Histamine is a natural chemical most commonly known for the allergic response from a bee sting or from annoying seasonal allergies. We make it in our bodies and ingest it in our foods. It is normal to have a certain low amount of histamine circulating in the body. When histamine levels get very high, however, it can be more than annoying, it can be dangerous. An antihistamine is a medication that brings level of histamine down. Histamine is also a neurotransmitter and is used between neurons to communicate with each other. One of its jobs is to monitor arousal and sleep. This is why an antihistamine makes you sleepy as it is artificially manipulating your body’s ability to self-regulate arousal in the brain. This is why it is important to consider histamine when treating the obvious such as skin disorder and the not so obvious gut disorders and brain-based disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, or aggressive or oppositional behaviors in children.
The body breaks histamine down naturally with the enzyme diamine oxidase or DAO. Many times it is best to supplement the diet with this endogenous enzyme via DAO capsules for histamine intolerant individuals. Again, epigenetic expression of your unique DNA SNPs comes into play to determine your natural DAO levels. If DAO is low, you will probably tend towards high histamine.
High Histamine/Low DAO may have these symptoms:
- Skin irritations – hives, itching, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and acne
- Painful menstrual periods
- Aggressive or oppositional behavior in children
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Intolerance to fermented foods and alcohol
- Mucous in sinuses, chronic post nasal drip
- AsthmaTypically, if histamine is found to be a problem, we suggest avoiding foods that either contain large amounts of histamine or create high amounts in the body such as: wines, cider, dairy, meat, fish, beer, spinach, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, and yeast.
In addition, for best control, we may need to eliminate foods containing lectins. Lectins can bind to the intestinal wall and cause leaky gut syndrome. Undigested lectins then enter the blood system and lead to antibody formation. This formation releases histamine. Foods high in lectins include:
- White potatoes and unmodified potato starch
- Gluten containing grains
Remember, it is important to choose a provider to help determine what is really at the core of your suffering, and with the skill to follow through on the art of therapeutic intervention. No matter where you are in your journey, it is important to find a doctor that is driven to stay current on new research, new therapeutic interventions, and isn’t afraid to collaborate with other providers to help you on your journey to your best Self. Discovering excessive histamine or histamine intolerance, along with caferul management through diet and supplements, can feel overwhelming at first. But the relief often obtained feels like a miraculous breakthrough.