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

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

Join the conversation

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

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

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

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

    I appreciate the

      • Eggplant is a nightshade. Maybe you have nightshade intolerance. But zucchini is not in that category.

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

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

    • Chris mentioned the ‘bucket’ metaphor. You had a high histamine meal that filled up your bucket but without tipping over the edge. The next day, eating even higher histamine leftovers, the bucket overflowed and you got symptoms.

      You might find it worth checking out Yasmina’s website, the ‘Low Histamine Chef’. I don’t think anyone has done more research on this topic, presented in an accessible way.

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

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

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

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

    Thank you.

        • Hi all ok so I have alway had typical seasonal allergies but then when I was 5 months Oregon with my second I developed cronic hives, have had then now for 8 years and no doctor can help, I have also been on Zyrtec for that long if not longer, I’ve been to allergist and tested major one is dust and fruit and some veggies pollen , I am also a chef so it is really hard to stay away from all these foods when I have to taste food all the time, I hope I can bring this to my doctors and they will listen I was offered a shot to lower ige levels but they said it will lower my immune system and then they decided no I cannot have it so now I am thinking this is what I have and will have to research more

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

      Blessings to all of you!
      karin

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

  4. Hi all,

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

    My symptoms are as follows.

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

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

  5. Hi everyone

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

    please help!

    thanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • It is histamine. It sounds like you have mast cell activation disorder, or mastocytosis. I was just diagnosed with mast cell activation disorder last year.

      • I have the same symptoms and was diagnosed with dermagraphism and just take zrytec once a day and hydroXyzine as needed and ranitidine as well. They help but not as much as I’d like. I was tested for mast cell but it came back negative. I’m also being tested for chrons and a million other things i suffer from ver delibating migraines and muscle weakness as well and lots of tummy problems. Tried diary free and gluten free and no difference

    • I have a similar set of symptoms but my blood tests are fine, including WBC count (which also tests for mast cells) and it is fine.

      I was on ranitidine and loratadine, then switched to omeprazole and loratadine.

      I managed to control my symptoms somewhat using N-acetylcysteine, citicoline, melatonin, vitamins B6, B9 (L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate) and B12 (methylcobalamin), magnesium, and DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice).

      Hopefully you’ll have the same success I have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      **LOW VITAMIN D IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO INSOMNIA**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But what about self made kefir?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Alex Buckanan are you a marketing promoter for Daosin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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