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Histamine intolerance has become a topic of popular interest over recent years within the holistic health community. While new research is still being carried out, what we do have available is helping us better understand this condition. Knowing what histamine intolerances is, what its symptoms are, and how to diagnose it are all important elements that will help with treating it.

Current research shows that histamine intolerances can occur due to a few main factors. One of them is a deficiency of diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme that helps to break histamine. Links to DAO deficiency point to impaired gut health, and bacterial overgrowth can lead to the over-production of histamine.

Histamine Intolerances

What Does it Mean to Have Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is a condition that involves a person being sensitive to diet-related histamine due to an inability to break down histamine effectively. Histamine is involved in many daily bodily functions. These include brain signaling, stomach acid production, and activation of the immune system in response to allergies or injuries. The problem arises when histamine becomes elevated beyond the normal level, which is often the result in the case of a person with histamine intolerance.

What are the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine can produce some common symptoms in those with histamine intolerance. Some are mild, while others are more severe. Some mild reactions include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • hives
  • digestive problems
  • vomiting
  • nausea

More severe allergic reactions can be:

  • high blood pressure
  • arrhythmias
  • mental health issues
  • fluctuations in body temperature
  • swelling of tissues

What Foods Are High in Histamine?

A normal, healthy diet can contain some level of histamine. But some higher histamine-containing foods can become problematic for those suffering from histamine intolerance. Some of these foods are:

  • fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir
  • shellfish
  • processed meats
  • avocado
  • dried fruits
  • aged cheeses

Other foods can lead to histamine being released and elevated, which can lead to symptoms, especially in those with histamine intolerance. Some of them include:

  • alcohol
  • gluten-containing foods
  • bananas
  • cocoa
  • certain nuts, such as peanuts and cashews
  • food additives and preservatives

Foods to Eat if you Have Histamine Intolerance

If you have high histamine intolerance, it will be important to try and eat a diet containing only low histamine-containing foods. This can help prevent the onset of or reduce associated symptoms. Fresh meat, eggs, gluten-free foods, and dairy alternatives can also be incorporated as part of a low-histamine diet.

It will also be important to address the underlying cause of your histamine intolerance. Therefore treating small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) will be a good strategy. Gut inflammation should also be addressed, and so this highlights the importance of eating a healthy diet and possibly may include some supplementation.

If you suffer from histamine intolerance, it will be important to seek help from a naturopathic doctor who will work alongside you to determine the cause of your intolerance and help provide the required treatment you need.