foods that contain histamine

Histamine Intolerance

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine is a chemical involved in your immune system, proper digestion, and your central nervous system. It is a neurotransmitter, meaning that it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid.

When eating something you are sensitive or allergic to, histamine will cause your blood vessels to dilate, so that your white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. When histamine builds up in your system you will start showing symptoms such as headaches, feeling flushed, feeling itchy and getting hives. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if you don’t break down histamine properly, you could develop what we call histamine intolerance.

Histamine travels through your bloodstream and may affect your gut, lungs, skin, brain, and cardiovascular system. This can lead  to a wide range of problems often making it difficult to diagnose.

Source: Mind, Body, Green


foods that contain histamine

 Click Here for a Good List of Foods to Avoid

Anti Histamine and Anti Inflammatory Food List

Cause of High Histamine Levels

Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) Click Here to Read what SIBO is.
Leaky gut
GI bleeding
Fermented alcohol like wine, champagne, and beer
Diamine Oxidase (DAO) deficiency
Histamine-rich foods
In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine, or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine, diamine oxidase.

Source: Mind, Body, Green

How do I Break Down the Histamine in my System?

Histamine in the central nervous system is broken down primarily by histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT), while histamine in the digestive tract is broken down primarily by diamine oxidase (DAO).  If you’re deficient in DAO, you likely have symptoms of histamine intolerance.

DAO-Blocking Foods:

Alcohol Click (Here to Read Why)
Energy drinks
Black tea
Mate tea
Green tea

Source: Mind, Body, Green

What Can I Eat?

freshly cooked meat, poultry (frozen or fresh)
freshly caught fish
gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa
pure peanut butter
fresh fruits: mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes
fresh vegetables (except ones listed above)
coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk
olive oil, coconut oil
leafy herbs
herbal teas (accept green tea)

Causes of Low DAO

Gluten intolerance
Leaky gut
SIBO (Click Here to Read what SIBO is.)
DAO-blocking foods (See List Above)
Genetic mutations
Inflammation from Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Medications can also cause low DAO

(And we know most Lyme patients have been on many of these for long periods of time.)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin)
Antidepressants (Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft)
Immune modulators (Humira, Enbrel, Plaquenil)
Antiarrhythmics (propanolol, metaprolol, Cardizem, Norvasc)
Antihistamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl)
Histamine (H2) blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac)
Although histamine blockers, a class of acid-reducing drugs, seem like they would help prevent histamine intolerance, these medications can actually deplete DAO levels in your body.

Source: Mind, Body, Green

Articles on Histamine Intolerance and DAO

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Helpful Books on Histamine Intolerance 

ME/CFS Angels

7 thoughts on “Histamine Intolerance”

  1. A lot of this looks like mast cell activation to me. Mast cells release histamine in response to allergens and other invaders. These cells are everywhere in the body, and in addition to be stimulated by histamine, they also release it. E.g., the itch from mosquito bites is caused by histamine released by mast cells in the skin.

    Mast cells also release over 200 signaling compounds that communicate with other immune cells. So when mast cells are activated, a general immune response often occurs. This may be what causes many of the symptoms of what’s called histamine intolerance.

    But why would mast cells get activated in the first place? Since their primary function is to serve as the immune system’s first line of defense, it makes sense to see histamine intolerance as ongoing activation of mast cells caused by an invader that the immune system can’t get rid of. I think most of us would agree that Lyme disease bacteria meet this criterion.

    For more information, read “Never Bet Against Occam” by Dr. Lawrence Afrin. He’s an expert on mast cell activation.

  2. I am in the same boat as Kelly! So how do you know what you “react” to…what does that look like? I’m not full blown allergic to anything, but I struggle daily with chronic pain and inflammation, sinus issues, fatigue, and headaches. I had the genetic testing done so at least I know the root cause, but where do I begin in an elimination diet? I keep seeing articles talk about doing elimination diets but nothing that really tells you step by step HOW.

    1. Hello
      It’s good to see that I am not alone in my struggle. I too believe I have a histamine intolerance as well as multiple food allergies and wondered what kind of genetic testing you had done. I feel like I’m the only person in the world with this problem. I had lyme disease year ago but never connected that to this.

      I believe you can find help with elimination diets from an allergist.

      Thanks. Jean

    2. I suggest you see a nitrionist as I do. They ran in depth blood work that gave me a full report on foods allergic to or sensitive to. It’s a slow process but I started with a very limited group of foods. Then after two weeks we visited again, looked over my log of what I ate and how I reacted. Then removed foods suspected of causing problems and added a new one-three foods based on my sensitivities from blood work. Immediately my heart rate, sweating, and anaphylaxis improved. Remember that stress of any kind can trigger a histamine reaction too. So it’s important to get a good plan/counseling/relaxation exercises-in place. And to keep good notes on your log sheets. It is a hard thing to do however I have no interest in eating or drinking things that make me very ill. That makes it much easier to stick too. I also recommend finding s naturopath/nutrionist/Practice that works outside of the box. I was fortunate to find one such place. You won’t find help in a traditional practice. They just threw meds at me and ignored the real problems. Wishing you the very best.

  3. Problem is, with Lyme diet restrictions and now candida, I was down to only avocados, tomatoes, nuts, spinach, eggs and green tea. I seriously do not know how to eat with this disease.

    1. Honestly Kelly, I am going through the same thing. I think trial and error is best. Keeping a log to see what you personally react to. Otherwise there would be nothing left of us to eat. It is so hard and overwhelming and I share these lists to help people realize there are these condtions, but at the same time I do realize how hard it is to stick to any one “diet” and I do believe it is probably different for each person to what t hey will react to.

    2. All the foods you are eating are histamine rich. Please consult a nutritionist and they will help you manage a diet that’s safe for you.

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