Histamine intolerance occurs when there is no longer a balance of histamine in the body. It’s not a condition. It is a SIGN of a condition.
There can be a build up of histamine or issues with clearing histamine out of the body.
Histamine needs to be in the body. It’s used for neurotransmitters, regulates blood flow, and is important for cognition, learning and alertness.
It’s when it is in inappropriate levels in the body or there is an excessive production or impaired clearance that it becomes an issue.
So what’s the problem??
Histamine intolerance symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy skin
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep
- High blood pressure
- Faster heart rate
- Nasal congestion
- Skin redness
- Swelling of tissues
- Abnormal menstruation cycle
- Tummy pain and cramps
- Problems regulating body temperature.
A major influence on histamine reactions is environmental triggers.
Foods are a big one. There are foods high in histamine, and other foods known as histamine liberators that may cause issues for some people.
Airborne triggers like pollen, animal dander, or phthalates can be problematic. And other things like EMFs, mould and water damaged buildings play a role.
How these things impact histamine reactions are by constantly bombarding our bodies with stressors, activating and annoying our immune system, resulting in mast cell degradation and the release of histamine.
For some people, being exposed to moulds or EMFs may not cause issues, but for others they can become chronically ill from a major inflammatory response.
Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is an example of a severe condition that has histamine intolerance as part of its symptom picture as is CIRS, chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
The underlying causes of histamine intolerance are multi-factorial. You could have problems with one or more of the following:
- IgE mediated allergic reactions
- Leaky gut
- Infectious gastroenteritis,
- Diamine oxidase (DAO) down regulation
- Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) down regulation
- Monoamine oxidase B (MAOI) down regulation
- Low intake or absorption of Vitamin C, B2, B6, B12, iron, and copper
- Medications like the Oral Contraceptive Pill
- Liver function issues
- Dysbiosis in gut microbiome
- SNPs on MTHFR, DAO, MAOI or COMT genes
What helps reduce histamine intolerance?
Reducing the triggers while supporting to heal the root cause is the holistic approach of functional medicine.
Following a low histamine diet (you can never eat a NO histamine diet) while avoiding histamine liberators is a must.
The most well respected list for a histamine elimination diet is by the Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance. Download it and stick it on your fridge!
The other very important part of healing is to look at the other environmental triggers and do what you can do remedy them. You might need to move your computer onto a different wall so it’s not on the other side of your bed. Turn your Wi-Fi off when you are not using it. Avoid smart gadgets, particularly ones attached to your body. Use organic natural skin and cleaning products that don’t have chemicals and fragrances in them. Fix any damp or mould issues in your house or work place. Avoid new carpet or furniture that will be high in volatile chemicals.
The key to a low histamine diet is fresh produce is best.
Fermented, preserved or aged foods are higher in histamines and can cause issues. Things like sauerkraut and bone broth that are all the rage for gut health may be making someone with histamine intolerance worse.
Everybody is different in his or her tolerance level, so finding yours is the most important thing you can do. It’s only through trial and error that you’re going to be able to know this.
We’ve made it easier for you to give it a go by making up a 7-day meal plan.
Can supplements and herbs help??
Some supplements can be very healing, like galactomannans, while others, like liquid herbal tonics, can be really high in histamines.
Always seek professional guidance before using natural medicines when you have histamine intolerance issues.
We’d love to support you through your journey to healing from histamine intolerance.