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

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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, heartburn and GERD, 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.

835 Comments

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      • Do you think supplementing Quercetin long term is a safe option? Some think it may lead to kidney damage. I’m up to 1mg a day, sometimes more when I’m drinking kefir, and it’s a godsend for my symptoms.

  1. If I suspect this issue to be the cause of my headaches how long after elminating these things do the symptoms decrease?
    thanks!

  2. Great article.

    I thought I was having issues with high-histamine foods last summer causing migraines. But, when I stopped nursing my daughter, the migraines went away. Have you seen anything or have experience with female hormone cycles interacting with histamine intolerance? Specifically, low estrogen while breastfeeding?

    -Lindsay

    • Lindsey,

      I wanted to comment on the female hormone connection you brought up. There are many websites/blogs where people have made the connection between hormonal inbalances and histamine. What you described about nursing is what many women have described on these sites. Menopause, getting off birth control, ect. are other connections between histamine intolerance and hormones. Google hormones and histamine and you’ll find MANY sufferers. It’s not always the gut.

  3. On the meal plan generator example, potatos and peppers were excluded. I have not seen these on any list of foods to exclude on a low histamine diet. Are potatos and peppers allowed on a low histamine diet?

    This article could not have come at a better time for me–thanks!

    • Elyse, I’m confused about this as well. Many sites say bell peppers and potatoes are okay, but now I’m wondering if all nightshades should be out since eggplant, tomato, and tobacco all aggravate histamine response in the body. Does anyone know more about this?

      • If you are watching your amine intake alone you should be able to tolerate the nightshades okay.

        If you notice a reaction to bell pepper you may need to examine foods which are high in salicylates for the source of your sensitivity. Salicylate sensitivity manifests in similar ways to amine sensitivity.

        A need to reduce or avoid Salicylates unfortunately eliminates all of the REST of the fun and interesting foods from your diet if you’re dealing with amine issues.

  4. Does anyone have muscle cramping associated with histamine intolerance?

    When I eat high histamine foods, I get classic histamine symptoms (sneezing fits, red eyes, eyeballs hurt).

    However, I’m also having a problem with muscle cramping, tension headaches (muscles in scalp contracting) and I think (but not sure), it’s also related to histamines. Perhaps I have two separate problems. I’ve been trying hard to figure out if the muscles are related or not to the histamines.

    Thanks for any thoughts,
    Mike

  5. Doesn’t histamine increase stomach acid levels? If low stomach acid is the predominant cause of acid reflux, why would too much histamine cause acid reflux when it’s increasing stomach acid levels?

  6. I’m confused about the difference between a ‘histamine supplement’ and antihistamine medication. As a singer I try to avoid the latter as I have never been prescribed one that doesn’t dry my throat. I’m very underweight and, what with avoiding gluten, am finding it very difficult to know what to eat without my gut or my head suffering! Sadly my GP seems to know very little about diet: once she recommended me to have ‘a little salami sandwich and a small glass of wine’ as my elevenses (she’s Greek, by the way). The last time I saw her she said she knew I ate a healthy diet (I don’t know how) and just told me to eat more.

  7. Wow. This would seem to explain a lot. I’ve had migraines and unexplained hives all my life, really unpredictable reactions to any kind of alcohol (like 2 glasses of wine can land me in the hospital), and I break out in a sweaty flush upon consuming any type of vinegar product. I love Kombucha but it gives me spots on my tongue (along with citrus and tons of other things) The fermented cod liver oil pills gave me migraine two times I tried them, almost immediately. I couldnt’ figure out why, when everyone was recommending them from paleo sites! So confusing!

    I’ve been doing the GAPS diet and working on dysbiosys and making good headway, but as part of that diet I’ve been eating fermented foods and fermented raw dairy left and right. Maybe I’m fixing my gut despite adding the extra histamine, because my migraines have diminished by a lot. I’m going to take this into consideration though, and try to limit histamine as much as possible. I do okay on raw milk and raw colostrum, maybe those will be enough to continue to heal my gut without all the ferments. Learn something new every day.

    • Me too, I cannot drink wine at all. I started drinking it a few years ago and started waking up really depressed, like I had the blues. My face gets red and I feel flushed.

      I am surprised this forum does not mention salicylates and oxalates. I was drinking lots of tea with raw honey, big bowls of spicey tomato sauce, lots of herbs. I found out that I am very sensitive to salicylates which accumulate in the body. I have had sensitivities my whole life but much worse lately. Since I started eating healthier: lots of dark green leafy salads, vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine, fresh tomato sauce I feel much worse. I am seeing a nutritionalist now who told me to get off all honey, all tomatoes, cheese, she said no dairy. Dark green leafy vegetables are also very high in oxalates, which can be brutal on your body.

      Oxalates is another topic that our readers should be aware of. I started making kale smoothies with green apples and a few strawberries last summer and I started getting all kinds of joint pain. I found lots of other people on the internet with the same complaints – – due to oxalates. If you are very low in a particular beneficial bacteria in your body, you cannot process oxalates. There is a new probiotic being sold under prescription that helps with oxalates.

      • I blanch my vegetables. I boil them, then simmer for 7-10 minutes (I have a crock pot that does this). I then put the veggies in a ice bath or run very cold water to stop the cooking and keep the nutrients. I do this for kale, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini. It works for me. Also, I either cook the vegetables afterwards the way I want or freeze them. yes, the vegetables can be mushy.

  8. I think anyone with digestive/skin/allergic issues should start with mono diet or diet with foods that are least reactive and add other foods slowly. I was advised by my ayurvedic doctor to consume these things freely to start with:

    Well cooked fresh rice,
    chicken,
    carrots, green beans, courgettes, squashes. mung beans.

    Also many herbs and foods change their personality and behavior with their form, processing- example ginger is inflammatory and should not be consumed with IBS/IBD? issues where as dry ginger powder is medicine.

    • Isn’t ginger anti-inflammatory? This is the first I’ve heard fresh ginger is inflammatory.

      • unless you’re allergic to ginger (which is possible) it’s ANTI-inflammatory…

        I don’t think that guy knows what he’s talking about. I use fresh ginger because I seem to have issues with dried products…that guy seems to be suggesting the powder is better than fresh…that only powdered ginger is medicine (that’s just totally counter intuitive is you take a whole foods approach!)

        don’t sweat it…if you’ve found ginger helpful keep eating it…

  9. of note…I do not get classic allergy symptoms most of the time in spite of having a very intense histamine intolerance. I have had one heavy intense bout with hives…but in general don’t have any classic symptoms associated with histamine (stuffy nose, seasonal allergies, itching etc)

    I just discovered this issue and for me it’s huge. I can’t even eat meat unless it’s freshly slaughtered and cooked or frozen because it will put me over threshold. So eating paleo is a bit challenging right now. I’m experimenting with some legumes doused with lots of ghee. I can’t eat most oils and fats now either, but I’m okay with ghee. Olive oil and coconut oil are more problematic and animal fats I’m not sure about but since I can’t eat meats I’m not including them at this time. I’m in process. I would just eat legumes and be done with paleo because I feel so much better if I didn’t have a blood sugar issue that also needs to be addressed. I can’t eat a lot of vegetable proteins and stay healthy. I’ve known this for a long time.

    I discovered that Nigella Sativa seeds, a natural antihistamine, really helps tone down the histamine. In researching the seeds I found that they also help balance blood sugar so they may help me if I need to eat legumes once a day or something…

    because of the threshold dynamic with histamine I just have to figure out how to eat enough meat to keep my blood sugar happy while cutting down my histamine enough to keep the rest of my body happy and healing…

    I wrote about my early adventures in this on my blog here: http://beyondmeds.com/2013/01/07/histamine-intolerance/

    anyone who has ever taken psychiatric drugs might find it helpful.

    • Where do you get Nigella sativa, and how do you use the seeds? it would be good to have a natural antihistamine handy. I don’t like Benadryl or similar products.

      I don’t know if I have this condition; I thought I had alpha-gal allergy (allergy to a carbohydrate that is in red meat) and just discovered it recently. About 10 years ago, I had several episodes of intense, burning itching and general malaise. The itching would start in the morning and last for hours, and my hands and feet were bright red and painfully itchy–it hurt to touch anything at times. Homeopathic Apis sometimes helped a little; drinking a lot of water fast sometimes helped. But nothing helped all the time. Then it went away mysteriously.

      The burning and itching reoccurred a few weeks ago when I had a lot of beef chili (without beans). I put in too much tomato sauce, and stubbornly ate it all anyway. I rarely eat tomato so this was an unusually large dose, plus a lot of beef that I normally eat only once or twice a year. It will be hard to figure out which sensitivity I have. I tested my alpha-gal theory by eating small amounts of bacon, and I did react to 4 oz in one day; one or two ounces didn’t seem to cause a reaction. But that could have been from histamine intolerance, not red meat allergy.

      I am itchy often,and the itches travel around from one spot to another. I have only had hives once, when I had the beef/tomato chili recently. There was one hive on my thigh. But the burning and itching in that episode was intense, and I felt sick for three days. I eat a lot of eggs, and some of the other likely triggers for this condition: yogurt and aged cheeses, tea every morning, and cocoa occasionally. Really not sure what to eliminate to test out which allergy/intolerance I have. I suspect I do have some sort of dysbiosis and have had for many years. Was going to do the GAPS diet but now I am afraid to try that since it includes red meat and fermented veggies.

      How long does it usually take for the reaction to occur with this condition? Alpha-gal reaction is delayed, usually 4 to 8 hours after eating red meat. Mine has been more like 10 or 12 hours.

      • you can get them at health food stores most likely. I got them through Frontier (the spice company)…I have a friend who gets stuff from them whole sale online.

        I imagine you can buy them directly that way too.

        Make sure it’s Nigella Sativa…they’re called many things Black Cumin, Black Caraway and other things too, but they are neither cumin or caraway…so whatever they’re being called you have to make sure that they are, indeed, Nigella Sativa…

        I don’t use Nigella Sativa so that I can eat high histamine foods…I just use it as part of an over-all strategy which includes cutting out as many histamine foods as possible.

        • Thanks for the info. do you use Nigella sativa daily, or just at certain times when you need the effect? How do you use it specifically?

          I am also caught between eating meat and going Paleo, vs. avoiding most meats. Whether my reaction is from histamine or alpha-gal, I am only eating chicken and eggs for animal protein right now, and I may have to try giving them up for a while to see if I have a histamine problem. But I have blood sugar issues, too–I get hypoglycemic easily if I eat a high carb diet. Fats help, but I still do much better with meat and low-carb veggies. This is quite a quandary.

          • Judith,
            I’m still experimenting…but at the moment I’m taking them at certain times…I can’t say how I’ll end up taking them in the long run…

            You know what was interesting? My blood sugar went up when I first started adding legumes…but it’s been so clear that meat and most animal products in general were raising my histamine I finally made the leap and I’ve stopped eating meat (and yeah, I’m a hard-core paleo girl)…

            well, after several days, MY BLOOD SUGAR STABILIZED and now it’s lower and more stable than when I was eating animal protein. I continue to eat lentils but I’m not eating other legumes as they were raising blood sugar for a while…I will try them again since I’ve had this big stabilization. I have a friend who found that when she got the histamine levels down her blood sugar stabilized too..odd connection it seemed to me…but here we go…bodies are odd.

            So I’m eating lentils (as many varieties as I can find) and some seeds…(hemp, pumpkin so far) Will add more later.

            The only animal product I’m currently eating is ghee. I make my own. I’m allergic to milk otherwise…but ghee has no milk solids and I do okay with it.

            • Monica, the blood sugar reduction from cutting out animal protein is amazing. Quite the opposite of what we would expect. I’ve been moving toward Paleo or GAPs so this subject is a shock for me, too.

              I’m finding this information both fascinating and frustrating! I spent a while last night googling on Nigella sativa, and if you have any good links I’d love to see them. I’m going to order some and use them in small amounts to see what effect they have. They sound like an interesting spice, in any case. I did find that the seeds can help control blood sugar, so I’m wondering if they have contributed to the lowering of yours.

              I usually avoid doctors, so I have to figure out how to diagnose my itching episodes–are they alpha-gal red meat allergy, or are they histamine intolerance? I’ve cut out red meat and haven’t had any more major episodes, but I am slightly itchy all the time lately (she wrote, as she sipped her morning tea). I’m still eating butter and a little yogurt, and some people with the alpha-gal allergy can’t tolerate dairy.

              I had hives from chocolate when I was a little kid, and had to avoid it for a few years, and may have reacted to strawberries for a while back then, so maybe it’s been histamine all along. I probably have to do a very strict elimination diet to decide what is going on, cutting out both alpha-gal sources and histamine sources too. This is going to be challenging.

              In any case, I found Nigella sativa for a very good price at Nuts.com, FYI.

              Thank you for sharing your experience!

              • Judith,
                you’re very welcome…this is how I learn…by networking!

                No, the nigella sativa is not what is helping with the blood sugar as I cut them out when I had a couple of bad days…just didn’t know what was up…you need to take 2 grams of the seed a day for blood sugar control according to a study I found and I am not eating nearly that much now either.

                I didn’t find any great info on Nigella Sativa in general…it was kind of scattered bits and pieces from all over, but this website was useful: http://theblessedseed.blogspot.com/

                and also this is the blood sugar study I found: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675032

                • Monica, it would be great to have an update on what you can eat and how you are doing with blood sugar and reducing histamine. I haven’t done anything to change my diet so far except that I haven’t eaten any meat for a week or two, and have cut out eggs for about a week. I’m eating mostly grains and legumes, and it doesn’t feel very good! My brain fog makes it hard to absorb all this information and make a plan. But I think I will either try some DAO as a sort of diagnostic technique–if it reduces itching, then I probably have high histamine–or nettles tea and Nigella sativa added to food daily as antihistamines.

                  What I need is a list of foods that are usually OK for people with HIT.

                • oh…Judith…I have been keeping notes on the process and I do intend to do an update…several people have asked since I wrote my post on histamine on my blog…I’ve simply been feeling overwhelmed…I will however notify you here when I finally get it posted…

                  I’ll try to get to it really soon. I should say it’s still very much a work in progress which is probably why the post has not been written and every time I think about putting all the bits together in writing I shirk…

                • Oh Monica, I don’t mean to put pressure on you to report to us! Do it when it is appropriate for you. I understand the feeling of overwhelm! I’ve spent many hours so far trying to learn about HIT and how to deal with it, but I’m still overwhelmed. I’ll be interested in what you write, but no pressure!

                  I just ordered a pound of Nigella sativa from nuts.com and will order some nettles too. I plan to use both daily for a while before trying quercetin or DAO. Nettles is good for me, anyway and it will be a substitute for black tea which I should probably give up since tea is high in histamine.

          • Hey there Judith, THANKS for sending me the link to this article – very informative. I am having lots of skin issues, (rashes, the “itchies”, etc.) I just love how a connected community of health-seekers can help each other out by sharing information – I likely would not have found this on my own!

  10. So glad you posted this!

    I have been gluten free and 80% Paleo for about 7 years now, but I still had some nagging symptoms like asthma and sinus problems. A betaine HCL protocol a couple years ago helped the sinuses but didn’t clear them up completely.

    I read some stuff on the histamine in my diet and was a little overwhelmed. . . This is everything I eat! And then I realized. . . this IS everything I eat. I noticed sinus and asthma (exercise induced) issues clearing up after about a week. Two weeks and it was even better.

    Since discovering my histamine intolerance problems, I have fell off the wagon so to speak. I can avoid some of the foods in combination (for example, I try not to have tomatoes, spinach and citrus fruit all in the same day), but I have a hard time avoiding all of the foods on the list considering that I am already gluten/corn/dairy intolerant. I think my next step is to go for a bacterial overgrowth protocol and get that straightened out.

    -jj

  11. I was diagnosed with idiopathic urticaria 5 years ago along with hashimotos. if I don’t take an antihistamine everyday I am covered in hives. I also get hives from pressure on my skin.
    I have complained of heartburn from fruit, juices, vinegar, ketchup and dense carbs for years. I cannot do alcohol at all and get drunk very fast and my nose and throat close shut and I get extremely flushed and headache. I get migraines regularly as well.

    I had a lactose intolerance breath test a year ago and the pre-lactose sample came back so high in hydrogen that they diagnosed it as SIBO.

    my dr solution to this was acid reducing drugs and 3 strong antibiotics for 3 months. a year later, I feel worse than ever. I have two take two antihistamines a day now.

    • Sarah,
      I read your doctor recommended acid reducing drugs. I was on Omeprazole, a PPI. After having all these food intolerances I saw a third doctor, an immunologist. He told me to get off the acid reducing
      drugs. They harm and lower the levels of stomach acid which you need for digesting your food. I googled Omeprazol? and couldn’t believe all the stuff it does to you. I got off the acid reducers and started taking a slice of lemon squeezed in water before meals. It worked. I don’t know if this would help you for I am not a doctor but it is worth reading on. Get well~

    • 4 years ago, I suffered a terrible bout with skin rashes & itching. It took me like 6 months to finally get it under control through an elimination diet and lots of trouble-shooting.

      As a side benefit, the 24 migraines per year I was getting for 20 years reduced to maybe 2 per year. I think it indeed was food.

      Check out tyramine in addition to histamine.

      Mike

    • Hey Sarah!

      Acid reducing drugs are just about the WORST thing you could take to resolve SIBO, so that’s probably why you feel worse. I would highly recommend checking out syontix[dot]com and reading his series on SIBO; it’s an 8 part series that I found extremely informative and comprehensive, and I bet you’ll find some useful information in there!

    • Sarah, I have to chime in here and say acid reducing drugs are the worst thing you could be taking. Definitely read up on SIBO and if you aren’t already Paleo (grain, sugar and dairy free) give it a try. I am doing so much better. I had similar but less severe symptoms- still do when it comes to alcohol- I feel like I just inhaled a bag of pollen. I also get strange hives/terrible itching when I walk outside in the cold. It only happens on my thighs and my pinky fingers. Odd eh? Anyway, I was on PPIs for 20 years and I am sure that is what has landed me in the position I have been in the last 10 years of multiple vitamin deficiencies, chronic severe IBS and weight gain. I went off PPIs cold turkey in Jan 2012, went gluten free in May and grain free in November. I have never felt better. I also get great relief from heartburn symptoms (for lack of a better word) by using a product called “Glutagenics” that I get from Amazon. It’s L-Glutamine, DGL and aloe vera powder. I take one teaspoon every morning in a shot glass of water. I have tried it all and that is the only thing that works for me. It takes a few weeks to notice a difference so don’t give up. Best of luck to you.

  12. Since histamine intolerance is cumulative, does this mean that a person could tolerate certain high-histamine foods for most of his life and then suddenly develop an intolerance? Would you include diarrhea in this list of symptoms as well, or is reflux the main digestive problem?

    • I think it’s more likely that gut dysbiosis became an issue and that led to histamine intolerance.

      • I completely agree with this! Before reading this post, I knew next to nothing about histamine intolerance, but now I’m fairly certain I have it. I already know I’m struggling with SIBO (or some other form of dysbiosis), so it makes total sense that I would have histamine intolerance too. Instinctively, I felt like my skin rash/itchiness and face swelling were connected to my gut dysbiosis, but reading this post made me realize that histamine is likely the mechanism connecting them. What a fascinating discovery! Thanks for teaching me something new (: Now if I can just fix this dysbiosis…

        • I know it is common teaching that gut dysbiosis leads to histamine intolerance. I am however doubtful. I do have a histamine intolerance, yet my body produces enough DAO and it is fully functional, only I have a lack in HNMT (or it is not properly working), which is produced in the liver. The symptoms appear around 10 hours later than in the DAO-type HIT, yet it is HIT.

          • No Grain,

            What tests and where did you have the tests done to get the info on your DAO and HNMT enzymes? I’m looking to get them done.

            Ann

      • Chris,
        Does there have to be a visible rash? I have SIBO and I treated it with Xifaxin and an incredibly low but not completely sugar free diet. I suspect it has crept back slowly due to not being completely sugar free. I had a glass of wine two nights in a row about 10 days ago and I have been itching like mad ever since. ALL over my body, from head to toe, but no rash. It wakes me up at night, it drives me to distraction during the day. My husband doesn’t think a histamine reaction from wine would have lasted this long. Now I wonder if it is the almonds I eat every day. If you think it doesn’t have to be a visible rash, I am going to try some of these supplements and see if they help. Thanks. Also my huge Nutrition book you recommended to me on FB came yesterday and I am thrilled with it. Thanks!

        • Nuts are high in histamine. I can no longer eat any kind of nut. My skin burns and itches, then turns into a rash. The heat, sun and cold does this to me also. I’m also getting stomach aches now. Sometimes feeling like food poisoning.
          I”m very sensitive to high histamine foods along with having gluten, dairy, and soy allergies.
          It is getting very hard to eat. I only have two very small meals a day trying to avoid everything.
          I’ve tried to find practitioners to help me but nobody has heard of histamine intolerance. I’m getting desperate! The only thing that helps somewhat is taking a product called Histame. The problem is that the company often runs out of the product and can’t say when it will be back in stock. That makes it hard to count on having when I need it.

            • I have been taking the Histame for a few years now. It’s the only thing that helps. I’ve know about the Swanson Daosin, but was hesitant to get it since it has corn starch in it and like Chris says “other crap”. I did order it the other day to try, as my supply of Histame is running out. I hope I don’t cross react to the corn gluten!

              • Why don’t you just go on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet? You won;t need expensive histame and you also don’t need to be on the diet forever. Only until you get well.

        • Tara,
          I have had the same issue since December. All over itching with no rash, I cant pin point the aggravateor I thought it might be bread but wine and apple cider ale causes it also. My doctors are at a loss and keep trying different drugs to subside the symptoms. No luck yet. Have you found anything helpful?
          Nicole

      • It’s a chicken and egg thing. Does dysbiosis lead to histamine intolerance or does histamine intolerance lead to dysbiosis?
        It is possible that histamine produced during allergic reactions cause excess stomach acid, which leads to dysbiosis. And the dysbiosis itself causes excess histamine production from the bad bacteria and you develop even more allergies/intolerances and eventually the generic histamine intolerance.
        All of this is just a hypothesis and from personal experience. There isn’t good science behind most of what’s being said here. But until the science catches up we need to figure out a way to manage the symptoms or for the lucky few cure it!

    • I also suddenly developed histamine intolerance. For years I have eaten (what I now know to be) a high histamine diet – sauerkraut, bone broth, tomatoes, avocados,… Then I was bitten by a spider, developed cellulitis, was prescribed antibiotics, and developed full throttle histamine toxicity. Even though my doc disagrees I lay the blame on the antibiotics: 1) the disrupt gut flora and 2) my particular antibiotic is know to block the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) which degrades histamine in the gut. Now I am on zyrtex (to control the itching, shortness of breath, tachycardia,…) HistDAO (with meals to break down histamine in the gut) and patiently waiting for histamine levels to decline. Hopefully then, after also working on repairing my gut, I can go back to my old life with a little decrease in the high histamine foods.

      • same happened to me after an ear infection. After a course of antibiotics my face and neck skin was covered in severe red hives which have come back after a course of cortisone wore off. I’m now researching how to calm my immune system down and heal my gut. I was a regular white wine drinker but that’s definitely out now.

  13. I get lots of dandruff and Blepharitis and overall skin inflammation when I eat certain things… I thought it was cow dairy, then I thought it was insulin spikes (small), but I am not sure and my wife thinks I am neurotic and crazy. Now I think it could be histamine foods… I have had cases of candida and overall gut problems practically my whole life. I am an Eat Clean / Paleo person that kept to the diet now for 18 months, but can’t get rid of the skin stuff… help me…

    • I’m currently finishing up Brian Peskin’s book where he makes a pretty compelling case for supplementing with pure Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, in proper ratio, and in the parent forms of the EFAs (LA and aLA) for addressing skin inflammation (or any inflammation, for that matter). It’s making a lot of sense to me. May be worth a try.

      • Thanks, I currently take 500 MG of Omegas 3 DHAs and it really does seam to help inflammation. I will check out the book on EFAs….

      • I need some help. I’ve been diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome and heavy metal poisoning. I’m currently on a detox for the heavy metal and am taking supplements to heal my gut. I am down to eating about four different foods now and recently tried to introduce eggs and spinach. A few days after I’ve been getting reactions again when I eat. Acid reflux, panic, adrenal fatigue, crying etc etc. it sounds like I have histamine intolerance and my dr told me to avoid high histamine foods. Does anyone know if this will go away when my gut is healed? I’m feeling very lost and overwhelmed by everything. Thanks so much!

        • Sorry to hear that. I’m going through the same issues for about an year now. Healing the gut will help reduce the symptoms. While the gut is being healed strictly avoid everything. I’m taking Glutimmune, colostrum and probotics to heal my gut. I’m able to tolerate small amount of tomato, cheese and coffee. On the days when you have strong acid reflux symptoms use an H-2 blocker like Pepcid (not for long-term but every once in a while when the symptoms are overwhelming). If you are suffering from occasional insomnia from high histamine take a first gen H-1 blocker.

          • GV,
            Thank you so much! I tried quercetin yesterday before each meal and that seemed to help. Do you recommend anything to help with the head and emotional stuff? Is that maybe an h3 or h4? If so do you know any good ones. I’m doing a very painful heavy metal detox right now so I’m hoping symptoms will lessen once I’m done. Lastly, I have to introduce a fat into my diet, do you know a good nut oil that’s safe for low histamine? I’m allergic to coconut so can’t do the oil:( thanks so much!

            • Good quality EV olive oil is a good way to introduce fats. If you can tolerate avocados try a little bit of that (avocado has high copper so you may want to be careful). Unfortunately, there are no h-3 or h-4 receptor blockers. To calm your mind down you can try theanine (Suntheanine) and taurine. Try cutting down on protein, particularly from animal sources. Eat complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes.

  14. It doesn’t surprise me at all. I am all too familiar with histamine intolerance. At this very moment my underarms are swollen again, every vein I can see, even the smaller ones. I really should stick more to the diet, but I got a hard time with it. How to combine it with Paleo which is so restricted already?

  15. Really great article, and thank you for the Meal Plan Generator as a life raft.

    Since always, I start my day with a bunch of sneezes and a runny nose which continues throughout, especially if I go outside. I believe I tested negative for SIBO and I can’t bear the thought of cutting out all those foods… Some day when I have the will power, I will go on a short “histamine fast”. But for now, I am following a different suggestion which Chris left as a comment on this site a while back – I buy a supplement from Amazon called Histamine which apparently breaks down the histamine in my body. It reduces my symptoms significantly and I still eat those foods. That’s about all the change I can handle right now; like I say, a complete “clear out” is a goal for the future. I’m not so badly affected that I can’t cheat right now. Although histamine intolerance isn’t a huge deal for me, having this information and using this supplement has improved my quality of life in a meaningful way.

        • Thanks guys, I like New Chapter and it is at Whole Foods, so I will get that today and see if that works…

          • Goodness! I just looked at the ingredients on the solray histamine – there’s 4 mg of iron in it. I don’t want that.

          • I don’t like all the fillers and additives in the New Chapter product, and nettle leaf would be cheaper. It seems that nettle extract is the active ingredient in the New Chapter Histamine. I assume that is from nettle leaf. An extract and may be more convenient, but I am going to try nettle leaf tea. I used to drink it, and it seemed very supportive of my adrenals. It also has minerals that are good for bones. I’m going to look up nettle root and nettle seed and see what uses they have, to figure out whether it’s the leaf in this product. (I know that nettle seed tincture can be supportive for the kidneys because I used it for my dog with chronic renal failure, in a combination tincture that seemed to help a lot. She was relatively stable for many months..)

            I’ll report here if I find any concrete information indicating that the best part of the plant to reduce histamine is the leaf, but I suspect it is. Time for me to get some organic nettles and drink a few cups a day. I’ll let you know if that seems to help my itchies.

            Lately, aside from the big itch attack a few weeks ago, I have itchiness on my scalp, ears, nose and face that comes and goes, and sometimes it travels from place to place on my body, mostly on the arms. The itching is usually mild to moderate, except for a few short episodes recently that were severe, and several severe attacks about 10 years ago. I wish I had kept a food diary then. I get slightly puffy eyes and face, and the brain fog has been bad for 8 years, but I thought it was some kind of generic chronic fatigue.

            • I also have nasal congestion and loss of sense of smell. I have had an acute sense of smell all my life, but now at times I can barely smell a thing.

        • I take Histame with my main meal and a Claritin everyday. They have made a huge difference in my health. I have microscopic colitis and many food intolerances sometimes it would get so bad it seemed that everything bothered me. After I started with the Claritin and Histame I had a huge improvement in just a few days. I now can eat most anything but I totally still avoid gluten. I haven’t actually tried to eat any gluten but some say they can eat it when they take these two products. Taking these two products addresses the Histamine problem from two ways. The Claritin stops you from producing excess histamine and the Histame (a DAO) breaks down any excess histamine in your system from foods or whatever.

          • Thanks for the information. I do have many sensitivitirs and allergies to foods: eggs, dairy, soy and gluten . But histsmine intolerance have been the most difficult to control. I did not know that so many foods can trigger histamine reactions. If claritin has helped you I will try it. Thanks

    • Hi Anna,

      I have the same symptoms. I start my day with an itchy/runny nose followed by sneeze after sneeze. It was getting quite embarrassing because I would constantly have bouts of 5+ sneezes in a day. I never counted how many times I would sneeze in a day but it wouldn’t surprise me if I was around 50. A few weeks ago I started taking Betaine HCl before my meals just to see if it would reduce my abdominal distention/acne (I’ve never had heartburn before). I found a really nice side effect – my sneezing/runny nose/itchy nose has reduced dramatically! I think this might mean SIBO is my underlying problem. Maybe the HCl would help you as well.

      • Thank you, Stephanie; I appreciate the kind suggestion 🙂 I do take the max amount of HCI already, though 🙁 Yesterday was a stressful day, and I found I only had appetite for simple carbs like potatoes and applesauce (no meat, tomato, etc) so I think I was pretty histamine free. Today, no sneezing.

    • Nice to hear somebody tried Histame , I was worried about ordering this medicine if it really works it is good for everybody to know about it. I have been suffering from heat in my body after eating.
      My question to you is : Did you notice any side effects of Histame and whats the proper way to use it??
      Regrads,

      • Histame works really well for me. I also have celiac disease and there is link between the inability to produce diamine oxidase in the intestinal tract (due to damage) and histamine issues. I use Histame for both food issues and environmental. I have bad allergies in the spring and fall, but with the Histame, I do really well. I have no side effects, other than feeling better. I think a person should follow the dosing on the bottle, but I use it in quantity for big allergy reactions. I have taken 6 per day at my worst and it did the job. So, in a nutshell, listen to your body. I typically take it regularly so it is in my system prior to exposure, but I increase my doses if my body is getting overwhelmed with too many environmental reactions. At present, during the winter, I am not taking any and doing fine. Hope this makes sense. I would be back on steroids without Histame.

      • Wow I am glad to have found this web site. I am so familiar with all your symptoms in this web. I have had the flushing or feeling of heat after eating even dairy free chocolate, citrus, vinegar etc. Also after taking medications and supplements and after x-rays were taken. I wonder! I have the hives, the itch, the indigestion symptoms etc..it is overwhelming at times and I even starve when I go out to avoid the discomfort and the many reactions. A nutritionist told me these symptoms I have could be the ones in people with Mastocytosis , bowel inflammatory disease , chrohns and others. I need to find me a doctor that will truly take interest in finding out what is causing the symptoms so I can get the appropriate treatment and what is most important I need to get relief.

  16. Thanks for the article! I have a question regarding vinegar. It is often recommended to drink or take apple cider vinegar to help balance pH levels, especially those with urticaria (such as myself) or other skin conditions. I noticed vinegar on this list, does that include apple cider vinegar?

    • It would be on the list, but it does seem to be less provocative than other vinegars for most people.

      • I cannot drink apple cider vinegar at all,
        it is very high in salicylates
        Can cause extreme fatigure , brain fog and joint pain if taken frequently

        • That is a really interesting comment about salicylates in vinegar. I love vinegar and have lots I do also have fibromyalgia and it is all the symptoms you describe.
          Won’t be touching it from now on. Thanks

      • What about beans. Can people with histamine intolerance eat rice and beans? I do have allergies to dairy, soy, eggs, gluten. Are those allergies common in people with histamine intolerance. Is Mastocytosis behind histamine intolerance? How it coul be detected?

        • I would also be interested in any connection between this information and mastocytosis, which my wife has. And the key treatment for that is anti-histamines.

        • I have severe histamine sensitivity which limits my ability to eat meat. The only kind I tolerate is very fresh chicken that I skin and boil and freeze almost immediately. However I don’t do well having it more than once or twice a week! A whole chicken last a while as you might imagine. Sometimes I give the rest of it to my buddy who is able to tolerate eating high histamine foods just fine.

          Thus despite also having SIBO I still eat beans. If I soak them 4 to 6 hours, pour the water off and put new water in, or boil them and let sit for an hour before cooking, and then change the water before cooking I do fine with the beans. I also pour off the water after cooking and rinse them before refrigerating in a covered container. They seem to be just fine up to 48 hours in the fridge.

          The only other proteins I do well with are flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and plain sorbitol free and sugar free shredded coconut, as well as very fresh plain organic yogurt (again only good for two days after opening).

          I do take Histame when I plan to eat something getting on towards its time limit.

          I also use a variety of antihistamine and detox//anti bacterial herbs which help a lot: chamomile, rosemary, nettles, skullcap, golden seal or barberry or oregon grape root, ginger root, licorice root (I have low bp so the licorice root is good for me).

          I have SIBO which makes all this a little tricky since the usual suggestion to cure SIBO is that I should avoid eating beans. But what is there for me to eat otherwise? I don’t think anyone would suggest I just live on coconut, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds for protein.

          Ironically, I have found white jasmine rice suggested by the Fast Tract diet to agree with me. But even that dear doctor suggests I go off all legumes to overcome SIBO.

          I take heart however that Yasmina of the Low Histamine Chef fame got over her SIBO on a legume and anti inflammatory herb diet too–sans antibiotics. Which is important since I think I am not alone in my low tolerance of most antibiotics given my sensitivity to histamine.

          Anyone else out there who has experienced some of these conditions and thus is still eating beans despite SIBO?

          Bea

          • i find it all confusing at times, i have had really had hay fever symptoms and then hives for about 6 weeks – these seem to go up and down. i have a good weekend with a few cheats and i think wow these are really down and then all of a sudden its Monday im back at work trying to be strict and i have loads of itchy hives and i get annoyed and disheartend. the doctor agreed low histamine diet but i dont think its that easy i need additional support. all of your blogs are fab any more assistance always helpful xxx

      • Everything recommended for healing the gut requires fermented food, but with histamine intolerance I can’t eat fermented foods, but you recommend here that in order to help histamine intolerance I need to heal my gut. It’s all very confusing. Can you please help? I’ve been dealing with severe eczema, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, asthma, and worst off infertility for 2 years now (since I had a second trimester miscarriage and had to have surgery and was put on many medications). We really want another baby but my “gut” tells me that until I manage these histamines it will not happen.

        • “Everything recommended for healing the gut requires fermented food, but with histamine intolerance I can’t eat fermented foods, but you recommend here that in order to help histamine intolerance I need to heal my gut. It’s all very confusing.”…….My thoughts EXACTLY! What’s the answer???

          • Elizabeth, I asked about this elsewhere and found that we can buy vegan probiotics. Doing this in combination with an almost vegan paleo diet, im hope I for great results. We shall see.

          • With SIBO you should not eat fermented foods (aside from apple cider vinegar). If SIBO is an issue, which it most likely is a contributing factor, the SCD diet is extremely helpful. I felt results the same day after starting this diet. Within 24-48 hours on this diet if SIBO is an issue you will know because you will feel much better. It is a Paleo diet with a twist. It does not feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Also there is an SCD-friendly probiotic from Klaire Labs. Starve the bad bacteria, poplulate with good bacteria. Also, Histame from natural food health stores (or online) is an enzyme that breaks down histamine in the gut with meals.

            • Remember, the SCD diet has you add sauerkraut after the bone broth. That is fermented, and fermented foods are LOADED with a better probiotic than anything purchased.

            • Apple cider vinegar is fermented. I do okay on fresh foods, including citrus, but I can’t use wine, beer, or vinegar of any kind. Thing is, no matter how healthy it’s supposed to be, if you are allergic it’s bad for you. Regarding gut health, the body is designed to heal itself. The gut will likely heal on its own as well if problem foods are avoided.

          • You can use probiotics to heal your gut with a histamine intolerance you just need to stay away from certain species. I used these and enzymes and a few other supplements to heal my gut and eat histamine again. Please check out my blog if you’d like for more info. Blogspot.com/thehistamineintolerantchick

        • Two great books for you, that go great with this, and I have personally followed these with great results. The fungus link 3 by Doug Kaufman, and the gut and physiology syndrome book forget her name but written by a doctor.they are both easy reads and ver explainative. It is all very confusing, I was saying the same thing this morning. We started with the fungus link, and following their diet, all similar to paleo except a little more extreme as in eliminating all sugary fruits except berries, and green apple, grapefruit, and lemon. No starchy veggies, etc the book has a breakdown. It took us six months but my daughters severe eczema all went away. Now finding and reading the gut physiology syndrome book explains it all, along with kris kresser. But a combination of all of these could be helpful, currently I am looking into what essential oil can help with the bacteria that produce histamine. It is all challenging, especially when children are affected by it, and also as you stated with the fertility, miscarriage, issues, all the meds, etc. I have been there on all kinds of meds when I had my 3rd child, I got super sick, when they couldn’t find out what was wrong with me they had me on all kinds of broad spectrum antibiotics. I have been trying to nurse my gut back to health ever since, and my DD passed away at 9 days old, it is all very traumatizing. Recently we had a DS he is 10 months now and started getting eczema, constipation, etc. and my pregnancy was much more difficult this time. I know it all has to do with the gut not being balanced.

          • Megan, I am very interested in learning more about essential oils helping with histamine intolerance. I use peppermint topically and aromatically to help with sinus swelling/infections, but I’m convinced there has to be something to also help with the overproduction of histamine by bacteria. Have you made any progress?

            • I would be interested in hearing others experience with essential oils & HI. According to the Low Histamine Chef, basil, thyme, fennel are all good for low histamine diet. Thyme & basil especially. I am currently taking CPTG ( certified pure therapeutic grade) basil oil daily & am looking for enteric capsules to fill with thyme EO so it will reach the place in my gut where it can do the most good.

          • I use doterra and have to dilute a ton or I get rashes, which actually all led me to figure out that I have a histamien intolerance, so I am about to start a histamine diet. Which oils bother you and which ones help??? I seem ok with frankinsence, but lavender and helicrysum break me out in rashes.

            • Oh I forgot to click that I want to know when you reply. I think I might start taking doTERRA oregano in a capsule. Have you tried this? I noticed that oregano is recommended to help with SIBO. Any other oils you think are beneficial for histamine re-balancing would be appreciated. I just put thyme, rosemary, and ginger in my LRP order for this month. I saw them as recommendations for histamine intolerace. So, I assume the oils would help. Any thoughts or experience??

              • I started using doterra oils, lemon, wild organge, oregano, lavendar, onguard, all guess common oils. After 3-4 months I’ve come out in a rash which usually get from salisylates, this time the rash has spotted over most of my torso. Found oregano is very high in salisylates. Wondering how you essential oils people are getting on. I have stopped using the oils for 10days and still have rash, although it’s getting better, annoying itch. Think the use of the oils on top of salicylate foods was enough to overload me, I’m guessing!! Most annoying as love the oils. Are you finding frankinscence ok?

                • A note about essential oils: they can be hazardous. Everyone (not just Histamine Intolerance sufferers) should avoid topical application of certain essential oils, particularly those in the citrus family. And if essential oils can irritate the skin on the outside of our bodies, then one wonders what kind of effect they have when taken internally!
                  Some essential oils that are likely to cause dermal irritation include:
                  Allspice | Bay Laurel | Benzoin | Cassia | Cinnamon (Bark and Leaves) |
                  Clove | Fennel | Fir Needle | Oregano | Parsley |
                  Sage (Dalmatian) | Spruce | Tagetes | Thyme.
                  If you are subject to symptoms of histamine overload and taking essential oils, I would suggest that you carefully research the properties of the oils. Good luck!

        • I agree. How do we heal our gut when all of those foods are high in histamine? I tried to take a probiotics but they gave me horrible headaches and heartburn.

          • The only thing that can heal the body is the body itself. Your gut doesn’t need those foods in order to heal. Eliminate the allergens, including all those things that are supposedly healthy, and the gut will take care of itself.

        • Michelle, sorry to hear of your challenges. I’m a functional medicine rep and I work with some of the best FM docs in the country. I’d be happy to introduce you to them. These docs will be able to provide great information and insight. As a former Colitis patient I can appreciate the frustration. Feel free to contact me. Reply to my email. josh

          • Hey Josh,

            I’d love to get that list as well – I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area if that helps.

          • I Josh, I am looking for a great doc to help me with my fungus/ leaky gut/ food sensitivity issues. I am in the Bay Area. No doc so far has been able to help- I have been working with nutritionists and doctors for about 10 years now…time for a shift! Thank you so much!!! Gitta

            • I have the same issues. Leaky gut, histamine issues. I am working with a nutritionist, but so far, it is a bust with outbreak of hives on my neck. Many sinus infections to go along with all the suffering. Thanks.

          • Josh….I live nearPhila….wondering if you can recommend a FM doc in Southeast Pa…thank you…

        • I know this is an older post so I hope you find this answer. I cured my histamine intolerance using enzymes and a few other supplements. Probiotics too but with a histamine intolerance you just have to stay away from certain species is all. You can read about what I did on my blog

          blogspot.com/thehistamineintolerantchick

          Good luck!

        • It really does help when HIT sufferers examine any meds they may be taking. A huge number of medications can block DAO production as a little-known side-effect. We have heard from people whose HIT symptoms have dramatically cleared after they weaned off anti-depressants, for example. And there are many others.

      • I want to buy Fermented Cod Liver Oil to start taking, but have recently discovered that I have a histamine intolerance. Should I take Cod Liver Oil fermented? Is there a clo that isn’t fermented? Thank you in advance!!! I appreciate all the info!

        • Cj, there are non-fermented CLO’s, in fact most are. Carlson has been a good brand for me, others like Nordic Naturals. Or there are professional brands that you can only get through natural practitioners.

      • I don’t ingest apple cider vinegar, but I do use it for washing my hair and detox baths. Do you think it could cause a histamine reaction that way?

        • Shannon, apologies for the belated reply but I’ve only just seen your post. No, I don’t think that using cider vinegar topically would block your DAO enzyme production. As long as your skin and hair is not being irritated by the vinegar, you should be fine.

    • Hey Kerri,

      What type of urticaria do you have? I’m curious because I have Cold Urticaria. Yes – I’m allergic to the cold. I am now wondering if avoiding foods high in histamine would help me. I’ve had this since August 6, 2012 which is right after the swelling of my bee sting vanished.

      • I have giant urticaria. I went through everything they think could be food related. What I ended up finding was it was stress related. I went through all kinds of things to control stress. My satisfaction came from physical exercise. If I combine lifting weights twice a week and some form of cardio, either super high intensity or long slow cardio, (2 hours or more). The slow cardio works way better longer then shorter. Maybe this will info help.

        • Deve yupic, was there some sort of examination you underwent that proved it was stress related. I am convinced I have the same but no doctor is really helping me ( not even the allergologist. I would Really appreciate your help thank you

        • Thank you for your story, I have going crazy for 6 months trying to figure out what I can and can’t eat. It’s gotten to the point every time I eat I break out no matter what I eat. I too have been trying everything doctors told me is food related. I was breaking out daily and sometimes even during my sleep. I now believe it may be stress so will try your method.

      • Hi. I also have Cold Urticaria and have had it for almost 27 years. I cannot find “the trigger”. I thought it was dairy but for me it’s not. I hope that as I transition to Paleo eating that my urticaria will disappear. I react during all seasons and temperatures to include cold food, washing vegetables in cold water, I have to wear gloves in the cold section of the super market…and the list goes on. If you find a trigger, please share it! Thanks in advance. Trace

          • I agree on autoimmune. Our bodies are made to detox but we are exposed to so many chemicals in our food, air, water, health and beauty products and yes, even medicine. And the smaller the person the less their body can process and get rid of and the younger they are the more they are exposed to at a young age than what exposure may have taken an older person a lifetime to get. When we dont eliminate all the waste it causes us hypersensitivities to what is remaining in our bodies (autoimmune, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue disorder, adhd, autism and then that polson attaches to fat cells and if u dont have much fat cells it tends to deposit and build up in your brain and later result in lesions or other malfunctions in the Central Nervous System resulting in diagnosis such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson and others. I aologize for not being vague like the doctors tend to, bt ive been reading every book that exists at my library on this topic.

        • My 9 year old son just acquired this condition. He has food allergies that we know of prior to this. We went to a naturopath and she did a food intolerance test for him. She indicated a couple of items that we were not aware of including pineapple. Now at the same time he had his first incident of cold urticaria we started giving him a new multi-vitamin that also has pineapple fruit listed in the ingredients. I say this because it wasn’t until about a month later after the results came back from the naturopath that I made the connection to the vitamins. My suggestion to you is go to a naturopath and get a screening for food intolerance. I’m not sure this is our connection but I’m taking him off of these vitamins and going to see what happens.

          Good luck finding your cause.

          Paul

        • Hi! I had Cold Urticaria for almost three years. It was because of the Strep (Streptococus) infection in my throat. Check it out! Have you ever had Strep infection. It is the antibodies to the Strep infection that cause Cold Urticaria. After I got rid of the infection, I was left with the antibodies. After the antibodies gradually disappeared, I no longer had Cold Urticaria. Take a blood test to see the level of Strep antibodies in your blood and take a test to see if you have Strep in your throat. If it is not Strep then it must be another infection in some organ (stomach, gut, liver etc.). Cold Urticaria is almost always caused by an infection.

        • This was a great article! For all who have a reaction to the cold, I just read a case study where a high school student was relieved of “allergy to the cold”. When treated by looking at stress and stress mechanisms in the body (including the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal axis) and correcting for that, it was easily taken care of.

          This info was just shared with me by Dr. Leslie Feinberg, developer of the NeuroModulation Technique (NMT) of healing, of which I am a practitioner. It may be worth your checking out his website at http://www.nmt.md. There are many testimonials posted.

          This form of healing works with the body from the inside out, redirecting the body to act in a more appropriate physiological manner. It’s not about taking herbs or supplements or drugs, although those may help at times.

          I offer this because I believe this dysfunction in the body can be relieved and people can live without the pain, itchiness, rashes, etc. Good luck!

        • My Mom gets Urticaria from contact with any latex material or from touching things exposed to latex contact. It takes a good specialist to really prove an allergy. It is up to patients to fallow a diary and discover what is causing the problem so doctors can diagnose it. I serm to have histsmine intolerance. I found a specialist in Boston but I must have the diagnosis to have her take my case. There arent many doctors with the specialty so how could get a diagnosis without seen a specialist?

        • Hi
          to all those urticaria sufferers.
          My son has urticaria triggered by changes in body temperature (e.g. exercise). I found out by accident that is reducedcsignificantly when he took high doses of vitamin c. (3 x 500mg tablets a day). He now drinks nettle tea as reccommended by the herbalist which helps but he takes a bit of vit c as a top up. I hope some of you can get some relief from this horrible condition

      • I have cold urticaria too…I’ve had it since I was about 12 years old and I’m 48 now. So a very long time…I’ve learned to avoid a lot of things…I take Zyrtec nightly to help control them. I also have thyroid disease and resently a few other issues have made me wonder if I have Hashimoto’s Disease.

      • I too have cold induced hives for about 14 years now. I never even knew it could be something I a eating!

      • I too have cold urticaria (only in my hands) brought on by a desert recluse spider bite. I had a difficult time diagnosing it because it is delayed reaction with the swelling and itching occurring 6 hours after extreme cold exposure such as submersing my hands in ice cold water in January. I also have epilepsy and inflammation is one of my triggers, so in the winter months I tend to have more seizures brought on by the urticaria.

        • I have epilepsy, too. It’s interesting how similar the diet for epilepsy is to diets cutting high histamine foods.

    • It would definitely include apple cider vinegar. That’s my experience; I have histamine intolerance for sure, so I’m not most people.

    • What I do is take a shot of it every morning. It’s benefits are amazing but it does have quit the taste so you can mix it with other juice.
      I don’t get heartburn or acid reflex ever since I started taking the apple cider vinegar religiously.

        • I drink ACV in my water thruout the day. Reminds me of kombucha. I LOVE ACV so thats probably y I enjoy it lol
          I put 100% pure cranberry juice in it often also. Lemons or limes, juiced also. If I put the citrus in, I leave out the ACV tho 🙂

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