What is Histamine Intolerance?

What is histamine intolerance and how is it different from an allergy? We lay it all out.

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Hayfever (Image Source: Uk Style)

It looks and feels like an allergy, but it’s not. If you often experience unexplained headaches, anxiety, irregular periods and flushing after drinking red wine, it could all be explained by histamine intolerance.

First: What is Histamine?

Histamine a natural chemical that acts in the body, a chemical that conveys messages between cells of the nervous system, regulates stomach acid, muscle contraction, and brain function. Histamine is also important for defending the body against invasion from bacteria and viruses.  It’s also the key mediator in the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

An excess of histamine, also known as an intolerance, can result in symptoms. This can be due to enzymes not degrading the excess histamine being ingested.

Next: What are the Symptoms?

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Skin conditions
  • Unexplained hives
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Fatigue, confusion and irritability
  • Flushing when drinking red wine
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Abnormal menstrual cycle
  • Heartburn

A bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, histamine rich foods, heavy metal toxicity, and enzyme deficiency are all causes of an excess of histamine.

Third: What are Some High Histamine Foods?

  • Alcohol
  • Fermented food
  • Matured cheese
  • Shellfish
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial colours and preservatives
  • Smoked meat products
  • Beans

Certain medications inhibit the enzyme that degrades histamine.

Look for fresh foods, they usually have low histamine. It’s recommended that a low histamine diet, gut healing, and detoxing occur for 3 months. Testing can be done for the enzyme, and an increase of certain vitamins and minerals will help to increase this enzyme.

Speak to your health professional about your symptoms and treatment.