Histamine intolerence is many times an underlying component to ill health in many clients I see. Histamine intolerence can be a cause for many mystery symptoms that go unresolved. Understanding what they are, what they can do to your body when you experience an intolerance, and how to reduce exposure can help get many unanswered symptoms under control.
What in the heck are histamines?
Histamines are a compound found in the cells of the body and in many foods and can also be produced through immune response to pollens, bee stings or bug bites and is involved in the process of inflammation. They can also be produced from bacteria in the gut such as SIBO and are very common among those with gastrointestinal disorders.
Im sure many of you are aware of the response to yearly pollens when eyes get itchy and watery, nose gets runny and inflamed and sneezing sets in. This is a typical histamine response in reaction to the foreign particles being introduced into the respiratory system.
In addition to the typical hay fever response they can cause many other symptoms such as:
• Rash/Urticaria (hives)/eczema
• Arrhythmia ( irregular heart beat)
• Low blood pressure-due to vasodilation caused by the histamine
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Angioedema-swelling of face/hands/lips
• Heartburn-due to increased acid production
• Itching- typically of the skin
• PMS- Headaches around the menstrual cycle or painful cramps due to histamine induced contractions in relation to hormone levels
If you experience these on a regular basis you may have an intolerance to histamines.
Avoidance of histamines is impossible but there are things you can do to reduce the load of histamines that the body has to deal with.
The first and foremost thing to do is clean up the liver. The liver is responsible for filtering out excess histamines and when the liver is congested and dirty it becomes sluggish and struggles to eliminate properly causing these excess histamines to flow back through the blood stream and cause an immune reaction. Some great ways of getting the liver to filter more smoothly are:
- Castor Oil packs over liver area with heat applied over for 1 hour a night until symptoms subside.
- Consuming liver cleansing herbs such as Milk Thistle and Dandelion root daily in the form of teas or tinctures or raw dandelion leaves in salads are great too!
- Getting proper rest
- Natural antihistamine supplements or homeopathics
- Exercise to get blood and lymphatic fluid flowing to help with full body toxin filtration
- A low histamine diet
- Vitamin C, Zinc, and b vitamins
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- DAO supplements
Paying careful attention to eating a proper low histamine diet will drastically reduce symptoms
Some foods are naturally high in histamine and will need to be avoided such as:
• Fermented or smoked Meats/Fish: Sardine, mackeral, herring, tuna,salami
• Pickeled or canned foods: Sauerkraut, pickles, relishes, soy sauce
• Fermented milk products: Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk
• Aged cheeses: Parmesan, Gouda, Swiss, cheddar.
• Fruit: Dried fruit, strawberries, citrus
• Vegetables: Tomatoes and tomato products, spinach
• Legumes: Chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
• Other: Cinnamon, chocolate
• Grains: Wheat
• Histamine releasers: Citrus, papaya, pineapple, nuts, strawberries, egg white, additives
• DAO blockers: alcohol, caffeine, black and green tea
- very high) Aged or fermented foods: kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt or kefir, kombucha, aged cheese, alcohol of any kind, vinegar, and cured meat.
- (very high) Fish and seafood, especially canned or smoked fish.
- (medium) spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, canned vegetables, dried fruit, avocados, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, and leftovers.
Include foods low in histamine such as:
As much as possible eat fresh natural chemical free food!!!
• Fresh organic grass fed and free range meat and fish (avoid canned meat and fish)
• Fresh organic fruit, except strawberry, citrus
• Fresh organic vegetables, except tomatoes, spinach and cabbage...pay special attention to adding in those liver loving healthy cleansing greens of all kinds
• Gluten free grains: rice, corn, millet, oats
• Healthy Oils: avocado, olive, coconut, nut and seed oils
If you suspect that you may have a histamine intolerance the best way to find out is to do an elimination diet of all high histamine producing foods and see if it has any effect on your symptoms. You can also run a lab test measuring DAO to guage histamine levels but these can often times be inaccurate and food elimination will be a more reliable option.
It has been my experience that healing the gut makes a significant impact on lessening histamine intolerance and you may find that you benefit from a good probiotic and some gut healing protocols coupled with your clean low histamine diet and balanced lifestyle.
As always...in good health and happiness,
Brandy Augustine PhD "The Gut Healer"