While probably everyone else was in Dr. Terry Wahls' talk, I took one for the team and went to the talk on histamine intolerance by Dr. Georgia Eades. She is not in the research field, this is more her distillation of what she has found as a sufferer of histamine intolerance. Not a lot of new information for me personally, but I want to throw some of the information out there. If you are new to the idea of histamine intolerance, you might want to check out this talk.
About 1% of people have it, and 80% are middle aged (Maintz, 2007). Research suggests it is acquired (through gut dysregulation) and not genetic (my own opinion is that you can be genetically predisposed, and affected more in the right circumstances).
Basically, histamine intolerance is sensitivity to food that’s not fresh, like cured foods (sausage, hams, etc), beef (it is one of the few products you can’t find fresh because it is typically hung for aging), and what she called the "fermentation fad". Looking at tested levels of histamines in foods, you see it can vary wildly depending on how the foods was processed and handled.
(Any of us who suffer from this know that sometimes you are rolling the dice every time you buy something at the store, because we have no clue of how the food was handled. Fish and shellfish are the most frightening things to buy if you can't trust your stores. I know from first hand experience.)
Histamine is in the class of biogenic amines, which are signaling molecules. They are transformed from amino acid (histidine -> histamine) and regulate cell growth, hormone release and neuronal activity.
Histamine sources in the body include: immune and blood cells, stomach cells, nerve cells. It effects, skin, respiratory uterus, FI, leukocytes, bone marrow, CNS, and cardiopulmonary.
Sources from outside: bacterial fermentation of proteins, intentional (fermented or cured foods) or unintentional. Scombroid poisoning is an example of unintentional, fish gone bad, that can sicken anyone histamine intolerance or not.
DAO is an enzyme that break down histamine coming into the gut and its deficiency in the gut is the most common problem. GI compromise (Crohns, Celiac, Chemo) is primary cause. Disease such as Celiac can open the tight junctions and allow histamine to escape the GI track into the blood. It is rare to have genetically low DAO. And B6, C, Copper and Zinc are co-factors needed to break down histamine.
Bacteria in gut can also cause additional histamine in protein degradation. DAO is highest in small intestine, but if protein escapes digestion, it heads into large intestine where there is less DAO to break down the excess histamine.
Examples of high histidine foods includes spinach, tomatoes and avocado. There are also histamine trigger foods but I think she noted that there is no good reference to the list of foods. (Seems to be true if you search around the web.)
But, it might not be just histamines causing problems. Other DAO inhibitors include putrescine and cadaverine (other biogenic amines), alcohol and certain medications. She says that any alcohol inhibits DAO, but also NSAIDS (see the talk for others).
And estrogen and histamine reinforce each other. This is certainly something I want to look at more closely as I try to raise my estrogen levels (and certainly don't want to raise my histamine levels.)
How do you know if you have it? First, rule out other food allergies. Testing is too hard, even using the histamine challenge. Skin prick test is best, but wait 50 minutes to read the results. It is about 80% reliable.
- Eat fresh foods (freeze leftovers immediately - it will slow the bacteria but not destroy existing histamine).
- Best to do low histamine diet and keep diary of food and effects.
- You can eat fish but "Frozen at sea" is best.
- And important to us chocolate lovers, organic dark chocolate is lower in histamine because of how it's processed.
And supplements, antihistamines/mast cell stabilizers, and DAO supplements can be helpful.
Last edited by SusanJ
on Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed misspellings.