What is histamine intolerance?
Histamine is a chemical responsible for certain functions in the human body. The functions of histamine include communicating messages to the brain and releasing stomach acid to help in digestion. After some injury or any allergic reaction, histamine releases as a part of the immune response.
An abundance of this functional chemical or the phase where it cannot break down properly; it goes on to affect the normal body functions. Histamine Intolerance does not mean sensitivity to histamine, but indicates the fact that the body is producing excessive histamine.
What are the symptoms?
Histamine Intolerance may seem to have similarity with that of allergic reactions, but in reality, they are different in characteristics. The symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the seriousness of the condition.
Some of the common symptoms include diarrhea, headache for a long period of time, IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome, having runny, itchy or congested nose, Red eyes with itchiness and watery, irregular sneezing, difficulty in breathing, hives or burning bumps with itchiness, anxiety without any reason, stomach cramps, severe menstrual pain, chronic constipation, nausea, bloating, dizziness, eczema, irregular heart rate.
Apart from the common ones, there are some more of the uncommon symptoms including low blood pressure, irregular sleep, tremors, loss of consciousness unwanted swelling around lips, eyes, and throat. A variety of symptoms can be seen in a person with histamine intolerance, making it difficult to determine the source.
What are the causes?
Diamine Oxide(DAO) and Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) are the enzymes responsible for the metabolism of histamine that the body receives from food. The incapability of HNMT and DAO to break the histamine causes intolerance in the body.
Many food and drinks are rich in histamine. Certain factors interfere with the way DAO and HNMT break down histamine. Certain medicines disturb the procedure, including heart medicines, antibiotics, pain medication, gastrointestinal medicines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, a muscle relaxant. Apart from these, painkillers like Aspirin, Indocin, Voltaire, Naproxen blocks the path.
Indigestion of food causes bacterial growth, which is another contributing factor. The bacterial growth happens when food is not digested properly, causing overproduction of histamine. Overproduction of histamine becomes difficult to break down, which ultimately causes the irritation.
Deficiency in Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, copper or Zinc, liver conditions, compromise with the gut lining due to injuries or intestinal condition, alcohol, chronic stressed some of the other reasons that cause histamine intolerance.
The amount of histamine accumulated in the bloodstreams is directly proportional to the allergic response of the person.
People with histamine intolerance need to include a healthy diet in the first place. Food rich in Vitamin B-6 helps DAO metabolize histamine. Vitamin C helps in lowering down the histamine blood levels, helping DAO break histamine. Copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B12, can help in treating the intolerance.
Medical treatment :
The best way to cure histamine intolerance is by having healthy food that includes fewer histamine levels. But some people try to benefit from the medical treatments according to their symptoms. Some of them are antihistamine medicines, DAO enzyme supplements, including corticosteroids. It is best to avoid anti-inflammatory and pain drugs. The best way to have control over the medicines that we consume is by using medicine tracker. With proper reminders, it becomes easy to have a healthy lifestyle.
Handling Histamine Intolerance:
The first step is to avoid food items that block the path of DAO to break histamine. Food items like Alcohol, energy drinks, and various kinds of tea can block the path of DAO.
1.)Having a low histamine diet for a few months can help is recovering back to normal.
Food and drinks that contain low levels of histamine :
- Skinned fresh chicken.
- I have cooked egg yolk.
- Fresh fish.
- Most fresh vegetable except tomatoes and eggplant.
- All fresh fruits except citrus fruits, strawberries, and cherries.
- Whole grain noodles, bread.
- Coconut and rice milk.
- Herbal tea except for black or green tea.
- Leafy greens except for spinach.
- Fresh milk products.
2.) A sustainable diet plan :
It is not advisable to cut off food rich is histamine forever, but the trick is to avoid them for a certain period to get back to the balance. A balanced diet will not harm the histamine levels.
3.) Tracking response to high histamine food:
The nutrients of the food depend on how it’s cooked, preserved, stored, and packaged. Food kept in refrigerators often becomes food rich in high histamine levels. Cooking certain fruits can reduce the level of histamine in it.
4.) Avoiding food
Food that triggers the histamine levels :
- Citrus fruits.
- Cocoa and chocolates.
- What germ.
- Additives, artificial preservatives, and dyes.
- Beans and pulses
- Wine and beer.
- Cured meat like bacon and salami.
- Aged food.
- Green tea, black tea, mate tea.
- Energy drinks.
- Dried and fermented fruits.
- Vinegar based food.
- Fermented food.
5.) Sticking to fresh diet.
Fresh food plays an important role while it comes to eliminate histamine intolerance. A food that is highly processed boxed or canned carries a high amount of histamine levels due to preservative like sulfites.
Sticking to a fresh diet for at least a month or four will lower down the histamine levels, and in no time histamine intolerance will be cured.
By avoiding histamine-rich food for a few months can help avoid the symptoms of histamine. Also, the medicines high in histamine level should be avoided to keep the symptoms at bay.
The focus should be on fresh food, non packaged food to treat the histamine levels.
A proper diet and some small changes here and there can bring histamine level back in the balanced form. By limiting histamine levels found in almost every food item of regular use, one can cure the histamine intolerance. In some cases consuming antihistamines or even consuming enzyme supplements can be helpful. The histamine intolerance gets cured depending on the person and histamine level in his body.