You try and enjoy a glass of rich red wine, a few sips in and your face is flushed red. Eating avocado or bananas gives you “cold like” symptoms. If you can relate to any of these statements, then you could potentially have a histamine intolerance.
It’s often a case that people have dealt with the histamine intolerance for a long period of time, so much so, that they become resigned to the fact it is part of who they are and just learn to deal with the symptoms and get on with life. But why put up with uncomfortable reactions to histamine, if you don’t have to? Maybe there is another way!
Before we look into ways to reduce or eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms caused from histamine rich foods, it’s worth having an understanding of what actually is histamine and and as to why it causes some people issues.
Most people are vaguely familiar with the word ‘histamine’ from people who suffer from hayfever or have allergies. When people suffer from such issues they can manage their symptoms by taking medication such as Benadryl or Piriton to reduce their symptoms.
Histamine isn’t just a nightmare symptom causing devil though, it’s actually a vital chemical that is essential to our system. It has several different functions in our amazing bodies. It has a role in the gastrointestinal tract, in the production of the stomach acid. Histamine also plays a role in our circadian rhythm (our sleep-wake cycle) as well as having a function in our immune system. So as you see, we need histamine, it’s just that each person requires differing amounts of the chemical.
If you are hypersensitive to it, just a tiny bit of excess and the symptoms will flare.
Histamine is either stored by the body or is broken down by an enzyme. One of these enzymes DAO (diamine oxidase) is mostly responsible for breaking down histamine and so if you are deficient in DAO you will very likely be Histamine Intolerant.
There are some other conditions that cause low DAO – such as leaky gut or gluten intolerance, and there are also foods/drinks (alcohol & tea) that block its production.
There are also many medications that block DAO as a side effect, if you are taking any medications it is worth discussing what effect it may be having on DAO production with your physician.
List of Common Histamine Intolerance Symptoms
- Difficulty falling asleep, easily arousal
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Arrhythmia, or accelerated heart rate
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Tissue swelling
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Nasal congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing
- Abnormal menstrual cycle