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Got Allergies? Your Microbes Could Be Responsible


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Every mucosal surface on your body is colonized by a distinct group of microbes, including your gut, lungs, and nasal passages. Far from causing harm, these microbes “teach” your immune system to tolerate dietary proteins and other harmless allergens in the environment. Read on to learn how disruption of your resident microbes might be associated with your allergies, and learn what steps you can take to alleviate your worst symptoms.

allergies and microbes
Are you suffering from seasonal allergies? A disruption of your microbes could be to blame. istock.com/razyph

You may have noticed that microbes have been a key focus of my blog lately. The microbiota is a rapidly growing field of research, and disruption of the microbiota, or “dysbiosis,” has been implicated in many chronic diseases (1). The ability to manipulate the microbiota using dietary and lifestyle interventions makes it a prime target for a functional approach to disease treatment.

Recently, I have written on the dangers of antibiotic use in children and also discussed the relationship between gut microbes and the thyroid. Here, I tackle the connection of gut, lung, and airway microbes to allergic diseases.

The Hygiene Hypothesis

As the microbiota has gained more attention in the media, you may have heard the term “hygiene hypothesis.” Originally proposed in the late 1980s to explain the decreased prevalence of chronic hay fever in larger families (2), the modern hygiene hypothesis has evolved to suggest that our insistence on cleanliness and lack of exposure to environmental microbes in the developed world deprives our bodies of immune stimulation, disrupting normal immune development and thus increasing the risk for allergic disease.

Several epidemiological studies have provided support for the hygiene hypothesis. People who own indoor pets have been shown to have lower incidence of allergic disease (3). Children who grow up on farms (4,5) or those that consume raw, unpasteurized milk (6) are also less likely to have allergies. On the other hand, early-life environmental influences that are known to disrupt the microbiota increase the risk for allergic disease. Antibiotic use (7), cesarean birth (8), and formula feeding (9) are all associated with increased susceptibility to asthma and allergies later in life.

Recent advancements in sequencing technology have allowed researchers to compare the gut microbiotas of allergic and nonallergic children. Children with allergies tended to have increased abundance of Staphylococcus, Clostridium, and Escherichia species, while numbers of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are significantly reduced (10,11) compared to healthy children.

Taken together, these studies suggest that exposure to a diverse array of microbes early in life effectively “trains” our immune system, teaching it which substances in the environment are harmful (pathogenic microbes) and which are harmless (friendly microbes, dietary proteins, and many environmental allergens). We’ll see next that the mucosal environment in the gut and lungs is crucial to this “education” of the immune system.

Food Allergies: All Roads Lead Back to the Gut

Food allergy has become an epidemic in our modern world. Whereas a food allergy was considered an anomaly just a few decades ago, today one in 13 children in the United States suffers from a life-threatening anaphylactic food allergy (12). And this figure does not include those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, or any other type of food intolerance. As the major site of dietary absorption and the home to 80 percent of your body’s immune cells, it makes sense that the gut is a key player in the pathology of food allergies.

Your gut is lined with millions of epithelial cells that are responsible for maintaining a barrier between your gut contents (the intestinal lumen) and your bloodstream. In a healthy gut, small nutrients are absorbed, but large dietary proteins are unable to cross this barrier and enter the bloodstream. However, when the intestinal barrier becomes compromised (i.e., “leaky gut” syndrome), these large dietary proteins are able to enter the blood, stimulate an immune response, and produce symptoms characteristic of various allergic diseases (13).

So how does this relate to microbes? Studies in mice have shown that disrupting the gut microbiome with antibiotics or a low-fiber diet is capable of causing this increased barrier permeability. On the other hand, certain strains of bacteria in the genus Clostridia are able to protect against intestinal permeability to food allergens (14). Researchers are looking into developing probiotics containing these strains as a potential treatment for food allergies.

Allergies of the Airway: Leaky Lungs?

The incidence of allergic airway diseases has also risen dramatically in recent decades, with allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis now affecting around 20.3 million Americans and 50 million Americans, respectively (15,16). Many more people suffer from less severe allergies of the airway and sinuses. For quite a while, it was thought that the lungs were completely sterile (17). Only recently, with the development of culture-independent techniques, has a distinct community of microbes in the lungs been identified.

Interestingly, the epithelium of the gut is structurally very similar to the lung endothelium, and inflammation tends to happen in both areas in people with allergic airway diseases. While not many studies have assessed lung permeability, it seems plausible that the mechanisms that lead to leaky gut may also cause “leaky lungs.” Like in the gut, microbial communities likely have a major impact on the integrity of the lung tissue.

Unlike the gut, however, reduced diversity seems to be associated with better health. Asthmatics have been shown to have a greater diversity of microbes in their lungs compared to healthy individuals (18). They have increased levels of Proteobacteria and reduced levels of Bacteroides species compared to healthy controls (19). Though characterization of the bacteria, viruses, and archaea that make up the “lung microbiota” is still in its infancy, it represents an important frontier in the field of allergic airway diseases.

The Histamine Connection

Histamine is an extremely important compound in the body. It acts as a neurotransmitter and regulates production of stomach acid, blood vessel permeability, and contraction of skeletal muscle (20). It’s also a major component of the immune response and thus a key mediator in allergic reactions.

While we all need a certain amount of histamine for proper physiological function, some people have a condition called histamine intolerance, in which they produce excess histamine and/or have a deficiency in diamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks it down.

Many microbes that reside in the human gut are capable of producing histamine.  These microbes produce an enzyme called histidine decarboxylase, which converts the histidine present in various proteins into histamine. The more of these microbes you have, and the more histidine you consume, the higher the amount of histamine that can be produced in your gut. Histamine can be then be absorbed by epithelial cells and traffic to various sites of the body, exacerbating allergic symptoms (21).

Histidine decarboxylase-producing bacteria are also present in the guts of animals like fish. When a fish dies, its gut bacteria start to breakdown the histidine in its tissue proteins and produce histamine. This is why many people with histamine intolerance can only tolerate fish that is immediately processed and frozen.

Some have speculated that individuals with SIBO may have an overgrowth of histamine-producing bacteria, such as Lactobacilli, in their small intestine. Although Lactobacilli are an important genus of beneficial bacteria in the gut, they are also major producers of histamine and can cause problems when overrepresented in the small intestine. Restoring a healthy balance of gut flora is the best long-term solution to resolving a histamine issue.

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7 Steps You Can Take to Improve Allergy Symptoms

So does this mean that I can throw away my EpiPen or inhaler? Not exactly. Severe allergic reactions are not something to mess with, and most people with anaphylaxis will always have some degree of sensitivity. However, there are several things you can do to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

  1. Take probiotics or eat fermented foods
    Fermented foods and probiotics can help bring the microbiota and your immune system back into balance. If you are sensitive to histamine, try histamine-degrading strains such as Bifidobacteria infantis and Lactobacillus plantarum.
  2. Eat plenty of fermentable fiber
    Complex fibers like plantains, cassava, or sweet potatoes are fermented by gut bacteria, resulting in the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, acetate, and propionate that regulate the immune system. Butyrate has been shown to reduce intestinal permeability to dietary antigens in a mouse model of food allergy and induce regulatory T cells, which suppress immune responses. In mice, propionate has been shown to reduce allergic airway disease (22).
  3. Get tested for sensitivities and avoid inflammatory foods
    Continuing to eat foods you are sensitive to can cause low-grade inflammation and impair gut healing. Look into getting a Cyrex panel to identify sensitivities. For more information, check out my podcast episode on allergy testing. Consider keeping some activated charcoal on hand for those times that you accidentally eat something you are sensitive to. Many people find that it can provide quick and safe relief for food allergies.
  4. Try a low-histamine diet
    A low-histamine diet can often reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Foods high in histamine include fermented foods, aged cheese, citrus fruits, fish, shellfish, avocados, spinach, cocoa, and leftover meat, to name a few. Consider taking quercetin (a natural antihistamine) or diamine oxidase (the enzyme responsible for breakdown of histamine) in supplement form, and use antihistamine herbs like thyme and holy basil in cooking. Check out my article on histamine intolerance for more information.
  5. Get tested/treated for SIBO or intestinal pathogens
    SIBO and parasites are both common, but often overlooked, causes of allergies. SIBO is also a common cause of histamine intolerance.
  6. Try local raw honey for seasonal allergies
    Raw honey contains both beneficial bacteria and trace amounts of pollen picked up by the bees from local plants. Consuming raw honey produced in your area can help to “educate” your immune system to tolerate these local pollens. A randomized controlled pilot trial published in 2011 showed that allergic patients who consumed birch pollen honey had 60 percent reduced allergy symptoms and twice as many asymptomatic days during birch pollen season (23).
  7. Take further steps to heal your gut

Many people find that just switching to a nutrient-dense diet can significantly improve allergy symptoms.

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Join the conversation

  1. Allergy testing a decade ago revealed that I was allergic to every item tested except for ragweed (ironically enough). Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and an air purifier in my bedroom were very helpful. Starting a Paelo diet about 3 years ago really helped with allergy symptoms and I now no longer need the acupuncture, herbs and bedroom air purifier. However, last year hives developed on my face that I have self-diagnosed as histamine sensitivity. Cutting back on histamine food has even further eliminated nagging allergy symptoms (inflamed sinuses and ear canals) along with the hives, plus I feel great. Next is SIBO testing. I grew up on a farm, was breast fed but did have antibiotics as a child for an ear infection (formerly an ongoing issue for me pre-Paleo).

  2. Hello, something in your suggestions is not consistent: in 1. You advice to take probiotics or fermented foods then in 4. You suggest to avoid high histamine foods among which fermented foods???
    To my knowledge, everything has to do with the amount of things you have to take in order to keep a balanced amount of the good bacteria in the guts. The gradual exposition to bad bacteria would help teach the body how to get rid of that particular bacteria not all bad bacteria. Too much probiotics might trigger the same symptoms than bad bacteria. Too much of something is bad enough! If someone has no vitamin defficiency and decides to take supplements he triggers imbalance in his systems and possible intoxication. So I think the same applies to probiotics. Nevertheless, other factors contribute to autoimmune problems: vitamin defficiency, stress and sedentary life.

  3. Thank you for such articles. They always create new insights on health and how we can take more proactive steps in our personal health care. I think it is also very important to learn ‘to listen’ to your body when incorporating new dietary measures. I say this because we are all different and react in different ways after taking regular diet or dietary supplements.

    Chris, there are those people who over-react to insect or other stings. Some even get anaphylaxis from this. Could this also be linked to gut issues or does it follow a completely different pathophysiology? Have you covered this subject in past articles?

  4. I am very surprised that many of the articles I read about that mention leaky gut and its causes, don’t mention the one I find most critical and that’s Helicobacter Pylori. I started having food allergies 20 years ago and they progressed into severe Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Hashimotos, and ElectroHypersensitivity to wireless frequencies. My detox pathways were barely working and I was becoming more and more sensitive to environmental toxins. Recently after hearing a talk by Dr Amy Yasko on the hidden symptoms of H.Pylori, I began researching it and had to demand a test from my Doctor who didn’t believe I had it as I didn’t actually have the most common symptoms of heartburn and stomach pain. The test was positive and I had extreme levels of Urease which suggested I’d had this bug almost my whole life (55 years). This bug is present in 75% of the population and is contagious through saliva. Most people don’t know they have it but it still does the same thing in the body. It drills holes in the intestinal lining, causing ulceration and permeability, which then allows food particles into the bloodstream causing an allergic reaction. Its a very resistant bug to most methods of treatment and has a high reocurrence of reinfestation, possibly due to its contagious capacity or low level reproduction of the bacteria that are not completely eradicated. Levels under 200 are considered a negative result but can mean the bacteria is still reproducing. Medically, most Doctors are unaware of the dangers this bacteria can have and the endless onslaught of symptoms it can present. Dr Amy Yasko has very in-depth videos on Vimeo that explain more about it. I encourage everyone to do their own research into this bug as I think it is the leading cause of gut permeability and food allergies. H.Pylori is also classified as a class 1 carcinogen. If left untreated, this bacteria causes Gastric Cancer.

      • Hi Marie,

        The most common test used is the breath test. Its quite accurate.

        • Good to know, a lot of information online says stool test. I had two that came back negative and just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I had thought about blood test.

  5. I only started getting food allergies AFTER taking milk kefir. I read on here and many other Paleo sites that we need more probiotics, so I obtained some kefir grains and began drinking one small glass a day. Within 3 weeks I was gassy, bloated, full after 1 bite, and running to the toilet every time I ate. SIBO? I stopped kefir, took peppermint pills, did everything natural to try and stop the diarrhea… nothing worked. For a month it continued. I resorted to antibiotics which killed it. Then I developed food allergies and breathing problems/mucus. My issues started with probiotics, I’m now loathe to add them back in (scared!) I follow an autoimmune paleo diet that is extremely limited… and take HCL/licorice/coconut and colostrum powder (the only dairy I’ll touch since kefir!) Hoping to heal my leaky gut that I think the SIBO caused. Not working with a practitioner (due to my geography) so dealing with this on my own, researching and following articles like this even though that was what got me into this trouble! I wish I’d never touched kefir! The couple of times I’ve tried kombucha I’ve had instant bloating and gassy reactions with constipation. Not good. I’m scared to try anything else. I figure as long as I’m eating clean and having a movement every day I’m good. I’ve no idea what else I can do or try. Have I treated the SIBO? Who knows. I clearly have some gut issues going on mostly, i think, because i was never beastfed. 🙁

    • Hi Lucy,
      It sounds as though you may have a Candida overgrowth that produces all the symptoms of bloating and diarrhoea. I’ve been making and drinking milk Kefir for a few years now and I know there are cannibalistic Candida probiotics contained in the Kefir. This strain of probiotic actually digests Candida Albican that can be the cause of a lot of issues with bloating, diarrhoea, leaky gut etc. You may have experienced a die off while drinking the Kefir. If you don’t feel safe trying it again long term, it might be wise to look at treating Candida with other means such as Pau d’Arco (in tea or supplement form) or Caprylic Acid.

    • I have had a long history of constant congestion. Not to bore you with all the details, the bottom line is that I eliminated fermented foods, probiotics, kombucha and other high histamine foods and feel miraculously better. This was after totally cleaning up my diet and only eating real food. I also am afraid to take probiotics. I have made note of the strains that Chris and others recommend for histamine intolerance. I need to do more research. For now I am grateful to be on the right track. I hope the same for you.

      • I read somewhere that a very low carb diet can stimulate histamine intolerance. I’m not sure why. But I suspect this may have been the case with me. I was eating very low carb because I thought the carbs were aggravating my congestion. I now eat good carbs including spelt bread that has only 3 or 4 ingredients.

    • Hey Lucy, it’s so difficult trying to figure this all out on your own isn’t it. Unfortunately it takes so much longer & you’ll end up making more mistakes. I’m in the same situation so I totally get it.

      I had a major histamine flare up last year & couldn’t figure out why. I looked into the whole histame intolerance thing a bit more & was surprised to read how high fermented foods are on the scale. I cut out kefir & other fermented foods. I started taking Quercetin & anti-histamine probiotic pills instead and my symptoms haven’t flared up as badly since. I don’t think the fermented foods were necessarily the cause for me but it it all adds up. It could just mean that your not in that place where your ready for fermented foods yet.

    • I’d be interested in your take on this comment Chris – since it resonates with me. Never seemed to have any problems with dairy in the past – then started making kefir and gut issues exploded. Seem to have problems with all dairy since then (was doing Gaps for a couple of years). I have cautiously reintroduced goat kefir – just consuming once every few days, and seem to handle that, though I can wake with glugged up eyes the day after sometimes.

  6. Are there other histamine degrading probiotics beyond Bifidobacteria infantis and Lactobacillus plantarum? Does all other lactobacillus increase histamine levels? Any specific brand of probiotics that are successfully recommended for histamine intolerance?

    As a person that deals with histamine intolerance I find that quercetin along with a low histamine lifestyle helps tremendously. During seasonal changes it can still be a challenge. Probiotics are one of the things that helped make the biggest difference initially several years ago with histamine issues. That was long before we were talking about SIBO, leaky gut, histamine, etc.

    Great article.

    • I have seen 2 other strains of bacteria suggested for histamine intolerance. They are Bifidiobacteriulm longum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. I have not tried either one.

  7. Another natural anti-histamine herb that has done wonders for my sesonal allergy symptoms is stinging nettle. A strong cup of nettle tea in the morning and I am almost symptom-free for a good part of the day. Occasionally, on hogh pollen days, I’ll have another cup later in the day. After a couple of weeks of drinking the infusions, my allergies seem to be finished early, whereas before my seasonal allergies would last for 2 months. I really can’t recommend it enough.

    This year I also am trying the local honey remedy in hope of not having symptoms at all, even without the nettle tea, but I won’t know if it works until the fall when my allergies usually kick in.

  8. I have to restrict my diet to low histamine food ..so the best alternative is to eat freshly cooked food(warm) any food eaten cold gives me issues. If i eat a freshly opened packet of chips no problem and if i eat it next day i have an issue. If if eat fresh fruit no issues but if l cut and eat later again Issue.

    Wonder if it is the mold or histamine or it is the same. I can’t tolerate any fermented food even if it has good probiotics.

  9. What are you thoughts on Rosacea? Can it be connected to leaky-gut? I started experiencing symptoms in my early 30’s, a few years ago, and when I avoid triggers that I learned cause it, I have no symptoms.

    However, if I consume caffeine, alcohol, citric acid, cocoa, and various spicy foods, the symptoms come back with a vengeance.

    I also have common IBS symptoms, but don’t think that those are related to Rosacea. So I am talking about two different issues, but maybe they both originate from the same area – a leaky gut…

    Any thoughts that you, or others on here, could share about this would be very much welcome.

  10. Chris, Thank you for this post!

    I have tried low histamine diets but can’t tell if it helps. I have always been confused about whether to eat fermented foods or avoid them due to high histamines. Do you have any recommendations on where to find those probiotic strains?

    I eat paleo/aip most of the time but still have rhinitis, sneezing, runny nose, constantly, although other previous health issues are much improved. I have tried Xclear nasal spray and Nasalcrom with little results. The only thing that seems to help is the steroid sprays, but i would prefer not to use them.

    • Your symptoms sound just like mine! I was eating paleo also and symptoms improved. However, I think extremely low carb consumption stimulated the histamine issue. I eliminated fermented foods, spinach, avocado (I was consuming all on a regular basis). I felt relief within one day. Other supposedly high histamine foods don’t bother me. I can eat nuts and seeds but stay away from citrus fruits. I now have reintroduced some bread/pasta, though in small amounts because they still make me gain weight.

  11. Hi Chris,

    Great to finally get some insight into
    Allergies, I’ve suffered with inflammation to my nasal cavity causing problems with a nasal drip causing constant clearing of the throat.

    I really struggle with itching of the legs. Usually it occurs on a night and when it comes on my legs come out in lumps, it’s only little lumps but the itching gets to the point where I’m scratching as its the only relief and I almost bleed. I use anti histamine but find they make me feel really drowsy.

    Any insights into what maybe the cause/cure?


  12. I have had asthma for 40+ years. I started eating a traditional diet 13 years ago and then went on GAPS 3 years ago. I was treated for H.Pylori (not with antibiotics) and have tested negative for SIBO. Yet after all this I still have asthma. It greatly improved after starting GAPS but it wasn’t till I took fermented foods out as well as left over meats that I got a lot better. Clearly there’s a histamine connection but it’s frustrating as I thought all the ferments would be good for gut healing. I have no symptoms of gut dysbiosis but all the research claims allergies and asthma are linked to a leaky gut so now In trying to figure out how to heal my gut without ferments. Even bone broth is very high in histamine. I’m trying Prescript Assist, bitters, gelatin and cannabis oil which has been proven to help heal a leaky gut. High CBD oil has helped greatly to improve my lungs and my friends seasonal allergies disappeared after he took it for several months. Hoping all of this this will help.

    • Tracey, please see my comment above on Magnesium being a natural antihistamine!

    • You can find an answer at the Institute of Technology web site by listening to an interview conducted by Jeffrey Smith, its founder. Jeffrey Smith is the individual who has warned us about the dangers of GMOs. The interview is available in transcript form also. I, too, have digestive issues and histamine intolerance and I have improved as a result of what I learned from this interview. I apologize for being vague. Best of luck!

    • Hi Tracey,

      Dr Hulda Clarke has had great results with healing Asthma by treating the lungs for the Ascaris worm, a tiny worm that lives and reproduces in the lungs. Anti parasitic treatment may help.

  13. This doesn’t surprise me.

    The problem with a few of the tips is that they will NOT work for everybody. A lot of my clients have trouble with raw fermented food and increased fiber. It depends on WHICH gut bacteria are missing, and the individual’s overall microbiome. There are more types of bacteria in our guts than we have so far researched: there is no one size fits all approach to the infinite guts out there!

  14. I am so grateful for this post. I don’t have allergies — possibly because I grew up on a farm and spent my professional life digging in other people’s cow pastures as an archaeologist. But my poor 17 year old doggie, Roscoe has severe histamine and immune problems. So thank you for the probiotic strains that would relate to histamine. Im still searching for fiber and prebiotics that would be appropriate for dogs. Pumpkin, sweet potato?

    • Sproutpeople.org has a variety of sprouts for people as well as their pets. Sprouts are far healthier than the full grown veggies.

    • Gloria, Whenever my Rupert,my Labbie (Labs will eat ANYTHING!)ate something which disagreed w/him, my vet would say “Pumpkin”.
      And it DID quiet and sooth his stomach.So you are on the right track!
      Good luck!Roscoe is doing great to be 17! I envy you!

  15. I really was surprised to see that magnesium deficiency was not covered in this article. Magnesium, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book the Magnesium Miracle, is “an excellent treatment for asthma because it is a bronchodialtor and an antihistamine, naturally reducing histamine levels in the body.” She goes on to say that drugs used to treat asthma are also magnesium wasters! Just thought I’d share for those who suffer with histamine issues.

  16. Dr. Kresser, my problems seem to be mostly in my upper gut. Primarily in the area of my solar plexus. This is however, an area none of my Drs. will discuss, unfortunately. I know all health, good or bad, begins in the gut. Sadly, I am a very compulsive person and too often my own worst enemy when it comes to good health. Knowledge gives me alot hope and helps me to at least sustain. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and just how smart are you anyway? Listening to you is like listening to a real Dr. for the first time. I thank God our paths crossed.

  17. Hi Chris, great insight as usual. Though it seems there’s much we still don’t know about why specific people have worse allergies than others.

    I’m a generally healthy person, but have had seasonal and certain food allergies all my life (tree nuts, some fruit skins). I was breastfed as a baby and grew up with dogs. I eliminated pathogens from my gut with the help of Dr. Nett in your clinic, and have a healthy amount of good gut bacteria. I can’t remember the last time I took antibiotics. I eat lots of probiotic and prebiotic foods, and generally I eat a modified paleo diet with little sugar. I even have a great allergist in Berkeley and we did 4 years of immunotherapy (shots), which did reduce my allergic sensitivity to most allergens.

    Yet seasonal allergies still persist! Is it possible certain people are just predisposed to allergies and are just “born that way?” Curious what you think. Thanks!

    • I think genetics is a factor in everything. I never had allergies (that I knew of) until I was about 24, when I got out of the Navy and started to develop seasonal allergies.

      Low carb/paleo has helped, but even better is intermittent fasting (IF). IF helps a lot, for reasons I don’t understand. For instance, I started developing allergies when I got sick this spring (whole family got stomach bug), and I was eating daily. When I was able to eat more normally, I started IF again, and my allergies went away. IF for me means not eating breakfast except every once in a while, and doing longer fasts (no bfast/lunch or not eating at all one day) twice per week. Both last year and this year, IF helped with seasonal spring allergies.

      This year, I have been adding resistant starch and probiotics (mainly fermented foods but also some pills lately). I did this to try to correct some irritable bowl type symptoms. Those symptoms are almost gone, but I’m trying to ensure they’re gone.

      By the way, I thought that sweet potatoes had no resistant starch in them? I’ve taken to eating potatoes sometimes (cooked then cooled or raw) to increase my resistant starch.

      • Interesting insight, Bob! I do IF but not drastically or all that often (aside from the usual 9pm to 9am IF). I haven’t really thought about if it’s helped my allergies, but next time I’ll make a note to remember.

        My personally theory that there’s still so much we don’t know about what lives in the gut and what could be pathogenic. Perhaps there’s still something dysbiotic in my biome that hasn’t even been identified yet. Who knows?

  18. I don’t know???? I’ve always had bad allergies (hay fever, asthma, etc). It’s been that way all my life. My allergist used to give me a lung inflammation test every time I visited him (semi-annually). He would always say that my lungs were inflamed. Once I stopped eating carbs and sugar all my allergy symptoms went away. When I visited my allergist he verified that my lung inflammation had greatly decreased once I stopped eating carbs and sugar. I had been on an inhaler for years but now I don’t need it because of my change in diet. I eat 86 percent dark chocolate every day. I eat NO fiber foods, only Citrucel. I can eat fish, cocao and avocados with no problem.

    What this articles failed to address is that Ketosis may be the answer to many people’s problem (NOT EVERYONE)!!!! All allergies are exacerbated by inflammation. Sugar and carbs (which the body turns into sugar) cause inflammation in the human body. If you don’t eat any sugar or any carbs (no more than 30 carbs a day) you go into Ketosis. When in Ketosis your body produces Ketones which have been medically proven to reduce inflammation. It’s natures way of naturally fighting allergies. Without carbs and sugar your body naturally produces chemicals that fight the inflammation (which aggravates allergy symptoms). I have been pretty much allergy free for over two years now because I don’t eat enough sugar or carbs to fuel the inflammation. I still sneeze if certain pollen is in the air but I don’t get the inflammation and days of suffering. My diverticulitis has also went away. I don’t know if it’s because of the ketones or the lack of sugar (inflammation).

    I would be willing to bet $100 that the microbes talked about in this statement:

    “Many microbes that reside in the human gut are capable of producing histamine. These microbes produce an enzyme called histidine decarboxylase, which converts the histidine present in various proteins into histamine.”

    Can not survive in the presence of Ketones and/or in an environment lacking in carbs/sugar!!!!!!!!!!! I know for a fact that many things that can live in the human body can not survive without carbs/sugar…for example “cancer”!!!

    I take NO probiotics!!


    • Hi Treblig,

      Do you have any experience with xylitol (sourced from US birch, NOT corn-based) as a sweetener? Maple Syrup? Honey?

    • Thank you for giving the caveat that the no carb/no sugar diet is not for everyone. Many people are very reluctant to admit that there is no one size fits all diet. I used to be one of them. I was super low carb for three years (never no carb for more than a week at a time). I felt great for about a year, but after that my immune function tanked, and certain hormonal systems went crazy (google hyperprolactinemia). My husband is a carrier for mono, we had been married for years and I’d never contracted it. Suddenly I had it, and then six months later I had a relapse. I also had this weird fungus develop on my hand. I am a nutritionist, and so I was baffled as to what that thing was feeding on, because I was *so* careful about what I ate. Over a years time, I tried nearly everything to get rid of it, and it never cleared. During this time, I was delving into some information for a client, and I found that some people’s bodies interpret a low carb diet to be a starvation situation. I added well prepared carbs back into my diet, and a month later the hand fungus spontaneously cleared. Three months later my immune system was entirely back on track, and a few hormonal imbalances that I’d had cleared up. I had also gained a bunch of weight being low carb (crazy on a low carb diet, right?) and lost a bunch of muscle mass. I haven’t lost the weight entirely, but my muscle mass is steadily improving. I feel confident that as my body recovers from what it took to be starvation, that will rectify itself in time. I agree that ketosis may be a useful tool for some, but it was nearly the death of me. I feel so much better now!

      • I totally agree that low/no carb is for NOT for everyone but everyone who removes carbs and sugar from their diet will go into Ketosis!! Although it is not recommended for some diabetics. I happen to have a robust immune system, the last time I got a cold was 20 years ago. My wife will come down with the flu or a cold and can eat off her plate and not get sick. She says that I’m an alien..LOL!! I have no idea what a no/lo card diet will do to someone with a compromised immune system. That’s why I said (NOT EVERYONE). I stay on the lo carb no sugar diet to keep my diverticulitis in check, if I eat one large piece of cake I’ll be in pain the next day, it’s pretty simple really.
        On another note, did you know that Tea Tree Oil kills many fungi?? I had a toe nail fungus for more than 10 years and used all the EXPENSIVE medication the doctor gave me but nothing worked. Then I read about Tea Tree Oil (very cheap) so I decided to try it. It took 8 months of daily application but it killed the fungus completely and it hasn’t returned (been three years now). I wonder if the oil would have helped your hand??


        • Yes, Tea Tree oil is just one of the many, many things that I tried that was not efficacious. Interestingly, my immune system was very robust until I embarked on my low carb diet. A low carb diet is something I will still recommend to some clients, but I am much more careful with using it as a tool than I was before. Evidence is on the rise (anecdotal) that this kind of diet can even dramatically reduce fertility (I work almost exclusively with individuals and couples experiencing fertility problems, who want to try addressing them with diet before trying more invasive methods). I have seen women who stopped menstruating while on a low carbohydrate diet, who saw the complete reversal of their symptoms one they resumed carbs. You just have to put the clues together for your own body.

          Glad you feel so well on this diet! It is the answer for some, that is true. Diverticulitis is not something to be messed with, bless your heart.

      • Your experience sounds a lot like mine. I was practically zero carb (GAPS diet Intro phase for way too long) for 5 months and though my SIBO cleared up, I developed hormonal problems, insomnia and a rash on my inner forearms. (I too had hyperprolactinemia but it pre-dated my GAPS diet by a couple years. I suspect it was due to stress.)

        After reading Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet blog, I added white rice to my diet. I felt so much better nearly immediately. Constipation cleared up, rash disappeared (I suspect it was fungal, as I developed thrush around the same time as the rash) and sleep improved. Jaminet talks about how fungi can thrive not just on sugar but also ketones. So the typical advice to go very low carb to treat candida is misguided and potentially harmful.

        Just wanted to chime in that less is not always more when it comes to carb intake, especially for women and the stressed out.

        • Thanks so much for that missing piece, Lucy. I’ll be doing some research into that.

  19. I eat most of the foods that you have listed on your low histamine diet, including avocados, which I eat daily. My stomach feels perfectly fine after I eat these foods. Should I still consider (which I feel reluctant to do) consider a low histamine diet?