Article

Histamine Intolerance: All You Need to Know

Murat Balanlı, MD
12 March 2023

Histamine is a product of the breakdown of histidine, an amino acid that participates in many reactions in the body. When histamine, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the immune and digestive system, cannot be eliminated from the body quickly enough and 'histamine intolerance' develops. Histamine intolerance occurs when the histamine taken into the body cannot be broken down and accumulates in the body and causes allergic reactions in people.

This condition usually develops when the DAO enzyme is deficient. This enzyme is the main enzyme responsible for the breakdown of histamine and determines the rate of histamine breakdown. When the DAO enzyme is insufficient and the body cannot break down histamine, health problems begin to appear in the person.

Physical reactions may be exacerbated if the diet is high in histamine or rich in foods that cause histamine release. Although the symptoms are similar to allergies, unlike allergies, they are long-lasting and do not appear suddenly. It is also very difficult to diagnose with blood and allergy tests.

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance:

Dizziness

Fatigue

Headache

Flushing, especially of the head and chest

Nasal congestion, difficulty breathing

Constantly runny or itchy nose

Herpes

Frequent sneezing

Itching

Dry or scaly skin

Atopic dermatitis

Digestive problems (stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, indigestion, gas, constipation and diarrhea)

Heart palpitations

Tinnitus

Red itchy or watery eyes

Menstrual irregularity

Irritability

Anxiety

What are the Causes of Histamine Intolerance?

-Genetically, some people produce less of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of histamine.

-Inflammation of the intestinal lining can disrupt the release of the DAO enzyme. Histamine is therefore broken down more slowly.

-If inflammation causes the intestinal lining to become permeable, food sensitivities can develop, which can lead to histamine release.

-Certain types of bacteria, which are usually present in a healthy intestine, not only reduce histamine release but also reduce the sensitivity of histamine receptors, lowering their activity. In the presence of SIBO, bacteria that are normally found in the colon pass into the small intestine, which can cause excessive histamine release.

-Chronic stress and irregular sleep promote high histamine levels.

-Some medical drugs such as aspirin increase histamine release.

-High levels of ongoing stress and irregular sleep cause high histamine levels.

Certain nutrients are needed for histamine-degrading enzymes to work. These include magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

How Is Conventional Treatment of Histamine Intolerance Performed?

Anti-histamine drugs are designed to reduce the effects of histamine by preventing it from binding to histamine receptors. However, these drugs do not reduce histamine levels, they only block its effect.

What is the Histamine Diet, How is it done?

The main purpose of the histamine diet is to balance its release in the body by eliminating histamine-rich foods for a while. A low histamine diet should be done for 2-4 weeks to eliminate symptoms. The duration of the diet varies according to the symptoms in the body. With the calming of the symptoms, the foods removed from the diet are reintroduced to the body. This period is called 'reintroduction period’.

Article

Which foods should not be consumed during the diet?

1. Histamine Rich Foods

Histamine levels are high in long-stored or ripening foods.

Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer

Fermented foods: pickles, vinegar, mayonnaise, soya sauce

Processed meats: salami, sausage, bacon, sausage

Dried fruits: apricots, plums, figs, grapes, mulberries, dried fruits and pulps

Citrus fruits

Aged cheeses including goat cheese

Some nuts (such as walnuts, cashews, peanuts)

Avocado

Smoked fish and some varieties of fish: mackerel, tuna, anchovies, sardines

2. Histamine Triggers

In addition, certain foods cause the release of histamine in the small intestine. These foods are called histamine releasers.

Alcoholic drinks

Cheese, fondue

Chocolate

Cow milk

Some vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, aubergines, aubergines, potatoes)

Some fruits (papaya, pineapple, banana, strawberry, kiwi)

Shellfish, fish sauces

Wheat germ

Most food additives and food colourings

3. Foods that Block DAO Enzyme

Alcohol

Energy drinks

Black tea

Mate tea

Green Tea

4. Foods that are both high in histamine and block the DAO enzyme:

Alcoholic products (beer, wine, champagne)

Free Foods

Mango

Pear

Watermelon

Melon

Apple

Grape

Blackberry

Apricot

Plum

Roka

Beetroot

Asparagus

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Carrot

Cauliflower

Garlic

Lettuce

Onion

Garlic

Quinoa

Buckwheat

Rice

Fresh meats

Peas

Lentil

Mint, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary

Turmeric

Ginger

Coconut milk/oil

Almond milk

Coconut

Stinging nettle

Sweet potato

Egg (controlled)

Fresh big fish

Chestnut

Herbal and fruit teas

Olive/olive oil

Ghee

Sesame

How often should foods be added during reintroduction?

All eliminated foods should not be included at the same time. When adding, it should be started with foods that are thought not to harm the person. Foods should be given to the body little by little.

In the reintroduction phase, the selected food should be introduced for one day and waited for three days. If the body reacts after the banned food is tried, the transition period to another banned food should be at least one week. If the body does not react, another banned food can be introduced after three days.

During the reintroduction phase, a food diary can be kept to identify foods that cause a reaction. This makes it easier both to check the findings and to act according to the results.

Page content is for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
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