What is Histamine Intolerance?
- Do you ever feel itchy when eating certain foods?
- Does your face turn a pinkish colour when you drink wine?
- Do you suffer from unexplained headaches and anxiety?
If you answered yes to any of these circumstances, histamine intolerance may be the cause.
What is Histamine?
Histamine is defined as the chemical responsible for inflammation in local immune response. Histamine also helps to perform vital bowel functions and acts as a neurotransmitter to send messages throughout the body.
Histamine causes inflammation to protect the body from any potential “invaders” it detects. Once histamine detects a possible invader a signal is transmitted causing the blood vessels to dilate. The swelling of the blood vessels allows for the white blood cells to rush to the problem site and attack the invader. Itchiness as well as other symptoms commonly are experienced during this build up of histamine. The intolerance occurs when the body cannot breakdown this buildup adequately.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
The symptoms of this intolerance can be difficult to detect without proper testing due to the fact that histamine travels throughout the bloodstream affecting multiple organs and organ systems as a result. The symptoms produced are very common among other health scenarios also making for a difficult self-detection.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
Anxiety, Congestion, Dizziness, Facial flushing, Fatigue, Headaches, Hives, Insomnia, Irregular menstrual cycle, Nausea, Sneezing, Swelling
What Elevates Histamine?
- Fermented alcohol
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Histamine-rich foods (aged cheese, avocado, eggplant, citrus, cured meats, dried fruits. fermented foods, nuts, spinach, smoked fish, tomatoes, vinegar)
- Leaky gut
Foods with Low Histamine Levels:
- Dairy substitutes
- Fruit (apple, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, mango, pear, watermelon)
- Herbal tea
- Olive oil, Coconut oil
- Poultry (freshly cooked)
- Vegetables (excluding those listed above)
How Does Histamine Break Down?
An enzyme known as histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT) is primarily responsible for breaking down histamine in the Central Nervous System. Whereas, histamine found in the digestive system is broken down by diamine oxidase (DAO). Although both enzymes are crucial for the breakdown of ingested histamine, DAO is found to be the key component. This means having a DAO deficiency can also cause symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Testing to Determine Intolerance
- Elimination Diets- Remove all foods with high levels of histamine for one full month. After 30 days slowly reintroduce these foods one at a time to find a possible root cause.
- Blood Testing- A blood test will help to determine high histamine levels and low DAO in the body.
- DAO Trial- Similar to elimination dieting, keep a diet low in histamine and add a DAO (essential enzyme in the body that breaks down histamine) supplement during every individual meal. If the symptoms subside the cause was due to a DAO deficiency.
How to Treat Histamine Intolerance
To start, it is very important to find the root cause of the intolerance. It may be that prescribed medication from your doctor is the issue. If that is the case, work with your doctor to help gradually wean you off the medication.
- Remove all high-histamine foods from your diet for a 1-3 month period.
- Add 2 DAO supplement pills at each meal
- Heal your gut through Colon Hydrotherapy cleansing
Healing the Gut
Leaky gut is the term used to describe when partially digested food, toxins, bacteria, etc. pass through the walls of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Typically, leaky gut syndrome is onset when the walls of the intestine are damaged due to continuous consumption of foods one may be sensitive or allergic to. Over a period of time, the microvilli become unable to properly perform their duty and digestion is impaired.
A leaky gut can be a devastating condition, but does not have to be. All damage caused by this syndrome can be reversed through colonics. Colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective method used to cleanse the colon and GI system. Partaking in colonics alone will not be sufficient enough to reverse histamine intolerance, but it is the one aspect of treatment that helps many other health conditions subside which steam from an unhealthy gut. A colon cleanse will detoxify the digestive tract and help the immune system to perform more effectively. As a result, the body as a whole is able to function more efficiently.
How Long Should a Histamine Intolerance Treatment Last?
After following a strict intolerance treatment routine for several months, you should be able to stop taking the DAO supplement and add histamine-containing foods back into your diet without any issues. The amount of time your treatment should last will vary person-to-person, but should be followed until histamine or DAO levels are returned to an optimal state.
Posted by Meaghan LaFranca, M.Sc, Nutritionist, Colon Therapist
February 02, 2016 by Clear Living Clinic