Headaches, Hives, and Heartburn: Could Histamine Be the Cause?


Red wine. Aged cheese. Citrus fruits. Sauerkraut. Bacon. These foods are frequently consumed by those on a healthy whole foods diet, and are often found in a variety of Paleo-friendly recipes and meal plans. Even conventional doctors frequently recommend including many of these seemingly unrelated foods daily as part of a healthy diet. After all, even a raw vegan probably wouldn’t argue against eating foods like oranges, spinach, or cinnamon.

It may surprise you to learn that these and other popular foods are capable of causing numerous symptoms in certain people, including migraines, hives, anxiety, acid reflux, and nasal congestion, just to name a few. If you’re experiencing strange reactions to certain foods that most would consider healthy, you may be suffering from a little known but not uncommon cause of food intolerance and disease: histamine intolerance.

Still having strange symptoms on a real food diet? You could be suffering from histamine intolerance.Tweet This

Never heard of histamine intolerance? You’re not alone. This food intolerance is difficult to diagnose, has a multifaceted symptom profile, and is often confused with a variety of other conditions. Many doctors and nutritionists have never even heard of histamine intolerance, and often treat the symptoms without ever addressing the underlying cause. In my practice, I see it especially with headaches and migraines, skin problems and mental health issues. It’s a fairly common, yet poorly understood, food sensitivity.

Histamine Intolerance: Not your typical food allergy!

Histamine intolerance is generally caused by a defect in the body’s histamine breakdown process, in one of two enzyme systems: histamine N-methyl transferase (HMT) and diamine oxidase (DAO). (1) Deficiency in the DAO enzyme system, found in the intestinal mucosa, has been suggested as the most probable cause of histamine intolerance. (2) There are likely genetic variations in individual enzyme function, but when activity of either of these enzymes is insufficient, the resulting excess of histamine may cause numerous symptoms resembling an allergic reaction. Common symptoms of histamine intolerance include: (3)

  • Pruritus (itching especially of the skin, eyes, ears, and nose)
  • Urticaria (hives) (sometimes diagnosed as “idiopathic urticaria”)
  • Tissue swelling (angioedema) especially of facial and oral tissues and sometimes the throat, the latter causing the feeling of “throat tightening”
  • Hypotension (drop in blood pressure)
  • Tachycardia (increased pulse rate, “heart racing”)
  • Symptoms resembling an anxiety or panic attack
  • Chest pain
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose, seasonal allergies
  • Conjunctivitis (irritated, watery, reddened eyes)
  • Some types of headaches that differ from those of migraine
  • Fatigue, confusion, irritability
  • Very occasionally loss of consciousness usually lasting for only one or two seconds
  • Digestive upset, especially heartburn, “indigestion”, and reflux

Histamine intolerance is unlike other food allergies or sensitivities in that the response is cumulative, not immediate. Imagine it like a cup of water. When the cup is very full (high amounts of histamine in the diet), even a drop of additional water will cause the cup to overflow (symptoms activated). But when the cup is less full, it would take more water (histamine) to cause a response. This makes histamine intolerance tricky to recognize.

In addition, histamine intolerance is closely related to SIBO and dysbiosis, which suggests that curing the latter may alleviate the former. Many integrative practitioners, including myself, believe that a primary cause of histamine intolerance is an overgrowth of certain types of bacteria that make histamine from undigested food, leading to a buildup of histamine in the gut and overwhelming the body’s ability to catabolize the excess histamine. This causes a heightened sensitivity to histamine-containing foods and an increase in symptoms that are commonly associated with allergies.

For more detailed information on histamine intolerance, including causes, symptoms, and treatment, check out this article by Dr. Janice Joneja, a Ph.D. in medical microbiology and immunology and former head of the Allergy Nutrition Program at the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre.

What to do if you have histamine intolerance

Histamine intolerance can be a challenging diagnosis to manage, since many foods contain histamine and for some patients, their gut bacteria is producing the excess histamine that is causing the symptoms. Fermented foods are some of the biggest culprits, since even beneficial bacteria produce histamine during fermentation. In fact, reacting to fermented foods is a classic sign of histamine intolerance, especially if probiotic supplements are well-tolerated. Other foods that are high in histamine include:

  • Seafood: shellfish or fin fish, fresh, frozen, smoked or canned
  • Eggs
  • Processed, cured, smoked and fermented meats such as lunch meat, bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni
  • Leftover meat (After meat is cooked, the histamine levels increase due to microbial action as the meat sits)
  • All fermented milk products, including most cheeses
  • Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir
  • Citrus fruits – eg. oranges, grapefruit, lemons, lime
  • Most berries
  • Dried fruit
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, relishes, fermented soy products, etc.
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes- including ketchup, tomato sauces
  • Artificial food colors and preservatives
  • Spices: cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, cayenne
  • Beverages: Tea (herbal or regular), alcohol
  • Chocolate, cocoa
  • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar such as pickles, relishes, ketchup, and prepared mustard

For anyone experiencing histamine intolerance, strict adherence to a low-histamine diet is necessary for a period of time. After that, smaller amounts of histamine may be tolerated depending on the person. Individual sensitivity varies tremendously. I have one or two patients that cannot tolerate any amount of histamine in food, and others that are only sensitive to the foods highest in histamine.

In order to improve your tolerance to histamine-containing foods, it is crucial to heal the gut and address any dysbiosis or SIBO issues that may exist. I recommend working with a qualified practitioner who can help you address any bacterial imbalance and create a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

What can you eat on a low-histamine Paleo diet?

You may be feeling overwhelmed by the list of foods to avoid – I don’t blame you! It can be especially challenging to eat low-histamine foods on a Paleo diet. There aren’t many resources available for this condition, and everyone reacts in their own unique way to excess histamine and certain high histamine foods. For example, a person may do fine eating berries and citrus fruits, but they may have horrible reactions to wine or sauerkraut. If you’re dealing with histamine intolerance, you will need to determine your own trigger foods, and reduce or eliminate them accordingly.

MPG histamineFor help figuring out what to eat, those with histamine intolerance may want to check out my Paleo Recipe Generator. It contains over 600 Paleo-approved recipes, and allows you to exclude many high histamine foods from your meal plan, including fermented dairy, eggs, tomatoes, eggplant, fruit, certain spices, vinegar, alcohol, and seafood.

Of course, you’ll have to pay attention to whether or not the recipe contains cured meats like bacon or sausage, other spices like cinnamon or cloves, and certain fruits and vegetables like citrus and spinach. Some of these issues can be addressed by excluding fruit and pork from the meal plan, which isn’t necessary but can help make your low-histamine recipe search a little easier. You’ll still need to double check the ingredients of each individual meal, but this search function makes it much easier!

Once you’ve made your selections for foods to exclude, you can plan meals for a full day, a week, or simply find a recipe for a single meal. Even with a histamine intolerance, you can still enjoy many delicious Paleo recipes: Lamb Roast with Fennel and Root Vegetables, Beef Brisket with Mushrooms, Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes, and even Chicken Pot Pie, just to name a few.

There are few other online resources for low-histamine meal plans, and most are not Paleo compliant. The Low Histamine Chef has a “Low Histamine Diamine Oxidase Boosting Recipe Book” which some people may find helpful, though many of the recipes contain less-than-desirable ingredients such as grains, legumes, and sugar. It’s important to focus on healing the gut and identifying your specific trigger foods in order to reduce symptoms without indefinitely following a strict low histamine diet. Just remember, individual results will vary!

Do you follow a low histamine Paleo diet? Have you seen a difference in your health as a result? Share your story in the comments below.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Stephie says

    I’m sensitive to histamine for 2 month now. I made a blood test and my allergist told me to use Daosin. I can buy it online without any problems. Now I’m using them for one week and it’s just amazing. I can eat everything, no symptoms, no tingly tounge nothing :) just happy

  2. Cherie says

    I have been on multiple antibiotics for 3 months and I have 3 more to go. For the last month I have had hives, headaches, flushing, fatigue, hypotension, panic/anxiety and brain fog. I am a complete mess and am sure it’s all do to leaky gut and or gut dysbiosis, histamine intolerance and some HPA axis issues. I’ve been strict paleo for years and am desperate to heal my gut. But with 3 more months of antibiotic therapy to go I don’t know where to start. Any suggestions???


  3. Julie says

    I was looking over some allergy testing results I had a while ago. I tested allergic to histamine. I didn’t even know what that meant do I looked it up abound doing this article. I suffer from migraines and was recently diagnosed with POTS (a form of tachycardia) I get hives and itchy skin a lot but I’m pretty used to it. The most annoying symptom for me is the POTS. Im hoping this is what’s causing it and maybe just changing my diet will get rid of it.

  4. Tina W. says

    Roughly 5 years ago I had a hysterectomy. When I returned to work I found that I could no longer tolerate scented products (perfume, lotion, hand sanitizer, etc). I ended up in the ER after a nasty co-worker sprayed my cubicle with perfume. I broke out in blisters all over my chest, neck & face. I also was having issues breathing. I went to an allergist…he did scratch testing. It came back that I was allergic to rice, mold and various nuts (the levels on the nuts were not high). A few years later I went to another allergist/immunologist and he did scratch, injection and blood testing. Everything came back negative! If I ate nuts (peanuts or almonds) I would break out in hives. If I ate rice, I’d get stomach cramps and have to use the bathroom (note; this doesn’t happen every time I eat it). I was diagnosed with Asthma and entered a few studies. At this point, any scented products would turn my skin red and make my face/eyes hurt. I’d also have issues with breathing. I was told I had rosacia. I then went to another specialist. He did blood testing and told me it all came back negavative. He also told me that my scent allergies was all in my head. He said that there was no way that being exposed to someone elses scented product would be able to cause my skin to get red and hurt. He referred to me another specialist that dealt with people who had “scent” issues. He tested me for asthma and confirmed that I did not have it. My breathing issues were caused from Silent Acid Reflux (confirmed by a test) and certain things like caffiene (I drank triple shots daily), foods & even exercise would cause asthma like symptoms. Once I cut out caffiene and acitic foods my breathing issues calmed way down. This doctor also did challenge testing for hives and the scent/perfume allergy. It was confirmed that I have chronic hives. Hive can be brought on by foods, stress, heat/cold or if I touch my face or scratch it I will get hives. The scent challenge didn’t go so well. I was blind folded and had my nose clipped. They would come in and spray something and ask how I felt after 10 minutes. I apparently failed this test. I explained to the doctor that if they were spraying into the air the scent would disappear within minutes and so I was not exposed as if I was sitting next to somebody who was wearing perfume. By the time I left the facility my face was bright red, swollen, rough and hurt (like a sunburn). The doctor was not around to witness. I received a call the next day and was told that it was all in my head and that I should go see a behavioral psychologist because somehow I had trained my brain to not like scents. Imagine the frustration. I’ve also had issues losing weight. In doing research I found that I could be eating foods that I’m not necessarily allergic too but may have a tolerance too. This can cause swelling and other symptoms like hives. In talking to the last doctor he did mention that my body has too much histamine and that I should take a daily anti-histamine medication. It helps a little bit but the minute I drink caffiene, red wine or am exposed to scents I break out, get headaches, can’t breathe, etc. After reading this article I am certain that I have an intolerance to histamine. Sorry for the long post but I’m at the end of my rope. So so so frustrating! xo

    • Liz says

      I feel your pain!!

      I have had asthma and allergy problems for many years and kept getting pushed into new drugs, inhalers without addressing the root cause. I tried allergy shots for 3 years that didn’t make a difference. Well no wonder. With a histamine intolerance, I’d only be producing MORE histamine from injecting the allergen.

    • Jennifer Morrison says

      Tina–I really sympathize with you re scent-sensitivity-as I had it-and was informed by a board certified Environmental allergist-now retired- to move to the wilderness-clean air-which I did-and since they had only one mall-I did this test-that proved conclusively that my high blood pressure was cause from perfume-sensitivity.Thanks for your story-JM.

  5. Diana Attuso says

    Is there a comprehensive list of foods and their respective histamine levels? And help is appreciated.


    • Louise Broughton says

      Look at histamine tolerant.ch
      It’s a Swiss website but there is an english version.
      Very comprehensive list of foods but it takes some finding.
      What a nightmare this is.
      I have been intolerant of everything containing preservatives additives chemicals and pesticides for 4 years following a massive course of antibiotics. I was just recovering and starting to eat normally again – albeit organic – when I became histamine intolerant and now am on an even more restricted diet! Oh well, at least I can still eat…….fingers crossed.
      The itchy spots drive me mad though.

      • Diana Attuso says

        The ONLY thing I have found that relieves the itching is Clobetasol Propionate Ointment, USP, 0.05%. It is ridiculously expensive. $500.00 US for 60 grams. I bought it with out hesitation. When you’re this miserable with itching you’ll spend any money to make it go away. I’m grateful that I’m only histamine intolerant.

        • Marcia says

          Well, good luck with that. All you’re doing is temporarily suppressing your symptoms (driving them deeper into the body) for momentary relief.

          Treat the gut issues, the malabsorption, the inflammation (google Art Ayers or re-read what Chris talks about) and you’re find lasting relief.

      • Kelly says


        You might consider looking into helminth therapy. Many people are overcoming their allergies (especially after gut damage from too many antibiotics) by ingesting friendly helminths.

        A google search will turn up a lot of information.

  6. Rie says

    I have had symptoms for the last 17 years. It normally starts with my right for arm itching and if I happen to scratch then it sets off the histamine reaction. When this first started I went to the GP and she did the typical scratch test…looked at me and said…. I produce to much histamine take these pills and it will be fine. HA! Seventeen years later and I am still scratching. I have gone to multiple doctors from Neurologists to Dermatologists and they all say the same thing…all your test are normal. There have been about twenty doctors involved in this diagnosis and all to no avail.
    I have gone to a gluten free egg free soya free dairy free diet (except I was allowed goats cheese which I think is somewhat of a cause as well.) I don’t eat anything with a face,
    I do juices and smoothies and take a multitude of supplements including quercetin, the medicinal mushrooms, curcumin, resveratrol, and about twelve to fifteen more along with twice daily my pro- biotics.
    I have difficulty getting dressed in the morning to go to work for fear anything that brushes up against my skin will trigger a histamine release so normally I drive into work with the AC on high to keep my skin cold (that seems to be the only relief I get). This wakes me up in the night so I always have ice packs to hand. It feels like I have been rolled in pink fiberglass insulation all over my extremities. It does not normally affect my torso. Even washing my face has left me itching!
    I am scheduled for a scratch test (that’s a joke!!!) and I know once the tests begin I too will begin to scratch.
    There are times, even with antihistamines it can take up to four to six hours to calm the skin down which does not eave much room for anything on the agenda!
    Just recently, finding this website along with others I think that I am intolerant of Histamine and it seems like I may be getting closer to a solution.
    I have read all the foods to avoid and I will be as of today….that is how strong my resolution is to eliminate this feeling.
    Any comments , suggestions would be appreciated as to where I can go from here.
    Many thanks

    • Jessica Marais says

      Hi- mushrooms give me awful hives. It isn’t mentioned on this site but on others I have read mushrooms are mentioned as foods to avoid. Possibly try eliminating those. I also cut out all supplements while trying to get my hives under control to be safe. I basically lived on fresh cooked meat, carrots, butternut and sweet potato with butter for a while. Even now if something sets off my hives I go back to that for a while.

      • Tina W. says

        I read too that mushrooms contain high levels of histamine. I’m allergic to all types of mold and I think mushrooms fall under that category.

  7. Nan says

    For a year I have suffered with hives (idiopathic uticaria) and digestive issues. As others have testified, the allergist found no food allergies. This was perplexing to me because I knew I would start breaking out into a sweat within a couple minutes of ingesting certain foods and about an hour or two after that, the hives come. So the problems were definitely food related. I have been on a dairy, soy, gluten-free diet for about 10 months. I was able to eat nuts occasionally, but last week had a major break out with nuts. I could drink white wine and not red wine, until recently. I can’t drink any soda or eat any types of candy, not even mint life savers.

    What has confused me most is that sometimes I could eat minimal amounts of things I normally avoided and then other times if I had one bite/drink it bothered me.

    The histamine issue makes since to me. I have had major sinus/allergy/hay fever problems since I was young (53 now). It makes me wonder if after all the OTC sinus/anti-histamine medications I have taken over the years that perhaps I have built up a tolerance level and they no longer help.

    I will say, when I eat healthy greens, root vegetables, fresh meats, and melon fruits, I don’t have any hot flashes or hives. The reason I wrote today is that the other night I had spaghetti meat sauce over zucchini spirals and it was great and I had no issues. But the next day I had the same thing as leftovers for lunch and BOOM—-the hives came with a vengeance. Could it be the leftover meat? Sounds like it.

    I appreciate the

    • brook says

      Yes. Histamine builds up over time in cooked food. As a rule of thumb, I do not eat cooked leftovers over a day old.

    • Justa says

      Leftover foods produce histamine as bacteria in the foods start to grow. Especially, meats. If you save leftovers, freeze them instead.

  8. Suzanne says

    I’ve suffered with depression/anxiety, constipation, and severe stomach bloat for as long as I can remember. About 2 1/2 yrs ago I developed GERD, then my lips started burning, then I found out I had a significant b12 deficiency and then this past January I developed hives.

    I was allergy tested because I thought maybe I was allergic to shrimp. I had blood testing for a number of different allergens and the results were negative. The allergist put me on Zyrtec and Zantac. The meds got rid of my hives but after being on them for almost 2 wks I stopped taking them because I had adverse reactions to them. I realized I needed to get to the cause not just mask.

    I researched and found your site back in February and have been following a low hist diet. I found a doctor that looks at the big picture and she had me do in depth blood tests and fecal testing. The fecal testing showed that I have very low diversity of bacteria and I have a lot of fat in my fecal. She has me eating a clean diet, taking a multivitamin by metagenics, Dr Sinatras omega q with restervol, prescript assist soil based probiotic, metagenics renew clear (a heavy metal detox) taking a psyllium &prebiotic inulin powder and drinking only filtered water. I started this May 6th. I feel like she is working to help me get my health back. It’s definitely a work in progress. I’ll start feeling good and eat some high hist too many days in a row and my skin will feel like it’s windburned/sunburned.

    The reason I’m sharing/writing is I’m wondering if you would know of any doctors/healthcare providers in the Washington DC area that you could recommend that are familiar with treating hist intolerance. Im happy with my doctor but I would like to know that there is another practitioner available if I need additional help or a second opinion. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Karin says

      Oh, I hope that you ALL can see my reply. I feel so bad for so many of you and what you are suffering. I too have been suffering with many health issues that typical MDs have not been able to address or help. I want to tell you about Christa Orrechio, who has also endorsed Chris, so I’m hoping he doesn’t mind me referring her. I think Chris is great, too, but you already know about him since you’re on his site. Check out GutThrivein5.com & TheWholeJourney.com. Awesome resource and help! I’m in the group now, but we are only finishing up step 2… I think my symptoms are already better. Praying for complete healing once I am all done!

      Blessings to all of you!

  9. Kimberley says

    Hi Chris, I’m looking for a little advice. I am currently dealing with candida overgrowth and histamine intolerance I also suspect leaky gut. I am wondering which one is suggested to be worked on first?? Do you recommend starting with eliminating candida or healing leaky gut and dealing with histamine intolerance? I would be so grateful for anyone’s advice and input into this healing journey :)
    Thank you,

  10. Shweta says

    Hi all,

    Thanks Chris for such an informative article… ..I am sure that i have histamines releasing in my body but not sure exactly what is triggering.

    My symptoms are as follows.

    Excessive rapid sneezing
    lot of itching in nose, ears, eyes
    Watery nose
    V scratchy itchy watery eyes
    Overall itching on face
    headaches heaviness in head due to all these
    Major acne breakouts

    My symptoms start randomly out of a blue…the moment i take an Allegra tablet or Loratidine syrup….the symptoms eases otherwise it continues. I have got few tests done but the reports more or less have been normal…

  11. Fi Gillespie says

    Hi everyone

    I am 20 years old and almost 100% sure I am suffering from HIT. Back in 2014 I was in Vietnam for some time, and whilst I became ill one day and suffered from awful diarrhoea & sickness for about 16 hours non stop. I was in hospital on a drip and recovered well after a few days.
    Since then I have noticed weird changes in my body.
    I wake up most mornings with an awful full, sluggish feeling in my stomach. I have awful wind and toilet problems and sometimes suffer from sulphuric smelling burps. I also feel like I carry a lot of extra weight (Water Weight) and i am bloated most days, despite eating healthily and exercising well.
    I get little red spots all over my body every other day or so which are incredibly itchy, I have watery eyes, trouble sleeping, up in the night for the toilet, feel really tired, some days feel really negative and irritable and just can’t imagine being happy/socialising (which is so out of my personality).
    I am basically looking to see if anyone has had any similar symptoms and what advice they would give for a nice varied low histamine diet and how long it should be followed for.
    I am not a fussy eater (at this point i’ll eat anything) but I already follow a DF diet. Doctors tested me for coeliac disease and they came back negative and my condition has since been put down to IBS but I am not convinced..

    please help!


    • says

      Your case sounds complicated-I think if you could find an integrated practitioner who specialized in digestive illnesses it could be helpful. My niece caught a bug and was chronically ill. She was diagnosed with IBS and offered antidepressants and heartburn medicine, anti nausea medication. But, none of those things were offered as a cure. She was helped by the SCD diet-I wrote about her story here-http://familyhomeandhealth.com/2014/08/from-chronic-nausea-and-ibs-to-complete.html.

      I was diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and that could also be the cause of your digestive problems. I took Allimed (high dose garlic) to kill the bacteria. I eat a specific diet that I wrote about on my website. (Sometimes the SCD diet is the right diet for SIBO.) I hope that gives you some ideas of what to research!

    • ken d says

      Hi–I think you may have contracted the Blasto cystis hominis parasite, as I did in China on a trip when changed hotels and got out of the routine of being very careful with the water. This parasite is very common in the UK but usually doesn’t cause a problem. There are around 10 different iterations of this parasite –2 of them are not benign. This parasite is not even recognised here in the UK as a pathogen–but in my case it sure was–had most of your symptoms–the flatulence was becoming embarrassing. Bottom line–you need a full spectrum feccal test. If the parasite is present you need a narrow spectrum ant biotic called Humatin made by Pfizer(good luck with that–really difficult to get) Completely successful for me!

      • Jen says

        I agree. Sounds like you should be tested for a parasite. Your symptoms sound familiar to an experience I had previously

    • Jennifer Morrison says

      I went to a G.P. for IBS-and he put me on Buscopan.That was 3 years ago-and I have had no more IBS attacks.I know Holistic Medicine likes to get at the cause,but sometimes it is good to get rid of the awful gut pain-;^))-JM.

  12. Code says

    My symptoms
    Any time that I have any sort of abrasion on the skin, my skin reacts with immediate redness, and swelling. I’ll have constant break outs of redness on my skin, that leads to it becoming itchy, and usually results in swelling from scratcing, or just swells. I’ll notice little red dots(closey spaced out) all over the insides on my arms, and sometimes occurs in other places. Any time I try to lift anything, my hands start to swell within minutes, and I get the pins and needles feeling in my hands. My head also itches and I’ll notice what seem to be pimple on my scalp, that also itch. If I scratch or pop a pimple, it swells within seconds, and looks like I got stung by a mosquito or wasp.
    I have constant heartburn and indegestion, which only seem to be settled by taking Ranididine twice a day. I have been taking Hydroxizine 10mg, twice a day for a year, and it helps mask the issues, but not fully. I believe my main problem that I am having has to do with histamine, or at least the over production of it in my body. The way that I explain it to people that wonder whats wrong with me is this, “If I get a scratch on my arm, my body reacts like I just got cut open, so it rushes histamine to the area, when that much histamine is not at all needed.
    I also get constant feelings of worry, or borderline “silent” panic attacks as I call them, where I don’t verbally start panicing, it’s just all in my head. But I get the anxious feeling in my body that goes along with, as well as racing heart rate, and sometimes trouble breathing.
    I have been dealing with these issues for 6 years, and have seen close to 10 doctors, and only one had the knowledge to prescribe my Hydroxizine and Ranididine, which have worked well, but not masked all of my symptoms completely. I’m no longer looking to have my issues “masked”, I want them fully under control with the correct diagnosis of my problem, with out doubt. I can’t be the only one in the world with these issues, and I refuse to believe that it’s impossible to figure out. I’ve tried everything at first, gluten free, dairy free, veggies only, perfum free products(laundry detergent, soaps, etc), and I’ve exhausted my efforts on figuring out the problem. I had had reactions to drinking beer as well, and was close to going into anaphylactic shock. But was a result of drinking 2 beers, and then dancing. Doctors said I could of died as a result of the anaphylactic shock, and was very lucky to have made it to the E.R. in time.
    Also worth noting, that I was tested for HIV and Hepatitis per the doctors orders, to elliminate those as being a possible culprit of the issues at hand. You can imagine my shock when my doctor brought those up as a possibility. Both results came back negative, thankfully.
    I am CONVINCED, that the issue is a histamine problem, and needs to be addressed as such. Any opinions or helpful advice would be greatly appreciated, more than you could possibly fathom.
    Thank you,

    • TinaM says

      Hi there, I have been reading up a lot about histamine intolerance disorders, since a cascade of symptoms starting with insomnia, itching skin, swelling eyes, hives, heart palpitations and then anaphylaxis started over the last few weeks (caused I believe by taking new Lacto probiotics and kefir by the way). Anyway, I’ve read about Mast Cell Disorders and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome having similar symptom to yours – skin irritation will cause mast cells to degranulate and release histamine. Its not caused by histamine in diet but low histamine diet will help.

  13. Danielle says

    This explains my recent food reactions. I was getting extremely flush after my lunch at work. I had been eating sardines, sauerkraut, and kombucha for several days in a row. Thankfully, the problem went away after cutting down on the fermented foods.

    • Katie says

      I’ve only just come upon the discovery of a possible histamine intolerance, but I’m nearly positive it’s wreaking havoc on my rosacea. I know that doesn’t answer your question, but it does seem like histamine intolerance can aggravate an existing condition.

      • Rochelle says

        Hi Katie,
        I just read your post and I am experiencing the exact same thing! If I eat the wrong thing, within an hour or two my face just explodes with red rosacea welts and p&ps. I have been doing research for several days now and also think I have a histamine intollerance. I have basically cut out almost all foods and am eating about four things (lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers and eggs for protein.) I’ve discovered a DAO enzyme pill called Histame (bought online) which I have to take if I want to eat eggs and it has helped. (I tried to eat eggs without taking this pill once–boy was that a mistake!) I haven’t been brave enough to try other foods with the Histame pill yet (for fear of a rosacea outbreak) but I know I need to eat more things than just those four items, so I’m going to try in the next few days. Anyway, I hope this information about the DAO pill helps you to be able to eat more foods with histamine. Best of luck! :)

        • sarah says

          i have same issues! TARA GRANT has an excellent book that details her experience with HIDRADENTIS SUPPURATIVA.

          Her diet really works…you can expand on your cucumbers and lettuce!!

    • lynn says

      I’m certain I have a histamine intolerance too based off of the perioral dermatitis that I have on my face. I started GAPS about 6 wks ago & it was finally starting to heal, but then I introduced eggs & avocados and it flared even worse. I’m trying to figure out which diet to do now. Paleo AIP or GAPS combined with low histamine. It’s very confusing.

  14. Jerez says

    I’m wading through my own stuff here. Was Soo sick for years. Doctors had me going in circles. No help. Was afraid of food. Still am. Severe pain in face, head, neck, shoulders, back etc.
    My partner didn’t believe I was sick because no diagnosis. ???
    Seriously it’s been emotionally traumatic.
    As a child I broke out in hives all the time. So it’s really nothing new in a way.
    I have a few other issues. Bad sinuses and severe sleep apnea which they can’t do anything about. They meaning doctors.
    I have extraordinary amounts of adrenaline waking me at night because I can’t breathe.
    Allergist said I was one allergic lady but tossed my food tests.

    That upset me because I wanted to get a diet with results. He thought they weren’t important. ??

    I’m guessing it didn’t show the foods as histimines build up to allergic reactions. ?

    At any rate.
    I can’t eat leftover food. It’s grows histamines. I freeze leftovers.
    I use this stuff called Clark FX. Hulda Clark product.
    It’s for Candida. My tongue swells and coats,.. tests at clinics say I don’t have Candida. But this stuff makes a difference.

    I’ve quit having break outs on my face. Usually if I use any alcohol this occurs. Clark fx stops that. I find this interesting.
    I’m going to try her cleanse.

    I also have rare auto immune disorders.
    I think much of my problem is I don’t go into deep sleep where my body can heal itself.
    I may be opting for the newest sinus surgery to get sinus and turbines working. Balloon surgery. No scar tissue.

    I think if I can breath and sleep I’ll begin to heal. But may lack the enzyme anyway. I think gut stuff does create problems. That’s why I’m going to do this cleanse.

    Just my own intuitive process here knowing my body.
    Thanks everyone for sharing.
    I found this site over a year ago looking for a sauerkraut recipe. Is restoring my emotions and providing support thanks Chris.

    • Deanna says

      Hello. Just reading your comment. If you suspect histamine intolerance and want immediate relief, I found that on accident by taking 150 mg of Zantac (Ranitidine) twice a day. I never could breath out of my nose before and after taking this for a few days for heartburn I noticed I could breathe like never before. It is a H2 histamine blocker. I also get “allergic reations” after eating that are not true allergic reations. Therefore, I suspect histamine intolerance. However, this medication is said to block or decrease the DAO enzyme that is needed to reduce or breakdown histamine in your gut, so I wouldn’t stay on it forever but it does provide some nice immediate relief for the short term. I am only a few days into figuring this out and suffering for a year so if anyone has any tips for me as well I’d greatly appreciate it! Good luck to everyone struggling and suffering.

      • Christi says

        Deanna – I was diagnosed this year with a mast cell disorder. Zantac 150 twice daily is among the drugs my doctor has prescribed. I also take Allegra once at the highest dose. You are correct in thinking that both of these help people with histamine problems.

  15. Jerez says

    I’m wading through my own stuff here. Was Soo sick for years. Doctors had me going in circles. No help. Was afraid of food. Still am. Severe pain in face, head, neck, shoulders, back etc.
    My partner didn’t believe I was sick because no diagnosis. ???
    Seriously it’s been emotionally traumatic.
    As a child I broke out in hives all the time. So it’s really nothing new in a way.
    I have a few other issues. Bad sinuses and severe sleep apnea which they can’t do anything about. They meaning doctors.
    I have extraordinary amounts of adrenaline waking me at night because I can’t breathe.
    Allergist said I was one allergic lady but tossed my food tests.

    That upset me because I wanted to get a diet with results. He thought they weren’t important. ??

    I’m guessing it didn’t show the foods as histimines build up to allergic reactions. ?

    At any rate.
    I can’t eat leftover food. It’s grows histamines. I freeze leftovers.
    I use this stuff called Clark FX. Hulda Clark product.
    It’s for Candida. My tongue swells and coats,.. tests at clinics say I don’t have Candida. But this stuff makes a difference.

    I’ve quit having break outs on my face. Usually if I use any alcohol this occurs. Clark fx stops that. I find this interesting.
    I’m going to try her cleanse.

    I also have rare auto immune disorders.
    I think much of my problem is I don’t go into deep sleep where my body can heal itself.
    I may be opting for the newest sinus surgery to get sinus and turbines working. Balloon surgery. No scar tissue.

    I think if I can breath and sleep I’ll begin to heal. But may lack the enzyme anyway. I think gut stuff does create problems. That’s why I’m going to do this cleanse.

    Just my own intuitive process here knowing my body.
    Thanks everyone for sharing.
    I found this site over a year ago looking for a sauerkraut recipe. Is restoring my emotions and providing support thanks Kris.

    • ck says

      PLEASE go get a very simple blood test to see what your Vitamin D level is. Your experiences sound exactly like mine, and i was a chronic/dangerously horrible insomniac for over a decade. I got tested and, even though I live in very sunny So CA, my Vitamin D level was a 10 (!) This is VERY dangerously low. I took 10,000 IU a day for 3 months, got retested, and now I have to scale back a bit because I am now at 79!


      I haven’t slept this deeply in 1-2 decades. It is GLORIOUS. My *daily* migraines have calmed down dramatically. My whole nervous system seems calmer. PLEASE do this simple test, especially since i have been reading that our Histamine intolerance depletes Vitamin D as well as there being a rampant Vitamin D deficiency world wide these days.

      Sure, I still have nights where all of that insanity comes back… especially if I have been having too much fun drinking too often, or if other factors have overloaded my system.

      GOOD LUCK, and here’s to amazing, deep sleep for you!

    • TinaM says

      Histamine is a neurotransmitter, and histamerginic neurons are what produce “wakefulness”. William et al. (check Wikipedia Histamine for the reference). In other words, histamine excess can cause insomnia. In my case total insomnia, as in I suddenly stopped sleeping at all for days on end due to a massive histamine overload (this happened even before the itching, sweling hives etc). If you suffer insomnia and have these other symptoms as well try a low histamine diet. Also watch out what supplements and medications you take – many can cause histamine release in the body or inhibit DAO enzyme breakdown of histamine. Check out Mastocystosis Society of Canada website has a list of medications to avoid.

  16. sam mckinley says

    to the person who was fine in Mexico … it might be corn. My niece is anaphylactic ally allergic to corn … and its in everything and on everything … the wax they spray on fruits and veggies is corn based … iv tubing in hospitals is made with corn. She is always mildly reactive in USA even though she is very careful. But in Mexico … she was fine. they eat corn tortillas … but they don’t spray and manufacture everything with corn … and probably don’t mix ethanol with the gas. Hope this helps.

  17. says

    Great Blog entry! If you’ve already received your 23andMe or AncestryDNA raw data, these are some Histamine and Mast Cell related Genes. Follow the links then click on ‘view report’ to see your results:

    HNMT Gene: https://livewello.com/snps/library?action=preview&index=420933&for=demo

    DAO Gene: https://livewello.com/snps/library?action=preview&index=431474&for=demo

    KIT Gene and Mast Cell Activation Disorder: https://livewello.com/snps/library?action=preview&index=811549&for=demo

    AOC1 & ABP1 Genes: https://livewello.com/snps/library?action=preview&index=600494&for=demo

    These Gene Reports and hundreds of others are stored in the Gene Library. In the Gene Library, you can install and run as many of Gene Reports as you’d like: https://livewello.com/snps/library

    The Gene Library and all its contents are free to LiveWello Gene App users. The library is just one of the 11 other features that are free with the App. The rest are: https://www.facebook.com/notes/livewello/about-livewellos-gene-app/863565933654629

  18. Renee says

    I’ve been low-fodmap for a year and a half which almost eliminated all of my digestive issues. But, my new low-fodmap diet exposed a new issue. Or at least an issue which only reared it’s ugly head periodically in previous years but has come on full blown recently. With low-fodmap my diet consists of mainly chicken, fish & shellfish with limited veggies, rice and potatoes. Now realizing that this insane itch is coming from an obvious histamine problem I feel overwhelmed in that if I have to reduce my diet again I’m not sure what I will be able to eat. I’ve looked but haven’t come across any low histamine/low fodmap diets. Are there any? So glad I found you, many thanks in advance!

  19. Santino says

    Does anybody know what contains more histamine–> Yogurt or self made kefir?

    I never had histamine reactions from yogurt or other buttermilk from out the supermarket.

    But what about self made kefir?

  20. Jassy Dhillon says

    Which DAOSIN to buy , From where , Any suggestions please , No health store is selling it , some of them even never heard of this . Please help. thanks

    • Jen cohen says

      Not sure if your question about type of Daosin was answered, but thought I’d share my own experience. In addition to a low histame diet, I found that Histame (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005GI8U8A/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1424606242&sr=8-1&keywords=histame&pi=AC_SY200_QL40&dpPl=1&dpID=510YTUr4hbL&ref=plSrch) is the one that works for me. Swanson was cheaper, but also weaker (so no bargain there! I believe it ended up being more expensive in the long run!). I also found amazing help from Quercitin, which I picked up as a rescue supplement, but found I could take as a regular preventative maintenance. So I take a half dose of quercetin daily, more as needed, and I use Histame only as needed before having something I might react to (and as it’s pretty costly–as well as bad for my body, I try to do this infrequently as possible, like if a friend cooked for me and I don’t want to insult them by not eating).

      HOWEVER, as mentioned below, supplementing without making necessary dietary changes is like putting a band aid on a cut over a broken bone. As I heal my gut and body (adrenal fatigue, low stomach acid, leaky gut, parasites, etc) I’m finding the histame intolerance also seems to abate, despite occasional flare ups (thank goodness for the quercetin and Histame! ). I can tolerate most histamine foods most of the time now (except spinach, kale, and cinnamon). You’ll have to find which histame foods you personally react to. I found most listings of high histame foods on multiple site to be completely contradictory (VERY frustrating and a bit scary when you’re just beginning and afraid to eat anything for fear of reaction! !!).

      Goid luck with all if this ! Hope you find some relief!

    • Rene says

      Hi started getting hives last year around Christmas time. I have been from doctor to doctor and they cant figure out what it is. I have tried avoiding foods and other suspicious triggers but none work. I was taking zyrtec and it was helping out great. In october the hives stopped. I went on vacation to Mexico in December and came back in mid January. I was afraid I was going to get them over there again. I didn’t but to my surprise after a couple of weeks I started getting them again. My doctor suspects cold but they vary alot. Its as if sometimes its something I eat or do wrong. Now started taking zyrtec again but will only keep me clear for half a day.

  21. says

    Although genes are often named after the enzyme or protein they produce, there is a common misnomer with the DAO gene. The DAO gene produces d-amino acid oxidase (which degrades serine and has to do with neurotransmitters), whereas the ABP1 (also known as AOC1) gene is what produces diamine oxidase, the enzyme that degrades histamine. I’ve done hours of hair-pulling research on this and have found that many reputable sites make this common mistake of describing it as the DAO gene rather than saying “the gene responsible for making DAO.”

    I’ve actually had contact with Dr. Ben Lynch on this matter and he agreed with me. If anyone has any other info about this, please share with me!

  22. says

    I was wondering if outdoor allergies, and cat dander could contribute to histamine intolerance. They are not showing up on skin tests but I have all the symptons of an allergic reaction. Would taking DAO help? I do have histamine intolerance when I eat these foods.

  23. melissa says

    I have had histamine intolerance for years and always thought it was allergies but couldn’t pin point what I was eating, because of the build up. I plan to start talking DAO as soon as possible. Does anyone know if outdoor allergens contribute to histamine intolerance because I’m bothered by molds which don’t show up on allergy tests.

    • SteveB says

      Everyone wants to just pop a pill. Why not instead eat well and heal your gut. Taking DAO is like putting a bandage on a sore without disinfecting the sore. DAO can also interfere with other medications.

      • HD says

        Medications have their proper place. Current research, scant as it is, shows that some people may have a genetic defect that means their bodies will never produce the DAO they need to eat a healthy and varied diet, no matter what other measures they take.

        • SteveB says

          Thanks HD, can you please provide a link to this research you speak of? And did you know that DAO can be obtained naturally by eating sprouted legumes?

          Quote: “A number of legumes contain especially high levels of DAO. According to Dr Janice Joneja, eating these legumes as sprouts can provide us with a natural diamine oxidase boost.
          The new seedlings of all legumes can provide us with DAO, but green pea sprouts are the best sources. Lentils and chickpeas are also good.
          DAO is high in legume seedlings because the diamine oxidase helps the plant to build its structural components, such as its stem, when the baby plant is forming. Diamine oxidase begins to be produced about three days into the development of the seedlings. It increases to its maximum at about 10 days, after which it decreases because the plant no longer requires it.”

          • HD says

            If someone is genetically deficient in DAO, how are they going to digest sprouted beans? I just went 18 months without being able to eat beans in any quantity, even sprouted ones, as many people with severe digestive issues have to do–especially since beans are also high histamine. Also, I would like to see a quantitative measurement of how much DAO is in a serving of sprouted beans, and how much of it makes it through the digestive system still usable. As for the genetic component, here is a good place if you would like to look into it further. This is how I started to realize that histamine might be one of the sources of my problems, because my aunt heard I was having trouble and informed me that she, too, went through a period of tolerating very few foods while in her 30’s, until she discovered that antihistamines kept some of her symptoms at bay. My whole family has bad allergies and “mysterious illnesses” that never get diagnosed. I would love to see more research in this area, an I’m glad I know what I do so that I can help my kids do better. I’m waiting for my 23andme results, which will tell me if I have the mutations that indicate an inability to create proper levels of DAO and/or HMNT.

  24. Bert Olmer says

    hi guys,
    using Daosin for more than 8 months and I’m really satisfied. It’s doing what it has to do. Stopping my allergic reaction! It was horrible for me that I suddenly had to stop drinking red wine and eating cheese. But now I can do it again. I really can recommend the dietary supplement. Maybe you recognized that “Alex”, who wrote here before, is using it as well. To that time I don’t know many people who are using Daosin but it seems to be more then I thought.

  25. Alex Buckanan says

    Hi everybody,
    I got the diagnosis having a hi intolerance 3 years ago. It was very hard for me because I could’nt eat certain kind of vegetables and stuff like that. I always had the weird headache and didn’t know whats going on. What ever since january I’m trying a dietary supplement called Daosin which should help to hold the histamine level within the body and avoids the allergic reaction if I eat sth histamine rich. I can eat everything without having any problems, no headache, no cramps nothing. Happy so far!

    • Jack says

      Alex Buckanan are you a marketing promoter for Daosin?

      Strangely, a number of people (or the same person) have suddenly started posting on Chris’s website about how great Daosin is.

      It is very difficult to get a definite HIT diagnosis, Alex. Who was your diagnosing doctor? I am sure many other people who visit this site would like to know the name of your doctor so that they, too, can get tested.

      If you’ve really been diagnosed with HIT, which ‘vegetables and stuff like that ‘did your diagnosing doctor tell you not to eat? And if you avoided those foods, and still had a ‘headache’ and ‘cramps’ for 3 years, why didn’t your diagnosing doctor prescribe antihistamines?

      Using Daosin pills to mask a health problem does not fix the problem. Daosin has been linked to cancer, it’s made from pigs and it can interfere with other meds.

      Anyone who is a marketing promoter for Daosin, please don’t use other people’s sickness and misfortune for your own commercial gain.

      • Eric says

        Yeah, I find it quite suspicious that a doctor diagnosed this person 3 years ago. Every doctor I’ve talked to has never heard of this and usually have very little training in nutrition other than reading a newsletter from the Mayo Clinic or similar, just like any other consumer.

      • Kelly says

        Jack, do you have any references or studies to back up your claim that Daosin has any link with cancer?

        Please post them, or any proof that there is a link. I couldn’t find anything on Pubmed or Google Scholar.

  26. Jassy Dhillon says

    Hi John,
    What is the meaning of ‘CBD strain’ ? as per your comments earlier. Please advise , I want to try Hemp Oil. Thanks

  27. John says

    If you have used Hemp Oil and it has worked please let me know. I still cannot believe the histamine intolerance is gone because of it. I have tried everything, and then used Hemp Oil and have very little symptoms. I stopped using Hemp Oil after 4 weeks and I am still doing well.

  28. John says

    I’ve struggled with histamine intolerance for 2 years follwoing severe gut dysbiosis.

    Hemp oil has been the only thing that has resolved the problem for what seems to be somewhat permanently at this point.

    Has anyone else tried using hemp oil, and if so what has been your experience with it as well?

    FYI: I used a high CBD strain.

  29. Dana says

    I have adrenal fatigue AND histamine intolerance. Some of the beneficial foods suggested for the adrenal fatigue (such as fermented foods) are listed as antagonizers for histamines. So, which condition is the most important to address first. I’m so confused…

    • says

      In my opinion (I am not a doctor just someone who has recovered from adrenal fatigue and is working on histamine intolerance). I would say that not irritating your digestive system with histamine would help your adrenals to recover. If you want to keep up with my story I have a blog here: http://www.familyhomeandhealth.com. I have information on histamines there. Part of my story is here-http://familyhomeandhealth.com/2014/06/food-as-medicine-for-incurable.html

      • Dana says


        Sorry I’m so late responding, but thank you for your response. I have looked at your website. I agree that addressing the inflammation first might be the place to start.


  30. Jassy says

    Hi All, It is me again – Jassy
    Apart from my yesterday’ comment , this morning i woke up this : Both my hands and fingers are having small pimples and both hands are very very itchy and hands become more itchy when i wash them with hot water. But more interestingly i broke some of those tiny pimples and some sort of liquid came out ( very tiny and no colour though) . Please help and advise if anyone had similar Or it sounds familiar. Chris – any ideas please .


    • says

      Jassy, please do not wash your sensitive skin in hot water! And please do not break your skin, to find out what is inside the lumps. Breaking your skin allows infection to enter. Keep your skin whole and treat it gently.
      You probably have contact dermatitis. Use only soap-free cleansers and lukewarm water and wash your hands as INFREQUENTLY as possible. Wear waterproof gloves, cotton-lined, whenever you have to perform tasks involving water, dirt, chemicals, plant juices etc.
      Use an allergen-free moisturizer on your hands to put a soothing barrier between your hands and the environment.

      If the condition worsens, see your doctor.

    • lisat says

      I have the same fluid filled blisters off and on for years. Bactroban got rid of them. I thought it was an allergy to this or that…. I thought it was stress. I went to a dermatologist I trust he told me it was dyshyrdrotic eczema. My brother got the same thing. Itched like crazy. So he sprayed it with tinactin. Gone! Now…. I spray mine with tinactin and it disappears right away without me itching it open or popping it. I believe it is dermatitis herpatiformis. Hope this helps…

      • Eric says

        If its in the top layer its likely going to be diagnosed as some form of dermatitis. If its in a deeper layer, it might be diagnosed as angioedema. Granted, they will most likely have no idea as to the cause, they’re just seeing a symptom.

  31. Jassy Dhillon says

    Due to extreme rash on my skin and unbearable itching all day , all over my body i am using the following as per your blog which i have been reading for few months now .
    I use twice a daily
    Allegra tablets
    Vitamin C
    My question is what else i need to take along with all these .

    Do i need take Histame as well , Where can i find it and what is the best brand / name for this one. Please help.
    Do i need to eat Nettle and where do i buy this from , please advise.


  32. Bettina Ferrando says

    I’m trying to figure out the cause of my 3 year old daughters skin rash. Her skin is like sandpaper on her back, with raised red patches and is itchy. From what I can tell looks very like hives to me. It flared up a couple of months ago. Originally I was thinking an allergy to dairy and gluten so cut them out. Didn’t have much effect. Then I remembered that she reacts when she has cinnamon. Gets red splotches on her face straight after eating it. So got me thinking that it could be a histamine intolerance. It’s a very tricky one to figure out especially for a 3 year old and all the things she will and won’t eat. So was wondering if I gave her some anti-histamine medication to see if that has a positive effect. Only want to do this for a short time to see if I can rule out or rule in a histamine intolerance. Definitely want to get to the root cause but for a quick test would that be a wise thing to do? thanks for all your help,

    • Colleen says

      Yikes. Personally I’d talk to your child’s pediatrician 1st before giving them anything. It could be an eczema flare up triggered by certain foods ie cinnamon. My son had eczema and certain foods do this to his skin. Eczema is treated with a topical steroid, hydrocortisone not an antihistime, if by chance that is what your child has. Talk to your Peditrician.

    • says

      Bettina, I would also suggest checking the laundry detergent you are using to wash your daughter’s clothes. Some detergents contain skin irritants.
      Topical steroids do work well to treat eczema, in the short term. They also cause thinning of the skin and their effects may be only temporary. Skin-thinning leads to skin cracking, which in a vicious cycle, can lead back to eczema agais. Pharmacists recommend using a moisturizer on the skin before applying cortisone creams. This will decrease the skin-thinning effect.
      That said, your daughter’s skin condition needs to be diagnosed. Is it hives? Is it dermatitis? Is it something else? If it is hives then there’s a good chance a low histamine diet might help.

      • Bettina Ferrando says

        Thanks for the responses everyone. Wendy I recently discovered ‘magnesium man’ and embraced his views so have introduced magnesium in to all of my families life. For my daughter I first tried some magnesium lotion, the Ancient Minerals one for sensitive skin. I put it on her skin and instantly it started stinging and also flared up in to a red rash. I know that is common when you have a magnesium deficiency so the next time I just put a bit on her feet and the same reaction. So just started giving her epsom salt baths to try and slowly introduce it but also noticed that whilst it doesn’t sting any more she still is very red for a while after the bath. Anyway, that’s been my experience with magnesium. I will also look in to the copper/zinc balance. For a young child, any foods you would recommend for her? thanks again

        • Colleen says

          Aveno makes a great oatmeal bath you should try and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Try Eucerin intensive repair lotion with the aqua blue cap. Switch to dove for a moisturizing soap. Use Eucerin Aquaphor healing ointment to heal the patches. This is the best over the counter ointment I’ve ever used. We use this for everything, chapped lips, cuts, eczema, rashes. It’s wonderful!

    • says

      I’ll bet Quinton Ocean Water (OW) could help. Most people are deficient in many minerals, which are super important for all kinds of enzymatic reactions in the body. Many people who take the Quinton OW see improvements all over. It can also be used topically. I’ve seen photos of very horrible skin issues clear up nicely with this. OW has all the same minerals in the same concentrations as blood plasma, so it’s a perfect substitute for blood. In fact, in World Wars 1 and 2 they injected it into soldiers who had lost blood as a blood replacer. Here is that website: http://www.originalquinton.com/. You need to order through a practitioner, as they do not sell it retail. Let me know if you want to explore this, as I use it with my autistic clients and nutrition clients.

  33. HD says

    What am I going to do? I’m already on a strict Autoimmune protocol, low FODMAP and GAPS, with additional restrictions on oranges, sweet potatoes, winter squash, arrowroot, and coconut, including the oil. I can’t eat meat from the grocery store because I react to it (I’ve determined through testing it is probably a combination of corn oil and starch used on the plastic packaging and the lactic acid that all carcasses have to be sprayed with, by law, before being sold). For the last year the only source of protein I’ve been able to tolerate is fish and chicken liver (which comes in tubs without clingy plastic wrap and apparently doesn’t get sprayed with the lactic acid), until a few months ago where I found a source that can get me a few safe chickens a month. I’ve also been on an antihistamine every day since about November of 2013. Without I sneeze and itch everywhere. Recently I tried to add coconut back in and my digestive system didn’t react to moderate amounts, but I discovered it made my allergy symptoms way worse. It’s seeming like the histamine thing may have become a problem for me. How can I possibly cut out high-histamine food? I’m living on fish, liver, cucumber, summer squash, greens, carrots, papaya, melon, plantains, and berries, and recently added in small amounts of avocado and grapes. Now I’m reading most of these things are high histamine! It seems impossible for me to cut out what is making me sick at this point. I would be living on lettuce and plantains. My doctor thinks I’m nuts. My family does too, really, even though they at least believe I have some real problems with food. I can’t afford to drop hundreds of dollars on doctors and tests out of network. I’m about ready to just curl up in a ball and start crying. Yes, a restricted diet is what brought me out of mysterious and debilitating pain three years ago. But the list of what I can eat has gotten smaller and smaller since then. I don’t know what to do.

    • says

      HD, my heart goes out to you. You are really suffering. I would like to help, if I can. A couple of questions, first:
      * Can you tolerate cooked free range egg yolks as a source of protein? No whites, just the yolks?
      * Have you actually been tested for food allergies? If so, which foods?
      My suggestions are as follows:
      * Get tested for food allergies if you’ve not already done so.
      * Start from scratch and postulate that histamine intolerance is the cause of your health issues (which seems likely, because antihistamines relieve your symptoms).
      * For a trial period of a week, ditch the low FODMAP and GAPS diets and stick STRICTLY to the Strictly Low Histamine diet only.
      * During this trial period of a week, avoid sweet potatoes, arrowroot and coconut products. (they are permitted on the Strictly Low Histamine diet but since you have a history of reacting to them, leave them out at this testing stage).
      *Naturally, if you have a flare-up during this time, immediately stop the trial.
      * If you notice some minor improvements during the trial, keep going. Continue for as long as it takes for you to feel well again.
      * If/when you feel better, try gradually re-introducing coconut the other HIT-friendly foods into your diet. (You need all the food variety you can get.)
      Good luck and best wishes!

      • HD says

        Thanks for the advice. But FODMAP foods cause me a lot of pain, even arthritic aching. I’ve been able to reintroduce some in small amounts, but the daily effect seems to be cumulative, and I simply can’t have more than about two servings a day in total.

        • says

          Well HD, the great thing is that a lot of the foods banned on FODMAP diets are also banned on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet. (I wonder if it’s the histamine – which is cumulative – that causes your arthritic pain, rather than the FODMAP sugars in these foods…?)
          Foods banned on BOTH the FODMAP and Strictly Low Histamine diet include:
          * all legumes
          * wheat
          * certain fruits, especially stone fruits
          * mushrooms
          * pickles
          * certain nuts

          • says

            HD, I strongly suggest that you try taking prebiotics, probiotics and some of the other supplements suggested in the book “Is Food Making You Sick?” It sounds as if your gut bacteria are out of balance.
            Also, please take a look at any medications you are on and compare them to the list in the book. Some meds – some antidepressants, for example – can seriously affect one’s DAO levels and cause a wide range of pretty dreadful symptoms.

          • HD says

            Thank you for the advice. I see what you mean, and it makes sense. Unfortunately, I definitely have a problem with FODMAPS as well. Garlic, for example, has no problems with histamines that I am aware of, but causes me a lot of trouble. I only recently was able to add back in very small quantities, and too much makes me ache. Onions are worse. i still can’t touch them. Mushrooms either, though I see they are on your list. I hadn’t seen them on lists I’ve read previously. Could you tell me where you found this one?

            Also, I can’t stop eating fish and liver. They are my only consistent source of protein, unless the local farm I’m buying from expands enough that I can buy enough chickens from them to meet all my protein needs.

            I’m definitely on a good probiotic, which has helped. I’m avoiding prebiotics right now. They tend to upset my system, and they feed bad bacteria as well as the good. MAny suggest staying off of them until the bad bacteria are brought under control.

            • Lisa says

              I’m no longer taking even the best probiotics with ANY lactobacillis–there are at least 3 lactobacillis names in most probiotics. Lactobacillis does not help people with histamine overloads, but rather makes them worse! Yogurt anyone?
              A good probiotic for those with histamine issues can be found and purchased at the “Seeking Health” website. It does not have lactos’ anything. Instead it only has Bifido’s (at least 5)–good! Also “Ultimate Flora RTS senior care probiotic has no lactos’. I found that one in a good health store. It’s difficult to find a probiotic that is without any lactos’ (lactobacillis), but the two I mention are excellent.
              I personally have noticed a difference in taking this with my histamine issues. It’s helped.
              The “Seeking Health” website is from Dr. Ben Lynch, and his MTHFR website. Anyone who has histamine issues, likely is rooted with the MTHFR gene mutation. There are some knowledgable individuals regarding MTHFR, but Dr. Lynch is the foremost authority on the subject.

              • HD says

                I’ve looked into the MTHFR thing. Not surprised at all if there is a connection. I tried methyl b-12 and methyl-folate and both made me sick. The methyl-folate was really bad, even on the second try, when I did it at a fraction of a dose every other day. And then I tried taking a tiny bit of niacin to help with the reaction, as I read on Dr. Lynch’s site, and got REALLY sick. On the methylfolate I felt like I had the flu. After the niacin, I lay on the floor overheating until I fell asleep and scared my family, and I didn’t recover for days. I’m never again touching supplements without professional guidance.

                • Kelly says

                  Hi Ed,

                  Many have trouble when starting the methylation supplements, including myself.

                  What eventually worked for me was folinic acid (instead of methylfolate), and very small amounts of methylb12.

                  Also, niacin and niacinamide RELEASES histamine — hence your severe reaction. It basically confirms that you have a histamine intolerance.

                  Lynch is good, but his habit of blaming every negative reaction on methylfolate isn’t always correct.

  34. Dave says

    I want to mention something that I recently found. A lot of histamine articles suggest take a diamine oxidase supplement. I found an article that suggests that there may be a link between diamine oxidase and prostate cancer. In my opinion, men should think twice about taking this supplement.


  35. Dave says

    I think that I finally found what is wrong with me. After a life of sinus and strep throat, with probably 50 rounds of antibiotics. Three years ago I had fight with cancer. So reading up it, I was eating all these anti-cancer foods lately like dark chocolate, tomatoes, berries, green tea and fish oil (made from sardines and anchovies). Now I may have figured out why I get hive, sinus problems, acid re-flux and fatigue. It seems like my only temporary relief is anti-histamines. Funny how these anti-cancer foods may be making me sick! And all those rounds of antibiotics have pounded my immune system into the ground!

  36. Silke says

    Unfortunately, the link to the article of Dr. Janice Joneja does not work anymore. :(
    Would be great if you can fix it.


    • Colleen says

      Wow! I can’t believe I’m reading this eye opening intolerance. I can check off just about every symptom on list. I always new something was weird when I’d take a sip of wine or beer and be the 1st & only one in the group to get flushed with itchy, splotchy redness in my face, neck and chest. Reading about this makes so much more sense now. If always thought my headaches we were I was dehydrated and my itchy back scalp was odd b/c head n shoulders never helped anything. I stumbled upon this article the other day after having a severe hive attack, burning face and stomach cramps after eating pizza. Boy was this a happy accident! Thank you for parting the clouds for me!

        • says

          Yes Colleen, the SIGHI list is authoritative and informative. It does, nonetheless, permit some foods which are not permitted on other similarly respected and authoritative lists, and vice versa. The safest thing to do is to look at all the trustworthy and science-based histamine food lists and avoid any foods that are not included on *all* of them. This is how the food list in “Is Food Making You Sick?” was compiled.

          • Kelly says

            It doesn’t seem so to me Sue.

            He sites the SIGHI and Dr. Janice Joneja as two authoritative sources, yet:

            SIGHI says lentils are bad, Joneja says they’re safe.

            SIGHI says peanut butter is bad, Joneja says it’s okay.

            SIGHI says green beans are okay, Joneja disagrees.

            SIGHI says potatoes are safe, Joneja has them on her ‘no’ list.

            • Sue says

              That’s absolutely right, Kelly. What the author of ‘Is Food Making You Sick?’ has done is to combine the two lists and then rule out every food item that is listed on any one of them as not appropriate for people with HIT.
              In other words, if SIGHI says lentils are bad and Joneja says they’re safe, then ‘Is Food Making You Sick?” will put lentils on the ‘forbidden’ list. Similarly, if SIGHI says peanut butter is bad, and Joneja says it’s okay, then ‘Is Food making You Sick?’ puts peanut butter on the forbidden list.
              This makes the list of tolerable foods quite narrow: however, the Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not intended to be a lifelong eating plan. It is intended as a relatively short-term diet to heal the body and bring down histamine levels. This can take anything between 4 weeks and several months. Severe cases take longer.

              • Kelly says

                Thanks for your reply Sue.

                We’ve decided that the “Strictly Low Histamine Site” just wasn’t trustworthy or knowledgeable to use as a resource, as we (my boyfriend and I) just found too many errors on the site.

                In fact, when my boyfriend pointed out an almost unbelievable error where Gibbs suggested people take “antifolates like methionine” for histamine-related depression, an idea based on Carl Pfeiffer’s outdated recommendation from the 1970’s.

                Instead of answering my boyfriend’s question, the erroneous information was promptly deleted, but unfortunately the Pfeiffer reference remains, which will just confuse patients further.

                Methionine isn’t an ‘antifolate’, or as Gibb described it, a drug that ‘blocks the actions of folic acid’.

                And furthermore, methylation is one of the 2 key ways that histamine is broken down, as Chris has noted on his other page on histamine intolerance, not to mention other doctors that are more up to speed on the issue. And one key part of that is using folinic acid or methylfolate, and never the synthetic ‘folic acid’.

                Using ‘antifolates’, as was recommended on “The Strictly Low Histamine” website, is completely the opposite advice that should be given, and suggests with all due respect, that Mr. Gibbs has very limited knowledge on the subject of histamine intolerance.

                Anyway, good luck selling your books.

                • Kelly says

                  Sorry for the grammatical errors. I meant to say:

                  In fact, when my boyfriend posted a comment on the site, pointing out an almost unbelievable error where Gibbs suggested people take “antifolates like methionine” for histamine-related depression (an idea based on Carl Pfeiffer’s outdated recommendation from the 1970’s), the erroneous information was promptly deleted, but unfortunately the Pfeiffer reference remains, which will just confuse patients further.

                • Sue says

                  Hi Kelly, I am sorry you feel this way about the Low Histamine Website. You are the first person who has ever expressed any dissatisfaction with it. The overwhelming response has been positive. It is not the author of the book who looks after the website, so he cannot be blamed.

                  If there was any outdated information it is due to me, in this single case, not double-checking to see whether all facts are still relevant or have been superseded by some more recent research.

                  I, personally, am passionate about histamine intolerance research because the Strictly Low Histamine Diet has been like an answer to a prayer for me. By restoring my health it has changed my life, so that is a thing I want to share with others.

                  I think you will find that all other information on the website has been meticulously researched and checked. It would be worth while not to simply discard a lot of valuable help just because one fallible human being overlooked updating a piece of information!

  37. Vikram Chawla says

    its been around an year and half itching started . I thought it as an allergy and it was only itching but it never stopped . I met a dermatologist and I was on antiasthamine and I was diagnosed as urticaria . I shifted to homopeathy and took antiallergic for almost an year but the situation has worsened . 3 months before I started having headache and lightheadedness which will never go . dizziness then followed .I started having acidity and then had a ct scan done and was diagnosed as sinusitis . I don’t know what it is ? have consulted many doctors but haven’t got much relief .

    • Tr says

      I had similar issues and I found out I had mast cell activation disorder with high prostaglandin readings. Also histamine intolerance

    • vinayagam says

      stop eating all the fatty foods, read meat, fish, milk and milk products, sweet, all the fruits and vegetables especially acid foods, and starchy foods. If you have acid reflux, vomit like a dog early morning, once in a week till all the acids come out and drink water, if you are hungry ear small portion of white rice with sambar follow this method for 6 month. never eat bread

    • Anuja says

      Hello i have been suffering with the same symptom.Please go on a low histamine diet. Start taking Vitamin c.And check you blood pressure.If you want more help on histamine level control i can give you a list of low histamine food.

    • Vikram chawla says

      I got few more tests done . My B12 was 180 even though i eat non veg . And then got my stool test done which showed presence of vegetable cells . Is it SIBO , celiac disease or histamine intolerance.

      • Vikram chawla says

        Thanks all for sharing your advices and experiances . My doctor asked for urine analysis and stool test . Which showed mucus in stool and ph cells 4-6 in urine and its cloudy at times . Meanwhile i have stop intaking barley which i think was causing me allergy and there is much releif in sinus problem rest its all same .

    • says

      I had a severe histamine problem for at least 15 years and finally cured it with a combination of Quercetin (a natural antihistamine), Bromelain and Vitamin C. You must take the three together with water, on an empty stomach. Recently, I stopped taking these for a few days because they raised the price of the supplements, and within a few days, my skin started itching and peeling off, and I developed a stuffed nose, pain and inflammation. I almost forgot what this felt like. Thankfully, I got back on the supplements and I’m fine again.

      • Mary says

        Hi Steph,

        Would you mind sharing exactly which supplements you are taking, how much, and where you get them? Thanks!


      • Claudia C Chapman says

        Did a doctor prescribe those three, and in what amounts? I have a suspicion this may be my issue. I recently watched Dr. Sideckers presentation on SIBO, and it’s all starting to come into focus.

  38. Vikram Chawla says

    its been two years since itching started which was later diagnosed as urticaria , then as time passed problems started grossing up . Headache was first noticed by me which was later diagnosed by my physician as GERD and then CHRONIC SINUSITIS AND CONCHA BULLOSA which called me for surgery . Headache or lightheadedness relieves a bit when I take steam but its just temporary .Dizziness is a new thing which I am facing . is it histamine intolerance ?

  39. Kat says

    Thanks Chris! This explains so much. I have been taking 180mg of fexofenadine every day for around 5 years now mostly to stop the drowsiness. I’ve never found the cause of the excess hystamines except noticing that it’s worse in spring and wine, beer and low quality food makes it worse.

    I also went vegan for 8 months last year and felt amazing but couldn’t sustain it.

    Am going to try the low hystamine diet, thank you!

  40. says

    Many of the articles that I am reading on this also include spinach and pumpkin as far as vegetables. I have been having all of these symptoms for almost a year, living in a remote area in Papua New Guinea. In fact, the doctor thought I had lupus and I went back to the U.S. for months and nobody figured out anything. But as soon as I came back….

    Terribly itchy skin, occasional hives, terrible heartburn, anxiety, heartbeat going like crazy (but only 98 beats per minute instead of 100, so doctors weren’t worried at all), and awful fatigue.

    After a couple of weeks in Australia, where we were eating out all the time — no leftovers, less fruit than we ordinarily do — I felt fine again. But then we ate winter squash and I was miserable. Now back in PNG, I have less symptoms than I did since we started leaving squash out of it (because here we mostly eat curry or tomato based stews that get left out and are probably loaded with histamines), but I am still having problems. I am not sure how we are going to significantly lessen the histamine load.

    This has made sense, though. I have tried to isolate what food(s) could be bothering me, and never could come up with a pattern. I am looking forward to seeing if lowering the histamine load helps.

    • says

      Hi Lora,
      Yes you are right – spinach is not recommended for people with histamine intolerance.
      It is surprising, however, that you had a reaction to squash. This is most unusual. May I ask, how was it cooked and what other foods/spices/seasonings/liquids was it cooked with?

      • says

        Often, it was in a stew — tomato or curry based, but I found that I had severe itching even cutting it up. The articles that I read say “pumpkin” is high in histamines, and there is little difference between winter squash and pumpkins. I also had a reaction when I had a risotto that had eggplant.

        • Silke says

          I by myself cannot stand Hokkaido but Butternut Squash I can eat very well. You may as well try to stay away from tomatoes and see if it helps.

          • says

            Honestly, I can tolerate a little of everything (except, peanuts, squash, and wheat). When I am in Papua New Guinea, it becomes a perfect storm. When they thought I had lupus, we had generator power maybe an hour or two a day, thanks to a fuel shortage. We were making stews because we had to use the meat that was thawing in the freezer, and just leaving them on the stove because there was no point in putting them in the fridge. We just heated them really well before we ate again. There was no point in putting it in the fridge. But those usually had a curry or a tomato base as well as meat and squash sitting in them. Then we drink a lot of tea. Usually doesn’t bother me – I am an avid iced tea drinker at home. During this time, it was so strong that despite the test results, my doctor was convinced it was lupus and sent me home for five months. Not an easy time on my husband. But in the US, because it was so crowded at my inlaws, I just ate at In-n-Out Burger — not ideally nutritious, but I could avoid wheat easily and cheaply, and it turns out, histamines, too.

            We go back to PNG next month, and will really have to rethink how we eat. We are not in the same power issue as now. We are on the grid, such as it is, but will probably either have to go to a more PNG style diet (lots of sweet potato and vegetables and greens — anyone know if ferns are high in histamine?) But cheap protein is eggs. No way to monitor how long meat sits around before it is put into cuts and frozen.

            Last time I was here had the my functional medicine rheumatologist test my GI bacteria and it was mostly not beneficial flora. She wanted to kill it off and repopulate. I am guessing this is causing a significant part of the problem, too. Now that we are here, then I think I want to get moving on that, too.

            Thanks for the ideas, guys.

            • says

              I have also heard that overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria can cause histamine intolerance. And that enzymes of all kinds (enzymes can digest histamine and reduce histamine overload) can recover once the bad bacteria is killed off. I am also working on being low histamine and doing an herbal protocol to kill off the bad bacteria-I posted about it here-http://familyhomeandhealth.com/2014/12/can-eat-sibo.html

            • Petr Jiricka says

              I also have an issue with bad bacteria – my practitioner discovered toxoplasma and yersinia infection, and thinks that that is the underlying cause of my histamine issues. He gave me antibiotics to treat these (luckily, they are narrow-spectrum, i.e. penicillin, and administered by an intramuscular injection, so they don’t destroy the good gut microbiota so much). So far it seems to be working, I am starting to feel somewhat better, but I need a couple more months to know for sure. So I think it may be a good idea to kill off the bad bacteria.

  41. George Dodgeson. says

    You defo. have something here about histamine intolerance. I looked into this due to getting the pro-dromal phase (“aura”) of migraine attacks, but in my case without the headaches, for years.
    A few days ago when an aura started, I took my usual Ibuprofen, but also included one 10mg. cetirizine hydrochloride tablet, a common over the counter antihistamine. This was to a stomach containing a very light meal.
    Right on cue, after about 25mins. the aura was aborted. There were the usual starting symptoms, tingling in the fingers, flashy lights in vision etc., but the rest — memory loss, slurred speech etc. — stopped.
    I also lately have had a terrible runny nose, violent attacks of sneezing, and “the itchies” I’ve suffered for years, esp. at bedtime.
    I really do hope histamine intolerance is my problem as I can do something about that.
    Many thanks for your article…

  42. christi says

    I have Angioedema. What a life changeing experience. I now take Zyrtec and Zantac twice a day. I really need more but i’m so dang tired as it is. My mouth/tonge swells. fills like i’m choking. My chest hurts like relux/heartburn all the time. After all allergy testing nothing came back that I was allergic too. So we are at a loss as to what is causing it. Need to know has anyone had any luck with foods fixing this problem? thanks

  43. BJ says

    My whole body itches like crazy and then welts up really bad after i scratch. After itching the area will start to feel hot or burn. Ive been to the doctor and they say take zyrtec. I dont want to take meds everyday my whole life. I want to know the cause not just put a bandaid on it! HELP?

    • says

      Hi BJ,
      It sounds as if you’re having a terrible time; my sympathy is with you – and too, I think, the sympathies of everyone who visits this section of Chris Kresser’s helpful website.
      Your description of your symptoms sounds exactly like histamine intolerance which is, no doubt, the reason you have found this page.
      I agree with you – it is far better to look for the cause, instead of merely sticking a bandaid over the symptoms. Besides, antihistamines when used over a prolonged period can lose their efficacy. Have you tried the Zyrtec? Because if it helps, that pretty much confirms a diagnosis of histamine intolerance.
      It would take too long to explain it all here, but people with histamine intolerance don’t produce enough of an enzyme called diamine oxidase in their bodies. To fix this, you need to firstly cut down on the amount of high-histamine foods you are consuming, and secondly, try to heal your gut (where most of the enzyme is produced).
      I hope I am not sounding like a ‘broken record’ on this page, but I would recommend going on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet. Your symptoms should improve within a few weeks (in some cases it only takes a couple of days). It’s a nutritious way of eating and the rewards for your health can be huge.
      The book ‘Is Food making You Sick?’ contains the information about the diet.
      Our best wishes for a speedy return to good health.

  44. Melinda says

    I highly believe that I have a histamine intolerance. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a mild/intolerance type reaction to eggplants. I threw it over my shoulder as an added allergy to my list that is always growing. Now I am pregnant with my second child and have started to react to avocados and homemade apple cider. On a side note, I had a blood test done and found to be slightly insufficient in vitamin B12 and slightly anemic. I know this can be caused by the acid in the stomach not breaking down the vitamin well enough. I have a feeling that all of my symptoms are related to the health of my stomach acid, and of course, my gut. Everything I know about healing my gut is based on a paleo type diet which is knocked out of the water by a histamine intolerance diet. Can you explain anything about the stomach acid connection and/or anything I can do about this during pregnancy. Thank you!

    • says

      Melinda, stomach acid and histamine have a close association indeed. In fact, Zantac (ranitidine) a medication that is commonly used to treat excess stomach acid, belongs to a group of drugs called histamine-2 blockers. If you have too much histamine in your body (histamine intolerance), you would be more likely to have excess stomach acid, rather than too little. Your vitamin B12 deficiency may be caused by an inability of the small intestine to absorb vitamin B12. A B12 deficiency can actually cause anemia, so it’s important to try to fix this, especially since you are pregnant. I believe you are right in identifying your gut as the source of your symptoms. The gut is also a place where the histamine-degrading enzyme diamine oxidase is manufactured, and if you are experiencing a growing list of food ‘allergies’, especially to the foods you mentioned, it’s quite likely that your gut needs healing. If you had not been pregnant I would have suggested that you try taking Zyrtec (a histamine-1 blocker). However, to ensure the safety of your baby, it would be best to try the Strictly Low Histamine Diet instead. This is a more natural approach, and if you are histamine intolerant you should get good results within a few weeks. Some people experience massive improvement within days (24 hours being the quickest I’ve heard of). The Strictly Low Histamine Diet is safe for pregnant women – not only safe but also beneficial, in that it insists on freshness. There are also many safe supplements you can take in conjunction with the diet, such as vitamin C and quercetin. The complete list is in the book, and extra tips and hints can be found on the blog. If you do have HIT, your health will improve drastically when you eat low histamine foods and decrease all that inflammation in your body. Best wishes, Sue.

  45. Lis says

    Trying to determine if I’m having hit related issue… Intensely runny nose, water eyes, sneezing. Only at night and first thing in morning. Over a year now. Can’t correlate it to any particular triggers, food related or other. Is there way to confirm if I’m dealing with hit, other than testing with diet restriction. I’m nursing my 7 mo old. No skin issues, like most here are reporting.

    • says

      Hi Lis, the first thing I am going to ask is, do you sleep under a feather duvet? Or under bedclothes made of any other animal material, such as wool?

      (Oh and by the way, it’s really difficult to correlate histamine intolerance to particular foods, because it’s only when the ‘histamine bucket’ is full and brimming over that symptoms occur. So when histamine levels are very low in your body, you can eat high-histamine foods with no reaction.)


      • Lis says

        Thx for reply. I do use down comforter, and wool pad over an organic rubber mattress. Have used for years. Was thinking I would try swapping out the down. But the nightly nose attacks still happen when I’m traveling and sleeping in beds that do not have wool or down? Claritin made me feel awful. It’s creeping into day time nose blowing as well.

        • says

          Hi Lis, As you probably know already, it’s dust mites living in our bedding that can give us allergic reactions such as asthma, eczema, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose etc. Dust mites love living in organic materials such as wool and feathers, so choosing synthetic bedding materials can make a big difference. Organic latex should be okay, though.
          However, you’ve indicated that your health problem persists even when sleeping in beds without wool or feathers. This might indicate that you have histamine intolerance; it’s hard to say without knowing all the variables. But if Claratin makes you feel awful, you could try taking one of the other histamine-1 blockers. There are quite a few on the market. Claratin’s scientific name is ‘loratadine’, so avoid any antihistamines with that active ingredient. Instead you could try one of the so-called 3rd-generation antihistamines such as ‘fexofenadine’, which is sold as Allegra, Fexidine, Telfast, Fastofen, Tilfur, Vifas, Telfexo, or Allerfexo. If this improves your symptoms it indicates that you possibly do have histamine intolerance, and you might wish to cut out histamine-rich foods to get your histamine levels down, so that you don’t have to depend on antihistamines indefinitely. Good luck and I hope this helps!
          Sue from ‘Strictly Low Histamine’.

          • Lisa says

            I have asthma and I am extremely allergic to dust mites. There are special covers for pillows, mattresses and comforters that prevent the dust mites from getting through to us. After putting these on my bed there was a significant reduction in my asthma symptoms

          • Renee McCarthy says

            I have just been diagnosed with histamine intolerance finally after a year of hell. Mine started with stuffy nose at night and really stuffy and runny in the morning and wouldn’t get better until I was up walking around for a while. Then I developed a sinus infection that 3 rounds of antibiotics wouldn’t get rid of. Had sinus surgery to fix and after 3 more infections and doses of antibiotics later it was finally fixed. Then came strep throat and you guessed it more antibiotics. Thats when all of the real problems began. I have all the symtems above and just started meds with my nd. This is my first day and I am hopeful it wil help. I can’t keep going with constant hives and throat swelling. It is miserable.

  46. Kristine says

    I take use a supplement called Optimum Nutrition which is whey casseine protein powder. One of these comments seemed to suggest foods higher in protein may be higher in histamine. Is that correct?

    • says

      Hi Kristine,
      The International Chronic Urticaria Society affirms that ‘Histamine occurs in food as a result of microbial enzymes converting the amino acid histidine (present in all proteins) to histamine.’ Which supports the idea that yes, foods higher in protein will contain higher levels of histamine. The histadine to histamine conversion starts as soon as the food stops being alive, and can only be halted (never reversed) by freezing, so freshness is best.
      Wishing you good health,

  47. Megan says

    I know this comment is coming long after this informative article was posted, but I’m hoping to receive some feedback anyway! I’m dealing with a leaky gut, and still haven’t determined if SIBO is playing a role in my issues, and I’m also pregnant. I went off my diet for a short time, caught a cold which became a sinus infection with itching scalp. A few days later, I had a few very swollen lymph glands behind my ear and above the back of my neck. Eventually, my ears began to swell, itch and burn. Soon after I had an itchy rash on the back of my neck, eventually all over my neck, chest and abdomen (and some other type on my arms). There’s more detail to be added, but I won’t go on and on! I’ve been like this a week now, and am wondering if I might have a histamine issue. I read that you suggest a qualified practitioner to diagnose the problem, but how would I find such a doctor? What would there specialty be? I sure appreciate finding this post :) Thanks!

    • says

      Megan, you are suffering terribly. Our sympathies to you! It’s impossible to diagnose this properly from a distance but it sounds to me as if you might have a skin fungal issue.
      Try this: every time you shower, wash the affected skin on your body with a shampoo containing ketoconazole. There are various brand names of this dandruff shampoo: ‘Nizoral’ comes to mind. Keep your undergarments, towels, and any fabric that comes into contact with your skin as clean and dry as possible. Fungal spores thrive in moist, warm environments. Do not use any ‘barrier’ skin creams until the condition clears. However, do be gentle with your skin. I hope this helps. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    • says

      Hello again Megan,
      I got called away, but I intended to mentioned that you should wash with ketaconazole once a day until the issue has completely cleared.

      All the best

  48. Kathrine says

    Is anyone taking Zyrtec & Zantac for chronic urticaria? This is the first time I’m taking them and I’ve been on it for 2 weeks. I swear it works miracles! But I’m wondering how long is it safe to take both meds 2 times a day? Any bad long term side effects? I’m scared to stop taking them and have another major outbreak.

    • says

      Hi Kathrine,

      Zyrtec = cetirizine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-1) receptors.
      Zantac – ranitidine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-2) receptors.

      The fact that these meds are working miracles on your health strongly indicates that your problems stem from Histamine Intolerance.

      Yes, both of them (like any meds) can have unwanted side effects but these are generally outweighed by their benefits, at least in the short term. Taking them is a good way to ‘hit those hives hard’ and really get them to settle down.

      That said, taking Zantac and Zyrtec is not a long-term solution. It’s like putting a bandage over an infected wound – it looks okay from the outside but the problem remains.

      Besides, over time the body can develop resistance to the meds. Then they gradually lose their efficacy and you go back to ‘square one’.

      My suggestion is to firstly make sure none of your other meds (if any) are DAO blockers, which might have brought on the hives in the first place. If possible (and under medical supervision) try to wean off them.

      Secondly, get onto the Strictly Low Histamine Diet and its associated dietary supplements. http://www.amazon.com/Food-Making-You-Sick-Histamine/dp/1925110508

      A low histamine diet with safe, natural supplements has no unwanted side effects and for many people it has provided that ‘miraculous’ relief they have been seeking. It doesn’t take months and months to get a result – only a few weeks.

      If you wish to follow up the potential side-effects of Zyrtec and Zantac, here they are:


      Best wishes for good health!

      • Kathrine says

        Hi Sue,

        My HIT is at it’s worse, hence having to use the Zyrtec & Zantac. It’s progressively gotten worse the past 4 years w/ being in perimenopause. But this was the first time I could *not* get it under control w/ doing an elimination diet and removing the trigger(s). This was so scary! I was covered at least 50% of my body (first time on my face!) and it looked like it was never going away. Over the past 6 weeks I slowly removed certain foods from my diet, but it really wasn’t having any effect. So 2 1/2 weeks ago I stripped down my diet and got on a low histamine/salicylate diet. It’s challenging. I’m eating only 12 things (*no* leftovers) but I know it’s necessary. In time, somewhere between 3 – 6 months, I’ll slowly reintroduce *certain* foods back into my diet and see how I do. And I’m not on any medication besides the Zyrtec & Zantac.

        I’m glad you mentioned that “the body can develop resistance to the meds”. It was in the back of my mind, but something I had not addressed.

        Thank you very much for taking the time to write your in-depth reply. I truly appreciate your help!

        My deepest gratitude,

        • says

          It’s my pleasure, Kathrine. I feel deeply for people who suffer from HIT. It is an under-recognized disease that can cause anguish in so many ways.

          I’s great to hear that you are not taking any DAO-blocking meds. Since you are only able to eat 12 foods at the moment, I hope you are able to tolerate taking HIT-friendly vitamin and mineral supplements? Otherwise you could be missing out on a range of essential healing nutrients.

          Another essential is dietary fiber. Consuming abundant fiber has been proven, in numerous studies, to decrease inflammation in the body (and the reverse is true of a high fat diet). It can actually improve the binding ability of the histamine H-1 receptor.

          Stress can be a powerful trigger for Histamine Intolerance too, so it’s important for people with HIT to treat themselves kindly and allow themselves time to relax. For anyone with HIT who is reading this post, I recommend visiting the Helpguide website and looking at their excellent Stress Management Guide.

          Best wishes,

          • kamal says

            I have chronic and worsening eczema. For the last year I’ve been trying the Gaps/Paleo type diets. I recently started to follow the Personal Paleo Code and introduced lots of fermented non dairy food, fatty canned fish, like sardines and lots of good fats. I don’t eat grains, sugars or dairy except ghee. The result is that I am covered in eczema – it’s the worst its ever been. When I discovered at the end of the book that skin issues can be related to HIT, I realized that what I think I’ve been suffering from is HIT. I’ve stopped fermented food and fish as well as other high histimine foods. My question is, yesterday I started taking HCI with Pepsin and Gentian root with each meal, to try to address my imbalance in my gut, yet, last night was one of the worst nights I can remember, I am covered in burning inflamed and itchy dry skin. I have ordered all the supplements Chris recommended for skin and HIT but am wondering if the stomach acid was a bad idea to add into the mix – hurting rather than helping? Oh, and I am currently nursing as well. Thanks and I’d appreciate any help.

            • says

              Hi Kamal,
              You’re right – what you are suffering from sounds exactly like HIT. Simply avoiding fermented non dairy foods and canned fish may not be enough to combat your symptoms. Even something as small as a squeeze of lemon juice can set off a reaction in people with HIT.
              It is hard to say whether the HCI with Pepsin and Gentian root are the culprits, because there might be other foods you are consuming that are causing the problems. Try the Strictly Low Histamine Diet – it has helped a *lot* of people.

        • Tina says

          What 12 foods are you eating, I’m so miserable with everything going on with me, not sure if I should do Fodmap, Salicylate, or Low Histamine diet, I feel like ALL foods I’m allergic too…

  49. Staci Strahl says

    Green Pastures Royal Butter/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend is amazing and my family takes it daily. I am just beginning the low histamine diet. Should I discontinue it or is there an exception because it is a super food? Help! :)

    • Kathrine says

      When being on a low histamine diet, if a superfood (or any food for that matter) is high in histamines or is a histamine releaser, than it definitely should not be consumed. Well personally, I wouldn’t take the chance. On my low histamine/salicylate diet I stay away from ALL fermented foods. So IMHO I would recommend you stop taking the Royal Butter/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend. But I’m pretty darn strict w/ myself on this low his/sal diet. I have to be or else …

        • Santino says

          I don´t think so. Low histamine does not mean no histamine.

          And by the way: There is no histamine in Green Pasture´s fermented cod liver oil.

          But there is tyramine in it and that can also be a problem for sensitive people or HIT-sufferers.

          But histamine or tyramine is no poison what must be avoided when having histamine intolerance. You have to avoid BIG amounts of histamine and tyramine. The question is, if tyramine is so high concentrated in the oil, that it could be problem when consuming half teaspoon or maybe 1 one teaspoon.

          I don´t think that this would be a problem for most people. One with histamine intolerance can also eat a teaspoon sauerkraut or a teaspoon chocolate. Of course there are hypersensitive people who even react to such small amounts but the most should not avoid fermented cod liver oil just because of histamine intolerance I think.

          Just try it and see how you feel…

  50. Kathrine says

    Welcome :-) I don’t know anything about asthma, my situation is chronic urticaria. But I also wanted to mention looking into Gluten Intolerance for your situation. I’m recently (2 weeks) gluten-free (yeast and soy free too). I’m already experiencing many health improvements; weight loss, no more bloating, a lot less abdomen pain/discomfort and more energy. I’m excited what will happen w/ more time. Good luck w/ your research. It’s challenging weeding through all the information but it’s worth it in the long run if you can find some answers out here.

    • Kathrine says

      I’m on a low histamine & salicylate diet. Personally I wouldn’t try anything fermented, so all kefir would be out. It’s a bummer because I really like water kefir … so good for the gut. Also, coconut is high in salicylates.

      • Lisa says

        Thanks so much for your reply! I had not heard of salicylates and now I will see if these in addition to the histamines are causing my asthma.

        • says

          Lisa, a huge array of medications can block DAO enzymes and thus cause problems such as asthma. They include, among others, antidepressants. Please do check your meds, if any. We have heard from people who came off certain meds and their allergies (and heartburn) completely disappeared. Wishing you well!

          • Lisa says

            Hi Sue, thanks for your reply. I am only taking my puffer and an antihistamine to control my asthma. Would those block DAO enzymes?

            • says

              Lisa, keep using the puffer and antihistamines as long as you need them. Antihistamines may lose their efficacy if used over a prolonged period, however, so try to wean yourself off them by taking supplements to boost your DAO and heal your intestinal mucosa (where DAO is produced). You can also ‘grow your own’ natural sources of DAO, as detailed here. http://www.low-histamine.com/category/blog/

  51. Susan says

    I have been having these symptoms on and off since 2009. It seemed to begin after a mysterious viral episode. I had a high fever for a few days, the inside of my mouth broke out in cold sores, and then 2 days later every joint in my body swelled to the point I needed assistance to walk. After multiple tests, noting was determined and the symptoms went away after a week or so. Within 6 months I had my first outbreak of giant hives. My acupuncturist put me on a low histamine diet (no Gluten – soy – all dairy (except eggs) – yeast – vinegar – fermented foods -mushrooms – all sweeteners – alcohol – dried fruit -) and it subsided. Until I added back the foods. So now I go between total restriction to adding back a few triggers only to have the whole thing start all over again. I was given a bath for when I’m terribly itchy. Here’s the recipe; 1/2 c hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 c Epsom salts, 3 quarts of water boiled with 2 chamomile tea bags.. Add all to tub and soak for 15 minutes. This usually takes care if the itching, though 2 weeks ago I had such a terrible flare up that I was doing this 3-4 times daily. I’m at a loss as to what to do, and am scheduled for a trip to Nepal in November and I’m concerned about eating there. I live in the Denver area. Anyone know of someone here who can help me?

    • Ann says

      Go to the low histamine chef site and find the postings from Dr. Joneja and Dr. Theoharides for info. Look at the mastocytosis website for an MD in your area (if there is one). They should be able to address HI.

  52. Jassy says

    Hi Can anyone help me with my story : My skin is getting more and more red as i ich a lot due to increase of histamine ……… I can’t stop iching and then eventually my skin is all RED and i am in discomfort , anyone had the same issue ??/ Please advise

    • David Owen says

      Massey, I would recommend you find a doctor who knows about and deals with a rare disease called mastocytosis. A dermatologist helped my wife discover it and get connected with further treatment.

  53. Kathy says

    When I eat a paleo diet, I get many of the symptoms of SIBO and constantly feel like i am on the verge of breaking out in hives.

    When I resort back to eating carbohydrates and wheat products, the “hives” feeling goes away.

    I’m confused.

    • says

      Kathy, paleo diets are often high in histamine. Meat and fish that are not ultra-fresh, spinach, certain herbs and spices etc. all contribute to histamine overload. It sounds as if ‘paleo’ does not suit you – your body is trying to tell you something!

  54. Trevor Kincaid says

    I don’t know how anyone is able to talk seriously about histamine issues while promoting a paleo diet. I have a mast cell disorder known as Mastocytosis and serious reactions to any foods containing histamine, releasing histamine, or containing the precursor Histadine. Meat is one of the hardest foods for me to eat. I can eat maybe 2 oz of chicken a day. And that’s about it. Pork, Beef, fish, turkey, all give me reactions. I tried the Paleo diet and nearly hurt myself. Red meat, even grass fed is not conducive to a anti-histamine regimen. Just a word of warning. I feel so much better when I eat very little meat and load up on fruits and vegetables instead. Remember, meat builds up a lot of histamine especially when it sits on the shelf in the store or in your refrigerator. The more protein it has the more histidine to histamine conversion potential there is. Red meats are chuck full of histidine, a protein that exists in all meats and is readily converted to histamine. Sorry, I don’t want to bash a life style. It’s just some of these diets can be really dangerous for people like us.

    • Dave O says

      Trevor, could you point met to research backing up your post about meats and histamine? My wife has mastocytosis also.

    • Alice says


      I feel your pain and I too am left to wonder about the experts who are giving us advice on how to eat for histamine intolerance. Like top popular sites with authors who wrote books on how to deal with histamine intolerance are giving recipes that use grains and gluten grains. It makes me think that no one really knows how to deal with histamine intolerance.
      As for red meat, I know it is a problem BECAUSE of the method used to process it when it is taken in to the butcher. Beef is AGED for 2 to 3 weeks and sometimes even longer. It is left to hang in refrigerator temperatures and this would cause histamine to get high. I have actually managed to get around this by buying right from the farmer and talking the beef butchers/processors to not leave my half hanging. It is SO very hard to do this though as the processors are so BRAINWASHED about the need to age the meat so it is tender. The beef that I had done without aging is great without this aging process. What we need is some beef processors to process meat specifically for making sure it is low histamine beef. Just butcher it and freeze it without the hanging/aging it for 2 to 3 weeks. We all know that the aging is really ROTTING the meat but the general public does not realize this. Aside from buying beef from the farmer and making sure the processing plant agrees to not age it, a histamine intolerant person cannot eat beef. In fact, any meat becomes questionable because it all depends on if it was frozen after processed. I know it is common to process chicken and then ‘chill’ it for up to 3 days BEFORE it is frozen. So we have to know how the meat was handled. If one can find chicken that is flash frozen (which I have seen on labels in Natural Groceries, that should be OK. I don’t think it is that paleo does not work but that foods are processed incorrectly for histamine intolerance. It is more than discouraging that authors put out books without this information and that authors put out book that give recipes using grains and gluten flours. I was more than discouraged when I “looked Inside” the Is Food Making You Sick book (at Amazon) and saw the recipes using wheat flour and such for histamine intolerance.

      • says

        Alice, gluten sensitivity and histamine intolerance are two different diseases. You’ll find, however, that the book also contains gluten-free recipes.

      • Mindy says

        Yes, my biggest disappointment with this book is that it recommends eating eggs! Eggs are on MOST histamine intolerance avoidance lists for good reason!

          • says

            Mindy here is another article which supports cooked eggs as a safe food for HIT sufferers: http://mastcellblog.wordpress.com/histamine-diet/
            Histamine Intolerance expert Dr Janice Joneja writes: “Eggs in themselves don’t contain histamine, but egg whites are known to be a histamine-releaser.”
            It is important not to confuse food allergies with histamine intolerance. Again, like gluten sensitivity, egg allergies are a different and separate issue. Eggs are a valuable source of nutrients, and just because raw egg whites contain histamine liberators, that is no reason to avoid cooked eggs. I hope this helps!

            • T Gregory says

              I agree that the book really shouldnt have had recipes with gluten containing ingredients.Gluten intolerance and histamine intolerance may be different disorders in theory, but gluten intolerance can very well lead to histamine intolerance as well as to many other disorders and food intolerances as well. Generally if you have one intolerance your ripe for others forming. One way someone can aquire histamine intolerance is by losing the integrity of their intestinal lining where diamine oxidase, the chemical that breaks down histamine, is made. Gluten is one of the most difficult proteins to digest and many have immune responses and intestinal damage to gluten and dont even know it.Of course there are other reasons for histamine intolerance like bacterial imbalances, genetics or a genetic diamine oxidase deficiency but cutting gluten should be the first step in any program.Gluten can cause a leaky gut which then opens the door to a whole pandemic of other issues especially for those who already have other food intolerances.

              • says

                Hello T Gregory,

                Your comment reflects a common opinion.

                Some people believe that if you suffer from histamine intolerance you should go gluten free.

                These days, there is a fashion for avoiding gluten-containing foods because ‘gluten free’ is perceived as ‘healthier’.

                The truth is, gluten is only a problem for people who are non-celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS), or who have celiac disease – that is, approximately 1% of the population. (Note: NCGS is a condition that is distinct from celiac disease.)

                Foods that happen to contain gluten may also be a problem for people who are sensitive to those particular foods. For example, you may not be celiac or NCGS, but you might have been diagnosed as being sensitive to wheat, for reasons other than its gluten content.

                If you have celiac disease or NCGS then it is vital to avoid gluten because it can cause intestinal permeability, which is also known as ‘leaky gut’. This can in turn lead to DAO insufficiency and thus to histamine intolerance. Gluten intolerance is also linked with autoimmune diseases.

                However if you are, like the vast majority of the population, perfectly capable of digesting gluten without any problems, gluten-containing foods are actually good for you. They are highly nutritious – packed with vitamins, minerals and beneficial fiber.

                “Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. A 2005 report from the American Dietetic Association warned that gluten free products tend to be low in a wide range of important nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber. There’s also little point in eliminating just some gluten. For people who are sensitive, even trace amounts can cause damage to the small intestines. So an almost gluten-free diet isn’t going to help if you have a problem.” [Source: WebMD]

                In a normal, healthy person gluten will not cause a leaky gut. And the odds are, whoever is reading this is probably among the 99% who can digest gluten.

                If you think you really might be celiac or NCGS, ask your doctor for a test. Even if your celiac test comes up negative, you could try avoiding all gluten for at least 30 days to see if that makes your health improve. If you do feel better, this might indicate that you have NCGS.

                If you really are gluten intolerant you’d have to cut out all gluten, down to the tiniest particle. An ‘almost-gluten-free’ diet will not help at all.

                Simply avoiding gluten because you think it’s ‘bad’ for you means cutting a lot of nutritious foods from your diet. You can, of course, do so if you wish, but it’s more than likely there will be no benefit in it, you’d have to cut out a wide range of foods, because if you check the ingredients on labels, there are traces of gluten in most pre-prepared foods, and commercially available gluten free foods often contain higher amounts of saturated fats, refined sugars and other undesirable ingredients. Also pre-prepared gluten free foods are usually more expensive

                In the book “Is Food Making You Sick?” there are a number of recipes using ingredients that do not contain gluten.

            • Mindy says

              Yes, Sue, that second link is one of the sources that I read that recommends that those with histamine intolerance avoid eggs. I looked it up after trying the diet in the “Is Food Making You Sick” book and clearly reacted to eggs. I was very disappointed as I was hoping the diet would work for me and that I could rely on eggs for a source of protein. It’s possible I have developed an allergy to egg whites but when I was initially tested for food allergies, the test for egg white was negative. Do you know why cooked egg whites are safe but not raw egg whites?

              • says

                Hi Mindy, the answer to your question is that cooking alters some of the proteins in egg whites. The cooked form is less likely to provoke a food intolerance reaction. Eating egg *yolks* without the whites should be okay for you, unless you have an egg allergy. Perhaps you could get your protein that way?

                • Chasity Fields says

                  I am sensitive to egg yolk according to my tests. So I tried Egg Whites and the my reation was horrid. It definitely gives me an instant histamine reaction that leads to an awful migraine. To each his own…

  55. catherine says

    I am having very severe episodes must be anaphalaxis…I ate macadamia nuts yesterday and earlier meals included avocado and tomato. This is all very recent and it is very scary, I cannot find a dr who knows about this. One new medication is LDN, low dose naltrexone…. could that be part of the problem? I have fibromyalgia, this has stopped the pain. I have never heard of any side effects from it. Do I take a histamine test, tryptase test, any other test. I am still too weak to function. I will NEVER eat nuts again.

    • Ann says

      Read up on mast cell activation. Tomatoes are high in histamine. Most lists say to avoid avocado as well. Check out the low histamine chef site for great information.

  56. Petr Jiricka says

    Chris, you imply that histamine intolerance is hard to diagnose, and this is also what you reiterated in the bonus chapter of your book on skin conditions, yet this article suggests that you can diagnose histamine intolerance based on DAO activity in blood: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354134/. Here is the relevant commercially available test: http://www.sciotec.at/uploads/media/dao_rea_en.pdf. And this test is also what my doctor used to diagnose it (my activity is 2.9 U/ml). What’s your take on this diagnostic approach? Thanks.

  57. Leigh says

    I suddenly became histamine intolerant after several weeks of taking probiotics and Benadryl (to stop itching). I truly believe I caused my histamine tolerance to go way down by introducing so much anti-histamine into my body. I will take small amounts of Diamine Oxidase supplements for a week and see if that normalizes–while I adjust my diet. This came on over 3 weeks or so, I think I can normalize it within a few weeks. My eyes are so red, orbital area swollen, and I have moon face! Ugh!!!

  58. says

    Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for beginner blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • says

      Ranae, it’s been my personal experience the answer to your question is, well nobody. Doctors here in the US don’t know much if anything about the condition and will throw prednisone your way if you’re a sweller like I was ….doctors in Germany are currently the most advanced and knowledgable about histamine intolerance unfortunately. Take enzymes religiously and you will heal your gut which is the underlying problem to histamine intolerance. I completely rid myself of HI in about 8-10 months. Feel free to check out my individual journey and what I did hope it helps you too! Blogspot.com/thehistamineintolerantchick

      • Kelly says

        Thanks, I will check out your blog. The other thing to consider is methylation supplements. Methylation also helps lower histamine levels.

    • Ann says


      If they tell you she’s not taking new patients, tell her you want to see her for mast cell activation disorder of which histamine intolerance is a problem.

    • Jane says

      Renae, I know this reply is coming months after you posted your question, but my histamine intolerance was diagnosed by a naturopathic physician. She warned me that this is something a “regular” medical doctor would not be familiar with. And she is right, I saw SIX medical doctors before biting the bullet and going to a naturopath (which I had to pay for 100% out of pocket, as they are not covered by my insurance plan). It is worth it to get the right diagnosis, rather than a prescription for something that didn’t help, or “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

      • says

        Jane wrote: ‘She warned me that this is something a “regular” medical doctor would not be familiar with.’ Jane, this is so very true. Chris Kresser is ahead of his time with his awareness of HIT. I am hoping it will not be too long until ‘regular’ doctors start to realize that Histamine Intolerance is a real and urgent issue. Until then, people will continue to be misdiagnosed and told to take medications that should be unnecessary. Lack of Histamine Intolerance awareness is contributing to a great deal of human misery, in my opinion.

  59. says

    I went through histamine intolerance for almost a year solid and found that by taking enzymes along with a few other supplements while following a low histamine diet healed my gut/histamine problem. I’ve been eating anything I want for just under a year without any issues. Feel free to visit my blog on my story. thehistamineintolerantchick.blogspot.com

    I wish everyone much health and continued healing :)

  60. Aidan Walsh says

    I just got back today my first blood test on Tryptase Serum test and it came back in the normal range at 4.3 my doctor and I are new to this could you please advise what test should be looked next to rule in/out Systemic Mastocytosis/Mast Cell Activation Disorders or Histamine Intolerance, I feel this could be why it is missed in Tryptase, last thing I want is to overlook this possibility…thank-you very much :) Aidan….

  61. Bea says

    Hi Bel, I’ve noticed Skin Contact can create problems that way. I have trouble when I touch carrots! But by reducing the histamine load internally, it has greatly reduced the contact problem for me. Nevertheless, working with food like you do, it could be a big problem. I suggest also considering going off all gluten and/or dairy since those foods can exacerbate symptoms all by themselves. And consider too reducing your histamine bucket so to speak! Articles by Janice Jonega can help, as can the Low Histamine Chef.

    Meanwhile, Doctor Kesser, your paleo diet generator just is not working for me. I have too many histamine sensitivities it appears to go paleo. I signed up and listed my dos and don’ts, and did not get much satisfaction.

    I do much better preparing my own food plans. I do use beans as a necessary protein since I am sensitive to almost all other proteins, with a few minor exceptions–most of which I can handle only in small amounts.

    I also eat a lot more vegetables than your generator includes. And don’t eat fried foods.

    It was worth the try. I will use the paleo generator however to help a friend who just may be able to use it this month (i.e., before I cancel my subscription).

  62. Meaghan says

    Hello everyone. I’ve been reading a lot of helpful hints on here. I am also confused. I have been suffering from a histamine intolerance for 8 years and it finally got realllly bad last summer. I went to some well known medical centers and they gave me tons of prescriptions that made me gain a ton of weight and I was very depressed. I have been eliminating histamine rich foods like alcohol, cheese, tomatoes, spinach, anything fermented, soy… tons of stuff. I still react though and I have terrible eczema all over my body. I also seem to react to extreme cold and warm after exercising. Last night I was itching my legs until they bled. Does anyone have a good recommendation for an alternative medicine doctor in Northern VA? That would be great.

    • Alice says


      I am sorry that I don’t know of a doctor for you but I can very much relate to the severe itching. For me, I have found that eliminating the high histamine foods (as you have done) didn’t help me much UNTIL I found out that I needed to freeze my prepared proteins (meats/anything with eggs in it) instead of just refrigerating them, as histamine is formed in them in fridge temps. I also learned that it is the egg whites that cause histamine to go up in our body. So I eat only the yolks and bake with only yolks. I also stopped using any soap on my skin and that has helped me so much with stopping the itching. It got so bad for me that I could not even take a quick shower with no soap without having itching all night and even the next day and night. My skin improved so MUCH not using soap on it and just rubbing in raw organic coconut oil or evening primrose oil in it after showers. I can even take baths again without itching at all. Since you have the problems with skin itching, you would want to stop using any processed products on your skin. For example, lotions come with too many processed and perfumed ingredients so just use coconut oil or organic evening primrose oil. One important fact I learned the hard way though is to make sure you do not use even organic raw coconut oil that has been aged/fermented during processing. (by just the method used) For me, I use the cheapest of the three coconut oils from Tropical Traditions. (no financial interest at all). It is not labeled organic but if you read about it, tells how it is organic but not certified because the cost of certifying would raise the cost of the product too much. It does not have any smell or taste of coconut oil. (the most expensive gold label gave me intense problems though, and smelled strongly of coconut) I love it, use it on my skin and cooking. Bottom line, this itching problem will get better and go away with time if keeping all chemicals and perfumes off of your skin, along with a low histamine diet.

  63. Bel says

    Hi, I was just wondering if the foods mentioned can trigger a histamine response by skin contact only? I have suffered from atopic eczema since I was born but have only in the last year had a MASSIVE flair up. At one point 90% of the skin covering my hands was covered in eczema and pompholyx. I work as a chef and in some of the flour mixes we use there is cayenne and chilli powder, and my skin burns when I touch tomatoes. I know eczema is caused by histamine and so I was wondering if just touching the trigger foods can cause a reaction.
    After reading up on this condition I have decided to stay away from histamine rich foods. I wish I had thought of this condition sooner as a trigger, just today I ate eggs for breakfast, cola at lunchtime and for dinner I had a spinach salad and have been suffering from hives and a headache since noon. I usually try not to self diagnose but for so long i have suffered from hives, itchy throat (especially when eating tomatoes, avocado, strawberries) gut aches and random bouts of dizziness and heart palpitations.

  64. Bea says

    I seem to need to be off all meat and fish these days or I get a migraine–unless the meat is super fresh or I catch the fish and cook it immediately. Similarly all fermented foods are out for me, though I do tolerate small amounts of very fresh plain organic yogurt. Thus in my quest to have the protein I need to eat sans migraines etc., I have found certain beans are agreeable to me: garbanzos, navy beans, white beans and lima beans. I also do well with sorbitol free and sugar free dried coconut, fresh ground plain flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. I just discovered meanwhile that nigella sativa seeds (the seeds pan roasted on low and then ground) and tumeric are wonderful antihistamine agents as well as healing in general. I had a horrific headache from trying out eating some tofu yesterday, and then had the nigella and tumeric today and finally felt better almost immediately! Both these herbs are great against eczema too!!

    I also use other antihistamine herbs in my diet as well as teas: raw garlic, ginger, basil, chamomile, rosemary, nettles, skullcap, yarrow.

    Am in addition I have started combatting likely bacterial overgrowth in my small intestines (SIBO is a common cause for histamine sensitivity, esp. more extreme cases like mine) by using golden seal or oregon grape root or burdock (I rotate these), dandelion and licorice root (these two herbs do not agree with everyone with histamine sensitivity I hear but they do agree with me), cats claw, and wormwood.

    Just to conclude, I think everyone is slightly different in what is good for them or not and how they can deal with/combat this histamine sensitivity and related issues. I believe we have to listen to our bodies and psyches since that really is the ultimate authority in these matters.

    • Bea says

      I’m afraid I can’t use the paleo diet suggestions re- the paleo recipe generator. I simply do not tolerate eating eggs, milk or meat well enough to go that direction–i.e., maybe once a week if I am lucky! And I certainly am not going to eat sugary or fermented foods. This means paleo is out for me even though I do eat a lot of veggies and avoid grains.

      However I will suggest the recipe generator for a friend. I paid for a month’s worth of recipes, so hopefully he can make use of it. He too has SIBO–but without the histamine problem that I have.

      Meanwhile, The Low Histamine Chef cited a study that showed that soaked, cooked and well washed beans do have anti inflammatory, anti histamine effects. Its just if you let them sit around too long, or cook overly long and don’t change the water enough that you run into the histamine problem. So I soak my beans roughly 4 to 6 hours instead of the traditional 8, wash the beans before adding in purified water to cook, then cook the beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, after which I drain the beans and wash them off before putting them into a covered container in the fridge. Works for both me and my fiancee.

      We are both extremely sensitive to meat etc. so we are glad to have found a safe source of protein! That actually helps us.

      One extra reason I think the beans are good for us is that the beans have copper in them–a mineral that those who are histamine sensitive are often low in.

      An additional supplement that often is good for us to take a bit more of is vitamin B1.

      I now take extra of both B1 and copper, and it seems to be helping me. Plus eat the beans!!

      With the B1 it makes sense since it is used as an anti stress product even for plants when you transplant them!! And since stress is a killer for histamine sensitive folk, it all adds up!

      Thus yoga, meditation, painting, listening to calming music, walking are all helpful for histamine sensitive people.

      That and taking antihistamine, anti inflammatory herbs with my food as well as in teas and I am starting to feel a lot better. Certainly my ears are no longer white with eczema, a real plus!!

      And as Yasmina of the Low Histamine Chef fame suggests, the thing is to work up to eating a more balanced diet rather than feel deprived with say just 5 foods forever! Even if some of the food is just in little bits, it helps with the healing. All in balance of course!


    • says

      Kristie, thank you for the links to your blog. It was interesting to read your recommendations, and they all seem great – except I was wondering about this line: ‘Cooked Broccoli-vitamin C can destroy histamine’.

      Yes you are right, Vitamin C does combat excessive histamine levels. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1578094
      However, heat destroys Vitamin C, so uncooked fruits and vegetables are better for people who suffer from histamine intolerance. It’s perfectly fine to cook broccoli (broccoli raw or cooked is a fantastic antihistamine food), however if you have a choice, and if you don’t mind the strong taste, eat the uncooked version.

      In your Menu Plan for for a Low Histamine Diet, I wonder if you’ve checked blueberries, black-eyed peas, and the chickpeas in falafels for their effect on histamine levels? Berries and pulses are mentioned in a lot of histamine food lists, and I would be wary of them if I were you.

      Your suggestions for watermelon and apples are perfect!

      • says

        Thank you for sharing your information! I am still experimenting, and I actually don’t eat black eyed peas or chickpeas very much. Though, I didn’t have a really noticeable reaction to them (in small amounts). I have been following the low histamine chef online, and she discovered that just eliminating foods didn’t work for her. That is why she eats things like chickpeas because they are anti inflammatory, and I think she feels that eating anti inflammatory foods helped her more than just eliminating foods. Blueberries seem fine for me so far. I think that they are helpful for my liver which I feel is a huge piece of the puzzle- http://www.familyhomehealth.blogspot.com/2014/04/waking-too-early-and-liver-health-low.html. PS I was interested in the book I saw you recommended on some of the other comments. :)

  65. Katie says

    I’ve heard that long ferments drastically reduce histamine levels, but I’m having trouble finding any good information on this. Do you know anything about histamine levels in fermented foods throughout the fermentation process? I seem to remember it having something to do with vitamin C as well…

    • says

      Katie, according to the book ‘Dietary Management of Food Allergies & Intolerances: A Comprehensive Guide’ (Janice Vickerstoff Joneja. 1998. J. A. Hall Publications), ‘All foods subjected to microbial fermentation in the manufacturing process contain histamine.’
      This basic tenet is confirmed in the book ‘Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low Histamine Diet’ (James L. Gibb. 2014. Leaves of Gold Press.)

      As Chris Kresser himself states earlier in this blog article, ‘Fermented foods are some of the biggest culprits, since even beneficial bacteria produce histamine during fermentation.’

      I would assume that prolonging the fermentation process can only increase the histamine levels.

      • Katie says

        Thanks for your comment, Sue. Maybe I was unclear. I do know that fermented foods contain very high histamine levels–higher than any other foods from what I know.

        I have seen in various places that long ferments (over 30 days) can actually drastically reduce histamine levels, somewhat counter-intuitively. In another discussion of histamine-intolerance, one person said that though they are highly sensitive to histamine-containing foods, they tolerate long ferments quite well.

        I’m wondering if anyone has seen any actual information regarding histamine levels throughout the course of a ferment or whether anyone knows why long ferments are occasionally tolerated by those with histamine-intolerance. Thanks!

  66. Helen says

    It is possible that your cold allergy could be an autoimmune disease. If so it might possibly be helped by fixing the leakiness of you gut

  67. Terri says

    If urine histadine is low in a urine amino acids test but almost all other amino acids are low (except ammonia), does this mean that histamine intolerance is ruled out? Blood histamine is normal as well.

    • says

      Histamine intolerance is extremely difficult to test for, Terri. Unlike, say, blood sugar levels or cholesterol levels, it is a tricky one for pathology labs to pin down. The best way to diagnose histamine intolerance is to undertake a really strict low histamine diet for a few weeks. If your symptoms subside, you know you’ve found the culprit.

  68. Rob says

    I do not seem to have chronic HIT. I can often eat many histamine rich foods. I am guessing something(s) are a trigger. For me at least there seems to be a possible link between high fat consumption and HIT.

    This could include fats from nuts and seeds too (including coconut). I have been high fat VLC for the past 30 days on those sources plus fish oil. Felt good at first but then started feeling sick.

    Is it possible I am not fully digesting my total fat intake? Not interested in taking enzymes just so I can eat excessive amounts of fat (+100 grams/day). I’ll just eat some starches and call it good.

    Is it possible that VLC high fat is just not for some people? Or perhaps less than optimal liver function/enzyme production could play a role?

    My gut feels inflamed after 30 days of my current diet (as mentioned above). This seems to correlate with when HIT became an issue again.

    This is also very interesting:


    • PC says

      Hi Rob, I think you may be onto something with this. Ever since I started increasing my fat from coconut oil I have had a lot more intolerances. I know there’s some people who think coconut oil may in fact be bad for the liver, which would make sense – if its clogging up the liver then there’s less room to detox histamine?
      You could try quitting fat for a few days and do some veg juice fasting…see if it clears things up a bit.

  69. Lisa F. says

    Many of the foods on this list also contain Tyramine which can cause a hypertensive crisis for individuals taking an MAOI. Could it be possible that a person who is sensitive to Histamine be sensitive to tyramine as well (or vice versa)?

    • PC says

      I’ve found that to be true – I am also sensitive to glutamine (from protein shakes, bone broth etc).

  70. Rob says

    Had an intolerance to histamines beat for over a year, then I got 40lbs. of frozen salmon for dirt cheap from the one of the warehouses here in Salmon Bay (Ballard area of Seattle). I know its cheap because it is past its date when they will use it. Still very much safe to eat EXCEPT it is going to be really really high in histamines. Should of thought of that one. I was beginning to shake that off then came berry season and Green Pasture Skate Liver Oil. Pushed over the edge again! My symptoms are inflammation in the face and joints, red patchiness on the face, and a general feeling of being poisoned. Feels like all my cells are just wanting to burst apart. Total crappiness and major fatigue. Back to square one! LOW TO NO histamine diet. Hopefully I can get back out of this again them slowly introduce some low histamine foods, but probably avoid the high ones altogether. What gives? How do you get rid of this permanently?



    • says

      Hi Rob,
      I think we all feel your pain! But compared to people with problems such as diabetes or bowel disease, Histamine intolerance sufferers are very fortunate, in that we actually have quite a bit of control over our symptoms.

      We *can* get rid of our symptoms permanently, but only if we are reasonably vigilant about what we eat. And that’s not to say that we have to be on a low histamine diet forever! Not at all!

      All we have to do is keep the contents of our ‘histamine bucket’ below the level at which it overflows. Which means we *can* eat high-histamine foods, as long as we take appropriate precautions, such as keeping up our supplements (as described in the book ‘Is Food Making You Sick?’), not overdosing on histamine-containing foods, avoiding allergens that contribute to histamine overload, etc.

      The good news is that yes, we can eat salmon and delicious berries and gourmet oils, and we don’t have to suffer for it as long as we follow the rules laid down by our histamine-intolerant bodies.

      For me personally, this is a small price to pay for feeling great! Good luck with getting better, and I hope you will get to a point where you can enjoy that salmon with no ill effects.


  71. Maria says

    So, i did one week of low histamine diet… and feel like new born. And when i look back, i probably had this since a long time, but the symptoms were like panic attacks in my 20s, tachycardie in my 40s, and these mood swings lately, with periods of being extremely exhausted. But it was always this underlying feeling of my body fighting against something, and this feeling is gone since i am on this diet. What a revelation. Very interesting seems the histamine-progesterone-xenoestrogen connection.

    • says

      Isn’t it great, Maria, how the diet worked so quickly for you. With most people it only takes about week to feel the benefits (with others it can take a few weeks). We all feel so happy for you! What a relief, to have found the answer at last. :)

  72. Bill says

    Blood pressure drop and dizziness my only symptom? Hello, I am confused about the symptoms of histamine intolerance as the list of symptoms is long and varied. I am a healthy person and my blood pressure is typically around 115/75. However, when I eat certain foods (Hi histamine foods) my blood pressure drops rapidly to around 65/55 and I feel dizzy. It is possible that I get a little flushed across my cheeks and my ears turn red but I am not certain of that. When my blood pressure drops it occurs while eating or immediately afterwards and after a few hours I feel fine and my blood pressure is normal again. I don’t tend to get headaches, my nose does not get runny, my breathing remains fine, no rashes, etc… I Just have the blood pressure drop. If I am histamine intolerant could I just have the blood pressure drop or would I have to also have other allergic type reactions? Thanks for the help.

    • says

      Bill, people with histamine intolerance may suffer only one or two of the symptoms listed, or *all* of them. That’s what’s so confusing about the condition, and why it’s hard to diagnose. Your symptoms sound like classic histamine intolerance. Have you tried going on the diet for a couple of weeks? It can’t do you any harm and if it *is* HT that you have, you will feel the benefits enormously. And of course you can gradually reintroduce histamine foods into your diet after you get better.
      Here’s the link to the diet book again: http://www.amazon.com/Food-Making-You-Sick-Histamine/dp/1925110508

  73. Sharon Kinter says

    Great article. Glad to read from Chris more on this very little known subject. Would love Chris to keep writing on this. What does it take to solve the problem. I am following a strict low histamine diet but still need to understand how to heal the underlying problem. I can’t do bone broth or any fermented foods which seem pivotal in healing. I stick to veggies grass fed beef, lamb pastured chicken if I can find it. Just cut out coffee and am dying. I can’t do even my iced green tea. So frustrating. We live in a society that a lot of the focus is on food. Chris can you please speak to how to heal the gut when you have histamine intolerance? I cannot tolerate fermented cod liver oil either.

    • says

      Sharon, and others… There are ways to heal histamine intolerance! There is a method called NeuroModulation Technique (NMT) which can have the body repair such things as enzyme deficiencies and balance gut flora.

      For example, your body is accustomed to the gut flora you were born with. Anything else that is introduced may be eliminated because it’s not “normal” to YOUR gut, even if it’s numerous strains of beneficial probiotics. NMT helps with this.

      I suspect that people with histamine intolerance have also had some big stresser in their life prior to the intolerance showing up. If the body system or enzymes stay in that stressed mode – even if other parts of the body do not appear stressed – then an imbalance appears after a while.

      Give NMT a try. It worked for me with food and seasonal allergies (which I know is different than histamine intolerance), but it can work with that too. http://www.nmt.md. You will soon find you can eat those histamine containing foods!

  74. Maria says

    Hello, i LOVE most of the foods high in Histamine, like old cheeses, fermented foods… and never had any problem of histamine intolerance. Last week i went in a herbal store to get something to improve my pre-menopausal mood swings, and they gave me Griffonia (5-htp) and praised it. So, after some days, the symptoms appeared. I took only a very small dose, like the equivalent of 50-100 mg 5-htp per day. Is this possible??? I stopped it, hopefully the skin problems will disappear soon…

    • Maria says

      Forgot to mention: the symptoms are severe urticaria and itching all over the body… i prefer my mood swings;)

      • Maria says

        Now my question: the urticaria is better, i took a anti-histamine yesterday (cetirizin), and an hour after taking it, i felt like a layer of dizziness and heaviness was taken off my brain i carried around for some decades. A wonderful feeling. I have the impression, i compensated a histamine intolerance in neurological ways. Will my serotonin level rise, when i lower the histamine level (through diet)?

  75. Terri says

    Can someone tell me the role of the DAO gene mutation and mast cell or histamine issues with food or sensitivities to allergens (without actually being allergic according to allergy testing)? I tested homozygous for the DAO gene mutation and am wondering what it has to do with gut DAO. Thanks!

  76. Heather says

    Thank you for this article. I found it because I am confounded as to why I cannot tolerate fermented foods or any (tried) form of probiotic supplement, along with many foods that ended up on the histamine list. My reaction is occasionally skin related, at times will manifest as tummy distress, but is more regularly…and distressingly – to me…emotional. Even the smallest amount of citrus, citric acid, or fermented sauerkraut, for example, causes manic episodes of rage and weeping in an otherwise gentle, quiet demeanored me. Thoughts? I would be so grateful for knowledgeable assistance. (I know I have a permeable gut and am dealing with some bacteria in there as well…what is the best and most effective path toward healing?)

  77. Jamie says


    I definately have SIBO, and have suffered skin rashes, and itching for years. My SIBO is pretty severe (much burping, bloating), and recently ive started having weird standing-only tachycardia – very intermittantly, combined with chills, itchy, and runny nose – noteably when I have eaten histamine effecting foods, like cheeze, or chocolate, or energy drinks. Now my doctors are looking at all the angles there (ECG totally normal), but it seems like this would fit, very very well.

    My issue is this, I am going to trial a low histamine diet, but I am having trouble already managing my SIBO. Ive been using no sugar yogurts (oops!), coconut oil, cranberry juice, and oregano (as a herb on food), and these help – but how do I find that one two punch, in a low histamine diet that will hold my SIBO at bay as well?

    I could really use some educated advice, and so few people know anything much about either SIBO or histamine intolerance….

    I deeply appreciate any advice you can offer, even if brief!


    • says


      As I’m sure you know, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Histamine Intolerance require very different diets. SIBO is treated with a low carb diet, while the HIT diet allows unlimited carbs. It would be impossible to follow both dietary regimes simultaneously.

      There is an answer to this dilemma. Dr Amy Myers of Mind Body Green writes, ‘The standard treatment for SIBO is an antibiotic called Xifaxan. Because Xifaxan is not well absorbed throughout the body, it mostly stays in the gut and is very effective against SIBO.’

      To heal your HIT, follow the Strictly Low Histamine Diet, http://www.amazon.com/Food-Making-You-Sick-Histamine/dp/1925110508 while taking Xifaxan to heal your SIBO.

      Good luck,

  78. Penny Sue says

    I’m immensely glad I found this article. For a few years now I’ve been struggling with histamine intolerance. I’d already come to realize that the addition of caffeine and green tea into my normal life regimen had contributed to my histamine issues–presumably because of its DAO blocking capacity. Whenever I drank it, I could feel those nasty histamine sid effects. But I hadn’t come to realize until this article that the addition of a probiotic around the same time might have contributed to a histamine intolerance from a bacteria overgrowth. Sometimes I’d pop two of those probotics and think nothing of it. I’ll promptly be cutting out the green tea and caffeine in conjunction with giving the probiotics a break to see if my tolerance balances itself out.

  79. Rodrick says

    hi !! i would like to know if can cook red meat and then store it in the freezer.It is hectic to cook at each meal.

  80. Phil Larson says

    First of all, thanks for this wonderful article.

    Is it ok to take fish oil and/ or krill oil if you are histamine sensitive? I have many problems with sardines, salmon, shrimp, etc. But I really need my Omega 3 fatty acids, so I figure my last option are the pills.

  81. Stacy says

    Do you know if you intolerance to histamines can increase with your normal hormonal cycle? I have noticed that during, or just before, my menstrual cycle starts that my reaction to foods goes through the roof. Also my chest breaks out in a crazy rash that spreads to my stomach and sometimes my back as well. Wasn’t sure if this was all connected or what. My doctor is stumped.

    • says

      Yes Stacy, this is definitely the case. Histamine is closely associated with hormones. Histamine levels fluctuate alongside hormone levels, especially estrogen, at ovulation and just before menstruation.
      Try the diet in this book, http://www.low-histamine.com/ for four to eight weeks. The symptoms should subside, after which you can gradually re-introduce your usual diet, while still being wary of those high histamine foods.

    • Arabella says

      I read somewhere that there was a connection between the production of the hormone progesterone (both oestrogen and progesterone are produced during the cyle) and a histamine ‘allergic’ reaction….you could google it…

  82. Durgesh Singh says


    I’ve experiencing these problems since an early age. These feelings come and go but lately I’ve having these feeling almost on daily basis.
    I havent gone to a doctor as I’ve no way of trigerring it myself.
    I’ve changed my soap, deo, clothes etc, but nothing works.
    One thing that i’ve noticed for sure is Heat triggers it for me or it could me an after effect of it as well. I feel really hot when i get this feeling of Pin pricks and I just cant stop scratching myself all over. Along with this, i get red rashes as well, even at places where i dont scratch.
    This is really annoying me as if i’m talking to some, or in a meeting, or
    while driving the car, or if I step outside and its quite sunny, it gets triggered all of a sudden.

    Is it really a B12 deficiency, as I’ve taken Vitamin tablets earlier, but just for vitamin compensation rather than for curing purpose.
    Please advise, as this is really making things difficult for me.

    When I get this, Ii apply cold water all over, or step outside in the cold, which helps subside the feeling. Because of this I cant even wrap up my self on cold days, as even if my body gets a lil warm, it gets triggered.

    Should I see a neurologist or a dermatologist or a chiropractor?

    Please please please advise.

    • says

      Durgesh, what you are suffering from is called ‘Prickly Heat’, otherwise known as Miliaria. It is caused by blockage of the sweat glands.
      According to Wikipedia and other sources, ‘Prickly heat can be prevented by avoiding activities that induce sweating, using air conditioning to cool the environment,[7] wearing light clothing and in general, avoiding hot and humid weather. Frequent cool showers or cool baths with mild soap can help to prevent heat rash.’

      Also, ‘It has been suggested that the use of topical antibacterials (including the use of antibacterial soaps) may shorten the duration of symptoms… Other topical agents which may reduce the severity of symptoms include anti-itch preparations such as calamine or menthol or camphor-based preparations, and topical steroid creams. However, caution should be used with oil-based preparations (ointments and oily creams as opposed to water based or aqueous lotions) which may increase blockage to the sweat glands and prolong duration of illness. Other agents have been investigated including supplemental vitamin A and C and vitamin A based medications, but it is worth noting that there is little scientific evidence supporting any of the above treatments in terms of actually reducing the duration of symptoms or frequency of complications.

      In most tropical areas the local dispensaries sell Prickly Heat Powder, a talc admixture containing drying milk proteins (Labilin) and Triclosan to fight any infection. These include cooling menthol to help alleviate difficulty getting to sleep. This is an effective treatment — the powder stays on the skin longer and treats bacteria dispersed into bed linens, providing a reasonably dry refuge area for healing.

      Regular talcum powder will not reduce the rash but can alleviate burning and itching.

      In cases where the rash has developed into open blisters or pustular lesions a doctor should be consulted since more aggressive, medically monitored treatment may be required.

  83. Alice says

    For those of you who are VERY VERY VERY sensitive to histamine, what do you eat in terms of veggies/greens that works? The new book, “Is Histamine Making you Sick…” has recipes with grains and gluten so another disappointment for me for sure. Can anyone who is VERY sensitive to histamine eat gluten?

    What is the best source for listing high histamine foods? I read yesterday where someone eats cucumbers. Cucumbers are one of the worst foods for me in causing histamine intolerance. Do cucumbers have more than histamine that they bother me so much. Tomatoes and cucumbers are tops for the worst for me. I would appreciate anyone’s guidance…

    • Sue says

      Cucumber seems to be on a lot of low-histamine food lists, Alice, so that’s a tricky one. Are you having salad dressing on the cucumber? Are you washing off the pesticides before you eat it?
      It’s easy to see why tomatoes would bother you – they’re just about top of every high histamine list.
      As for gluten – gluten intolerance and histamine intolerance are two different things. People with ONLY histamine intolerance and no other issues, can definitely eat gluten.
      However, it’s possible that you could have both. Have you been tested for gluten intolerance? That’s an easy one to test for. (Histamine intolerance is very hard to test for. )
      I’d recommend getting tested for coeliac disease if you’re having problems with grains.

      • Alice says

        Yes Sue, I have tested gluten intolerant and am 100 percent off of gluten and all grains. I am also off of all the high histamine foods, Cucumbers bother me so much so they have to be high in something that does not work for me. I have tried them a number of times at different intervals and every time I had a bad reaction.

        • says

          Alice, It sounds as if you also have either oral allergy syndrome or salicylate sensitivity. From whatallergy.com: ‘Oral Allergy Sydrome (OAS) is an IgE-mediated immune response, which is sometimes called a “true allergy”. The body’s immune system produces IgE antibodies against pollen; in OAS, these antibodies also bind to (or cross-react with) other structurally similar proteins found in botanically related plants.
          So basically, somebody with hay fever to certain pollen may also react to one or more fruits, herbs or vegetables which have a similar protein structure. The body recognises the food as an allergen and can cause tingling around the mouth, lips and tongue.

          ‘People with hay fever to ragweed pollen may also cross react with: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea.

          ‘This reaction may come and go and be more severe during the hay fever season.

          ‘So, basically, yes you can have an allergy type reaction to cucumber but it’s likely to be caused by oral allergy syndrome and not be a true, life threatening allergy.

          ‘Salicylate in cucumber
          Cucumbers also come under the umbrella of foods containing salicylates which are chemicals which occur naturally in many foods, the skin of some fruit, tea and aspirin. If you are sensitive to salicylate you may experience wheezing and urticaria. Different foods contain different levels of the chemical. Visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website for a full list of foods that contain high levels of salicylates.’

          I hope this helps!

  84. April says

    Response to Kristy..I have Celiac/Hashimoto’s and have been sick for 2+ years. I also tested negative for skin allergy tests but when I would eat certain foods I got bad reactions..diarhea and rashes. I have had 9 doctors and no relief from any. They don’t seem to understand autoimmune and it’s afflications. After searching diligently for answers I have come to one conclusion: All sickness stems from toxicity of some sort. Find out what is ailing you (toxin-wise) and detox and overdose on nutrition. I had 12 mercury fillings removed In October 2013 and just this past week have noticed some significant changes in my body…namely..my fingernails are beginning to turn pink (yay) and I am continuing to eat paleo and eating tons of nutrient-rich food (kale..broccoli..collards). You need to figure out what is safe then rotate your food every 4 days so you won’t react as much. Keep a diary or you won’t remember what you ate. If you can’t eat meat and dairy make sure you keep your B12 up and make sure your not low on Vitamin D. The ranges should be in kept in the high normal for you to have optimal health. Also get yourself a juicer and on those days where you just can’t eat food…Juice…juice..juice..but only low sugar vegetables and not the ones with lot of goitrogens. Hope this helps. Keep the faith.

    • Sue says

      Kristy, make sure that the B12 you take is methylated B12, also called Methylcobalamin. It absorbs best.

  85. MikeT says

    I’d like to buy that book as an ebook. Is it available anywhere in that format?

    (Sorry, I’m such a kindle snob :-)

  86. Sue says

    Ruth, when you’ve got such a serious histamine intolerance problem, you really need to go STRICTLY low histamine, and I mean even avoiding a tiny squeeze of lemon juice on your food, avoiding fish oils and substituting flax seed oil and really being 100% clued-up on what to eat. This book is the only one that seems to give details of a really stringent low histamine diet http://www.amazon.com/Food-Making-You-Sick-Histamine/dp/1925110508/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393810734&sr=1-1&keywords=strictly+low+histamine
    Go on the diet for 4 to 6 weeks and see what happens.
    Also have you been tested for allergy to apis mellifica and bee products?

  87. Ruth says

    I have urticaria and have been suffering for months, with hives. I was on prednazone for a week and the hives disappeared as soon as I was off they came back. I am now taking quercetin, apis mellifica and omega 3. Should I also take a probiotic? How long does it take for these homeopath meds to take affect. I am also watching my diet very carefully.
    I also see from my waist down where I now seem to have the most hives (on my legs) that my skin has a purplish hue. Help!

  88. Kristy says

    I am glad I have found this blog as I need someone’s help ASAP. I am in much suffering as I have been so allergic that at this point I am unable to eat hardly anything. I have quit all the foods in the list ( of the article) already but I still get very sick if I eat. I am under potato, rice and apples only. My gastroenterologist told me to use these only when I get diarrhea so I do as I was told. But now it is not working. I must starve to be able to avoid diarrhea. I have been developing allergies over the years, I began with dairy allergy , then soy, eggs and gluten added up. I have Hashimoto Thyroiditis and I have already had an autoimmune attack to my brain throat and who knows where else . There aren’t many doctors willing to find out what is wrong with me. The situation is becoming overwhelming, and my labs are now out of range with low and high levels of different things specially amino acids . One of the doctors I have seen told me that I do seem to have problems with histamine trigger foods and slowly I am trying to get closer to answers to my problem. I recently spoke to a nutritionist who after a long interview told me I could have Mastocytosis. I am already looking for a specialist to rule out a possible Mastocytosis . Does anyone knows any good specialist? I would like to know what I can eat or what medications I can take to alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, sinus congestion, hives, and mostly intolerance to almost all foods.I cant take over the counter antihistamines as they contain lactose and I am allergic to it. I am allergic to most if not all over the counter medications , generics, and to many things along with food. I do have a history of Leukemia in the family, my Dad died of Lymphocytic Leukemia and he had similar allergies. At the end he was intolerant to all foods as I am now.
    I welcome any suggestions for doctors in NY , CT and Boston that could help me find a diagnosis. I just had a histamine lab test yesterday and my allergy test for foods are already confirmed positive. What other warnings I must look for ? I need to be educated so I can lead doctors into the right diagnosis. These days I haven’t find doctors willing to got out of their regular exams to truly help me. I am sending this plea for help, I just hope someone listens to it.

    • Sue says

      Oh my lord, Kristy, my heart goes out to you. My daughter was suffering terribly like you, for many years, and I was beside myself trying to figure out how to help her. It turned out she had Crohn’s colitis – have you been tested for Crohn’s Disease or colitis? But you also have the complication of Hashimoto Thyroiditis.
      I myself have histamine intolerance and I think my daughter may have that as well. I am on a wonderful diet from this book, Strictly Low Histamine, and most of my symptoms are gone, all the worst ones anyway, and the others are starting to improve. I don’t know whether it will help you, all I know is my own experience, but I will pray for you and my best wishes are with you for your recovery.

    • Ann says

      Dr. Anne Maitland in Tarrytown, NY is familiar with mastocytosis. 914-631-3283. There’s mastocytosis, mast cell activation disorder and histamine intolerance. She’s an allergist. All cause the mast cells to degranulate, which triggers all the reactions we have- mine: seizures, fainting, hives, anaphylaxsis, angioedema- all of which are now controlled. I have found many of the foods that caused my problems have seeds or come from foods with seeds (wine, vinegar, eggplant, tomatoes). I would cut out the potatoes. Also, tea was a major problem for me. Are you a big tea drinker? it’s not the caffeine, it’s the benzene. I only drink water and decaf coffee. Start googling the following and just read up: Low histamine chef, Dr. Theoharides, Dr. Cassells, Dr. Akin. Dirk Buddha in Britain. Remember, medicine is a business, and what business owner doesn’t want to sell you his/her product of service? Who ever sends you to a competitor?

      • Sue says

        Also, Kristy, remove all irritants from your environment, such as feather duvets, woolen clothing, shampoos and personal products that contain fragrances, laundry detergents other than just plain soap, etc. One of my triggers turned out to be shampoo, so now I’m using QV shampoo and conditioner. And I can’t wear perfumes.

        • Ann C. says

          I forgot another major trigger of mine-change in barometric pressure, which I can do nothing about. I was fortunate enough to be in front of Dr. Maitland when there was a major pressure change and she watched me get sick. She put me on an inhaler, which I’d prefer not to use again because it amped up anxiety, but I would not have made the connection had she not explained to me why I got sick. I had gone through the same thing in front of another allergist a year earlier and he sent me to the ER. Dr. Maitland knew what was happening. That and waves of sunlight also trigger problems.

    • Terri says

      Have you been tested for MTHFR? It’s inexpensive and ay help you tremendously. Ask your doctor to test 677 and 1298.

  89. Ann says

    My 6 year old began having itchy skin and hives periodically (and now itchy eyes). After visiting a pediatric allergist, all food allergy skin tests were negative. We suspect he is lacking DAO in his body and producing elevated histamine. Is there a definite test to confirm abnormal levels of DAO in the body?
    Our doctor suggested we give him Histame to address any histamine from foods. Adult directions are to take 2 Histame 15 minutes prior to ingesting food. What amount do you recommend for a 50 lb. 6 year old?

  90. says

    I’ve always been an allergic-type person, I had hives as a child.I got stung by a bull ant a couple of years ago and soon afterwards I started getting serious stomach pains after food which I used to eat without trouble. That problem eventually disappeared, but recently I got stung by a wasp and then the same thing started happening. Fortunately I found out about histamine intolerance and went on a low histamine diet. Since then I’ve been free of stomach pains and I stay aware of what I’m eating, so I am VERY glad I found out.

  91. CLN says

    Is this related to methylation mutations (MTHFRC667T)? Would bypassing this mutation ease histamine intolerance vs. changing your diet to a low histamine diet? It just seems like you wouldn’t eat much.

    • says

      I know that histamine intolerance is linked to under-methylation, CLN, but I don’t know about methylation mutations, sorry. I can assure you, though, that you can eat quite a lot on a low histamine diet. There are heaps of recipes available. I went on the Strictly Low Histamine diet for a couple of weeks and got rid of my worst symptoms pretty much immediately. Still working on getting rid of some of the minor irritations, though. When they are gone I’ll go back to eating normally, but just being careful and aware of histamine rich foods.

  92. Brian Jacob says

    Hey guys I have a question…

    About a month ago I ended up relocating to a new location. This is the first time I’ve been somewhere extremely cold for an extended period. About two weeks ago I began to develop an uncontrollable itching feeling in my feet and hands. I thought it was because of either the new soap I was using or because of the relocation. Since then, my torso began to break out in hives. They look like tiny goosebumps and theyre all over. Anytime I stress, or anytime my body temperature raises just slightly, the uncontrollable itch comes back. I can’t even stretch longer than 2mins without itching really bad. The goosebumps have continued to spread and now cover my entire body. Sleeping has been very uncomfortable. I wake up every hour itching badly. The only thing that seems to calm the reaction even for a moment is extremely cold showers. The itch feeling that I’ve been speaking of almost feels like pricking. Or like pins and needles. As a bit of background information, my dad does have a less severe case of lupus. I’ve never had any known reactions and have always had a fairly good diet for a 23 year old. Meaning I’ve been a vegetarian for the last 8 months.

    Can anyone she light on what this may be? Or is there anyone that has experienced similar symptoms? If so, what did you do to cure it?

    Fyi.. I went to an urgent care and they had no clue what it was. The prescribed me a steroid that may have been working slightly. But as soon as I ran out, the issue became 10 times worse.

    • Tara says

      Brian, I live in a cold area and I have this same problem too- usually for me it happens as the seasons are changing- from winter to spring or fall to winter, if I am hiking outside or just walking and it happens on my thighs and on my hands. It’s terrible! No one knew what it was for me either. Two years ago I started a paleo diet. I haven’t had a chance to go hiking for various reasons so I have to see if it has gone away soon. I think you could try eating a lower histamine diet and see if it helps. Paleo is not low histamine but so many of my other random crazy issues went away with it that I am going to see what happens. Best of luck. You are not alone.

      • Brian Jacob says

        Thank you for your reply. Do you have any experience with allegra, zyrtec or claritin? To either get rid of the hives and itching or just to make working out bearable. I would really like to begin working out again. And with the ways things are when increase my body temperature this has not been possible. Any suggestions?

        • Tara says

          So, I don’t like to take stuff like that. But I did find this great supplement called Quercetin Complex at our local health food co-op. It helped me when I had what I assume to be a histamine response to eating a huge amount of almonds. I know Solgar makes a Quercetin complex and you can order it on amazon. The one at my local coop is a little different but the other one should still work.

  93. Sharon says

    In 2009 I started passing out. I would have a pain in my sternum area and then within seconds/minute I would pass out. It would happen anytime and sometimes it would be immediately after eating.

    I was taken to the hospital, had test for heart, GI, etc. Doctor ordered a series of “Compliment Test which tested positive for Angio-EdemaI. My insides would swell and squeeze the vagus nerve causing me to pass out. After leaving the hospital I was sent to an Allergy-Immunologist Doctor and he confirmed I had intestinal Angio-edema. This was caused by the high blood pressure medicine I was taking and had been on for the past 15 years. My bp meds have been changed numerous times. Many of the bp meds have side effects causing Angio-Edema.

    I have never had any swelling on the outside of my body. Although, my daughter who is asthmatic and has lot’s of allergies will swell very badly on her mouth and also internally.

    Allergy test did reveal I am allergic to lot’s of foods including ‘nightshade’ vegetables, potatoes, eggplant, meats, etc.

    Years ago I did order, from Swanson Vitamins, the Diamine Oxidase called DAOSIN and it does help.

    Has anyone experienced Angio-edema from taking blood pressure meds? If so please tell me what you are doing/taking for your BP. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  94. QJBean says

    Does anyone work with a qualified SIBO / primal nutrition practitioner in the San Diego area?

    I listened to the whole PaleoCon, I listened to the whole Future of Nutrition conference. I am convinced that my gut needs healing.

    I keep researching practioners based on their web presence and I get the feeling I’ve learned more about SIBO, histamine build-up, and primal nutrition than they do.

    OVer the past 6 years I’ve seen 3 ND’s in town and they did great things that supported my health at the time. One or two referred to my leaky gut, one tested me for gut IGG response to gluten and I was off the charts.

    But I walked away after treating with each for more than a year or two without actually healing my gut.

    I am totally doing this on my own, just about to order some Alcat food sensitivities lab tests (and complete stool analysis) if I can get my MD to sign the lab order slip.

    Anyone? San Diego region? Do any practitioners actually have half of the frame of reference than Chris Kresser does on gut issues?

  95. Kerrie says

    Hi Chris,
    My question is regarding the diet and breastfeeding. My son, who is 18 months, seems to have histamine intolerance. He has been exclusively breastfed with solid introduction at 12 months. We thought he had food allergies with random hives but tested negative on RAST and skin tests. Then we found histamine intolerance, which has made a lot of sense. Now the question…. how do I figure out what foods are triggering him? There seems to be no rhyme or reason and he is still have occasional hives. (we have been eating low histamine since Jan 1) I am thinking of adding some of the probiotics you speak of to my diet. Any suggestions or information? He obviously is not verbal enough to help with finding offending foods. Hives are the only indicator we can objectively use.
    Also any ideas anyone has for quick ready food would be very appreciated. Toddlers are not so great with waiting while I cook when he’s hungry or needing a snack.

    Thank you so much for any information!

    • bina says

      similar question from me too! any advice for breastfeeding- symptoms in child-eczema, cradlecap, itchy eyes, hyperactivity…..

    • Sue says

      Kerry there’s a whole section in this book dedicated to quick snack foods for histamine intolerance sufferers. http://www.low-histamine.com/book.html The book gives you a basic very strict low histamine diet to stick to for 4 – 6 weeks (or more if you need it ). After your symptoms have gone, you can introduce new foods slowly one by one, waiting between each one to see how the new food affects you. That’s how you know which foods are causing the problems.

  96. Mike says

    Other than a giant comment thread on this blog post, is there a good forum where people chat about histamine intolerance and share experiences? The salicylate folks and sulfur folks have great forums, but I haven’t found one for histamine folk.

    Thanks for any suggestions,

  97. Mike says

    Has anyone found any supplements to be helpful, like copper, vit c, b6, etc.? If so, please share your experience.

    It’s nice to figure out that I appear to be histamine sensitive, but I’d like to know what to do about it!!!


  98. Terri says

    I recently (last summer) began having more and more symptoms of digestion upset and broke out in hives all over my body in the fall. I noticed that when I am under tremendous stress for extended periods of time, like this summer and other occasions, my body produces more congestion and illness. I’m wondering if I don’t lack the enzymes to break down histamine but if stress, which produces histamine, could be causing my problems, leading to too much histamine in my body. If I eat a low histamine diet and continue to work on my anxiety/panic issues, do you think that in time my body will function normally? Can the histamine from stress be that strong as to cause these problems, but not because of lack of the histamine breaking enzyme?

    • Ann says

      Check out mast cell activation disorder as well. Histamine intolerance is just one that sets off the mast cells. Stress seems to be a major contributor. Look for article by Dr. Theoharides and Dr. Cassells as well as Dr. Jonega.

  99. says

    How does one know if they are histamine intolerant? Is the LEAP test for histamine reliable? Is the reaction to histamine rather immediate or is it like other food sensitivities that may not manifest for days or longer?

  100. Cln says

    Could high histamine be a result of methylation mutations? If yes would change in diet even help until you bypass the mutation? Which mutations!

  101. Deborah says

    I have seen several doctor’s since September because of hives/allergic reactions and the symptoms sound exactly like the problems I’m having. Are there any other options other than the food elimination diet?

    • Ward says

      I have been eating pretty much only meat and fat since I am trying to get my gut straightened out (see Digestive Health – Real Food). I have avoided fish and other than that have just been really careful to only eat freshly cooked meat. I also have been taking histDAO with each mean and it seems to be working well. In one week, symptoms are way down.

  102. Sandy T says

    Hi Ward,
    Can you tell me what the name of the antibiotic that you took, that is known to block the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) which degrades histamine in the gut. Thank you!

    • Ward says

      Hi Sandy,

      Keflex (cephalexin). All I know for sure is that several drugs in the cephlasporin family block DAO. I’m guessing cephalexin does also based on my reaction.

      • Ann says

        Hmm. Interesting. I remember being put on that in Jr. High. Was “allergic” to many anti-biotics, but they were okay with me on Keflex.

  103. Cln1 says

    Does anyone know how I can order the histamine intolerance test through Dunwoody labs? I was advised to try a low histamine diet and a DAO suppliment however I am about 10 pounds underweight. I was hospitalized at an eating disorder clinic. I struggled there because I felt I had no appetite or would quickly be full. I don’t have body image issues. I cannot restrict my foods without having a clearer idea that this could be a helpful diet for me. Does anyone know where I could find a meal planner for low histamine?

    • Ann says

      Google “low histamine chef” for food info. She also has interviews from the top people in the field. Listen to the interviews, they’re invaluable. Dr. Cassells, Dr, Theorides, Dr. Joneja are on her site and offer the best info I’ve found.

  104. Bee says

    Taube, what do u eat that doesn’t give u issues? I’m glad u mentioned oxalate….. I feel it’sthe root ccause ofmany issues. what Probiotics helps with oxalate?

    • TaubeB says

      Hi Bee, Sorry I did not respond sooner.
      Only certain foods are high in oxalates.
      Even Dr Oz had a segment this week on green drinks and he recommends avoiding certain vegetables that are high in oxalates such as spinach, chocolate, strawberries, tea , certain nuts if you have kidney stones.
      Another article says to limit vitamin C in excess of the RDA (75 mg/day for female, 90 mg/day for male).
      I had a bad pseudogout attack two yrs ago after taking heavy doses of Vitamin C and rosehips. I got tinnitus at the same time and it is just now starting to come down after eliminating all supplements. I am working with a nutritionist for my gallstones. I also have a very painful right shoulder (frozen shoulder) which started after I was drinking the kale shakes.

      Here is a list of foods by oxalate content

      There is a new probiotic that helps people who have trouble metabolizing oxalates, I think I posted the name earlier but here it is again, prescription only at this point
      Oxalobacter formigenes

      Here is another article that details how oxalates are handled in the body and how to minimize damage
      Please note this sentence: Ascorbate (vitamin C) in the blood can be metabolized to oxalate

      Here is another really great article which opens a pdf

      • Ann says


        I had “frozen shoulder” for 4 years. I turned down surgery, had been going to a PT to no avail. I read that citrus could cause this and stopped consuming anything with citrus. My arm began working again within 3 weeks. It has been functional for 10 months now (I will not add citrus back to my diet). I believe it was a nerve not functioning. See if cutting all citrus (plus the kale for you) eliminates the problem.

  105. Claudia says

    I have SIBO, IBS, Diverticulitis, Acid Reflux, Lupus, and also suspect that I have Leaky Gut and Histamine Intolerance. I’ve tried for years to heal my leaky gut and nothing seems to be working for me. Today I tried Aloe Vera juice, and had sneezing, tight throat, high heart rate. I’ve tried the Gaps, Paleo, Food Combining. I took Xifaxan for the SIBO which seemed to help, but when I started taking probiotics my symptoms got much worse….sore throat, depression, anxiety, severe nasal congestion, joint pain. I’m getting desperate, and would appreciate any suggestions you could offer. Thank you

    • Ann says

      The more foods I cut, the better I feel. And I am med-free (after 40 years of seizure meds). Have you read up on fructose intolerance? I have eliminated almost all fruit, only drink water and decaf coffee (it was hard to cut the tea, which I cut because of the benzene). The more I cut out, the closer I get to the ketogenic diet. Can you get off all meds?

      • Claudia says

        Hi Ann,
        I’m currently on the FODMAP diet, and eat very little fruit….maybe an occasional banana. I’m on some meds….synthyroid, because my thyroid was removed, anti-inflammatories when the pain gets really bad.

        • Ann says

          Hmm. I don’t know the meds or how removal of the thryoid factors in. I see some of the foods you listed below wouldn’t work for me: eggs, fish, lemon (any citrus). I wouldn’t try cod liver oil or Aloe Vera juice. My arm had stopped working in 2009 and when I cut out citrus in 2013 it was back to its old shape in about 3 weeks.

          • Claudia says

            Thanks for the feedback, Ann. I have such a difficult time sticking with any set diet because I’ve lost so much weight, and I just get hungry :))) It seems like the diets I have been on, work for a while, but when I try to go back and eat normally my GI tract rebels, and by eating normally I mean eating organic wholesome foods.

            • Ann says

              I used to always be starving and that stopped when I added green juice (no spinach). It ended my daily 4-7 pm ice cream cravings. I was skinny when I was on meds for seizures. Your weight loss may be caused by the surgery or the meds you take. I think the biggest problem we have is that we believe there is a specific way to eat. Wouldn’t we all get the same illnesses if we were all the same? We’re not and one way of eating may be good for one person and bad for another.

                • Ann says

                  I use a ratio of 4:1. 1/2 c. of 4 different green veggies and 1/2 c. of green apple. Veggies to choose from: celery, kale, collard green, broccoli, arugula, fennel. I start with 1 c. of water in the blender, then add each ingredient. If I need more water, I add it, plus ice.

    • Mary says

      Did you do Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo protocol? How long did you do it?
      Stay away from probiotics until your gut is healed. What else are you trying for healing your gut? Have you given up dairy?

      • Claudia says

        Hi Mary,
        I’m currently on FODMAP diet and food combining. I was on the Paleo, not the Autoimmune Paleo, and that was over a year ago. I stayed on it for 6 months. I eat bone broth, eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, boiled chicken, and fish. I drink almond milk, coconut milk, lemon water. I take cod liver oil…tried glutamine, aloe vera juice…neither agreed. I gave up dairy years ago, except eat some cheese.

    • TaubeB says

      NO ! Dairy, wheat and gluten can contribute HUGELY to histamine release which can cause flushing, red face,etc
      Many people feed small children bowls of mac and cheese for dinner. People laugh about cheese being a food group but it is not a joke. Cheese should be used SPARINGLY as a garnish .
      Here is an exellent article on histamines. Suggests taking quercetin which I have used, which is excellent to inhibit histamine release. Also recommends drinking lots of water and AVOID honey ! I used to drink lots of tea with raw honey and it greatly aggravated by tinnitus. Once I quit the honey, all tea, all coffee, very little dairy and starting drinking lots of water, I found that my sinuses felt much better as well as other problems I had such as general anxiety and sleep issues.

      A good friend of mine went to a famous neurologist for a nerve issues in her neck and arms following a bad accident and he told her that dairy is highly inflammatory.
      He told her to avoid all dairy.

  106. tami says

    I have a yeast allergy and Tachycardia. I have been getting hives. chest back and arm pain (hearts fine) tired, headaches, the dr said my heart rate was high but all my bloodwork came back norma. My whole body also hurts could this be from the allergy??? i watch what i eat to stay away from the yeast but once in awhile something may slip past me esp when eating out

  107. says

    I love your articles and this one is great! I wonder if you know of the healing modality of NeuroModulation Technique, developed by chiropracter Leslie Feinberg? http://www.nmt.md.

    This is a more potent form of allergy treatment that NAET and actually can treat more than just allergies – stress and endocrine disruption, digestive issues, chronic pain and more. It uses the natural healing mechanisms of the body by retraining the body systems to act in a more physiological way.

    You may call me or contact me if you’d like to talk about it and my experiences working with it, both as a patient and practitioner. 541-653-0446 or http://www.HeartFullHealing.com/contact-us.html

  108. Celine says

    Hello, my gastroenterologist says I do not have intestinal malabsorption or inflammation – he says my symptoms might be due to food intolerances and as my face gradually puffier over some days, we wondered about histamine intolerance. I also have my eyes that water and are red most of the time, and sometimes itch.
    How do you diagnose histamine intolerance? He said to go and see an allergy specialist, is that right?
    Thank you for your help!

  109. Rashmi Joshi says

    I am having Urticaria since age 12 now I’m 28. till the age 24 I was not knowing the reason then on skin prick test it was found it’s allergy of citrus fruits. now even after avoiding since 3 and half years i’m getting hives. i was on antihistamine drug till now. whether I m having intolerance to histamine? whether on treated for my immunity i get cured?

  110. MsNicky says

    I’m so glad to see this article. My allergist just ran a bunch of blood test and says I have a histamine problem but didn’t offer any suggestions none other than medication, of course. I take prednisone to help with the itching due to the hives. I wake up with them sometimes and some days I don’t. I need to do the list you have a log in my food with my outbreaks. I am a cancer survivor and I didn’t have this problem until after my cancer treatments. It started like a few months afterwards. I will be following up with my doctor disregards to this article. But I want to thank you, thank you.

  111. says

    Thanks so much for this well-informative article! I am currently researching healing options for my five-year-old son who has many food allergies that continue to get worse each year. He is also recovering from apraxia of speech, eczema, and asthma. I wanted to get your opinion on something. On his past two allergy skin-prick tests, when they do a test prick for “histamine” to see if his body will respond to testing, he has no reaction to it (it does not swell up like a bug bite). Doctors shrug their shoulders at this, but I think it could be a big clue as to what is happening in his body. Would it be a possibility that his body is high in histamine and therefore, when you inject straight histamine into it, it doesn’t react? Almost like 2 positives creating a neutral reaction? They always continue on with the test even though they say it may not work, only to discover he reacts usually to almost everything we test him for. Fish is his worst allergy. The swelling is always so bad it goes outside the grid and reacts all around. Any thoughts you could provide would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  112. Jami says

    Are very high IgE levels associated with Histamine intolerance? If so, what might be considered in the range of having the intolerance? This is the first I’m hearing about this syndrome. I don’t have unusual allergies, according to my allergist, but my IgE levels are pretty high. I’m currently getting Immunotherapy
    treatment (allergy shots) and think I might be barking up the wrong tree. I get hives when wet, constant post nasal drip, asthma (which is new), scalp itching and hair loss, vision issues, low blood pressure, digestive issues, memory problems, all of which I’ve had before the allergy shots. Observing my 2 boys, I’m pretty sure they have some food sensitivities but not clear what yet. I’m pretty healthy avoiding artificial foods and working out often. Back to my question, is there an idea of what IgE levels might be considered in having a histamine intolerance? And does anyone know of a practitioner in Illinois that might be sensitive to these issues? TIA

  113. Ann says

    I am so intrigued by this article. After 1 year on the MS drug Gilenya, I started having panic attacks out of the blue. I’m cool as a cucumber as a person, so I assumed that it was medicine related. I felt insane! Now that I look back- six months ago I gave up a passion -red wine. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it did NOT make me feel good, even just a little glass. I follow a gluten free diet since 2011 and it’s always been fine with me, so my question now becomes….after a good year on this medicine, have things started to change because of buildup of some sort?? I added activia for no reason a few months back, just cause it seemed like a tasty yoghurt. My neurologist wanted to put me on all kinds of meds for anxiety. They even thought I had epilepsy, but three day EEG showed no seizures. I tried Lorazepam for sleep which made everything worse! I have no idea what is happening to me, I just know I’m a bit better when I switched to EVERY OTHER day with the MS drug. BP is lower than my usual hypertensive self. I’m on Losartan as well. I’ve been doing great MS-wise, but man, I do NOT want to relive what felt like psychosis/insomnia for these past two months.

    • Ann says

      I spent 40 years on seizure meds, none ever worked. Go get your histamine and tryptase levels checked. See if you have a mast cell activation problem or histamine intolerance. It’s also not uncommon for an EEG to show nothing. Unless you are having frequent seizures, I don’t feel that the 24/7 side-effects of the anti-seizure meds are worth it. The MDs have you hooked if you’re on a lifetime med (and you need to see them for refills) Save that as a last resort. Try all natural options before the meds. Google low histamine chef’s site for detailed info.

  114. MikeP says

    My wife suffered from cold Urticaria for three years. It would show up a few hours after she ate. Went to 9 Drs.The alerigest told her she was alergic to histimine. That was her only alergy.
    One told her she had no valve in her Stomach and put her on Tabimet. That was a stupid diagnosis but it lead us to a cure. Went to a Dr. that rebuilds Stomach valves. He examined her and said she had a perfectily good valve. but since she was loosing weight while on tagimet he started looking somewhere else. His diagnosis was that her gaul bladder was bad. WHAT!!! We went to a specilist to check it out and sure enough it had sludge in it. We had the gaul bladder removed and the hives went away. No Dr. seems to want to investigate this reaction. But some of you might have the same issue.
    Worth a look with a simple test. She still has an alergy to histimine, but it rarely shows up.

  115. Linda Yarbrough says

    I react to whole grains, any wheat product (sinuses), sesame seeds make me sick as a.dog and I don’t. handle any seeds well. I have to be very careful about how much milk I put in my system or I will throw up. Nuts are.a big problem with my ears. Soy puts all this noise in my ears and so does.tylenol. And I notice every time I eat fish , shrimp etc- my throat will feel a little sore. There are other reactions but I am overwhelmed by my list already! :) I will definitely try a histamine sensitive diet. I have allergic rhinitis. Thank you.

  116. says

    The list of foods to avoid is overwhelming. Different sites list different foods. This list has eggs on it and not coffee. To avoid these food is not realistic in my opinion unless you are very wealthy and have a personal chef to adhere to all these restrictions. I am tryng histamine blocker supplements. But I am at least grateful for the discovery. I believe histamine tolerance is my issue. Too bad these supplements are not cheap.

  117. says

    My Histamine intolerance had become so severe I was extremely limited on what I could eat. It was frightening. I had severe flushing and my heart would race, very scary.

    A Few months ago I was able to lower my Hypothyroid medication (likely thanks to eating paleo and losing weight) and my symptoms are almost non existent. Able to eat bacon again, drink an occasional glass of wine (alcohol was impossible for me to drink before) I am wondering if the histamine reaction is hormone related or even a side effect of the medication at the higher dose…

    • Ann says

      Google the med you’re taking + Histamine intolerance and see what comes up. I found 2 that I had taken for epilepsy on the list and advil and aleve are there too.

  118. says

    Apparently, I am in big trouble!
    I have been so sick for a long time, with terrible debilitating headaches, inflammation, swollen tongue, throat which seems to be narrowing, difficulty swallowing, now my face is breaking out badly.
    I had gone dairy, sugar, and gluten free, mostly, but that didn’t solve the problem.

    I’m very allergic to alcohol, apparently in any form, which I never really consumed much of but it’s become almost life threatening. I need some immediate help.
    I live in Washington state, NW of Seattle.
    Can you please advise?
    I don’t know where to begin today.

    Thank You, Jerez

    • Ann says

      Alex and Jerez,

      Here are the basics. Start reading about mastocytosis, mast cell activation disorder and histamine intolerance. All cause degranulation of mast cells. Masto is a disease which causes production of too many mast cells. Histamine Intolerance covers foods that are high in histamines that cause mast cells to degranulate and MCAD seems to be in between. Google Dr. Jonega for info in Hist., Drs. Cassels, Akin (Boston) and Maitland (NY) for Masto/MCAD. I’m seeing Dr. Maitland for MCAD and Hist.. There are only a few MDs in the states who cover this. Find an MD who will test your levels of tryptase and histamines before changing your diet, so you can compare before and after. The problem with MDs and histamines is that it breaks into 4 categories, H1, H2, H3, H4 which cover dermatology, gastro, allergy and neurology and when we see specialists, we don’t talk about other illnesses and they don’t look outside their field. After 50 years of seeing docs, a GP put it together. The most help I’ve gotten has been from other people with the same problems on websites. Check out the low histamine chef site. Dr, Jonega does an interview there. And BTW if you’re encountering old school docs who don’t believe in “intolerances” v. allergy, walk out. They’re outdated.

  119. Alex says

    I could not figure out why I was still feeling sick sometimes on a paleolithic diet, I’d be fine for a week then what seemed like out of the blue I’d get anxiety and severe dizziness. I’ve noticed champagne, bone broth and kefir to be the worst, also a probiotic I took gave me severe anxiety, I now attribute that to histamine promoting bacteria. I believe my symptoms are worse in the spring and fall, histamine overload? Definitely when I’m dehydrated as well. I’m currently playing around with digestive enzymes for allergies, I’m on day 3 so I’m not quite sure about them yet, although I’ve noticed a decrease in depression. I also have a salicylate intolerance.

    Does anyone have any advice or know of any doctors in the US that can help? I’m so glad ive finally put the pieces together to figure out what’s causing my anxiety and dizziness, but a low salicylate, low histamine, yet nourishing diet seems impossible :(

    I’m considering trying histame so I’ll report back on that later.

  120. Julia says

    I am pretty sure SIBO is the source of my issue, but I have not been to a doctor to confirm. I am thankful for this information.
    My symptoms are a bit different, and I am trying to figure out if histamine intolerance is truly what I am dealing with.
    Recently, I mowed our lawn (my husband usually does it). I felt fine, but then when I was done, my stomach started to feel hard, and I had extreme excess mucus, and had to spit instead of swallow. I didn’t feel any inflammation in my esophogus, it was just my stomach. This lasted for about 20-30 minutes, and I felt mild itching, with no hives, all over. (I have learned to not scratch, because it makes it worse). Tonight, I went to bed, feeling a little bloated, in my lower bowels. I woke up at 3 am, feeling the oncoming symptoms of the excess mucus again, and hard stomach. I read that water helps reduce excess histamine, so I drank a glass of water. Almost immediately, my blood pressure dropped, and I felt like throwing up, and I had cramping in my lower bowels. I never did throw up, because I kept myself calm, but my stomach was hard, and I had the extreme excess mucus again. After 10 minutes, my blood pressure normalized, and I could feel the itch starting, and it spread all over my body. There are no hives or anything, but eyes do get blood shot.
    Anyway, this has happened to me a few times now. I mostly avoid it, by keeping my bowel movements regular, but I have noticed constipation can be a trigger. I have consumed a lot of sugar, and fattening foods this week, and I am thinking I wouldn’t be sitting here tonight, trying to figure this all out, had I stuck to my whole foods diet this week.:( I am not looking for diagnosis, but are my symptoms, classic histamine intolerance symptoms, or do you think there is something else I might need to check into? I have struggled with eczema for the past 10 years now, and an herbalist (that I have done cleanses with) told me my symptoms are from yeast, bacteria, and parasites. Thank you for your imput, and help! Julia

  121. grace says

    Is histamine intolerance related to eczema. The top 8 foods are the same for both conditions. My son has eczema and it is a nightmare trying to work out which foods are causative. It was at its worst at 5 months of age when he was fully breast fed but my diet included yoghurt camembert nuts chocolate and tomatoes.

    • Bina says

      My baby is 7 months. at 2 months she got bad cradlecap. At 4 months eczema. I cut out dairy, and after a skin prick test, egg and wheat too. her skin got a bit better but still flares up. The latest episodes flared up after I’d been eating 1) aubergine (eggplant) 2nd episode: oranges, 3rd: bacon and soy sauce. (admittedly I’m not great at moderation…I must learn portion control!) These seem to tie in with histamine. what is the link with salicylates- can anyone explain simply the relationship? Should I avoid tthem too? also, as a breastfeeing mum, are there ssupplements I could take? I have an app by Baliza called f Food Intolerances which I have just started using: it has a traffic light system of what foods to eat /avoid. I’m surprised that aubergine doesn’t come up red…
      I have had a few memorable tummy aches after overdoing foods that seem to match histamine, (and some migranes/fuzzyvision i don’t recall a food trigger) but otherwise feel ok ish.
      My baby was c-section and I know this has repercussions on gut flora/ bacteria.
      Any suggestions on where to go next, any others with similar experiences to share?

  122. ann says

    Chest pains, anxiety and faster heartbeat sounds like a panic attack. Did they tell you it was something else? I don’t know the official difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks, but my differentiation of my own was being able to cope with them or not being able to and going to the ER. Here’s a good article
    Also look up the low histamine chef. She has interviews with Dr. Joneja, who is an authority on this topic. Read up on Histamine intolerance and mastocytosis.

  123. fran says

    all the symptons described above. It started about 5 or 6 weeks into drinking probitic drinks and the fermented foods. I was ignoring what I was feeling still waking up the next day and continued to have those foods (would eat yogurt only once in a blue moon) by the seventh week symptons were full blown and I went to ER…

  124. fran says

    Hi hope you can answer after about 7 weeks of adding fermented foods and drinking probitic drink I started experience, chest pain, bad reflux, anxiety, faster heartbeat, and at runny nose that then stuffs. I realize this is happening off an on throughout day and especially after I eat, it starts calming down somewhat than picks up again sometimes it feels like even after water. Actually went to Emergency Room with these symptoms a few days ago, they did all heart testing including sono on legs to rule out clots. All were negative. Do you think I built up a histamine reaction and if so when will this subside and what can I do for never. I very rarely had a reaction to food, in fact the only food that ever cause runny nose and stuffy was milk which I gave up. Thank you hoping you can answer

    • Ann says

      Sounds like possible dumping of mast cells due to excess histamine intake. Fermented foods are high in histamines. You added them to your diet, so you did change what you were eating. Sounds like your trip to the ER might have been due to a panic attack (I had done that once and of course they checked the heart and sent me home with nothing). I also had been sent another time from the allergist as my leg started to swell in front of him (once again the ER did nothing but bill me and send me home). BTW, they did the tests in the ER to bill you and cover themselves from lawsuits. If you have to pay the bills, I would avoid the ER in the future. Start googling for low histamine diets to see foods that you can eliminate. The hard ones for me were tea, red wine and tomatoes, but this week will be one year since I’ve gone without fainting or seizing for the 1st time since 1969 and that was do to cutting histamines from my diet. No other changes.

      • fran says

        No panic attack, never had one in my forty years. This was something I never ever felt before and the only thing I could think of was the histmaine reaction. Does the over abundance of histamine go back to normal once the foods that caused it were removed. Thanks

  125. says

    I have a degree in biochemistry and i just wanted to mention the link between raised histamine which causes a drop in blood pressure (causing fatigue and depression) and then the release of adrenaline (to get the blood pressure back up). The adrenaline has the secondary effects of anxiety, poor memory, aggressive tendencies, arrogant behaviour and poor sleep by keeping the heart rate up. Adrenaline and vitamin c are two items that actually can reduce blood histamine.

    • Delahus says

      This is totally what I must be experiencing, because at night, I am awake ALL night long, but yet during the day, about 5 hours after I take my meds, I am sooo sleepy and no energy and cannot stay awake. So I started thinking I should take the zyrtec at night so that I could sleep and STILL no sleep. I am sooo frustrated with this.

      But I have been dealing with sleep problems for the last 9 years, and exhaustion during the day as a result. It would appear that my sleep problems are related to the histamine then.

      I was borderline for high blood pressure years ago but got that under control but have never been known to have low blood pressure that I know of.

      Even if I do not sleep during the day, and am exhausted I still cannot fall asleep, even when I take antihistamines to make me sleep. I just really don’t know what to do about this anymore.

      The supplements I bought are so nasty I cannot stomach them by mixing them in water. I should have gotten the capsules.

      When I have taken vitamin C my face and lips swell up and it makes the hives worse. Probiotics were the same thing, I itched like crazy before I figured it out :(

      • Delahus says

        This makes so much sense since 8 years ago I had to go for heart testing because my pulse was too fast and no one knew why. This was after my high ANA reading but after chronic pain and before FIBRO diagnosis.

        I just came from the health food store and have gotten a digestive enzyme as well as Renew Life Intestinew capsules. I also got some homepathic tablets for the hives that is called Boiron Urtica Urens 30 c in case I have an outbreak. They are under control right now (most days) because I am taking zyrtec in the am and 50 – 75 mg of attarax at night. Even with that I am still having outbreaks of hives and swelling of the face and lips. I am hoping with the supplements to heal my gut and eventually start eating more foods!

        In response to the above poster, this explains why I have had such horrible memory problems and focus problems the last 9 years or so.

  126. Bob says

    I started to have rash around my neck and having dry skin effect after bathing. This have start around Jan. of 2013. I believed that I took the allergy pills for my running nose ( lortadine? ), about 3 time until the running nose stop. Then a month went by, I started to get the dry skin and rash in some part of my body. I don’t know if it is the medicine or the drink that I also started to drink this year that cause it but I have stop drinking it. I use eczema cream to get moisturizing to heal my skin and stop the itch. One odd thing is that I haven’t had a running nose like every year that I normally had. I guess I find another new medicine to try next. This article explained almost to what I am experince. I have no med. so avoiding to the clinic and buy medicine from the local store from learning through the internet.

  127. Delahus says

    Hi Chris,

    I have been reading about histamine intolerance, then stumbled upon the paleo diet, then the autoimmune protocol while researching info for my chronic hives I’ve had for six months. They went away briefly for a time when I went dairy, gluten, wheat, and soy free. During this time I also found I had a bad reaction to eggs and was told to avoid citrus and melons as well as nightshades. I have done this but when I try to add back foods I find I react all over to them and additionally find I am getting hives again and am not sure why, even when I have been eating good. I am now covered in hives from head to toe again and am at a loss of whether it is histamine intolerance or leaky gut. Leaky gut sounds like what I am experiencing due to years of low energy, depression, years of taking NSAIDs for chronic pain and insomnia.

    I have been experiencing symptoms for eight or nine years without knowing they were all related. Lack of energy, chronic sinus infections, digestion issues, IBS, Fibromyalgia, depression. I am on my way to totally eliminating nuts, seeds, potatoes as well as I have been eating a lot of potatoes because I thought they were safe.

    As it is, on the elimination diet I am already pretty restricted but these new things I am showing an intolerance to like bananas, strawberries, eggs, etc, is reducing my safe food list daily. I am eating salad, lettuce, chicken, fruit (not citrus) and beef and veggies like celery, cucumber, asparagus (alot), caulilflower and brocolli and a lot of apples. I learned that apples are tolerated due to the quercitin.

    I am worried with this limited foods I am eating that I will become intolerant to those as well and be in really big trouble. How do I know if this is a histamine intolerance or leaky gut or which foods to avoid? It seems lately that I get hives now and don`t know why…I am getting really confused. I hope you can help me.


    • Mary says

      Delahus, sounds like you need to do a gut-healing protocol because with leaky gut, you will react to foods because the gut is still letting the particles into the bloodstream. You are on a good path but you need to heal your gut.

      • Delahus says

        Hi Mary,

        Thanks for the reply.

        Tuesday I had salad with chicken and lemon on it and the hives got worse within a few hours. I took meds and they got worse again the next day!
        Thursday I had an appt with the allergist and said that there is nothing I can do and of course if I eliminate foods I will get better then react to more??? He didn’t explain why just said its autoimmune and nothing I can do about it except take rx meds. So he gave me another script. :( However I was so bad after that I took the antihistamines (100 mg dose) took care of it.
        Now of course, the hives are gone, I have had lemon and watermelon and NOTHING>
        So I am thinking that while I have hives I react to everything but when they’re gone I’m ok without the worst offenders like wheat/gluten.
        I am starting IntestiNew by Renew Life on Monday and a heavy dose of probiotics. I also got some plain gelatin as well but not sure what to mix it with. I am not sure how much of the IntestiNew to take or for how long?

        • Kip says

          Go to the website of “The Low Histamine Chef”. She did an interview with a dr. who has had in-depth studies on this matter. The interview was posted last week and I was astounded with the wealth of info. she gave.

          • Delahus says

            Hi Kip,

            I did just see this as a matter of fact. Thank you for the info. Here in Canada, there does not seem to be any doctors who are up on the leaky gut syndrome. My allergist told me to eat as normal and there is nothing I could do about it. I did eat something normal, and had an outbreak of hives so bad that lasted for three weeks :( I am now on Zyrtec which I acquired from the states, plus taking an rx antihistamine at night. It is only suppressing the hives and barely. I really wish I could find a functional dr, here in Canada who knew about this, My allergist just dismissed me :(

  128. Rosemary says

    I don’t think I’m sensitive to histamines, but I do have a lot of allergies and take antihistamines daily. Sometimes when I drink wine I notice that it seems that my allergy symptoms return much quicker almost as it the histamines(?) in the wine have counteracted the antihistamine that I have taken. Is that possible? If so, is there a way to test the histamine level in wine before drinking it?

  129. says

    Hi Chris,

    I really enjoy your blog and podcasts. Thank you so much for getting information out to many struggling people. I am on the GAPS Diet (for about 15 months now) and I have seen a tremendous amount of healing. I have struggled with even the smell of homemade fermented foods (I was told to stay away from fermented cabbage due to my Hashimoto’s but have tried other things like fermented carrots, etc.) but nothing is okay with my system. I get sick and a fast heart rate or skipped heart beats when eating or even SMELLING sauerkraut! Lately I have a severe reaction to some 21 day sugar detox coconut flour muffins made with pumpkin, carrots and apple instead of honey sweetened. I had a severe reaction as though I ate gluten for the first time in months! Bloated, dizzy, feeling like I would pass out. I also can’t tolerate any coconut oil or coconut milk but I have had small amounts of the flour without incident so I thought it was okay. Does this look like it could boil down to histamine intolerance? I can’t understand the severe reaction to both the coconut oil (even putting a little on my body causes dizziness and fast heart rate) and the feremented foods, both important elements of a healing diet supposedly. I can handle eggs (as far as I know) and eat pasteured beef often with little problem except when it’s slow cooked. I am so limited already with the GAPS Diet and moving towards the autoimmune protocol, I can figure out where to go from here. I feel stuck. I have a Functional Medicine doctor but he is not sure why I have such trouble with fermented foods and I am even suspecting that the fermented cod liver oil is a culprit. Many of the most healing foods. I have access to raw milk from A2 grass fed cows but haven’t used it based on the GAPS protocol for dairy introduction and because of the fermentation issue, I can’t even start with the yogurt which a sensitivity test has shown sensitivity. I have tested the Array 4 and have no cross-reaction to gluten from dairy. Thank you for any thoughts on the situation. It is so frustrating! (I currently eat salads with olive oil and lemon juice and zucchini with good meat and eggs with either ghee, butter or beef tallow, chicken stock as much as possible, some almonds and in the past some almond flour treats included cocoa and that is pretty much my whole diet right now)

  130. kate says

    Hi Chris,

    After a long time I found out it was tomatoes & strawberries causing my giant hives. Then cranberries. Red things and acidy things. Coincidence?? Back again…is it from a little bit of red wine or is it possible the Emergen-C I’ve been pounding for a cold. The Red or the acid (ascorbic)? I know my stomach does not like acidic foods, but I’m curious as to whether they cause or exacerbate the hives, or do they just contribute to gut disbiosis that then makes me more sensitive to my “red” histamines? Hmmm..

  131. Theodore says

    Hi Chris,

    I have a dilemma with Histamine. The current dilemma as near as I can tell seems mainly to do with a reaction to histamine (a histamine intolerance) and it has come to affect both myself and my 5 year old daughter. We both have hyperpermeable intestinal membranes with 25 +/- food allergies/sensitivities each and autoimmune reactions as a result. She has had temporal seizures and developmental delays, especially with language, and depending on what she eats on any given day she can range in behavior and cognitive function from near normal to ADD, ADHD to borderline PDD. She used to be more solidly PDD, but has made great strides fortunately and is much more healthy now.

    Basically we have both been helped by a Paleo/SCD/GAPS diet for about four years and for the last year have begun to augment our diet with fermented cabbage, pickles, melon and other creative fermentations. Like the diet, these fermented foods also vastly improved our well-being. When I ate them I was much more mentally sharp, had more facile access to long term memory and was amazingly more fluid in conversation than I had ever been in my life, really dramatically so. I’m guessing an important mechanism was not only the probiotics but also the effect of histamine on neurotransmitters, I’m not sure but whatever it was it was very powerful. My daughter’s behavior, social skills, attention and language complexity dramatically improved too. It was really fascinating and we were incredibly hopeful for the future.

    However nine months ago I started to notice urticaria and became very itchy, and then after a few months I began to have strong headaches, intense neck and upper back stiffness, swollen lymph nodes in the back and neck and intense dull pain in my sternum — all the while still experiencing the great neurological benefits that so changed my work and life. All of these effects would increase with the more fermented cabbage I ingested, and likewise would be directly lessened with less.

    My daughter too, after initially doing quite well and really making strides, seemed to acquire a cough and congestion and was more prone to sickness when eating cabbage or anything fermented, and I suspect it also had a hand in triggering her latest temporal seizure, it seemed more than just coincidence?

    When we began she actually became sick with common colds less often and the cabbage seemed to be a protector of sorts…this association was also noticed for me and everyone in my family too, but that somehow changed and took on a new aspect. It no longer seems to prevent these colds, something has developed that is limiting this benefit. She has also developed a severe speech disfluency, a severe stutter that is directly linked to her consumption of fermented cabbage, or more precisely from what seems to be a reaction to the histamine in these foods. I’ve not heard or read anything about this connection with stuttering, which makes me question my observations but after several elimination tests it is absolutely directly related in some way. Her stuttering becomes less when she eats less of these foods and comes back in corresponding intensity to the amount of fermented food eaten — surprisingly we’re really only talking about a max. of an 1/8 cup per day, but it has this big effect.

    The dilemma is if she is not getting these foods then she is also not realizing the other wonderful cognitive benefits from them, so it is a real and important quandary for us. In my situtation it is almost a matter of me being or not being able to do my work at a high level in order to support my family, it’s really this powerful of a situation!

    Because she is following the Paleo/SCD/GAPS diet much of her food is high in histamine which is contributing to the overall load. This is probably why Paleo blogs seem to know more about histamine intolerance and seem to have a higher prevalence of it than others. We are trying to limit some of these high histamine foods but her food is already very limited due to her sensitivities and diet.

    We’ve already gained so much that we believe in some ways “the sky is the limit”, we’ve come to expect a solution, a huge shift from our mainstream experience of masking or no solution. It’s been a very powerful ride and a wonderful awakening the last four years, I for one have lost a debilitating Ankylosing Spondylitis diagnosis, and my daughter a PDD diagnosis….and we know there are still more wonderful doors for us to open.

    Because I and my daughter are similarly afflicted It seems like there is a strong genetic component to the sensitivities and intolerances, I can read her like a book…and it also seems like a solution to this histamine intolerance in particular could simply come down to being able to fully heal the gut or at least greatly reduce the hyperpermeability if possible – something that even with the strictest adherence to the Paleo diet for four years has heretofore seemed unable to heal by itself. I’m keen to hear any thoughts with regards to healing a leaky gut, as well as any other ideas you may have…be they centered on methylation, mitochondria, autoimmunity, epigenetics, or anything else.
    I apologize for the long-winded nature of this, hopefully it will be of some interest to you and please don’t feel that any response has to match it in length. I know you are a very busy individual, any insight of any brevity you can provide from your own experience, research or practice would be greatly appreciated and highly regarded.

    Thanks again for your generous attention, and for providing this wonderful blog!

  132. G.J. says

    Hi Dr. Kessler,
    I ALWAYS get a bad rash on my stomach which con’t to spread down my body when I take probiotics or eat even 1/8 t. cabbage juice w/ a meal. You mentioned in the article that people with histamine issues could take probiotics but not tolerate the fermented foods. Would this still apply to me since I cannot tolerate either?
    I could never understand why I can’t take probiotics if they are produced naturally by the body.

  133. Jeff says


    I usually get headaches at the beginning of spring while the temperatures are still low and the headaches are unlike the normal headaches or migraines.
    There is a lot of pressure on one side of the head including the eyeballs.
    I don’t know if it is related to my diet but Anti-histamine tablets have helped me although nowadays it does not work as well as it used to.
    What do you advise ?

  134. allison says

    Hi Chris,

    Ever since going strict paleo 2 mo ago Ive slowly incorporated new things into my diet. I was on a strict anti-histamine food diet previously. I felt so good and my skin looked great from eliminating processed food (that I wasnt eating alot of to begin with so it wasnt a difficult transition) that I started slowly adding more and more after the first month lemons, limes, sauerkraut, bacon, onions, ginger, garlic powder, brussels sprouts, sausage..things I havent eating in a about two years. In addition, to adding all of these foods I began not only cooking with coconut oil but slowly increasing my intake to 2/3 spoonfuls a day bc I felt like I wasnt getting enough calories from cutting grains and I was losing crucial body fat (despite eating redic portions of meat and veggies that Im not used to) from all of the new muscle from protein intake and working out (not overtraining) 2 days a week. My period became lighter in the last 2 cycles (down to one day a week) I assume from the drop in estrogen from even lower body fat than I had to begin with. That was the first scare, but I thought it might balance out. Two weeks ago I developed an awful outbreak on my neck (only) and is WORSENING daily, I thought it was due to a new hormonal imbalance. I have recently re-introduced more sweet potatoes and squash and root veggies (in the last week) and have avoided coconut oil like the plague in last few days to try to increase body fat and calm skin down. I have also stopped working out which I am upset about bc I was in a good routine again finally and have felt stronger than I have in years. But, now thinking about all of the drastic changes I made to my diet maybe its a histamine reaction or detox reaction and not just a hormonal imbalance acne breakout. It resembles acne and a rash in different parts on both sides under my jaw and down neck. Also, I have been on bcp from 18-32 and never had an issue w my hormones before despite always having very low body fat. Other things, Ive had difficulty sleeping waking up sweating around 2/3am. I truly believe that way of eating has wrecked havoc on me and I want to start eating grains again to fix the imbalance but Im scared of the side effects (the rest of my face is still very clear) of that bc Ive cut them out for 2 mo. Ive never had a gluten intollerance and Im terrified that Ive started something I cant stop. Please Chris, if you read this — I need serious help and dont know where to start.

    • Sandy says

      Hi Alison,
      Sounds like you are having a histamine response. I have the same problem with histamines and still eat a Paleo diet. I just avoid all the histamine food triggers and other triggers as stress, heat and cold and etc.
      I also use a product “Histame” before I eat a meal that helps me not get reactive. But if I do go over my histamine load for the day, Benadryl helps take away the symptoms. Going back to eating grains is not the answer. But we all have to find out what histamine foods and triggers we react to. I belong to a couple of Histamine Intolerance groups on Facebook. The people have been very helpful with questions. We are all learning form each other from all over the world. I hope this helps you! :)

  135. Kieran Hutchison says

    Listen up guys, I’m keeping this short. Im 16 and was diagnosed with ‘solar urticaria’ that’s right, I’m allergic to the sun. I looked for various treatments, cures and diets to cure it and doctors explained how there was no cure. WRONG!! I you have any sort of urticaria it is because of the unbalanced ph level in your body. Look at a programme called BUTEYKO, it is a proved asthma cure but also cures allergies. I carried out this programme along with a strict diet for 4 months and believe it or not it worked. To celebrate I went to Spain with my school in June and enjoyed the good weather and when I returned I went to a dermatology department in the Dundee hospital and they were amazed at my tan but refused to believe it was due to my efforts and more to do with the mysteries of the human body. I’m not a diet extremist, I still eat all the crap in the world but I’d never be able to do that without doing this programme. I urge anyone who reads this to please please look into BUTEYKO breathing. If you have any questions, Direct message me on twitter at (HutchieJunior) or Facebook mail me at (Kieran Hutchison). Never settle for what a doctor or specialist tells you all the time, they’re only human like you and they can be wrong too.

    • Ann says

      I had a sun problem when I was on Tegretol & Neurontin. I guess since I grew up on meds due to seizures, I never asked any questions when I started seeing MDs on my own. I was clueless about side-effects of meds. I am med-free now and am getting healthier as I age, but the biggest changes have come from cutting out high-histamine foods. I no longer faint, I can lift my arm above my shoulder again, no more anxiety attacks, I’m not freezing all the time and I have actually slept through the night a few times. No meds, treatments or recommended surgeries fixed these problems. Low histamine diet did.

  136. says

    I seem to have the opposite, where certain raw foods, like carrots give me a slight tissue swelling and itchiness in the throat. If everything is cooked, I’m fine.

  137. Natalie says

    This might be the answer to years of frustrating symptoms and no answers! Do you recommend the histamine intolerance blood test?

  138. r6 says

    tea? most of them suggests tea to take as anti-histamine. is there a particular kind of tea that shouldn’t and should be taken? I’m trying ginger everyday. I hope I’ll get some result after a week. Right now I’ve been suffering and it’s one of the longest months I’m having hives. Have this since before college and I’m 36 now, mostly attacks during summer, hot.

  139. says

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been experiencing histamine intolerance myself, with my symptoms getting crazy this spring! They have been mild for the past few years, but I can tell that the addition of pollens in the air is pushing my body over the edge. I’ve been cutting out histamine rich foods and seem to be getting better. I am so grateful to have found this site to realize I’m not alone. :)

  140. says

    Thanks for the great article. (also LOVED learning from you about sleep and light during the healthy living summit! Shared your presentation with everyone I could find and they loved it too! Excellent. Thank you, thank you)
    It seems there could be more said about hydration regarding these types of problems: not only is water necessary to good digestion (less transit time in the gut, etc), but a body that is required to constantly ration its “clean” water supply is more likely to overreact to anything. One of the primary functions of histamine is water regulation. When water supply is low, “the troops” are stationed at every corner, so to speak, ALL ready to respond at the slightest signal. Furthermore, interference in communication lines is more likely due to cloudy, poorly transmitting fluids and overworked filtration systems.

    Antihistamine regulation is great in its place; watching what you eat and avoiding (hopefully only for a time if it’s a healthy food) things that are triggers so the body can heal is important; recognizing and addressing thirst is inexpensive, do-able for everyone, but so easy to overlook.
    I know several people who have dramatically decreased seasonal allergy discomfort just by drinking more water. I was never a soda drinker and neither were these friends, but I would think cutting syrupy carbonated drinks and replacing them with plain water would show even greater improvement… actually, being diuretics, colas would be among the biggest culprits in causing an overactive histamine environment, wouldn’t they?

    In my own case, drinking water cleared up several years of constant severe heartburn and (pleasant surprise!) back pain. So… whatever else you do, drink up!

    • says

      Hi Caroline,

      I’ve been doing lots of research and everyone seems in agreement that black, green and mate tea block DAO production – the enzyme that breaks down histamine.

      Some people say coffee is a problem, others say only caffeinated coffee is a problem. I’d stay off all these things for 4-6 weeks and then test them to see.

      Hope this helps,


  141. Laura says

    Chris- any thoughts on taking quercetin for histamine intolerance issues if you don’t know if you have a TH1 or TH2 dominant autoimmune disorder? I have read that quercetin can impact the immune system and this could potentially negatively or positively impact an autoimmune disorder – that is, depending on which type is dominant. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  142. Robert says

    I schooled up on what to eat and not to eat and wow, no brain severe brain fog for almost a week now.
    I still have slight neck hives and rash. I think if I took the meat out it might fade, but no thanks. I would fade away before the rash did.

    Stopped the manuka, seems like alot of sugar. 5 days in and 250 grams of honey later I am waking up at 4:00AM when I should be up at 8. Now foods quercetin with bromelain and HealthForce Nutritionals, Truly Natural Vitamin C are saving mer right now, but what the heck do you do to get out of this?

    It seems I am developing worse pain in the feet, ankles, and hips and loosing sleep from it
    I am wondering if it is gout? What the heck am I doing to cause this? All I can think is flush, flush, flush. 2 gallons of water a day and epsom salt bath at night. If I miss doing this right now then I will be in pain all night, tossing and turning.

    I am trying black cherry, but has anyone looked at the sugar content? Also it is a no no food for HIT, so I am really confused. Cider vinegar does not slow it either. Not eating and drinking about a lake of water seems to be all that works.

    Could not even eat beef or anything with too much animal fat. I would feel great from escaping calorie and nutrient deficit but then I would pee foam and swell. I ate bone broth and felt like I had been poisoned.

    What seems to sustain me (barley) diet wise is to under eat protein (2 8oz. servings of chicken breast). and then very lightly eat 3 servings of salad (red lettuce, radish, carrot, cucumber, green onion, light olive oil), and 1 or 2 yams a day. I am about 15 to 20 pounds, with no body fat change, under the weight I seem to normally hold.

    Anyone know any health practitioners in Seattle experienced with successful treatment of HIT without drugs?

    • Ann says

      The more I read about peoples’ experiences with the low histamine diet and results the more I think about the ketogenic diet, used for people who have seizures. Maybe they’re seizing due to DAO or HNMT enzyme deficiencies and histamine intolerance.

  143. says

    Thanks so much for this article, Chris. It put me on the road to solving nasty chronic eczema which I’ve had for months. I’ve had a couple of setbacks on this diet though, and I’m sure others may have experienced similar. Overripe fruit, for instance, set me back by a week and since excluding all fruit (just to be sure), my eczema has receded again.

    I still seem to get some anxiety but assume this is all part of clearing the histamine overload.

    Would some gut issues (bloating, cramping and general discomfort) be part of the process? Have you had any patients who have experienced some fluctuation of symptoms when starting a low-histamine approach?

  144. says

    Just bought the Paleo Meal Planning tool as it was positioned in the histamine intolerance article as a great tool to use to design a low-histamine diet. When I entered all the parameters (incl no fruit), I still get things like bacon and lemon in every other recipe. Disappointed as this does not delivered what was promised. Magdalena.

  145. Roger Elliott says

    Interesting link Rob, it’s good to read that Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli are “particularly resistant to manuka”. It’s also interesting to read that manuka is not ‘rapidly bactericidal’.

    I tend to take a large teaspoon on an empty stomach last thing at night. When I first started taking it, I got similar symptoms to you, which I put down to die off and which subsided after 4-5 days.

    I am finding at the moment that I am often waking up hot at around 3am and taking around 2 hours to get back to sleep – I am not sure what this is but I am testing increasing the manuka by taking it in the morning as well to see if that helps.

    One experience I had that may be informative is that when I stopped treating H Pylori last time, I had a horrible 4-5 days of serious headaches and fatigue. I assumed this was HP bounceback at the time, but now I am more of the opinion that it is likely to be histamine-producing bacteria bounceback.

    At the time, I had been able to go back to eating a fairly high histamine diet including bone broths and stews. It’s my guess that this, combined with bounceback of the problematic bacteria, was what caused the problems.

    So it seems to me that for myself anyway I may need to continue with at least a maintenance dose of manuka indefinitely until I can do something else to alter the bacterial balance (I’d like to hear more about Chris’s comment on soil-based bacteria probiotics that he mentioned in a recent podcast).

    And regarding the concentrations of manuka, perhaps it would be worth testing a fairly high dose for a few days (say 3-4 teaspoons before bed) to see if that makes a larger impact, returning to maintenance dose thereafter.

    On your other questions – I would guess that it is impossible / potentially undesirable to eradicate the problematic bacteria, and that the aim is more to get other bacterial populations increased to keep them in line. My experience above might give some indication on whether it is OK to cease treatment – in other words, you might get a nasty response to tell you otherwise.

    In line with the info this thread, I’m also taking quercetin, magnesium and vitamin B6 to hopefully enhance the operation of DAO and generally improve my histamine handling. Oh, and a herb call Holy Basil. Interesting discussion – let’s keep it going.

  146. Rob says

    Here is a research thesis on “The Effect of Manuka Honey on Enterobacteria”
    by Lin, Shih-Min (Sam) PhD at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.


    My uneducated assumption is that consistent dosages would have to be taken continuously over a set interval of time and limit recovery of the bacteria. The question being how often and how long before it is completely eradicated, if at all that was even possible? What indications would you have, if any, to subside the approach? Also since bile and pancreatin reduce the effect so significantly (50%) I wonder how a diet would may be optimally programmed around this? Fasted? And what to eat if or when not fasting?

    I started a regimine of Manuka Health +15 this morning 1/2 tsp mixed in warm water every hour since waking at 5:00AM after no food for 12 hours. New reactions occurred following taking the Minuka that were not like I would feel just because I have not eaten. It started with a bad headache in the front of the head then moved into brain fog this was constant until 1:00 PM when I broke out of the approach with a salad (Red Lettuce, Cucumber, 2 apples, Olive Oil, Sea Salt) and Whey Protein shake. I felt slightly better, but still foggy. A die off effect of bacteria (good or bad?), or a toxin of the honey impacting my system in another way?

  147. Roger Elliott says

    HI Rob

    Earlier in the thread I wrote how Histame helped my symptoms. I recently started taking mastic and manuka for H Pylori and got a similar resukt. My guess this is due to the antibacterial effect of the Manuka against histamine producing bacteria. What I dont know is whether Manuka is selective for this type of bacteria or whether it is wiping out a load of good bugs too. Regardless, the effect is welcome!

    • Arabella says

      re getting rid of bad bacteria in the gut which could provoke a histamine response: whatabout safe alternatives such as garlic or GSE grapefruit seed extract – I haven’t seen garlic on any list of best avoided foods, although grapefruit as a citrus fruit might not qualify…

  148. Rob says

    Thanks to the Revolution Health Radio podcast for putting Histamine Intolerance on the radar. I have been suffering intensely for months and just recently began a transition into a low histamine diet to find I am feeling a little better.

    My head is less foggy, ringing in the ears is turned down from 11 to about maybe 4, sleep is better, and the rash on my neck is not as bad. Most of all psychologically I am doing better. I am guessing that if it is HIT that dopamine levels can be drastically effected.

    As for HIT being acquired, I was very bad off with gall stones and leak gut prior to the real onset the intensity of the symptoms that align well with it.

    What I would like to know if eating a low histamine diet and taking supplements (quercetin, DAO enzyme) do anything in the way of resolving the cause or is it just a way to alleviate symptoms?

    If the cause is gut bacteria imbalance then can further healing of the gut help resolve the issue? What should be done for probiotic support to help improve gut health if fermented foods are not allowed?

    Would a product like Minuka Honey be beneficial? I know it is anti-bacterial so would it kill unwanted bacteria inhibiting DAO production (if that is the problem) and not be harmful to good bacteria?

    I have read some studies where this has been effective in killing H-Pylori, but I cannot find them now (darn brain fog).

    Thanks for any helpful answers given!

  149. Jane says

    Can someone tell me how I can stop getting notifications of followup comments by email? I initially checked off that I wanted followup comments sent to my email, now I want to uncheck it, but it does not give me that option. I am looking at a blank box next to “Notify me of followup comments via email” -there is nothing to uncheck.
    Help? Thanks.

      • Fiona Weir says

        Like Jane, I imagine, I don’t want to unsubscribe from Chris Kresser; but I do want to cease getting the interminable emails that keep flooding in on this subject. I can’t see how to do one without the other. Help, please, for her and for me.

        • Tara says

          If you look at the emails you are receiving, at the bottom it says, “TO MANAGE” your subscriptions. You just click on that and it takes you to a page where you can unsub from specific posts. THis will solve your problem and will not unsub you from his entire website.

  150. Judith says

    I just glanced at the Low Histamine Chef website and immediately saw that Holy Basil (Tulsi) is a natural antihistamine. I knew that it reduces excess cortisol but didn’t know this. I took Tulsi for a few months in the past and felt better, but had no idea what it was doing. Still have some, so I’ll try some starting now and see if it helps the itchies.

  151. Judith says

    Tara and Felicia, thanks! This certainly is a complicated subject, and we have to find our individual paths through a maze. Your experience helps. (I’m itching right now and wondering why. Tea? Miso? I have almost quit using miso but have a little to use up so I’ve had some daily for a while. I know it’s not from meat.)

    • Felicia says

      Judith, I am experimenting with tea since reading this post — ie I haven’t had any since the post was published (and stopped spinach and some of the other things on the list from Chris’ link) — while my symptoms got worse before they got better, today is the first day I haven’t had a headache in weeks! We’ll see how it goes going forward, and it really helps to read about everyone’s experience.

  152. Tara says

    I started taking Quercetin the day this post came out in an effort to halt my histamine response to almonds and it seems to have worked. I am taking a complex made by my local health food store that contains Quercetin, Lemon Bioflavonoids, Vitamin C, a small amount of magnesium and Bromelain. I’m very pleased.

    • Felicia says

      That is great news! I too have good results with Quercetin and Bromelain, so am going to keep going with those and see what happens. For some weird reason I ended up with pink eye this week and had to go to urgent care, and when I told the nurse about Quercetin, she had never heard of it. But I swear by it, so glad to hear it’s helpful.

      • Judith says

        Could people let us know which brands of quercetin are working for you? I’m not sure what to try.

        I have a rash on my face that started about 2 or 3 months ago. Have never had anything like this in my life. It is reddish and blotchy, sometimes has small bumps and otherwise is sort of dry and flaky. It is sore at times or itchy, other times doesn’t bother me. But it has spread over most of my face lately. At the same time, I’ve gotten itchier all over, off and on, and the itches sound like HIT to me. How many others have a face rash, and does mine sound similar?

        I’m sure the rash is due to diet. Healing oils don’t seem to help it at all.

        I thought I had alpha-gal allergy to red meat (that was before the face rash started) but now I think it may be HIT. I have to figure out how to determine the cause. Perhaps a very low histamine diet for a while? I haven’t had any red meat for weeks now, but I’m still itching. However, the itching is not the same as when I ate red meat–then I would get very sore, burning itching palms. Now I get itching all over. I wonder if I have both conditions. It’s going to be interesting creating a diet at all.

        • Tara says

          Mine is made by my local health food store so I don’t have a specific brand for you but I can tell you the amounts of each thing in it:
          Quercetin 250mg
          Vit C (As ascorbic acid) 100 mg
          Magnesium (From magnesium carbonate) 15 mg
          Bromelain (from pineapple) 25 mg
          Lemon Bioflavonoids 50 mg
          Directions: Take 1-6 capsules daily between meals.

          I have been taking 6 caps a day, 2 at a time, 9am, 3pm, 9pm. I have no itching even though I continue to eat almond meal daily.
          Best of luck to you.

        • Felicia says

          I have tried Bluebonnet Super Quercetin (and stopped because sometimes Vitamin C aggravates my skin condition), which many people seem to benefit from, Eclectic Institute Nettle/Quercetin
          and Now Quercetin with Bromelain. I like the Now brand best so far because I can take 2 capsules and get 800 mg of Quercetin and 165 mg of Bromelain, and so have been taking 2 capsules 2-3 times a day. The Electic Institute brand has 175 mg of quercetin and 175 mg of nettles in each capsule. Plus the Now brand is more affordable for me than the other two. Hope that helps.

          • Sandy says

            I have been taking quercetin for a long time now. It does nothing for me. But I have found that taking Stinging Nettle capsules and drinking Nettle tea helps. I guess we all respond differently. I am always on the lookout for things to help with HIT. :)

  153. A says

    Thank you so much for this piece. About a month ago, after a period of flus and stress, I began suffering from severe urticaria and symptoms of what seems to be a histamine intolerance (and when I look back, I can see that I had other symptoms for a long time – tightening of the throat, constant sneezing for a few months, heart racing, what felt like conjunctivitis but wasn’t). I am just so grateful to you for writing carefully and thoughtfully about this as I move forward and adjust my life while trying to keep to the low histamine diet. I am wondering if you or any others can comment on exercise – I really miss it and can’t exercise because it is giving me severe hives. Is it all connected? Will I feel better if I am reducing histamines all around? Thank you again.

    • Sandy F says

      I have a problems with exercise. Just started last summer after exercising daily for 6 months. I get angioedema, progressively worse everyday until finaly I ended up in the hospital. I suspect histamine intolerance. I was making spinach, banana and strawberry smoothies every day too. My allergist and GP are both perplexed (allergy tests came back negative). So, I am off to a specialist next week. I am keeping my fingers crossed to find an answer!

      • Sandy says

        Look up angioedema in Wikipedia. They go into detail about what could be causing it. At least you will
        be more prepared with ideas and questions for your specialist. It could be related to histamine or not
        depending on if there is a genetic connection. You could try not drinking that smoothie (loaded with high histamine foods) and see if that helps. The combo of that drink and the exercise could be pushing
        your histamine intolerance over the edge. Good luck with figuring it all out. I know you will. Let us know what you find out. :)

      • Felicia says

        Sandy F,

        I just stopped eating spinach as an experiment since reading this post (was eating it nearly everyday), and it seems like that has really helped, among a few other things (maybe cinnamon, tea, not sure yet). It does seem to be a total load type situation (in terms of histamine) with me, and I do best with not too intense walking and stretching, nothing too strenuous or I get all wheezy. Don’t do well with bananas or strawberries, but blueberries are okay, and maybe raspberries (but I think they are higher histamine). Do you also work with holistic/alternative practitioners?

      • Jamie says

        Exercise produces histamine. I think you should probably go ultra-clean histamine wise, around exercise days if you have this.

  154. Jane says

    This is excellent. My alcohol “allergy” finally makes sense to me as do a number of other symptoms that come and go seemingly without rhyme or reason (pressure hives, pounding heart, indigestion, eczema). But the diet part feels a little overwhelming, especially when symptoms are often mild or nonexistent, and given the foods I already eliminate, and that most of the time, I can eat most of the foods and be fine (but never alcohol). Is there a way to treat this other than by diet, or alongside diet, to make it permanently disappear? Or is it a condition one is going to have for life? (I’m thinking supplement of some kind …) I can’t manage a vegetarian diet when I already don’t eat grains or soy and struggle w/blood sugar issues. My diet is all about protein in the form of meat, fish, eggs.

    • Sandy says

      Diamine Oxidase. It is an enzyme that your body produces to break down histamine.
      You can purchase supplements that contain this enzyme.

  155. says

    Hello Chris,

    I’m a dietitian specialist in DAO deficiency. It’s amazing how this subject increases and how wonderful is to see people improving. Since 2011, when I opened my own office in Barcelona, I visit lots of DAO deficiency cases, with headaches, fibromyalgia, atopic skin, dermatitis, bad digestions, irritable bowl syndrome, etc. and the majority of them get better with 2 capsules of DAO per day and a low histamine diet followed constantly. :)

    Thank you to write this post,

    Adriana Duelo BS RD

    • says

      Hi Adriana

      That’s very interesting to hear – as I mentioned further up I had a great result at first with Histame, but started getting side effects later such as digestive insufficiency (I think the histame interefered with my HCL production). Have you ever had a patient that didn’t get on well with the DAO supplements?



    • Monica says


      Thank you for the response. I do have a lot going on. I’m trying so hard to eat right. I now introduced two meats in my diet. It’s hard because low histamine diet is low protein, but then my lyme dr just found two different yeasts in my gut and I’m being treated for that. For candida I’ve been told low carb and low sugar. I also recently read that environmental allergies will make it worse or “the bucket more full.” We’ll I live under trees I’m highly allergic to and have two digs that I recently found I’m very allergic to as well. Not sure what ti do:( I’ve now gained 15 lbs back-which I needed-but I feel like it was a little too quick. I just got an allergy ige test done and am allergic to almost all fruits and veggies!! Broccoli, cabbage squash lettuce onion tomato mushroom cucumber celery carrots beets avocado all berries all melons apples and bananas. How is this possible?

  156. Fiona Weir says

    Whilst being extremely sorry for those of you who have such awful skin problems, I am lucky to have eventually got rid of teenage acne and have no real problems myself. I’m not sure, in all this lengthy correspondence, whether anyone has mentioned the wearing of different fabrics and the use of washing materials, but I have found that wearing pure silk thermals can make my underarms itch badly. Perhaps
    this is because the silk made me too warm and my antiperspirant wasn’t effective enough? Any comments? My best wishes to those of you who have been looking for solutions to your problems.

  157. says

    I’m just now experimenting with lightening the histamine load, and it does seem to be improving things already…..time will tell. I am so grateful for the information! Has anyone had experiences with using Butterbur for headaches or sinus pressure? I just found out about it and Petadolex for migraines (important to get a safe formula it sounds like), and thought it might be better than using ibuprofen for headaches (only do that when they are severe, as minimal as possible, as I know it’s not that healthy). And has anyone done okay with the Classical Pearls (used with a practitioner) or other formulas based on Chinese medicine that have cinnamon in them if you’re sensitive to histamine? It seems like I am more sensitive to some than others, and am on the Cinnamon Pearls, doing okay if I take a smaller dosage than suggested. Just trying things one at a time to see what happens.

  158. Christine says

    I am 26 weeks pregnant and have been out of my probiotics (biokult) for a month. Almost all of my histamine intolerance symptoms went away a year ago when I started on raw milk and probiotics a year ago, but now i am getting hives to differing degrees almost every day. I follow a loose Weston A. Price style diet, but I never got hives this often before.
    What can I do while pregnant? Eliminating a lot of foods doesn’t seem like a good idea, but I don’t want to give birth with a poorly balanced stomach.

    • Tammy says

      I have tried Bifido Infantis which says it is safe for pregnancy! I am super sensitive so I could not use it everyday and sometimes only once a week. Vitamin Shoppe sells it in the refrigerator. I get hives( from meat B vitamins, wheat, strawberries), Anaphylaxis from grains, nightshades, pollen, latex, severely reactive to ragweed,. Many allergies: molds, pets, salicylates, shellfish, many of the histamine foods, afraid to even try fish right now! Trying organics, freezing food immediately using food before a week goes by, fresh fruit and veggies used as quickly as possible, Colostrum caps, zinc, magnesium glycinate powder, magnesium oil(hypertension from injuries in cervical spinal cord with IH(Severe swelling) and EDS, Fibro, Hashimotos subclinical, and Dysautonomia due to SCI, MCAD with Systemic Anaphylaxis), potassium in foods(Pom, Simply Apple juice, blueberries, cooked peeled apples, and pears, ascorbic acid powder (Vitamin C corn-free) I believe the broth histamine with the chicken may be related to the skin. beef is just very high in B vitamins is my theory. My decline is medication, related so no more meds for me! I also caught the lettuce bacteria infection. Have had some antibiotics this year I used Goat milk and Dannan Plain Full fat yogurt(SCD diet tried when I got run down before) I can no longer use coconut so I love grapeseed oil. I suggest the article on “healing the digestive track” at: wh foods.com but make adaptations to suit your sensitivities) I learned so much from Chris and Low Histamine Chef many Thanks! Corn is in so many things and it may be what keeps many from healing or recovering. Window opened by a family member triggers Anaphylaxis so I wear a mask(N95) outside. Pets may complicate recover for some. White rice even cause ANA. Trying to do the high protein, Love the Nigella Black Seed OIL. I like liver friendly foods. Ordered some pure Quecetan caps. Always have been very sensitive, but have had very productive times before the SCI. Up and mostly down since. I am very positive emotionally but some stressors that I deal with better than most would (In my opinion). Sleep loss from Migraine and fibro is a factor with me. I have used deep breathing and napping to heal and long slow exercise. ANA is making exercise very difficult. They say wait 3-4 hr after you eat to exercise. I am allergic to cellulose confirmed when toured a new house (suspected from many med reactions)severe mast cell reaction throat and down the sternum, ice is my friend!So far just too fatigued! Hope this helps!

  159. sherry says

    @dee I am no expert but it sounds like a HIT respons not a gluten problem, my husband has gluten problems he does not get hives, just my two cents.

    • dee says

      Thanks sherry! Ive done a lot of research and I agree with you. I think I have a histamine intolerance. Trouble is, my doctors wont take it seriously and they scoffed at my ideas of HIT. They say it is idiopathic urticaria and it will eventually go away… could take a day, could take years. I am in the military so I have no other options as far as health care so it is quite depressing. I have adopted a low histamine diet and some DAOSin is coming by mail soon. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any positive results yet.

  160. Dee says

    I’ve dealt with Urticaria for years and the doctors diagnosed it as idiopathic; However, when I adopted the paleo diet about 6 months ago, the hives went away, I was overjoyed, That is, until recently, About 4 weeks ago they came back as strong as ever, I am still adhering to a strict paleo diet with no help and Its the same old deal with the doctors: antihistamines that do not work and prednisone that only masks the problem until I run out. Could this be a histmine intolerance. If I accidentally ran into some gluten that caused this, how long would it take to get out of my system and for the hives to go away?

  161. Janie says

    Wow, I can’t believe I came across this web page! I was diagnosed with Chronic Uticaria 2 1/2 yrs ago. Losts of doctors, nutrionist and lost of money with no results. Now I have some answeres. But recentely I have found about furmentation and how good it is for you. I even started making my own Kambucha tea. Lots of probiotics and now I read its not good. Some days I don’t know if I am coming or going. Eat this don’t eat that, only raw milk, cheese and yogurt don’t eat any of that its not good for you. I will try some of the suggestions above though. Thanks for the article.

  162. Billy Davis says

    Dietary measures are a good way to help stabilize histamine levels in the short run – however, IMO the ultimate goal should be to start to address the over-aroused nervous system (HPA axis,etc.) as well as trigger points (subconscious tensing from arousal) which fuel the process.

    The NIH has biopsied active trigger points in muscle and found inflammatory mediators (substance P), neuropeptides, cytokines, and catecholamines, etc. They can form an electrical network throughout the digestive system and beyond which release these chemicals and create endless hypersensitivities – set off by dietary, environmental and emotional factors.

  163. Katrina says

    Just stumbled upon this and wondering if anyone thinks this could be the reason for a reaction I have lately been having to alcohol-on many, but not all, occasions. When I drink a few sips (it has now happened with red wine, white wine, vodka, champagne, prosecco) I immediately get red and splotchy on my face-the rash is hot, and makes my skin feel tight like a sunburn). It resolves within an hour and happens within a few sips. Seems to happen if I have a drink on an empty stomach more than when there is food in my stomach already, but this is just a theory. On many occasions I have been fine with various types of alcohol, but it has started to happen more and more frequently over the past year so that I never know when it’s going to happen. Not able to pinpoint a certain type of alcohol either. If it were histamines I think it would happen with other foods, too, though. Any advice is welcome as this is a really irritating issue for me…

    • Colleen says

      I have the exact same reaction, as well as sneezing immediately on my first sip of wine…I have so many food allergies, I just thought maybe I was allergic to alcohol/wine as well. Wish I could help, I hope someone has an answer to this, too!

    • Emma says

      It’s quite likely the histamine, but could also be the sulphites in wine that is bothering you. I have had the same reaction to wine and avoid it completely now.

  164. danimal says

    anybody ever try eating raw honeycomb? I looked it up a bit on the webz and some ppl seem to report good stuff with allergies after chewing on some comb

    • Fiona Weir says

      I haven’t tried eating raw honeycome, Danimal, but raw honey out of a jar gives me an instant headache – sad, because Tasmanian Leatherwood (a type of eucalyptus) Honey is very delicious, with more aciditiy than some ‘ordinary’ honeys!

  165. says

    Anyone have time for a read? Hi Chris!

    Thanks so much for your comment on my first effort, the low histamine diamine oxidase support book. It was my attempt to introduce those with histamine intolerance and mastocytosis to a diet healthier than the standard american diet.

    But I’m afraid you’re mistaken in saying that the book’s recipes contain sugar. If you refer to the whole fruits in that book’s recipes, absolutely, I am a firm believer (as is my nutritional role model Dr Fuhrman), that fruit’s phytonutrients are beneficial to the health and a wonderful substitute for processed sugar, in addition to being an excellent source of histamine-lowering vitamin C and quercetin.

    Histamine disorders are so personal, and influenced by so much more than what we ingest, that even the most comprehensive food list could not cure us. This is why a food diary with additional potential trigger listing became my most powerful tool – I basically threw out the food lists and made my own diet (which is what my next few books are based on). But, it would be amazing if you could help spread the word that food is not the only culprit, and that we must be aware of other histamine triggers so that we don’t drive ourselves insane wondering why we react to everything we eat. Heat, cold, stress, vibration, altitude, beauty/bath products, perfume and nail polish are all triggers (readers please visit the Mastocytosis Society website for a full list of triggers). As you know, the very act of digestion itself releases histamine, a fact that many who struggle to understand their adverse reactions to all food, might not be aware of.

    Most who write to me are still struggling with the concept that their nutritional choices affect their histamine issues, and even once they do, are finding it hard to wean themselves off said poisons. While many are happy to tell me that they absolutely will not include the odd highly nutritious, slightly higher histamine ingredient (fresh tomato, red pepper), they feel totally justified in “cheating” with store bought frosting, foods containing high fructose corn syrup, food dyes and pizza (this is just a sample from the hundreds of people I correspond with). It certainly doesn’t help that even the doctors who diagnose and treat histamine disorders like histamine intolerance, mast cell activation and mastocytosis, for the most part do not even acknowledge the role of diet. It’s for that reason I’m truly excited to find someone as highly respected as yourself writing about histamine.

    My newest book (low histamine on the go) was the result of my understanding that there was a need for a book to bridge the gap for those not ready to jump ship from junk food to my personal diet. I’m afraid it seems that even this book was too hardcore for many, and I continue to be flooded with requests for more accessible recipes that can be shared by the whole family. My three upcoming books will feature the antihistamine and anti inflammatory foods I’ve devoted the last two years to researching (this ex-CNN/BBC journalist LOVES research), their effects on histamine intolerance and mastocytosis, as well as my personal diet which is high nutrient, low animal fat, modified paleo, with every bite having either antihistamine or anti inflammatory properties.

    I realise not all my books suit everyone – the idea is to allow those affected by histamine disorders to choose their recipes based on their personal nutritional ideology. I do not dictate, nor discriminate, I try to cater to every (high nutrient) need in order that everyone who desires it, can find a book to help them stop being a victim of their appetite. And I’m living proof that a strict (paleo, modified paleo, whatever, just high nutrient!) diet and attention to non-alimentary triggers works. I’ve gone from unemployed, bed bound with full blown mastocytosis symptoms, to traveling the world at least six months of the year and running two successful businesses, while on no meds at all. I wish everyone the very best of luck in building their own safe food list (one list never fits all!) and in finding the right diet, no matter what it’s called.

    I look forward to your future histamine-related posts!

  166. Chelsea says

    What about medicines with histamine or those that cause histamine release? For example, I just had surgery, and Vicodin (which causes histamine release) and my sinuses are completely swollen shut for days….I’ve been suffering from this for about a year. Ambien did it to me at first. Please let me know!

    • says

      I don’t tolerate most medications (especially in the two classes you mention above) and haven’t for a long time before I even discovered the histamine issue. I avoid them. Most medications are not necessary once one learns how to use natural means of care. I’ve learned many coping techniques and at this point I don’t miss the bulk of meds. I’ve never been able to take any opiates either…since I was a child.

      The histamine issue shined a new light on my intolerance for (most) medications.

  167. Roger Elliott says

    I thought I would add my experiences with Histame (DAO enzyme) in case it helps anyone.

    I find that any level of histamine gives me major gut inflammation and associated symptoms, so I started trying out Histame.

    Rather than taking it as suggested (when eating high histamine foods, because I just don’t), I started using it as a daily supplement.

    The initial results were amazing, with perfect sleep, normalised BMs, great energy and so on. But after about a week of taking 2 caps morning and night, my digestion crashed and I ran out of energy. I assume the digestion problem was because histamine is part of the HCL production cycle in the stomach, and the energy something to do with the adrenals.

    So I waited to recover then tried again with one cap morning and night. Same again. Now I’m down to 1/2 cap every other day, and this seems to be more sustainable. Although the results aren’t as radical, the side effects aren’t as major either (although still present).

    I’m going to drop to a 1/2 cap every 3 days and see if that gives me a positive effect without the downsides. We’ll see what happens.

    • Marsha says

      Are you saying a DOA supplement will reduce your acid production? I’m wondering because I am going to try it in a few days. Also how does it mess with adrenals?

      I hope the lower dose works for you. I was hoping for a magic pill.

      • Roger Elliott says

        HI Marsha – as I said in my comment, I assume the Histame reduced my acid production as I was taking too much of it. I cannot say that is definitely the reason, although normally my digestion is fine. I don’t know how histamine is involved in the adrenal system, just that the fatigue I got was profound and felt like I was seriously lacking adrenal response. This has happened 3 times now. The first time was the worst as it lasted several days. Subsequent times have been one day, and I’m starting to be able to refine my approach with the histame. Now, when my BMs get too perfect, I know it’s time to back off the Histame. Well, you did ask 😉

  168. Mike says

    Histamine vs. Migraine vs. Tension headache . . .

    I get sneezing fits (lasting 5 minutes) from eating several items on the high-histamine list.

    However, I wonder about the relationship & over-lap of tyramine rich foods which are what migraine sufferers frequently are asked to avoid.

    I dramatically reduced my migraine frequency (which I had for 20 years) from 24 per year to about 2 per year.

    However, for the last 2 years I’ve been having “tension headaches” (hate that name). It’s when there’s a crushing vice-grip like pain in the scalp and neck muscles. During these episodes, My eyes get red and painful (which I thought were associated with the histamine stuff).

    Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts on migraines vs. tension headaches vs. histamine reactions?


  169. Colleen says

    After suffering from severe facial acne for the past 2 years and hand eczema for 12, I had an allergy test done-lots of food allergies with the main ones being Dairy, Wheat and Beef. After avoiding them for a year, along with taking probiotics, my acne has disappeared as well as my ezcema. However I have devoloped other itchy areas on my neck and arms, and also still have continual nasal swelling (I can hardly ever smell) along with brain fog and sometimes strange headaches…now after reading this, wondering if it’s histamine. Eventhough some of the foods listed are not said to be some of my allergens, I know I have reactions when I eat them-wine, avocados. Not sure what to eat anymore as there are so many things to avoid with my allergies, I eat a lot of the foods on the histamine foods list! If anyone can identify with this or have recommendations on what they can actually eat and feel good about it, please let me know :)

  170. Trina says

    Would high dose niacin have a particular affect in someone with this problem, or perhaps be useful diagnostically? Just a thought, as the “niacin flush” is due to histamine release

  171. Julia says

    Wow I can’t believe the timing of this article! Thanks so much chris.
    We have been trying to get to the bottom of our 18mo daughters excema, nappy rash and hive reactions which she’s been prone to her whole life. (Despite a paleo pregnancy, being fully breastfed and being slowly introduced to paleo foods). We had just had the idea that histamine might be a problem since we noticed she reacted strongly to avocado, tomatoes and sauerkraut. It’s such a shame we’d been purposefully including lots of fermented foods in her diet!
    A couple of questions-
    Does bone broth/ slow cooked meat contain a lot of histamine?
    Does anyone know if histamine passes through breastmilk?

    • Judith says

      Julia, I’d like to know about bone broth, too. I had a terrible episode of “the itchies” a few weeks ago, and I thought it was due to red meat allergy, which was my theory until I read about HIT. I had had some beef chili with a lot of tomato sauce in it, and I rarely eat beef or tomato. That meal was an unusually large dose of both for me. I had also made a smoothie with a little beef gelatin in it. I had just discovered the therapeutic qualities of gelatin powder, but had been making chicken bone broth for a long time. The reaction was one of the worst I’ve ever had.

      I’d like to know if bone broth from poultry can cause histamine reactions, but I suspect it can. Looking forward to an answer from someone who knows.

      • says

        for those of us with acute sensitivities slow cooking is problematic it seems…histamine increases the longer things cook…and since i’m not able to tolerate meat at all…bone broths are most certainly out too…

        from what I”m gathering once one heals more foods can be eaten…at least on occasion…

        I’ve had to radically alter my diet in the last two months and am finding that I’m much less symptomatic totally vegetarian…wow…it’s a trip to say the least.

        also my blood sugar has totally stabilized and I’ve learned that histamine, when one is sensitive, increases insulin resistance…not surprising since it causes inflammation…

        so that meant once I got my histamine levels down but blood sugar went down too and now I tolerate legumes when before I did not. I actually have the best blood sugar levels I’ve ever had in my life now…

        again, WEIRD. and not what I would have expected prior to this piece of the puzzle.

      • TaubeB says

        Highly suspect the tomato sauce I used to cook with tomato sauce all the time, made homemade tomato sauce, and chili all the time and had terrible time sleeping at night, Nightmares etc..
        I used to have terrible back pains as well. Went to an orthopedic surgeon and one of the clients in the waiting room told me to stay away from nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. Gave us the tomato sauce and my back pain went away..
        Sleeping much better as well without the spices and tomato sauce.
        Also watch out for anything with citric acid in it !

  172. Allison says


    I’m really surprised you made no mention in this article of the methylation cycle and its role in histamine balance, especially since you’ve just brought out a new range of supplements to assist with methylation. Diet and gut health are just two factors affecting histamine production, the methylation cycle is the other main one.

    There isn’t a great deal of information out there in scientific journals so I’m linking to the website of a respected clinical nutritionist from Australia: http://www.nutritional-healing.com.au/content/articles-content.php?heading=Major%20Mental%20Illness%20Biochemical%20Subtypes

    You touched on mental health complications from histamine imbalance, the link above goes in to more detail about that for anyone interested. There are doctors that treat this sort of thing quite regularly with good success. Listings for doctors can be found at the back of Nutrient Power by Bill Walsh: http://www.amazon.com/Nutrient-Power-Heal-Biochemistry-Brain/dp/1620872587

  173. says

    Speaking of quercetin supplements, I’m wondering now about the bromelain in the Super Quercetin or taking bromelain separately since it’s derived from pineapple. Anyone have experiences with sensitivity to it? I may try going back to straight quercetin for a couple weeks and see if there’s a difference.

  174. Sally says

    Thank y!’ I started the 21 day sugar detox two weeks ago and my throat swells up every night and I’m very gassy – I have ibs-c and lactose egg allergies but this is new. The only change I made was eating a lot of coconut oil and saurkraut and have not had any fruit. I thought it was the candida dying off!

  175. Janis says

    I forgot to mention that I was taking Quercetin and it obviously didn’t help me. I still had allergy symptoms, itchy eyes, sneezing, etc. and then the not so lovely hives came along!

  176. Janis says

    Hi Chris,

    Amazing timing for this article to appear in my in box! I recently began a 30 day AIP and on the third day I broke out in hives. I always thought hives were an immediate response as opposed to something that was accumulated. So, that was eye opening! As with all of the other sufferers, limiting or avoiding these foods stinks! I too have been paleo for two years now and thought I healed myself after being a vegetarian for many years. Now it seems like my gut is still not healed. I do not have GERD or anything like that, so I thought all is well. I’m going to have to look into SIBO and Gut Dysbiosis information, which I always avoided since I didn’t think I had any more problems, until the case of the hives came along! In this day and age, aren’t there any tests to check for this? A recent trip to my doctor’s office suggested some allergy testing, but I think they are just going to do some kind of blood test. I know we all want to do what’s right for our bodies so that we don’t end up with inflammation and disease, but sometimes it feels we take one step forward and then two steps back again. Thank you again Chris for the timely information. I’ve found your articles to be the most informative and we really appreciate all that you do for us! I recently have been discussing hives with Paul Jaminet from The Perfect Health Diet and he was quite helpful as well. Others were commenting on recent outbreaks of hives and I found this interesting article as well: http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/04/11/histamine-intolerance/


    • Roger Elliott says

      HI Janis

      Do you have a link to your discussions with Paul Jaminet? I’m trying to gather as much info as possible on this problem, as it is quite an issue for me,


      • Janis says

        Hi Roger,

        Here it is: Janis January 6, 2013 at 9:09 am
        Hi Paul,
        Thank you so much for your reply. I was eating potatoes prior to my AIP, but eliminated them (nightshades) for 30 days. Do you feel that they contribute towards arthritic pain? I also eat plenty of protein at each meal, so my cravings are not that bad, just a habit I think at dinnertime! Ah, those pesky habits! Thank you so much for the information regarding the 5-HTP and melatonin. I had no idea about that. May I ask, what did you think regarding the hives issue? I suppose it could be anything. An allergic reaction or releasing toxins? Our bodies are amazing! Do you recommend CO-Q10 or ubiquinol or are these better attained through food as well. I’m also taking Quercitin and R-Alpha Lipoic Acid and maybe I shouldn’t be taking that either. I ordered your book and like I said before, I’m sure the answers to my questions will be in there! Thank you so much for your help!
        Paul Jaminet January 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm
        Hi Janis,
        Arthritis can have a variety of causes and one of them is food sensitivities or food toxins. It’s possible therefore that in some people potatoes contribute to the disease. However, I’d be surprised if that was a major or common cause.
        The trouble is that all plant foods have toxins, so if you exclude potential contributors, you can quickly get a malnourishing diet. I think it’s worthwhile removing a category for a month to see if you feel better, but if you don’t notice a difference then I would restore those foods.
        Hives I take to indicate a vicious circle of an inflammatory immune response combined with oxidative stress; white blood cells produce reactive oxygen species to destroy threats, but oxidative stress reacts with omega-6 fats in cell membranes to create inflammatory molecules that promote immune activity. So some combination of an immunogenic agent (such as an infection or food sensitivity) and an antioxidant deficiency is usually involved. You can try taking NAC, vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, copper, selenium, and other antioxidants to help. But the key thing is to resolve whatever is underneath.
        CoQ10 is fine to supplement. In people with high oxidative stress it is probably beneficial. Not sure about quercetin and lipoic acid.

        Janis January 21, 2013 at 10:00 am
        Hi Paul,
        Some recents comments have sparked my interest concerning hives and histamine intolerances and found this interesting article: http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/04/11/histamine-intolerance/
        I also submitted a comment to you about a recent case of hives (which I think I can say after reading this article, could have been from fish that I ate) and you were kind enough to explain a reason for this outbreak. After reading this article though, it did mention that NAC may block intestinal DAO. You recently recommended it for me as well as other antioxidants. I believe that I have a histamine intolerance, especially to red wine, which I (used to) love, all of those fermented foods we are supposed to be eating, but upon learning more information about histamine, perhaps I shouldn’t be taking the extra NAC 600 mg. Oh yes, and plus I just started taking MK7, that is fermented. What are your thoughts? Thank you!
        Janis January 22, 2013 at 8:30 am
        Hi Paul,
        As per my question above, I am wondering if I am doing more harm using the NAC, MK7 and fermented foods, which really don’t agree with me any way. Should I continue with these supplements? Thank you for your time.
        Paul Jaminet January 22, 2013 at 8:58 am
        Hi Janis,
        I think dropping the NAC and fermented foods may be good ideas. I’d be reluctant to give up the MK-7 which I believe is safe and important.
        Janis January 22, 2013 at 9:02 am
        Hi Paul,
        Ok, thank you. That’s what I needed to know. I don’t want to make the situation worse. Should I be taking the MK-7 everyday or every other day?
        Paul Jaminet January 22, 2013 at 9:36 am
        Daily is good.
        Janis January 21, 2013 at 10:03 am
        Plus, there was an update on histamines as well if anyone was interested.
        Amy M. January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am
        Thank you Janis,
        I was wondering about the NAC and histamine issue as well.
        I too have a histamine intolerance and so many of the foods that are recommended for paleo (eggs, dark chocolate, wine, yogurt, fermented veggies, bananas, nuts) are off limits. Since paleo eating is restrictive anyway this makes things more complicated. And when you are trying to heal gut infections the fermented foods are supposed to be so important.
        I am playing with digestive enzymes and maybe it will take a while to see the effects. Thanks again for the links!
        Janis January 21, 2013 at 11:25 am
        Hi Amy,
        You are very welcome for the links, I’m glad that I found them as well and that I could pass on the information. I love all of the foods you mentioned and I am too now finding them to be off limits. It’s kind of a rude awakening after all these years to finally to note of what my body doesn’t really like, especially after being a vegetarian for so long as well. (paleo 2 years and for the most part, it’s been better for me) But, knowing that there are people, like you Amy, that are out there, who are facing the same dilemma. Thank you for responding to my comment! I appreciate it.
        Katie Grunhard January 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm
        Hey Janis, Amy,
        I took a food sensitivity test and histamine foods were listed like eggs, pineapple, yeast, mushroom. So I think I have some of those issues too. do probiotics from a pill have histamine issues. I seem to crave these histamine foods but also have issues with eating them.
        Amy M. January 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm
        Hello Katie,
        Someone else on this site suggested this link: http://lowhistaminechef.com/
        and there is a link on the page that addresses the histamine and probiotics issue. Very interesting. Apparently some strains increase and others decrease histamine levels. I am currently experimenting with yogurts (24 hour homemade).

        Hope some of that helps!

  177. Fred says

    Thanks for this article Chris! You helped me solve yet another piece of the puzzle!

    I have a question, though. I usually watch what I eat during the week(no wheat, sugar, alcohol), and then eat allot more liberally on the weekends(social gatherings)

    I get allot of the symptoms from histamine foods described(anxiety, reflux) I thought it was only glutton, and it does play a role, but, I always noticed it happening when I would revert back to eating fish, meats, vege’s fruits during the week, but, only in the beginning part of the week. The fish I ate was canned salmon, and I also pre cooked my meats for the week.

    My question is, could having a lowered calorie intake, and a raised level of omega 3’s negate the negative effect of histamines or increase your own tolerance?

  178. says

    This article is so interesting! I have read Joneja’s article before.

    I have extremely high total IgE levels and have for the past 4 years since my CFS has been severe, would this equate to high histamine levels?

    This may explain why my reactions to ‘healthy’ foods occur and can be quite random in nature. I cannot tolerate cacao, having too much leaves me in bed with heart palpitation for hours. Possibly the stimulants as well. I have recently taken a break from fermented foods as I instinctively felt they were not agreeing with me. I do not have dairy, alcohol, citrus fruits or night shades but have plenty of fish (fresh, canned), berries, olives, spinach, spices, egg yolks, ACV and leftover lamb. Joneja mentions pumpkin and avocado too which I have all the time! Could be worth an experiment!

  179. Kelly says

    Hi — I’ve got a daughter who does have food allergies, but we’re strict about keeping them out of her diet. However…she does get diarrhea when she has a lot of orange juice, oranges or vinegar. Not all the time, but only when she really consumes a lot of it. Could the the diarrhea be part of the gastrointestinal symptoms?


  180. says

    Chris, what about food sensitivities from other chemicals found in a paleo-style diet, like vasoactive amines in general (there are plenty besides histamine including tyramine, serotonin, tryptamine, dopamine), salicylates, glutamates, sulfites, glykoalkaloids, and saponins just to name a few? Thyroid health may also be involved in addition to gut health from what I’ve read.

    • Soposie says

      I’m VERY interested in this point as well. I’m very appreciative of Chris’s posts about histamine lately. I’ve been primal/paleo for 3 years, and tried Whole30 twice, and the GI and scalp symptoms plus fatigue and brain fog have not improved. I suspect sulfites, but I can’t tease out whether it’s sulfites, or histamines, or both, or other things as well. And the idea of doing paleo plus the avoid nightshades immune protocol plus avoid all histamines/sulfites/tyramines, etc. is just overwhelming. Some kind of general intro road map to understanding this, and the relation to gut health and thyroid health. I’m pretty sure the problem is not SIBO, but does one still prioritize gut health first? (GAPS?) Thyroid? My allergist has me on daily antihistamines and ranitidine, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea in the long term… even though it does control the GI anaphylaxis-type symptoms. Sigh, confusion… although I’m very happy to see more information about this subject. Thanks!

  181. says

    Good article. I’m one of the folks who turned to a paleo approach to eating only to find it unearthed my histamine intolerance within just a few months. I’m still paleo, but a low histamine version. I’ve never considered paleo a big effort/pain, but let me tell you, it’s hard not to complain about histamine restrictions! No comparison – would be a dream to simply eat a ‘traditional’ (if I could put it that way) paleo diet.

    • Sarah says

      looks like I’m headed that way too Sarah. Just going paleo isn’t enough for me as I’m still covered in hives.

    • Sarah says

      a few have mentioned that their dao levels are fine and histamine levels and another marker was fine…HOW are you finding this info out!? is it a blood test that can be ordered? from what I can see its only research facilities that routinely do this?

      • says

        I’m with you there Sarah, I don’t know at this point how to go about finding this out. Any doctor I’ve mentioned HIT to (albeit few as I’m rarely with doctors) doesn’t appear to know anything about it – even the naturopath I was seeing at one point. I need to research this more. But at this point, I find my situation manageable so I’m not sure how far I’ll go down that road.

        • Judith says

          Did you folks find out how to test for DAO and histamine levels?

          Sarah Brown, what does a low histamine Paleo diet look like? Since meat and fish are problematic, I can’t figure that out. but I’d like to try it.

    • says

      I’m trying out Bluebonnet Super Quercetin, recommended by a friend — it has quercetin, bromelain and vitamin c in it. Don’t know if it is available in Canada. I’ve also taken plain quercetin and bromelain separately.

      • says

        Thought I would add that I went back to plain quercetin, finding it’s easier to tolerate than the Super Quercetin, in case that’s helpful for anyone.

  182. Sarah says

    I wasn’t saying that by eating fruits and veggies of any kind that I am better off than eating meat. I understand that there are lots of fruits and veggies I will need to limit as well. Just that there is high histamine levels in meat unless you eat it the second it’s slaughtered. And you can’t eat leftover meats. As you can imagine on a Paleo diet and being a full time working mom…I don’t have all the time in the world to be making food.

    I’m just wondering how a Paleo style eating plan can work with Histamine avoidance. I certainly don’t want to be vegetarian. I adore animal protein! I am going to be seriously missing bacon. UGH.

    I have an app for my iphone that gives a list of foods that contain histamine which is really good. It’s called Food Intolerances or if you search in itunes for histamine it should come up with it.

    • Etta says

      Hi, I’m not sure that’s exactly right about fresh meat. If you can cook the meat without browning it (eg. boil), it might be possible to freeze meals ahead for a short time. There are tips on lowering amines in your meat if you look up the failsafe diet – maybe start with the wordpress site on minimising amines. I think chicken is the easiest, as long as you don’t eat the skin. good luck, Etta.