I’d like to say that after a year of dealing with histamine intolerance in my oldest child that I have this magic cure all to dealing with it…sadly I don’t. The funny thing about histamine is it is EVERYWHERE and is in more things than just food. I have written about histamine issues causing behavioral issues and food reactions causing symptoms of ADHD before on the blog as well. I never really put the connection of histamine and behavior together until after I realized my children had so many food allergies and sensitivities to food, but once I did it was amazing how many things that had happened over the last three years started to make more sense. For example, my daughter at one point did try ADHD medication, she tried eleven medications actually, and a couple of them actually worked for a short period of time, but every fall and spring no matter what medication we would try to adjust nothing seemed to work. The reason nothing was working was her behavior wasn’t from the dosage of the medication all of a sudden not working, it was the two seasons being the worst for allergies…the worst for people with histamine intolerance. So below I will tell you everything I have learned about histamine intolerance and give you my list of supplements that help stabilize histamine reactions.
What causes Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine Intolerance is a condition that results in high histamine levels. It’s technically caused by a deficiency of an enzyme that breaks down histamine in your body called diamine oxidase (DAO for short). People with low levels of this enzyme struggle with anything that causes histamine levels to increase in your body. Examples of this is food, hot and cold change, vibrations, the sun, chemicals and more.
Do You Have Histamine Intolerance?
Reduced DAO levels can also lead to the following symptoms:
- Skin problems such as rashes, itch, hives, flushing, eczema, psoriasis, and even acne.
- Chronic headache
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Intolerance of histamine-rich food and alcohol
- Nasal mucus
- Asthma attacks
What helps with Histamine Intolerance…
If you have histamine intolerance, some potential therapeutic options include:
- DESTRESS and reduce HPA activation- I know harders said than can be done
- Take 2-3 caps DAO enzymes to break down histamine, some good ones are the following…Histamine Digester, Histamine Block by Seeking Health.
- Take probiotics: to degrade histamine make sure to avoid probiotic strains that cause extra histamine production, we use GutPro.
- Stay away from fermented and cured foods.
- Take Allegra in the morning or Benadryl at night to block histamine receptors. Benadryl increases DAO as well.
- 1000mg Vitamin C 2X a day (R). One blogger notices a difference in the source of their vitamin C and only uses the linked version.
- Vitamin B-6 (Caution: also increase histidine decarboxylase)
If you have histamine issues in general, then do the following:
- Reduce lectin consumption. Only do this if you have histamine issues in general and your issues aren’t resolved with taking DAO enzymes.
- Use Cromolyn as a mast cell stabilizer. Effective when used right before or during a reaction.
- Take 1 cap Forskolin as a mast cell stabilizer.
- Take 1 cap 2X a day EGCG to inhibit histidine decarboxylase and stabilize mast cells.
- Take 1 cap Bromelain and Quercetin to break down bradykinin (bromelain) and stabilize mast cells (quercetin). Quercetin works best as a preventative.
- Experiment with other substances below that lower Th2 Dominance
Try to avoid Foods with Histamine
- Citrus fruits
- Fermented foods
This is not a complete list of all foods high in histamine, but some of the big offenders to try and avoid. This is a great site that shows other things to avoid if you have histamine intolerance and gives you some ideas for a histamine diet.
Histamine and Biotoxin Illness
People with biotoxin illness generally will have issues with histamine-rich foods, such as cured or fermented foods.
The most common biotoxin is mold, which is in all of our homes to one degree or another.
Mold is a broad category that includes the actual mold itself like Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, and others.
However, it’s important to note that it’s usually not just the mold, but also the algae, bacteria, VOCs, and chemicals from the mold that can be mass-activators of inflammation, causing histamine issues as a side effect.
The most common markers of biotoxin illness are elevated C3a, C4a and TGF beta. These inflammatory responses activate mast cells which cause blood histamine levels to rise.
The following test should be performed when looking for mold issues…
- Transforming Growth Factor Beta1 (TGFb1)
- Complement C3a
- Complement C4a
Keep in mind elevated C3A/C4A levels can also be from chronic Lyme disease as well.
Mast cell stabilizers/histamine reducers
A relatively safe and effective drug that stabilizes mast cells is called Cromolyn . This drug works via multiple mechanisms in combating an allergic disease. It’s available over-the-counter in the US.
The following also stabilize mast cells:
- Quercetin – more effective than cromolyn. Quercetin works better as a preventative and cromolyn work more quickly .
- Curcumin (beware: curcumin decreases DAO )
- Adrenaline (beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist). eYohimbin andAdrenal glandular should work.
- Chinese Skullcap
- Tulsi/Holy basil
Histamine and Antihistamines
Antihistamines (H1-receptor antagonists) block histamine receptors so that with a given amount of circulating histamine, the effects will be less severe.
Fexofenadine or Allegra seems like a safe drug that doesn’t cause drowsiness because it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier much. First generation antihistamines (Benadryl) do cross the brain barrier and cause fatigue.
Benadryl would be good to take at night since it induces sleepiness. It’s actually an FDA-approved sleep medication.
Benadryl has other positive effects besides blocking histamine receptors. It decreases anxiety , increases serotonin , increases dopamine and is useful for the treatment of OCD
Histamine and Probiotics
Some probiotics degrade histamine and are recommended for histamine intolerant people. I linked to 3 different probiotics because if you buy probiotic brands with a bunch of species, you will also be getting the probiotics that produce histamine.
Histamine degrading bacteria:
- B infantis
- B longum
- L plantarum
- L casei
- L reuteri
- L bulgaricus
rs2052129 (DAO Gene). Having one T means you produce less DAO. This is on the old 23andme, not the new one.
rs10156191(DAO Gene)….Each “T” allele means you have reduced DAO activity. A “T” allele means you’re more likely to get migraines and you’re also going to be more sensitive to NSAIDs (aspirin, Ibuprofen).
rs1049742 (DAO Gene). Each T allele means you have reduced DAO activity.
Rs1050891: The HNMT gene known as C939T regulates histamine. “AA” will increase histamine.
If you have “AA”, don’t freak out, as ~56% of the population has this gene. G=25%.
Food additives can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and cause non-IgE-dependent histamine release from basophils.
“AA” for this gene indicates an increase in ADHD behavior for children when they have been exposed to certain food additives: sunset yellow, carmoisine, tartrazine, ponceau 4R, quinoline yellow, Allura red AC, and sodium benzoate.
It’s believed that”AA” increases histamine levels and this is responsible for the ADHD behavior.
Taking SAM-e should negate this gene, theoretically.