This post covers all aspects of histamine intolerance including its causes, symptoms, list of foods high in histamine, supplements and details of natural treatments to deal with excess of histamine I effectively use in clinic.
Did you know that we can’t really have a histamine free diet like we can have a gluten free diet? Find out why below.
Sleep plays a role in managing histamine intolerance so, as a bonus, I included a FREE download of my Sleep Guide: Top 3 Nutrition tips for better sleep tonight! Key nutrition tips for insomnia plus my top 3 bedtime snacks for deeper and restful sleep.
Lets get started!
What is histamine intolerance?
Histamine intolerance is a fairy common but under recognised and not fully understood problem linked with food sensitivities as well as gut and metabolic imbalances.
When a person has problems metabolising and breaking down histamine, its levels build up and lead to worrying symptoms such as hives, rashes and itching, swelling, abdominal pain, insomnia, fatigue and nasal congestion, among others (see more symptoms below).
Thus the symptoms are caused by having too much histamine circulating throughout the body rather than being histamine ‘intolerant’. This is important to realise and address using natural therapies and dietary strategies.
This disorder could be difficult to diagnose as it’s often confused with a number of other conditions that have similar symptoms, especially associated with food intolerances or allergies. In my practice I see this condition periodically, especially in clients with gut disorders, skin problems, headaches or migraines.
Let’s look at histamine intolerance more closely.
Histamine is an amine (an organic nitrogen compound) produced by the immune system cells (mast cells, basophils and eosinophils) involved in the inflammatory immune response to an injury or foreign compounds. There is an emerging evidence that histamine producing bacteria in the gut is also a significant source of histamine. More on this below.
The normal inflammatory response is a healing mechanism that increases the permeability of capillaries (small blood vessels) to white blood cells so they can combat the pathogens or toxins present.
Histamine is also a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (i.e. it relays messages between cells), where it’s involved in many brain functions such as arousal, pituitary hormone secretion, suppression of eating and cognitive functions. So we very much need histamine for the body to function well on many levels.