Histamine intolerance is a build-up of histamine, and your body cannot expel excess histamine. What is histamine? Histamine is a substance that is stored in some of the body’s cells. According to The International Society of DAO Deficiency, “Histamine is a molecule derived from an essential amino acid, histidine, and it is produced by decarboxylation through enzyme L-histidine decarboxylase.”
When the body recognizes a foreign substance in the body as a threat, the immune system reacts. The cells release histamine into the bloodstream to fight the foreign substance. Other conditions, such as nutrition, medical problems, and drugs, can also contribute to histamine intolerance.
Your doctor or a dietician needs to test you to confirm if you have histamine intolerance. However, there are specific symptoms to look for. Keeping a journal or record of your systems based pollen counts and your allergies may better help your doctor.
Headaches and even migraines.
Skin rashes or eczema.
Other conditions can also contribute to histamine intolerance. This is from an enzyme deficiency. Your body produces an enzyme that is a natural histamine blocker called Enzyme Diamine Oxidase or (DAO). When the body is deficient in this enzyme and elevates histamine, this creates similar symptoms as histamine intolerance. However, they may be more pronounced, accompanied by additional symptoms.
Enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO)
There are specific foods that block DAO, and certain foods cause the body to release histamine. It is challenging to diagnose DAO deficiency because of the vagueness of the symptoms. Some symptoms we can associate with other illnesses. However, it has been associated with children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
Symptoms of DAO Deficiency
Headaches & migraines.
Hypotension, hypertension, and arrhythmia.
Nasal congestion and asthma.
Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, stomach pain, and nausea.
Fibromyalgia and muscle aches.
If you know what you are allergic to, then during times of elevated pollen or other environmental allergies it is best to avoid foods that elevate histamine for foods that reduce histamine and promote DAO production.
Taking a vitamin C tablet and increasing vitamin B2 will help keep your immune system in balance. Foods low in histamine and promote DAO enzyme are fresh meat, fish eggs, vegetables (except spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and eggplant). Fresh fruit, (except citrus and some berries) are a good choice. Adding coconut and olive oils, rice, quinoa, corn, teff, and millet will help with enzyme balance.
If you suffer from chronic allergies, speak with your doctor about histamine intolerance and your options for testing. If you have not had your allergies tested, this may be a good time to discuss testing options.