Are you showing symptoms of histamine intolerance? You’ve probably heard a lot about antihistamines. These medications are often prescribed to tame allergy symptoms but do they actually tame them? Histamines are chemicals made by your immune system to get rid of something that is bothering you such as allergies or allergens. They act like bouncers in a club. Histamines trigger the process that pushes those allergens out of your body or even your skin. They can make you itch, sneeze, or even tear up but they get the job done. They are an essential part of the body’s defense system. Your body’s intention to keep you safe is great but, the overreaction leads to those allergy exemptions.
What Is Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine intolerance (HIT) can easily be described as the build-up of histamine in the body. In a healthy person, histamine is broken down by two enzymes known as DAO and HNMT. Histamine intolerance symptoms could occur when one of these enzymes isn’t working correctly. Are you struggling with Histamine intolerance? It may make sense to consult an expert to find the root cause of your symptoms.
High Histamine Symptoms & Causes
Your body naturally produces histamine along with the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). This enzyme is responsible for breaking down histamine that comes from the food you eat. DAO is made in the intestines. When the intestines are not healthy, there may not be enough DAO to break down histamine normally. Decreased DAO levels show why histamine intolerance symptoms are more common in persons with gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, celiac, SIBO, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. Some other factors that affect your DAO level are:
- Medications that block DAO functions or prevent its production
- Histamine-rich foods that prevent the DAO from functioning properly
- Foods that trigger histamine release or block DAO enzymes
Bacteria overgrowth is another major factor that affects histamine intolerance. Bacteria growth occurs when food isn’t digested properly. This leads to the overproduction of histamine. The standard DAO enzyme production cannot break down an increased level of histamine.
High Histamine Foods (And Drinks)
When you have a food allergy, histamines are often in that response process. When you accidentally drink or eat something you shouldn’t, they’ll work in your gut to trigger your allergic reaction. Some foods are also naturally high in histamines. These include most aged and fermented foods and alcohol (especially red wine). A lot of people may be sensitive to that. If that’s the case, you should consider adjusting your diet to a low histamine diet.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
While histamine intolerance might be new to so many people, there is lots of research on this topic. I have also noticed the correlation between histamine and so many other health conditions. There are so many factors that could lead to symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Histamine is closely related to the most common allergic responses and symptoms. Most of these are similar to those from histamine intolerance. These symptoms could vary amongst different people, but here are some of the common reactions:
- Headaches or Migraines
- Nasal congestion or Sinus issues
- Digestive issues
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Some severe cases of histamine intolerance could be:
- Irregular heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Unstable body temperature
- Tissue swelling
- Abdominal cramping.
Support & Managing Histamine Intolerance: What Can You Do?
When managing histamine intolerance, I’ll advise you to start with dietary and lifestyle adjustments instead of medications. Histamine intolerance involves an integrative approach since it usually occurs alongside other disorders that also need to be addressed. Some of the ways this can be managed includes:
- Low Histamine Diet: A low histamine diet is usually the first step in this situation. This could be more difficult if you are already on a restricted diet such as a gluten-free or low FODMAP diet. If you need to discuss how proper nutritional requirements will be maintained even while altering your diet, I recommend working with a professional. The level of histamine tolerance varies for different individuals. Some people can only tolerate very small amounts and others can be more liberal. One important factor to note is that the tolerance level of histamine could be improved when health issues are addressed. For example, once IBS and SIBO are properly managed, reactions to histamine decreases. After completing an elimination diet, its best to monitor the chances in order to achieve optimum nutrition and lifestyle.
- Sleep: You should attempt to get 7-8 hours of sleep daily for optimal health.
- Exercise: Irrespective of your favorite exercise, aim to achieve 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. Consistency is key with this.
- Relaxation and Support: Health issues and dietary restrictions are stressful and challenging. Seek support from family, community, support groups etc. The benefits of relaxation and support cannot be emphasized enough. Relaxation for you may be listening to music, reading, or enjoying time with friends. Yoga and meditation are great as well.
Histamine is a chemical that sends messages to the brain, signals the release of stomach acid for digestion, and is released as part of the immune system’s response to an injury or allergic reaction. Intolerance to this chemical happens when the body cannot break down enough histamine in the intestines, causing histamine levels in the blood to rise. So many foods contain high histamine levels. If your body is unable to break down this chemical adequately, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms, which are often gastrointestinal.
Managing histamine intolerance tends to involve making dietary changes, taking recommended antihistamines or enzyme supplements, and avoiding or limiting the use of medications that trigger the release of histamine. If you would like to share your unique case for personalized recommendations, I’d be happy to help.
`Is your body struggling to break down histamine? Let’s identify the key areas that need support and explore what needs to be done for your unique case. Book a FREE 20-minute consultation and take charge of your health today! I’m always happy to help.