolerance depends on the symptoms that are bothering you. If the intolerance causes diarrhea, antihistamine products can often help. However, they are less effective for headaches. Usually, in all cases, doctors will prescribe medication to treat the adverse reactions. However, they should not be taken continuously.
Vitamin C, B6, zinc, copper, magnesium, mangosteen, quercetin, DAO capsules, topical creams. Please use any supplement under the supervision of a doctor!
Foods low in histamine to eat in the daily menu
- Fresh meat and fish (avoid preserves)
- Fresh fruits, except strawberries and citrus fruits
- Fresh vegetables except tomatoes, spinach and cabbage
- Grains: rice, corn, millet, oats, sorghum
- Oils: most cooking oils
Foods rich in histamine to ban on your plate
The histamine content of foods varies depending on the length of storage, ripeness, manner of preparation and processing. Additionally, some foods may not be high in histamine but are high in compounds known as histamine liberators. They trigger similar symptoms by increasing the levels of the substance in the body.
The list below contains foods with high histamine content, as well as common histamine releasers. Please note: this list is by no means exhaustive. In addition, the amount of histamine varies and it is difficult to find consistent data.
- Alcohol: champagne, red wine, beer, white wine, spirits aged in barrels (whiskey, cognac), liqueurs
- Fermented or smoked meats / fish: sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, anchovies, salami, sausages, ham, salted bacon
- Pickled or canned foods: sauerkraut, pickles, relish, soy sauce
- Fermented dairy products: yogurt, kefir, buttermilk
- Aged cheeses: parmesan, gouda, cheddar, Swiss cheese
- Fruits: dried fruits, strawberries, citrus fruits, ripe bananas, kiwi, pineapple
- Vegetables: tomatoes and tomato-based products, spinach, avocado, eggplant
- Legumes: chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
- Grains: wheat
- Others: cinnamon, chocolate, cocoa, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, snacks containing glutamate, balsamic vinegar
- Histamine liberators: citrus, papaya, pineapple, nuts, strawberries, egg white, additives, seafood, cashews
- DAO enzyme blockers: alcohol, black and green tea
In conclusion, what are the reasons for histamine intolerance? In fact, researchers have not yet fully understood them. Some believe that chronic gastrointestinal illness, drugs, and alcohol may prevent the DAO (Diamine oxidase) enzyme from fulfilling its role. Bearing in mind that histamine is mainly found in fermented and very ripe foods (for example in canned fish, red wine, aged cheeses and salted sausages), it is recommended to exclude them from your diet for a long time. run and observe the changes in your body.