Histamine is a biogenic amine involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in connective tissues.
In clear terms, histamine is what your body release when you are being allergic and it is responsible for all these annoying allergy symptoms : runny nose, red eyes, etc.
In general terms histamine intolerance is caused by the organism being overloaded with histamine. The problem isn’t really the histamine itself, which is good and something your body needs, but more about two enzymes who have to eliminate the excess of histamine from your body. It is important to note that histamine is contained in a lot of food and that eating certain type of food will cause your histamine level to go up. It has nothing to do with let’s say allergies, that are releasing histamine into your body, it is more about getting a significant intake of histamine that your body can’t process.
The symptoms can be easily identified as rosacea symptoms as some are quite similar. For example, histamine intolerance also causes flushing and redness. The primary symptoms are the following:
- hay fever
- flushing, redness
- hay fever related symptoms also in winter
Other symptoms are (group b):
- abdominal migraines
- unspecified food intolerance
- hypersensitivity to many foods which give different and changing symptoms
- allergies to pollen
And finally, group c symptoms include:
- low blood pressure
- tension headaches
- panic attacks
You shouldn’t be stressed too much if you have 1-2 symptoms of the above, but with multiple symptoms, it might be a sign that you’re suffering from histamine intolerance.
Solutions to histamine intolerance
Well it seems the solutions is pretty simple : limit the amount of “histamine food” you eat. Taking antihistamine pills won’t affect that much your intolerance because these pills only stop your body from producing histamine : it has no impact on your daily intake of histamine through food.
A 3-4 weeks low-histamine diet will reveal a lot : if your symptoms disappear or almost disappear, you know histamine might be an issue.
High level of histamine food
Here is a list of food containing a lot of histamine, this might help you in trying to reduce your daily intake:
- Alcohol, particularly red wine and champagne. Also white wine and beer.
- Aged, smoked, canned fish and fish sauces. Tuna fish, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, herring, catfish, salmon.
- Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham, bratwurst and bacon
- Certain vegetables: tomato, spinach, eggplant, avocado, mushrooms and canned vegetables as well as commercially prepared salads
- Certain fruits: strawberries, bananas, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, red prunes, pea
- Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Sunflower seeds
- Coffee, black tea
- Some fruits: citrus, bananas, strawberries, red prunes, pears, kiwi, raspberries, papaya
- Bread and confectionery made with yeast
- Peanuts, cashews, walnuts
Good luck with testing!