Histamine - Is it all in the food? | RootHealthMD

Histamine – Is it all in the food?

What is Histamine

Histamine, a part of the body’s biological defense system, is also found in many common dietary sources: fermented foods, fish, meat, cheese, vinegar, alcohol, and some fruits and vegetables. Other foods contain histidine, which is converted to histamine during digestion by certain bacteria in the gut. 

Common dietary sources: 

fermented foods, fish, meat, cheese, vinegar, alcohol, and some fruits and vegetables. Other foods contain histidine, which is converted to histamine during digestion by certain bacteria in the gut.

Other foods contain histidine, which is converted to histamine during digestion by certain bacteria in the gut.

Do we need Histamine in the body?

At healthy levels and in the right places, histamine is needed for a normal digestive process and sleep-wake cycle, and for a functioning immune system. On the other hand, too much histamine can cause unpleasant side effects like rashes, itching, stuffy nose, swelling, headache and gastrointestinal complaints.

Symptoms of high Histamine

Histamine response can be triggered anytime of the year by indoor or outdoor antigens and by food allergens. It not only gives allergy symptoms and also give depression, gut symptoms, arthralgia and headaches. Histamine is elevated almost in all inflammatory conditions. congestion, rhinitis and eye symptoms. Headaches: can also come from low sugar, high sugar, low BP or High BP, low oxygen or histamine dumping. Not every headache is histamine driven, But histamine driven headaches get helped by managing homeostasis of histamine. 

Sources of Histamine

Histamine comes from many sources.  Externally, we primarily get it from our foods.  Internally, we produce it in response to immune threats (as above), and some of the microbes in our gut also produce it as part of their normal metabolism.

Histamine Balance

Each person’s level of sensitivity to histamine in food depends on the amount of histamine present and the effectiveness of the body’s natural histamine-metabolizing mechanisms. It may seem like the only way to avoid the unpleasant side effects of histamine sensitivity is to eliminate high-histamine foods altogether – but such a restricted diet can deprive the body of balanced nutrition and make it difficult to enjoy meals. Histamine intolerance is about the body becoming overloaded, where the amount of histamine present outweighs our ability to break it down (detoxify it). At healthy levels and in the right places, histamine is needed for a normal digestive process and sleep-wake cycle, and for a functioning immune system. On the other hand, too much histamine can cause unpleasant side effects like rashes, itching, stuffy nose, swelling, headache and gastrointestinal complaints.

How do we keep Histamine levels in range?

A healthy gut is a key factor in normal histamine metabolism and healthy histamine levels throughout the body.

Cells in the gut produce DAO (diamine oxidase), an enzyme that breaks down histamine in the digestive tract. In healthy individuals, DAO is responsible for keeping the majority of ingested histamine from ever reaching circulation in the body.DAO also produced in your kidneys, thymus in addition to intestinal lining of your digestive tract. the enzyme DAO (diamine oxidase) is produced in the brush border of the intestines (and also in the kidneys) handles extracellular histamine (e.g. from food, microbes).  Oxidative wear’n’tear on the gut lining can impair our DAO capability. 

How does the leaky gut affect Histamine levels

Increased intestinal permeability can allow more of the ingested histamine to pass from the gut into circulation.

Gut Bacteria and Histamine

A healthy gut microbiome containing a balanced variety of “good” bacteria (i.e. probiotics) is essential for maintaining a healthy gut barrier, and healthy cells in the gut barrier are needed to maintain normal DAO levels. Certain bacteria found in a healthy gut are responsible for converting histidine to histamine, which can be problematic in individuals with histamine intolerance, others may help to break down histamine and other biogenic amines, and reinforce a healthy gut barrier.

LPS and Histamine

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are found in cell membrane of gram-negative bacteria. They are endotoxins, and if absorbed, elicit a strong immune response. The detection of antibodies against LPS reveals macromolecule-sized endotoxin infiltration through the intestinal barrier into the systemic circulation. 

Yeast overgrowth and Histamine

Candida overgrowth can trigger Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Once the immune system is triggered, there is a release of histamine and other inflammatory molecules. It’s important to remember that Candida is a normal part of your gut. We actually need the right balance of Candida for healthy immunity.In fact, recent studies have shown that Candida in proper balance may help with autoimmunity.If you have a chronic mold issue, it’s very hard to get rid of candida. For some people, it’s almost impossible until the mold is gone.

Alcohol and Histamine

Alcohol is metabolised through the same pathway that histamine is metabolized. Alcohol uses up the pathways that metabolize histamine. Consume nutrient rich food as we need nutrients and cofactors for histamine metabolism. Lessen mast cell activation by eliminating foods that you are sensitive to

Role of Nutrients

In addition to DAO, another enzyme system handles intracellular histamine: histamine is N-methyltransferase  or HNMT.  Nutrition is key here too, as both of these enzyme systems require B vitamins and minerals as cofactors.  And methylation is also required to reduce intracellular histamine. Suboptimal Vitamin D and zinc (ideally measured through RBC Zinc) can also contribute to immune system dysregulation.

Nutrients for HNMT

SAMe, TMG (trimethylglycine), 5-MTHF (5 methyl tetra hydrofolate), B12 Methyl cobalamin, B2 Riboflavin 5 Phosphate, PC photphotidyl choline. 

DAO suppression by Medications:

Higher estrogen states promotes higher histamine levels by suppressing the DAO. Hormonal drugs, birth control pills that contain estrogen suppress DAO in gut. 

Clues in the routine blood work that identifies high Histamine levels 

Unfortunately there is no single lab marker or panel that can readily identify histamine intolerance.  Single, one-time measurements of histamine in the blood may be elevated due to specific triggers, but that doesn’t mean a person has an imbalance on an ongoing basis.  To be a helpful marker, histamine needs to be assessed several times to establish a trend.  There are many more advanced, functional testing options that can be helpful (e.g. stool test, lipid peroxides – to assess oxidative stress which can come from sustained, high histamine).  But you will find some clues in conventional labwork too, such as looking at the percentages of eosinophils and basophils in a Complete Blood Count.  Both of these WBCs secrete histamine.  In a healthy, happy, relaxed immune system, eosinophils are usually very low (<3% of WBCs) and basophils will be very low close to zero.  Basophils are particularly strong secretors of histamine, so that’s a strong clue.  Many will have high total IgE antibody level in the blood, an indication of the body’s immune defenses being armed to secrete histamine. There are many more advanced, functional testing options that can be helpful (e.g. stool test, lipid peroxides – to assess oxidative stress which can come from sustained, high histamine). low adrenal function (specifically low cortisol which typically promotes more Th2 hyper-reactivity to external threats) microbial imbalance/overgrowth in the gut (aka dysbiosis), too much overall protein intake.

Toxins are a burden on immune system

Organic acid test

We look for Fungal markers

Oxalates:

It can be helpful to know about oxalates, because oxalates feed Candida. You get high oxalates from the foods, molds that have colonized the body also produce oxalates. This is why it can be helpful to look for oxalates as well. Oxalates get stored in the tissues, so the oxalate testing only shows what’s being excreted. It doesn’t show what’s in the tissues. 

Supplements that can help bring down Histamine levels

Herbs: Quercetin, Stinging Nettles, Butterbur. Ginger and  Mangosteen, Bromalein HistamineX, Natural D Hist, Histaeze

Nutrients: High-quality B-complex (critical for methylation to break down excess histamine internal to our tissues; be sure to choose one with active, methyl forms of B12 and Folate (B9), vitamin C, Minerals, N-acetyl cysteine.

Enzyme: DAO Histamine block.  Histamine block plus comes with DAO, vitamins and minerals, SAMe, PQQ

Histamine friendly probiotics 

Homeopathic Histamine formulas.

Lifestyle measures:

Stress reduction balances our cortisol

Reduce Alcohol

Consume nutrient rich food as we need nutrients and cofactors for histamine metabolism, this is more important when you are not low histamine foods as these are all nutrient rich foods.

Lessen mast cell activation by eliminating foods that you are sensitive to

Check medications

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