Histamine is a neurotransmitter which is involved in our local immune response. Here is a quote from an excellent post by That Paleo Guy on Histamine Intolerance:
“Histamine is a chemical which occurs naturally in certain foods. This is also one of the chemicals that is released in the body as part of an allergic reaction, causing the typical ‘itching, sneezing, wheezing, swelling’ allergy symptoms. We all have an enzyme (Diamine oxidase [DAO]) which breaks down any histamine that we absorb from a histamine-containing food, so when we eat a food which contains histamine it does not affect us. However some people have a low level of this enzyme, and when they eat too many histamine-rich foods, they may suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms such as headaches, rashes, itching, diarrhoea and vomiting or abdominal pain. This is called histamine intolerance. Some studies have also suggested links between histamine intolerance and urticaria, asthma, eczema and anxiety and panic attacks.”
The above is only a very partial list of symptoms which may be related to the cascade of reactions caused by histamine intolerance. Here are some additional common ones:
autonomic dysregulation: tachycardia, palpitations, light headedness,
low blood pressure and fainting
constipation and bloating
muscle pain, cramps
joint pain, athritis
hearing problems, tinnitus
attention and memory problems
depression, mind racing
unexplained bruising and bleeding
restless leg syndrome
flushing and rosacea
My dietary approach is to limit my carbohydrate intake because when I eat too many carbs my weight climbs and I feel tired and depressed. I also adhere to the GAPS Protocol in an effort to heal longstanding digestive symptoms. In recent months the main stay of my diet consisted of long cooked GAPS soups and stews. I would make a large pot of soup and eat the left overs for several days for lunch and dinner. In addition I ate fermented vegetables, cheese, avocado, sausages, bacon, dark chocolate, all low carb and GAPS compliant. Over time I began to feel more and more anxious. I experienced chronic ringing in my ears, my sleep quality became increasingly poor and I started to feel fatigued and depressed, while at the same time keyed up and constipated.
Fortunately for me, Monica, one of my readers, and the thoughtful and courageous author of the blog, Beyond Meds, sent me an e-mail. She wrote that she thought I might be interested to learn that her autonomic dysregulation, low blood pressure, light headedness, palpitations and physical stamina were all so very much improved since adopting a low histamine diet. She had been also a follower of a Paleo/GAPS style diet, featuring long simmered bone broths and fermented foods, all of which are very high in histamine. The coin dropped, and I began to wonder, could it be that I also was histamine intolerant?
All the foods I had been eating were very high in histamine. The main stay of my diet was left overs. When protein ages, like left over chicken soup in the fridge, it develops increasingly high levels of histamine. There are many lists of high histamine foods on the internet, some of which conflict, and it can be confusing.
Here is list of problematic foods and beverages from the UK’s Histamine Intolerance Awareness site. Some foods contain high levels of histamine, others cause histamine contained in our own cells to be released, some block the enzyme that breaks down histamine resulting in elevated levels.
High histamine level foods:
- Pickled or canned foods – sauerkrauts
- Matured cheeses
- Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages….
- Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soy beans, peanuts
- Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts
- Chocolates and other cocoa based products
- Most citric fruits
- Wheat based products
- Ready meals
- Salty snacks, sweets with preservatives and artificial colourings
- Most citric fruits – kiwi, lemon, lime, pineapple, plums…
- Cocoa and chocolate
- Beans and pulses
- Wheat germ
- Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyes
Diamine Oxidase (DAO) blockers:
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
- Green tea
- Mate tea
- Yoghurt – depends on the bacteria culture used
- Egg white – it is a histamine liberator only when in its raw state
- Yeast – even though it does not contain histamine as such, yeast serves as a catalyst for histamine generation during manufacture. There is no yeast in the end product
I stopped eating left overs. I cooked smaller pots of food and froze the left overs in individual containers. I stopped eating cheeses, bacon and avocado. I began eating more salads. Most foods contain histamine, so you cannot have a histamine free diet like you can have a gluten free diet. But it is the relative quantity of histamine in relationship with your own capacity to handle it that translates into symptoms. I clearly was overwhelming my capacity to metabolize the histamine quantity that I was ingesting.
Within days of instituting the dietary changes, I slept better than I have in years; very deeply and I dreamt. This is unusual for me. I have had insomnia since I was a child, probably due to life long undiagnosed histamine intolerance. A sense of calm and peace replaced the chronic anxiety I was experiencing, my spirits lifted and I felt much less tired and more alert. Given the strength and immediacy of my response to lowering the histamine content of my diet, I believe that histamine intolerance should be considered in every case of anxiety disorder, depression, sleep and attentional disorders, especially if a person is aware of food sensitivity issues. My father could not tolerate eggs, shellfish, strawberries, and alcohol, all which either contain high levels of histamine or liberate histamine. There may be genetic vulnerabilities.
Low carb diets can be very high in histamines. If a person is eating low carb, and not feeling well, maybe it has to do with too much avocado, aged cheeses or salami, or bacon and eggs.
The GAPS diet is naturally high in histamines. It can be modified, with care taken to avoid left overs, bone broths and fermented foods. These important foods may be added back in very very incrementally as the body heals. Perhaps one shred of sauerkraut or a spoonful of broth, and titrating up as tolerated. Meanwhile probiotics can be used, as long as they do not contain histamine producing species of microflora. It remains a priority to heal the gut, as for most people, it is likely the damage to the enterocytes which comprise the mucosa of the gut wall, which has resulted in a lack of capacity to produce the enzyme DAO that metabolizes histamine. Thus the underlying cause of histamine intolerance is ultimately in most cases likely to be gut dysbiosis, and there must still be an ongoing effort to heal and rebalance the microflora.
In an effort to support my metabolism of histamine, I have begun to take supplemental Vitamin C 2000 mg a day, Magnesium Glycinate 400 mg a day and one capsule of Holy Basil, an Ayurvedic herb thought to modulate histamine levels. I have very quickly begun to feel much better.
According to the ancient healing science of Ayurveda, left overs are not to be consumed. Only freshly prepared food is considered healthful. In the yogic tradition, left over food has lost its prana, its vital life force. An article in Yoga Journal entitled “Lifeless Leftovers” had this to say:
“The body’s inability to metabolize foods that are not fresh results in the formation of ama, or toxic undigested material,” adds Shubhra Krishan, author of Essential Ayurveda and What it Can Do for You (New World Library, 2003). This substance clogs up the vital channels of the body, disrupting digestion and ultimately giving rise to everything from fatigue to disease. Since food begins losing prana the moment it’s disconnected from its life source, it is important to create meals using only the freshest ingredients and to take care not to overcook them. Try not to cook meals ahead of time; if possible, make a few separate trips during the week to buy fresh produce. And instead of buying frozen, canned, or processed foods, reach for those that are still closest to their original state, such as fruits, nuts, and freshly cut greens.”
It also seems clear that everyone will have their unique personal response to different foods, and each individual’s response may vary over time, and thus there is a need to keep a food diary and track symptoms in order to figure out what to avoid and what makes you feel good. Initially it makes sense to eliminate many high histamine foods until the body heals, but eventually many things may be added back in. This is something worthwhile to figure out, so that one is not unnecessarily restricting food choices.
Here is a link to a post about keeping a food journal that contains a download for a well designed food diary template.
There is so much to explore about this topic, that I plan to write about it in many future posts. Histamine impacts our well being or lack there of in many fascinating ways. I believe it is a very under recognized and probably fairly common condition that causes a great deal of suffering. Here is a link to one of the best and most thorough posts about histamine intolerance by Dr. Janice Joneja from Food Matters.
A wonderful website with incredible resources re histamine intolerance (as well as intolerance to salicylates and glutamates) is failsafe diet dot com
Dr Judy, have you found at all or is there reason to suspect that Magnesium (Citrate) supplementation could influence histamine tolerance at all? I had stopped my MG-supplement recently since I had suspected it to influence me negatively – I had for a few months been experiencing Globus-symptoms and have now linked this to histamine intolerance. Do you think the Mg could have any influence on histamine tolerance? I also have to mention that I am in an extended taper of Escitalopram. TIA.
Dr. Tsafrir says
Thank you for writing. Your comment inspired me to do a bit of research and I learned some things that I did not know. Here is a great post about different forms of magnesium and their effect on histamine tolerance/intolerance. https://mastcell360.com/mast-cell-and-histamine-safe-forms-of-magnesium-what-to-know-when-you-have-mast-cell-activation-syndrome-or-histamine-intolerance/
It appears that it is a known phenomenon that some forms of magnesium citrate, because they are fermented, have an adverse impact on histamine tolerance. Epsom salts also can adversely impact it. I have noticed that when I take an Epsom salt bath prior to sleep, my sleep is often dirupted. This may be part of the explanation. It’s all so interesting!
Thank you for your considerate reply dr Judy.
Thank you for the post and creating this community.
I have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome which resulted with terrible hives for 3 years. I finally figured out what allergens (food), food containing histamine content (as well the DAO inhibitors and the ones that release histamines. IT has been 3 months on a low histamine and low-lectin diet. Both helped to calm the Mast cells from activating. To be honest, with me, the lectin-free diet made a significant difference.
I’m now dealing with IBS (constipation) and possibly SIBO (which probably made me deficient in DAO). Treating gut dysbiosis is the goal now with biofilm disrupters along with microbials and probiotics. However, most biofilm disruptor formulas contain nattokinase which is fermented soy beans. Anything fermented contains histamine content.
Do you know if it is fine to take nattokinase with histamine intolerance?
Dr. Tsafrir says
I do not know the answer to your questions. One thing that has been so helpful for my patients with MCAS is limbic system retraining such as the GUPTA program or DNRS to calm down the autonomic nervous system.
Ginger/gingerol is a biofilm killer.
its really amazing articles thank for posting
Im sure you’ve already fielded my question previously, but I must ask; I recently became aware of the correlation between histamine and memory/learning, and immediately thought of the anti-histamine tablets i’ve been taking for birch allergies the last 12-15 years. The last 3 years I have developed problems with anxiety and insomnia (i’m 47 with no previous history of mental health issues). After some searching on the Internet, I found a site mentioning the function of H1R in relation to histamine. I have noticed a decline in my ability to remember things medium to long-term but previously attributed that to our “connected” lifestyle, and the ability to outsource or off-load memory to the Internet. So I wonder if there is any reason to suspect that taking Desloratadine anti-histamine tablets for all these years could be affecting the function of H1R and be in some way responsible for the decreased memory capacity, anxiety and insomnia?
Dr. Tsafrir says
I do not know the answer to your question, but would suspect that the symptoms that you are experiencing are related to histamine overload related to mast cell activation, due to some underlying conditions, such a mold toxicity or other environmental toxin, chronic Lyme, a post viral condition, or childhood adverse events/trauma and/or adult stress/trauma. I would suspect that before the anti-histamines, but as I said, I do not know in any definitive way.
I heard years ago that anti-histsmine regular usage is linked to alzheimer’s: I sm not an expert so eld suggest researching yourself, but I rarely take them just in case.
Dr. Tsafrir says
I suspect that the reason that anti-histamines could be linked to Alzheimers, is that they are often taken by people who have Mast Cell Activation often due to mold toxicity, and mold toxicity is linked to dementia.
No they literally block choline
Sharon Poirier says
I believe I have developed a histamine intolerance. Do you think the amount of alcohol in my St. Francis Canadian bitters is ok to take for my low stomach acid. I also have candida but I read that the amount of alcohol in the bitters is so low that it would be ok for candida. It is all so confusing. Thank You for a great article.
Dr. Tsafrir says
This is likely a very individual matter but it seems like it would be ok.
Personally, all bitters affect me very badly. As far as I know, all bitters are alcohol with herbs fermented in it. I could handle a couple drops of alcohol, but the fermentation is what gets me the worst. I get vertigo and low blood pressure from bitters within an hour….
Many thanks for this forum, which has taught me a lot. I’m hoping my problem is with histamines, if that’s disproved then I may start to feel desperate because I can’t figure out what’s wrong. But in any case the kind of sharing that’s happening here has been most helpful.
One thing really helped me put the brakes on some really distressing problems (extreme head pains, bleeding gums, increasing fatigue) was a 3-day broth fast suggested by my doctor – who’s an MD also engaged in Avicennic medicine. *Immediately* the pains receded down to almost nothing. The first half-day I experienced a kind of flu-like malaise, but since then my energy level has been up at almost normal, despite taking in almost no calories.
Tomorrow I will begin eating food again, starting with fresh fruit by itself. Then other foods one at a time, focusing on low-histamine foods.
Dr. Tsafrir says
So glad. Thanks for letting me know. And also thank you for sharing your experience with using the broth fast. I imagine others will be inspired to try it.
Heather Largent says
Would love some meal ideas for low carb and low histamine (no eggs or nuts). I feel so limited but it is keeping me fairly safe. I have MCAS, diabetes, and hyperPOTS.
Dr. Tsafrir says
Hi Heather. I imagine that some of the recipes in this e-cook book would be appropriate for you. Definitely low histamine and no nuts or eggs, but probably only some are low carb too. Hope this helps. https://www.acleanplate.com/new-ebook-28-days-of-low-histamine-aip/
Look into the program DNRS by Annie hopper. People have healed from pots and MCAS. I am using it now, and it is helping me. I’m not cured, but have not finished the program yet.
Heather Largent says
I just bought the program and am in the middle of it myself. Hoping to get myself better. Eating out for me is very dangerous, hadn’t had a serious reaction till I took a trip yesterday, and the restaurant didn’t listen to my request for no seasoning. Ugh, so discouraging.
Thank you for writing this. Very interesting.
I’ve been suffering with anxiety for 3 and half years, alongside some depression, concentration issues, headaches, eye pain, and urticaria (which has primarily calmed down with long term use of antihistamines), it has just worsened over time despite cbt, though antidepressants did provide some relief but primarily made my mood worse, but anxiety improved.
I decided to tackle it with talking therapy alone but found stressful events seemed to make things worse, and worse, alongside some joint pain and other random symptoms, I recently saw a specialist who recommended looking at a low histamine diet, so, here I am! Is there any tests out there that could provide some insight? Secondly any idea how long a low histamine diet may take to see some improvement mentally?
Dr. Tsafrir says
I have heard it said that low histamine diets make a difference in about one third of patients. That being said, I think its unpredictable how long you would need to do it to assess if you belong to that third for whom it makes a difference, but I think its likely that you would be able to tell pretty quickly. I suggest you read my post about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. Dr. Lawrence Afrin runs tests that confirm that diagnosis, but I do not. They are very expensive, if not performed properly are invalid (and this seems to happen alot) and in my experience a clinical diagnosis (on the basis of history and symptoms) is adequate. I would also recommend looking at the post I wrote about Dynamic Neural Retraining System. There is a strong correlation between the experience of stress and these sorts of symptoms. It’s the quintessential mind body illness. Blessings on your journey with all of it. Its so challenging.
I’m checking numerous sites and getting conflicting information what what is high or low in Histamine. I’m reaching out to determine where my internet sources are getting their information from. Can you please provide your source? This is a great website. Thank you for what you do!!!
Dr. Tsafrir says
You are welcome. I wrote that post a long time ago and no longer remember what sources I used. But here is a link to a website in the UK which I believes provides credible information: https://www.histamineintolerance.org.uk
Emelie Rosberg says
Hi! Which Vit C are you taking? I tried Ester-C and got bad (got some kind of histamine effect from it)
I use Lypo-spheric vitamin c from LivOn labs. I react to lots of things and have never reacted to it, even with extremely high doses. I love it!
When starting DAO is it best to stop all other antihistamines that you were taking. For example, I take allegra in the morning and zyrtec and zantac at night and use Benadryl as needed in between. Should everything be stopped cold turkey when starting DAO? Or what is the best way to proceed ? Thanks
Judy Tsafrir says
I was not aware of the need to stop anti-histamines when taking DAO, but I have little experience with it. Maybe someone else can respond.
Benadryl should never be used. It causes death especially at night in children. Maybe it causes histamine to go too low. Look it up!
Hildegard Fuchs says
Good news for wine lovers: there are indeed wines with a low histamine content, even though they are rare.
As many customers approached us, a German winery, about their histamine problems with wines, we started some research and made a point of producing low histamine wines. Successfully so. Today we offer a wide assortment of white, rosé and red wines with a lab-certified histamine content of about or even less than 0.1 mg per liter as well as a histamine-free verjuice, which provides a fine alternative to vinegar.
You are the only person I have found who has seen the link between Ayurveda. I figured out I have a histamine intolerance recently & a friend had just graduated from Aryuveda school & got me lookin into it again. With my histamine knowledge I immediately connected that all of the practices and most of the lifestyle suggestions seem geared to pacify histamines. I believe that dosha is a huge determinant for how the symptoms express and also guide what foods and herbal supplements a person should have. I have become histamine literate and use that knowledge to adopting the aryuveda for my type and the result is so absolutely astounding, I am pretty sure I have never truly lived before now. I start my morning by scraping my tongue (to remove toxins accumulated overnight instead of swallowing with a glass of water) followed by a cup of cumin, coriander & fennel tea to build my enzymes and start my gut off correctly. Follow with a low-histamine aryuvedic diet for your dosha and be as stunned an happy and energized and VITAL as I am.
Kirsten Connelly says
I’d love to learn more about this and which dosha types are more susceptible. Please post or send any reference data. Thank you!
Hi Judy, My 16 yr old son was having ADD problems and so I decided to start on the GAPS diet. Changing into this diet was so difficult, that I decided to do the Intro later, but immediately removed the grain and starches. I thought I would do the Intro with bone broths as we got used to the diet.
Within a month, I started feeling better. My fibromyalgia went away, my teeth clenching at night went away. Got rid of my belly fat. Motions were easy. My skin and sinuses completely cleared and I felt like a new person. Perhaps as I was not eating starches, digestion was easy – and as the sinuses are just an extension of the abdominal wall, I guess they too cleared.
One week into the diet, and I realized that it was too low-carb, but quickly rectified it with fruits. One month into it, I started on peanuts, but soon became allergic to almost everything I ate – cheese, curds, kefir etc. I would sneeze uncontrollably, my eyes used to smart, and my breathing was rasping. It must be histamine intolerance. I stopped d peanuts, but still was allergic to the curds and meats, but slowly after another 2 weeks, I think I’m in the clear.
My son who was aggressive, is now more milder and understanding, though he still has problems focusing and cannot carry any task to its conclusion.
My question is – do we need probiotics and bone broths on a daily basis? Wouldn’t just stopping the starches and sugars, not help the gut to heal? It would take a bit longer I know, but this way would be easier and I could avoid the histamine problem.
Its wonderful that both you and your son have had such a positive response to removing starches from your diet. That is enviable. If bone broth is causing a histamine reaction, you need to avoid it for now. It is possible that after your gut has healed more, that it may agree with you. Probiotics are important. Look for ones that do not contain histamine producing bacteria. The whole issue of which probiotic is extremely individual. What is well tolerated by one person, makes another feel terribly ill. It can be a matter of trial an error. I recommend Prescript Assist to many of my patients, but it is not for everyone. Some people feel lousy with it. You will need to find your way. But probiotics are terribly important. You may also have yeast overgrowth or other pathogenic bacteria causing your symptoms, and you may want to work with a practitioner who knows about gut infections to sort that out.
Lorraine Andrews says
I have histamine intolerance and fluoroquinalone tendinopathy . I take my bone broth with an umbrellex DAO capsule. No more migraine. I could take one if I wanted cheddar etc., But they are not cheap.
Margo Dill says
The good news is that sufficient clinical evidence is there to suggest that probiotics could be used for the treatment of allergies.
Whether you eat large quantities of fermented foods or you take a good supplement like Probiotic America, chances are that you’ll find relief from the allergy symptoms.
Just came upon your blog and find it like a missisng piece in my life! The link between anxiety and histamines is clear to me. Thank you so much. I will be sharing and doing futher research. Any other resources you would like to share are much appreciated❣️
Glad it is useful to you. Please share any discoveries you make. Readers learn so much from one another.
Sharing your article widely. I seem to know many people that this information may help. In some quiet way tonight, the earth is shaking!
Spent today eating very low histamine and I can feel a difference in my body. For supper: freshly purchased chicken breast, cooked in ghee, ginger, salt, pepper, peeled zucchini and broccoli steamed. A few fresh blueberries for dessert. Thank you, thank you. 🌹
So glad to hear this. Many blessings.
try basic 90 essential nutrients from-
2. natural organic multi vitamin, minerals
3. omega 3,6,9 (also try soaked chia seeds)
4. vit D with all co-factors
I have been drinking around a cup of Pacific Organic Chicken Bone Broth. For the first week, I had terrible bloating, cramps and weak BM’s. It was better after 2 weeks and taking less but still minor bloating, cramps issues. Do you think this goes away with time or should I worry?
It sounds like you are growing accustomed to the broth. I do not think it is a cause for worry, and you can just increase amounts slowly over time. But if your symptoms grow worse, then I would not continue.
Bone Broth is VERY high in Glutamate. Research that. People with histamine issues often have Glutamate issues as well. Whey Protein, bone broth, mushrooms, tomatoes and many others are things to be avoided imo.
martha shane says
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Amy Lynn Koch says
Seems as though Lewis Hill products are a scam, beware.
I wonder how bone broth can get high histamine levels when you cook it longer. The broth is at a temperature of over 90°C / 200°F while cooking. That’s not a good environment for bacteria as far as I understand it.
Do you know of any source that actually measured the histamine amount in broth, soups or stock?
Thank you very much, Judy.
I don’t know about how histamine is measured or a source to recommend that actually measures it. I just know that certain foods, including long cooked stocks, apparently have high levels.
Hi Judy, thanks for your reply.
I am really trying to figure this out because some part of my bone broth is giving me trouble: histamine or gelatine.
As far as I know histamine has two sources:
a) Food itself (like spinach or tomatoes)
b) Microorganisms that produce histamine from histidine while storing the food.
And there are a couple of ways to slow down or stop the microorganisms like freezing or cooking.
My understanding is, that if I put fresh (low-histamine) meat, bones and veggies in a pot and heat it, then the microorganisms will die. Therefore no additional histamine can be produced by them while cooking – no matter for how many hours.
Only after the cooking process microorganisms can get active again and storing of the broth adds up histamine.
Is there something wrong in my understanding?
I think it may be more complicated. If you have a paucity of enzymes which break down histamine, then you will be more vulnerable to histamine intolerance. If your enterocytes are not functioning effectively, you may not be able to deal with the naturally occurring histamine in foods. Of course avoiding high histamine foods can help, but it’s not possible to avoid it all together. You could try gelatin powder and see how you respond. I hope this is helpful.
Alex, you might want to rethink your “need” for bone broth. The idea that bone broth is superior nutritionally has become wildly popular, but it has also been debunked through lab analysis. You can derive just as much in the way of nutrients and collagen from ordinary made-from-scratch soup (bone-in meat with vegetables) that has been simmered for only a few hours. I don’t know why bone broth would be so high in histamines. Perhaps it’s the very long cooking time (24 to 48 hours or more), or maybe it’s within the bones themselves. Regardless, your body might be better off without it.
Bone Broth…very high in glutamate. I wouldn’t touch it.
What about bone broth cooked for only two hours in a pressure cooker like the instapot?
Vonnie Lincoln says
I make bone broth in an electric pressure cooker, cooking it only for about 90 minutes. Then I pour it into small jars and freeze until needed. It doesn’t seem to bother me. I also use bovine kidney capsules from Ancestral Supplements and Probiota Histaminx from Seeking Health, which contains only three strains of probiotics designed for people with histamine intolerance.
I have not had a chance to read all of the many replies that follow mine. If this information is a repeat, I am sorry.
You ask about bone broth and histamine, while also indicating that you are aware of 2 ways histamine is formed in food. Another way is when protein is heated. Whenever protein is heated histamine begins to form. It continues to form histamine until it is consumed or frozen. That is another reason why leftover meat is problematic and why bone broth and/or any protein that is slow cooked is problematic.
I hope this helps.
Elif Demirel says
I had tinnitus in both ears for six years with a high pitched two tone sound; the noises are constant and have learned to ignore the ringing. Later, another sound was added, a deep tone that has a sporadic rhythm that mimics human speech. It varies from soft and muted, to painfully clear, and loud. Have tried sound machines, ear plugs, my hearing aid, and medication all to no avail rather I have a difficult time sleeping. Lately I was directed to a Doctor called Alessio on internet who provided solution to the problem. Do not be discourage, there is hope for you, it is a permanent cure to Tinnitus. Contact him with this email [email protected]
I had tinnitus in both ears for six years with a high pitched two tone sound, the noises are constant and have learned to ignore the ringing. Later, another sound was added, a deep tone that has a sporadic rhythm, that mimics human speech. It varies from soft and muted, to painfully clear, and loud. Have try sound machines, ear plugs, my hearing aid, and medication all to no avail rather I have a difficult time sleeping. Lately I was directed to a Doctor called WEIL on internet who provided solution to the problem. Do not be discourage, there is hope for you, it is a permanent cure to Tinnitus. Contact him with this email [email protected]
Could you please tell me where you order your supplements from?
I mostly order my supplements from Amazon and try to use a reputable brand like Kirkland or NOW.
If someone can’t tolerate broth at the moment – perhaps due to the histamine – would it follow that the L-glutamine supplement so often used to heal leaky gut would also be problematic?
Its a good question. I don’t know the answer. Maybe someone else does.
I’m assuming you mean bone broth. It’s recommended that you start with meat stock first. This article explains it http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/stock-vs-broth-are-you-confused/. I started with L-glutamine, Super Enzymes and Amino complete all from Now Foods and that helped a lot before I found meat stock. Also probiotics made the biggest difference for me.
Anyway this is just from my experience from leaky gut/histamine problems.
Jelaine Aprile says
Yes, bone broth has high levels of l glutamine which can be very problematic. Meat stock, like from simmering a whole chicken is preferred, as it is more nutritious and does not have the bone properties. The GAPS book goes into more detail. Also, those with MTHFR genetic mutations have to avoid l glutamine.
Hey there. I have a question.. When your levels go up do you begin to sweat?? There are days that it is embarrassing the amount of sweat I produce. 🙁
Hi. Do you still use holy basil? Which brand do you suggest?
I too suffer from histamine intolerance and looking for cures.
My little one has struggled so much with eczema. After trying many food eliminations, etc. I’ve started thinking that he may have Histamine Intolerance.
My question is can histamine pass through mother’s milk? I nurse him, still, so are high histamine foods that I eat able to affect him? I already feed him only low histamine foods when he eats solids.
I hope you know the answer because I can’t find ANYTHING on the internet about breastfeeding giving histamine to a baby.
I do not know the answer, but I would take a look at all the foods that are eliminated in the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol, and make sure that he is not getting any exposure to them. A good website to inform yourself about foods and auto-immunity is phoenix helix.com
I started experimenting with gelatin recently to help the pain in ny joints. I initially used Knox gelatin and when I had goood results, proceeded to buy the Now brand. I’ve been taking half a teaspoon and noticed that I’ve been having shortness of breath and chest pain. I’m getting a little alarmed. I also added flax oil for my dry skin so I’m not sure gelatin alone is to blame. I wonder if it’s histamines? I feel like nasal passages are a bit blocked but that is usually always the case. I have also gained weight and am bloated. I am already very overweight. I feel so overwhelmed and I don’t know how to fix my health. 🙁
I can’t thank you enough for this post. I’ve been managing my urticaria symptoms since my diagnosis about seven years ago, until I went on a ketosis diet in January 2015. It took several months, but I started having more frequent hive breakouts and even began having eczema. For the last two months, I’ve been working with my doc with an elimination diet to find the source of the problem, but found I was reacting to everything. After learning about histamine intolerance, I’m realizing that even my base diet on the elimination diet was aggravating me. My mind is blown! Do you have any recommendations for books or websites that have menu plans for low carb/ low histamine diets?
I don’t know of any websites that are specifically low carb and low histamine. I think you need to get creative in terms of reconciling the two. Histamine intolerance is often related to poor gut health, and thus I would focus on eating a whole foods diet and doing everything you can to support your immune system including probiotics and heart/ mind/body/spiritual practices.
Hi Judy, I came to this page from Monica’s site/link. May I ask, since writing this post, where has your diet ended up, what do you eat and how do you feel now? I would be very interested to know if you have time to share. Thanks!
I aim for a modified Paleo approach and have identified food sensitivities, and avoid those foods. I have been doing some energetic work on the food sensitivities and seem to be slowly making some headway with that. It remains a work in progress. I apply GAPS principled to my approach; fermented foods, broth, mostly whole foods, etc.
Alina Calinescu says
I love this post. My question is what is the difference between “Chocolates and other cocoa based products” listed as High histamine level foods and “Cocoa and chocolate” listed as Histamine liberators. I am currently studying Ayurveda with the Himalayan Institute. As a side note – I am intrigued by how many fitness professionals are posting meal preparation for an entire week and encourage their clientele to basically eat leftovers. Thank you so much for taking your time to clarify my cocoa/chocolate question.
Maybe a bar of chocolate vs cocoa powder to make hot chocolate.
Yes, I agree about the leftovers issue. Of course left overs are a great convenience, but lack the vitality of freshly cooked foods.
Glad I’ve found this page. I’m reading by many months all I can find on histamine issue but reading here and the link posted gave me several wtf moments and realization putting together many links even about things you would never consider relate.
Thanks to everyone ontributing with personal experiences and adding another tile in the puzzle.
Solving the problems is getting to their original source. It doesn’t make sense that a system so complex and articulate as the one we are trying to grasp just disrupt out of nothing.
There should be some source cause. For this reason I think is really important to determinate by your symptoms which histamine is effected. In my case mostly neurological symptom…so my source can be completely differemt from someone with itches or else.
I’ve read a comment about a doctor saying that most of her patients with histamine issues had root canals and she suggest to remove them.
I had actually a root canal with very slight symptoms now and then…like a slight nevralgia occasiomally or simply a weird sensation. I had decided to remove it way before as I know as root canals links to auto immune diseases and cancer, but not feeling well and dealing with the histamine issue I have delayed the extraction. Now I’ve got it removed and some symptoms like brain fog and memory issues just disappeared. I went trough 3 dentists and all of them told me the tooth was fine and was not to remove…with the last one I’ve insisted so much explaining the whole issue that he finally decided to make more x rays…result I had 2 granulomas. So my guess is..the root canal tooth is dead material realising cadaverine..as others amines and this continuos silent realise plus the infection triggers an unbalnce in the histamine system.
Now I’m focusing in the b6/b3/oxalates/pylori issue as I have all the symptoms related.
As histamine issues are also linked to stomach cancer…and it runs in my family, and pylori is involved in it.
I had it before and cured it with mastic. But probably I have a genetic unability to fight it properly.
This is a fascinating comment. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your piece of the puzzle. I am sure that there are readers who will benefit from your experiences
A part of the post is missing….the “fermenting” link…if we have fermenting things as a root canal or decomposing material stuck in the gut we may have a source of amines disrupting the histamine system.
Now I’ve got it removed and some symptoms like brain fog and memory issues just disappeared. I went trough 3 dentists and all of them told me the tooth was fine and was not to remove…with the last one I’ve insisted so much explaining the whole issue that he finally decided to make more x rays…result I had 2 granulomas. So my guess is..the root canal tooth is dead material realising cadaverine..as others amines and this continuos silent realise plus the infection triggers an unbalnce in the histamine system.
What happens if we ignore this condition?
Rebecca Wilson Nsw
I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it yet or not, you did make an indication that Genetics might be at work here, and the answer to that might is YES, probably in more ways than one.
Google Undermethylation and you will find many many articles on why being LOW in Methyl Donors = Being too high in Histamine, and the opposite is true too, overmethylating people will have low histamine.
Someone can do a simple little test if they are suffering with Histamine, take Methionine + B6 (P5P best form), if you see immediate reduction in symptoms like I did, voila Methylation issues.
Here is one such article: http://secondopinionphysician.com/tag/undermethylation/
Good luck all
corrected direct link http://secondopinionphysician.com/treat-elevated-histamine/
Thank you so much for that link – the more we understand, the more easily we can find the root cause of our symptoms. Very helpful!
Interesting thread. Checked and the specific supplements
(histame, swanson’s, etc) seem to be too expensive.
I have grape seed/pine bark capsules when I’ll start taking
2 x day (got these from a “bulk food” supplier. Going to
up my vitamin C (sodium ascorbate). Also niacin, 100mg
x 2 day (flushing). I was doing Dr. Yu’s (youtube)sauna protocol,
and felt really good afterwords, probably because it was
ridding excess histamine. Last night at 8 pm tried
vitamin c 1600 mg, qercertin 800 mg, and mangosteen.
I awoke at around 1pm to use restroom, and took the identical
dose again. Finally slept like a baby and feel rested for the
first time in a long time today. I have all the nutty symptoms
of too much histamine, OCD, insomnia, etc (I’ve studied
layman’s nutrition for years, slowly getting better).
Oh, at bedtime I took a large dose of magnesium acetate
(1 tsp… see Dr. Sirus).
Thanks for writing. These are some interesting supplements and techniques that are unfamiliar to me. I will investigate. Thanks for sharing so that others can learn from you.
My daughter has life-threatening food allergies and the list of sensitivities just keeps growing. She has allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy and now can’t have cow dairy, oats or corn. We’ve been doing variations on Weston Price, GAPS, Paleo diets since she around the time she was born 5 years ago. She is not getting better, actually getting worse. We just found out through a stool sample that in spite of years of fermented foods, she has very little good flora and very high levels of candida and elevated e-coli. I’ve noticed one day she can eat something and then the next day she reacts to the same food (the leftovers!). Maybe the higher histamine levels?! I wondered if you still soak your grains or does that fermentation actually cause problems for you? I’m wondering how the candida problem and the histamine problem might be related. Any ideas?
Thank you for your helpful article.
If you have any possibility of seeing someone who has been trained in the Walsh Approach, I think that this can be very helpful to treat oxidative stress that is inhibiting gut healing. If you look up the Walsh Research Institute, there is a Practitioners Page and you can find someone local to you. I don’t know the answer about the soaking and fermentation. I have seen some really good results with people who follow the diet of Ann Boroch in her book the Candida Cure. http://www.amazon.com/The-Candida-Cure-Program-Restore/dp/0977344614
I have had all these strange reactions from food for the last 3years , first started with stomach rashes, then close to anaphylactic reaction to fish like salmon etc, now I’m unable to many nuts ripe fruits and veggies , alcohol does not like me .
I get slut bruising on my legs and the moment lumps under my arm, exzmea on right breast and right foot. All reactions are on my right side.
Heart palpitations as well
Was wondering if the how to do the paleo low histamine diet
Rebecca Wilson Australia nsw
Try anti-fungals such as: olive leaf extract, oregano oil, pau d’arco, caprylic acid, and others.
Check out Doug Kaufman’s website http://www.knowthecause.com
His books are fantastic. He talks about yeast overgrowth and avoiding the foods commonly contaminated with fungus, like corn, wheat, peanuts, etc.
Hi, I am suffering from HI since one year and due to this I am having swelling though out the body, cold, sneezing all the time, severe headache. Today, while surfing the internet I went through this page and got to know about Daosin Diamine Oxidase looks HI can be cured but I didnt find this product in India. As of now I am taking vitamin B6 which reducing my swelling day by day.
I need to find out a permanent solution my life is hell due to this disease didnt see my real face since one year it hurts.
Raisin does not cure but can help prevent symptoms from ingesting histamine in foods. Improvement in the condition itself results from healing the digestive system.
Thank for the reply.
I have read about one product that is Histamine Block which says that it does not manage or address antibody-related or IgE- related food allergy but Although, it has DAO enzymes 10,000 HDU per capsule. Its making me confused whether it would help me or not. My IgE level is normal and one more test I had undergone that shows I am not allergic to anything but however I am getting allergic reaction when I m taking histamine-rich foods. Only this product is available in India which has DAO and I am interested in buying this product so I would like to have your suggestions on this as this product is very costly. Also, how long I should continue this product to reach the normal level of DAO. Thanks in advance!!
I think that the only way to know if something would help is to try it. The DAO works only to metabolize histamine when it is ingested, it does not build up DAO levels. I know someone who gives a capsule to her daughter 15 minutes before any meal or snack, and its very helpful, but also very expensive. I am not really an expert about this, that is the extent of my knowledge.
Could you please help me ??? the quercetin tablets and DAO tablets can be taken together?
I don’t know the answer, but I never heard of that presenting a problem.
Raisin is from the grape = grape seed extract!!~!!!!
Grape Seed Extract and or Pycnogenol have saved my life regarding histimine issues…I have not taken a drug for 20 yrs next month. These are OPC’s….do your research and these magnificant OPC’s…..
Grape seed vitamin, haven’t tried that one . I’ve been taking the fusion Chinese digestive enzymes and when I’m not taking it I feel the difference.
But it hasn’t taken away any symptoms .
Maybe I need to try the low histamine diet for a while longer then a week or not have so much high foods in one day . Feeling lost as doctors have no idea
Rebecca Wilson Australia nsw
I’m using Daosin also and I can really recommend it to everyone who got an histamine intolerance. It works very reliable to me and I had no side effects so far. Well guys.. having a histamine intolerance issue isn’t that bad, because nowadays there are products or supplements which can help us. Keep your head up 😀
I’m allergic / reactive to perhaps ALL the commonly used excipients. I appreciate all the natural solutions mentioned here.
Thank you for this clear and helpful information. Do you have any more info about how the length or method of cooking food affects it’s histamine level?
I recommend Dale Brook’s “Menopause Histamine Connection” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1565924000292369/ as a support group for HIT issues.
I have not researched this issue for some time. I am not sure of the answer. I think that it probably makes sense to try and see what what works for you. Everyone responds differently.
Tina Rosel says
Thank you for all the great info. Can you recommend a yogurt starter culture that can be used for people with histamine intolerance? I am on the GAPS diet and would like to slowly add in yogurt but I know that cultures are different.
I am sorry, I really do not know. But I will say, that in my experience, there are many who feel better avoiding dairy all together. It does not agree with everyone.
You might go to this website and see what they have. They specialize in fermentation starters. I don’t know if they will have anything especially for histamine intolerance. But you could ask.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus and bifidobacter may decrease histamine production while lactobacillus case may actual increase it
In the two months since restarting the more therapeutic aspects of GAPS/Paleo AIP (24 hour bone broth & ferments) I have gotten progressively sicker and suspect histamine intolerance.
I am feeling confused about whether or not to eat meat broth, meat or sardines. I went from being vegetarian for 24 years to eating meat and/or soups made with bone broth at every meal and now wonder what I can eat if I cut these out? Also some people say that anaerobic ferments are not histamine raising. Please advise as I think I’m raising my histamine levels through food anxiety! Thank you.
Its so frustrating to change your vegetarian diet after 24 years and then to feel sicker. Its very tricky. You will need to try and figure out if you are reacting to foods that are high in histamine and modify your diet accordingly. Meat broth contains less histamine than bone broth. You will have to see what foods agree with you. Many people with histamine intolerance cannot eat fermented foods. I don’t know about the anaerobic ferments.
Thanks Judy. I’ve found an encouraging post on anaerobic fermentation here http://www.lovingourguts.com/anaerobic-fermentation-our-gaps-missing-piece/ and some more GAPS histamine info here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/gaps-diet-histamine-intolerance. I’ve been eating meat for 18 months now, but not doing all the healing GAPS foods til recently, when things declined. I have just been questioning whether or not I should drink broth or eat meat at all. I guess time will tell. Thanks again for your help.
Thank you, Kirsty, for these wonderful links. I read about the anaerobic fermentation with great interest. It is a very good thing to know about for those suffering with histamine intolerance. I was fascinated about the author’s description of the effect that the ferments had on her daughter’s stomach aches. Very important info. Thanks again.
Valerie Ruscher says
4 month ago I got the diagnosis having a histamine intolerance. So I was looking for a supplement which can help me to handle it and not to be careful with my food all the time. How ever I bought “Daosin” on the internet and I am really satisfied and happy with it. Recommendation for everyone who is sensitive with HI.
I don’t know where else to turn. Maybe there is someone in some of these posts that has been where I am. I have been on low histamine diet for 4 weeks and only gradually got worse. I ended up in the hospital for 4 days having extreme vertigo and vomiting and have been released with a clean bill of health. I have lost 12 lbs…down to 96lbs over a month and a half I believe from sticking to the diet. All of my symptoms still point to histamine intolerance but it will take me forever to find a doctor that knows about this. I am sure even my family is now going to wonder if this is all in my head. What foods do I need to go down to in order to get some relief??
Hi Lois, I am NOT an expert, but your plight made me so sad, I wanted to send you some prayers and warm thoughts! I have experimented with many diets over the years, and I think it can be very hard when you switch your eating style to still get everything you need: calories, vitamins, right macronutrients etc. I think in the past I would often start eliminating so many foods, I had nothing left to eat!! Have you tried a tool like cronometer to track what you DO eat, to see if you are getting the right amounts of everything? it’s tedious, but really helpful! Also, consider finding a dietitian to help you figure out some good foot that you CAN eat … I think that even if they are not familiar with this diet, you should be able to give them a list of prohibited foods and get them to help you put together an OK meal plan, and see if that makes you feel better! I sure hope you get to feeling better soon.
Dee Davis says
Lois, believe me … it’s NOT in your head! To answer your concerns. there’s a lot of dietary information on the Internet. My journey has been: 1) REMOVE all high histamine foods from my diet; 2) REPLACE missing elements with a good enzyme supplement and take Swedish bitters to encourage hydrochloric acid (for better digestion); 3) RE-INOCULATE with a daily probiotic. My advice is this. You MUST stick very close to a low histamine diet. It may be boring at first, but you’ll learn to get creative with the simple food elements. And, secondly, do get yourself a good allergy doctor!
I You might look into Nutritional Balancing. Look up drwilsonnutritionalbalancing It is a lower carb way of eating that concentrates on balancing your whole body system. I have been working with a NB counselor & its like they take everything I’ve studied about health for so many years & its combined into one program. It has helped my digestion so much! Hope this helps!
I read about the Nutritional Balancing Program with interest. It is really comprehensive. It looks like a full time job to implement, though probably when you get used to it, it is not so much. Thank you for sharing.
I hope you’re feeling better. I am 52, have had lifelong health problems and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder this year and fibromyalgia in 1995. Julie Matthew’s book Nourishing Hope for Autism is one of the many books that have helped me a lot. http://nourishinghope.com/ I have been on special diets for years including low oxalate, salicylate, amines, sulphur, sugars, etc. I currently eat 5 meals per day, appx 100 grams of of meat and 125 g veggie – local farm fresh grass fed beef, turkey and chicken that are not fed soy, lettuce juice (2 oz once daily), rutabaga, kabocha and chayote squash, sprouted green peas, goat butter, 1 banana daily, and salt. I use a Nutribullet often to make food more digestible. I keep track of food calories, protein content etc. here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/. I use Enzymedica digestive enzymes and do tolerate some other supplements but not many or much and use a pendulum to help guide me on what and how much to take.
We are all different and I am really happy I had the $99 23andme test done. http://geneticgenie.org/. This is a great post that explains the methylation cycle & sulphation & oxidative stress. http://blogs.kirkmanlabs.com/blog/2009/11/10/what-you-should-know-facts-about-methylation-sulfation-and-oxidative-stress/.
I have noticed a big difference recently by stopping broth apparently due to glutamate sensitivity. This is one of the links that I already posted elsewhere on this site that helped me figure it out: http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/how-to-increase-gaba-and-balance-glutamate/. Best of health to all of us!
One more question:
Along with your recommendation on the Vit C and Magnesium, what Pro Biotic do you recommend?
Thank you kindly.
One size definitely does not fit all. You have to figure out what works for you. I recommend Prescription Assist. It seems well tolerated by many, though not all. Holy Basil is, a revered Ayurvedic herb. Another name for it is Tulsi. It’s different than the basil that is often used in Italian cuisine. I am not knowledgable about the intolerance to suffer containing foods. I had a conversation with a colleague who mentioned that it was in her case related to elevated ammonia levels and impaired detoxification pathways. She did better with a lower protein diet. I, of course, have no idea if this would be relevant to your situation. Healing the gut is the priority.
I am very sensitive so wanted to share the one I use and am happy it doesn’t contain the possibly problematic types show in the link in the blog post but it’s possible these could be a problem and it just hasn’t been discovered yet. https://www.pureformulas.com/d-lactate-free-probiotic-50-grams-by-custom-probiotics.html. Ingredients: L. Rhamnosus‚ L. Salivarius‚ B. Bifidum and B. Infantis. Does not contain: Artificial colors‚ flavors‚ preservatives‚ sugar‚ gluten‚ soy‚ wheat or FOS. – Link also shows “Research indicates that most people are unable to digest large amounts of D-lactate‚ and the situation may get severe with people who face trouble with carbohydrate digestion…”
Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable experiences and information. I am sure that it will be of help to another reader.
You mention that you are taking Vit C, and Magnesium; however, nearly all Vit C has citric acid, which absolutely sends me to the moon.
Also, is Holy Basil the same as Basil?
I also have sulfur intolerances. Any suggestions? I seem to be eating the same 5 foods.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and thoughtful comment. I am sure it will be of interest and use to many readers. I am so struck by how many people struggle by them selves trying to put the pieces together. Most conventionally trained physicians have no understanding of these issues. I have come to believe that the final common denominator for many diverse conditions is the health of the gut, and the balance of the micro flora, a la the principles of the GAPS healing protocol. My current approach both personally and in my practice is the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol, which is essentially an elimination diet, in order to identify the foods which are triggering an auto immune response, in combination with a nutrient dense diet of permissible foods. You can learn about it on an excellent website called Phoenix Helix. I am not impressed with the validity or reliability of blood tests to figure out food sensitivities/intolerances. In addition, I recently attended a conference sponsored by The Walsh Research Institute. I wrote a post about it in October. I am just learning about it and as of yet have no personal or clinical experience with it, but it looks promising to me. You may wish to investigate that. Many of these conditions do have a hereditary piece, both in terms of the gut flora that we inherit from our parents and our biochemical profile which determines the synthesis of neurotransmitters and detoxification pathways, just for starters. I wish you all the best and many blessings for 2015.
Judy, I continue to appreciate this thread on the topic. I always like to hear how you respond to peoples’ questions. I find I learn as much from how people think and converse about these health issues as I do from the theory and research.
My husband and I did an elimination protocol for histamine (and FODMAPS) and didn’t find an obvious problem with either of them. I do notice some reaction to FODMAPS now if I eat too much at once.
We have done the GAPS protocol for over a year and I continue to use it as my base. It helped both of us, symptoms improved and we both felt a greater understanding of our bodies needs in relation to food. But we both still have issues. We also have learned that we have gene mutations that affect detox of sulfur and amonia as well as methylation in general. There might be more on the gene side of things but we ran out of money for further tests and have not found a doctor knowledgeable enough to help us fine tune the gene side of things.
We are now looking at gut pathogens that were not dealt with just by using the GAPS protocol. (ie candida, protoza, worms, SIBO…..that a lot of people co-exist with but which can get over grown and cause problems). I have never been one to go for extreme purges or to be overly worried about pathogens as I believe we need to find harmony with the vast range of microbes within us and out side of us. BUT….
We are now wondering if there might be a time and place to use botanicals to usher out and over population of certain microbes and then reseed and reestablish a healthier gut flora. We are about to start a program called GUT THRIVE in 5. The program involves 5 to 6 weeks of a sequence of steps:
a pathogen purge using botanicals and enzymes and diet, followed by a “reseeding” of the gut flora with healthy microbes (probiotics) and then nourished with diet and botanicals for healing of the gut lining…. for the weeks/months following.
Something I like about this program is that the diet is much like GAPS and SCD. While botanicals, enzymes and supplements are used, they want people to only have to use these for a short time and ideally be able to rely on diet only. They also have the ideal that we shouldn’t have to live with such limited diets and that our gut could become healthy enough that we can live by the 80/20 rule (80% clean healthy diet and 20% “whatever”)
One last thought…..I wonder how these dietary and health issues can be dealt with by the larger population who can’t afford all the testing and follow up tests, the supplements, and even the expensive foods like grass fed meats and organic foods. Not a question here for you, but I just wonder about this. My husband and I have modest means and we try to be careful with our money. We’ve put lots of money into our health, for tests, and supplements and educational programs. We garden and buy local foods and organic as much as possible. We eat better than many people have access to. AND STILL we can’t afford the exotic cutting edge tests and supplements. I’ve given up on how to deal with our gene mutations because no doctors here have a clue, even if we could afford consulting with Yasko she usually has clients get tests done ongoingly so she can adjust supplement treatments. That is all way beyond our means.
I’ve gotten over being frustrated about all that. I return to feeling deeply grateful for what we DO have access to, and what we are capable of doing for ourselves…. I love to cook from scratch and we have awesome farmers near by.
Wow I wrote a lot….I guess I needed to. Thanks for listening.
Blessings to you and all you do.
This link helped me get more use out of my 23andme results. http://www.heartfixer.com/AMRI-Nutrigenomics.htm. Amy Yasko has a free program that is linked to supplements she sells but it was still very useful to me https://www.knowyourgenetics.com/. Also Dr. Yasko’s colleague, Dr. Mullan has an Open Forum Tuesday night at 5:00 PM Pacific Time to answer your questions and it’s interesting to listen to. The call in number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 691392#. When you hear Dr. Mullan come on the line, press *6 to get into the question and answer line if you have a question.
Citric acid which is added to foods and vitamins is now usually synthetic. It is extremely high in processed free glutamic acid (aka msg). It can legally be added to foods/supplements, including foods labelled as “natural” and/or “organic”. It is produced by BigFood by using Genetically Modified bacteria which are fed Genetically Modified corn.
These two websites will teach you all the names BigFood uses to hide and disguise the presence of processed free glutamic acid in our food supply. You need to protect yourself because this excitotoxin is added to many, if not most processed foods…and many supplements:
Dr. Russell Blaylock’s books and website
Judy, if you know of a way to (immediately) treat yourself once you have been poisoned by this chemical (msg) please let us know. I had a recent 7-day headache from citric acid added to a so-called organic tomato sauce. I do GAPS so I KNOW that was the only possible cause of poisoning in my dinner.
Immediately ingesting a taurine tab has been recommended as it competes for absorption with glutamate in the brain; I have not yet tried this.
Processed free glutamic acid is found (to this day) in infant formula and babies’ and children’s brains have NO protection against this neurotoxin.
The glutamate industry’s latest PR scheme is to re-label processed free glutamic acid (msg) as “umami.” They are marketing this “umami idea” to, in particular, vegetarians and vegans (whose food supply is loaded with GMO soy products which have processed free glutamic acid in them). The inventor of the word umami? The Japanese man who invented msg in 1902 (he chemically extracted it from his yummy seaweed soup.) The glutamate industry is busy having us believe umami is the new fifth sense of taste …when,in fact, msg simply excites the (original four) senses of taste and acts to, thereafter, excite your brain neurons to an early death.
Processed free glutamic acid acts to excite the taste receptors and creates a desire to eat more. When in the mouth it immediately can make its way to parts of the brain, without benefit of the protection of the liver, as well as of the blood brain barrier (which is already compromised in many adults with gut issues).
BigFood loves it because it is a cheap way to create taste in cheap food products and it is addictive. This means higher sales.
Their game is to keep it disguised with names of ingredients we don’t recognize. The FDA offers consumers no protection as re. labeling and full & accurate disclosure.
I just read that msg is now approved as a replacement for sea salt in the product called “sea salt.” (I am not making this up.) This means if your processed food item lists sea salt as an ingredient…beware.
It is also now being used as a spray on vegetables and, yes, it is used in vaccinations.
Anything which lists spice, flavoring, seasoning (with or without the addition of “natural” and/or “organic”) can legally include processed free glutamic acid in it.
Arm yourself with knowledge; protect your family. Food co-op foods and organic foods are no longer safe, nor are supplements, when this poison is included. …and it is everywhere in those pretty boxes lining our co-op’s shelves that cheerfully boast the label “organic.”
For a very recent (what appears to be) umami-mmercial, go to NPR and listen to Terry Gross interview America’s Test Kitchen about “umami popping” in their new vegetarian cookbook. (Natural) food sources of glutamate are cleverly mixed in with foods which have (artificial) processed free glutamic acid in them …and they are all simply one big, happy umami family.
Wow. Thank you. This provides excellent support for Dr. Natasha’s recommendation to stay away from any processed foods and to make everything at home.
Judy, thank YOU for a wonderful Website and blog. I have followed your blog for more than a year and have gained help and insight. I am going to start exploring the AIP websites you recommend; GAPS has been great (!) but I have other issues which also need attention (pyroluria). AIP will also help my health journey. L
I am so happy that you like the blog and that it has been of use to you. I am very interested in pyroluria, as I have it as well, as do many of my patients. I plan to write about it in the near future. It is one of the conditions that I learned about through my training at the Walsh Research Institute, and it is very treatable.
In this link, Dr. Blaylock said that pyruvate protects your brain against glutamate and has other benefits. http://www.naturalnews.com/035555_Russell_Blaylock_interview_excitotoxins.html. When I recently stopped chicken broth I started using this product that may have helped but my experience has been helping something can cause a problem somewhere else so I use a pendulum to help guide me on what to take & how much. .http://www.nutricology.com/Calcium-Pyruvate-90-Vegetarian-Caps-p-16440.html.
I have many of the symptoms of histamine intolerance. I also have been tested and have food sensitivities but after dropping those foods from my diet many of my symptoms remain so I am thinking the cause is histamine. I am following the Mastocytosis Society of Canada list of foods. I had cut out the major offenders a month ago but have now gone strict on the full diet for one full week. Still no reduction in symptoms…maybe even a little worse. Any thoughts. Typically how long before I should see some sort of progress? This diet includes nuts except walnuts & pecans. I do have sensitivities to nuts so was not eating a lot but sounds like maybe I should cut them out.
I do have some thoughts. I am not impressed with the validity and reliability of food sensitivity testing. I think that it can yield both false positives and negatives. These days I am recommending the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol in my practice, which is essentially an elimination diet. If you were following that diet, you would exclude all nuts and seeds for at least 30 days, and then systematically reintroduce them and monitor for symptoms. The Paleo Auto immune Protocol might need to be further modified in your case, by excluding foods high in histamine.
I may have to try that instead. Is there a book/cookbook or website you recommend? Is AIP more straightforward than low histamine?
These are some of the websites I have found helpful http://thelowhistaminechef.com/
I have just undergone testing within three years and was diagnosed as having gluten intolerance and more crucially being intolerant to corn as well. As for the rest they were not key factors to my health. Has been a uphill climb making such changes.
As of late I have been a culprit to as I believe is considered as Histamine Intolerance or Histamine excess after much research. I have had these itchy bumps that once irritated become sores and I have yet to seek medical attention as of money issues.
I am seeking out to go more homeopathic and sought the help of a Naturopath, though without any luck on a separate issue pertaining to other health related topic of having a Low white blood count. And Modern Medicine has not much to mention on my diagnosis if just to administer more antibiotics; no thanks.
And upon researching and learning about enzymes and their function in our bodies is vital.
I admire your research on the subject matter of Histamine related issues.
KEEP up the good work!
Sorry to hear of everything you are going through. It sounds hard. Now in my practice I am recommending the Paleo AIP protocol to my patients (AIP stands for autoimmune protocol). Its an elimination diet with careful reintroduction of foods after symptoms have diminished. A good site to read about it is Phoenix Helix. I wish you all the best.
I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your website and all the comments. I have just started the gaps diets purely for constipation n depression I have had tests done and I have no dsbyosis or gut permeability, though I do get thrush n bladder I infections. I would hate to start eating sauerkraut n high histamine foods and become worse.
My husband and I also have methylation deficiencies and digestive issues. We have done GAPS and I continue on a modified GAPS diet. I no longer have chronic constipation. I think this is partly because I now take a magnesium supplement. But I think doing GAPS helped.
I was curious what kind of test told you that you don’t have dysbiosis or gut permeability. I was understanding that having chronic constipation would kind of be part of the definition of gut dysbiosis….or at least an imbalance of gut flora.
I hadn’t heard that methylation problems causes histamine intolerance. Could you say more about that? Or point me towards something I could read on that. Interestingly my husband and I went on a low histamine diet for a couple months and then reintroduced histamine foods one at a time but didn’t notice having any problems with them. I do have some mild reactions to FODMAPS and bone broth. I’m under the impression that it might be the free glutamate in the long cooked bone broth that is a problem with me.
It’s challenging how many issues there can be. Good luck getting your health back.
Thank you for the I information I enjoyed reading all the comments n its admirable how u respond to everyone. I’m interested in histamine in relation to food if u have been diagnosed as undermethylated which is over histamine in body I’m just starting on the gaps diet after long history of constipation, bloating n severe depression but I would hate to increase problems by incorporating histamine foods like sauerkraut if they are actually the reason for my digestion issues as I don’t have leaky gut.
I have a question:
If you have a damaged gut, thats most likely the cause of all issues, from IBS to histamine in tolerance to acne etc. However, in order to heal the gut, to fix all those issues… you are advised to eat certain foods. This is where im confused, I suffer from IBS, acne and histamine intolerance… It is advised to heal the gut with fermented foods (trigger: high histamines), lots of veggies (trigger: high histamines & IBS), bone broths (trigger: high histamine), probiotics (trigger: histamines)… so im at a loss. Should the first step be to heal the gut, no matter what other issues it triggers? And then once the gut is healed, then concentrate on the other issues?
I just want to understand how one is meant to heal the gut to cure IBS, Histamine, acne…. by eating the very foods that trigger it in the first place?
Well, its not simple clearly, and I understand your confusion and frustration. Bone broth is a food that is healing to the gut, but if you see that it doesn’t agree with you, than you should try meat broth, which has fewer histamines. If you cannot tolerate fermented vegetables, take a 1/4 teaspoon of the brine daily and work your way up, or a shred of sauerkraut. Certain probiotics are tolerated by some people and not others. Find one that works for you. Dr. Natasha suggested opening a capsule of the Probiotic she recommends, Biokult, and if need be, divide it into 18 portions. So in other words, modify and adapt. I would also like to mention that for myself and a number of my patients, that it was only when certain trigger foods that caused an auto-immune response were removed from the diet, did healing fully begin. I am now recommending the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol, in order to identify the foods that are causing symptoms, in addition to eating healing stocks and fermented foods, and a whole foods nutrient dense diet, avoiding all preservatives and additives. The safest is to eat only food that you prepare at home, and know exactly what is in it.
Thank you so so much for your reply! Im looking into AIP to help with my many issues. I guess the key is still to heal the gut, but at a rate and with small amounts your body can handle. Slow and steady wins the race.
Yes! Please keep me apprised of your progress. I am very interested in learning all I can about the relationships between avoiding certain foods and the resolution of symptoms. I, for instance, have had the most disturbing tinnitus (ringing in my ears) for a very long time. But since avoiding my personal food triggers (gluten, dairy, nuts and seeds and egg whites), it’s now almost gone. Its such a relief. So many people just live with all sorts of really miserable low grade symptoms, and think that there is nothing that they can do, but its not true. There is hope, but it does not happen by continuing business or dining as usual.
This helped me understand the difference between bone broth and meat stock and has research data showing levels. http://www.biodynamicwellness.com/stock-vs-broth-confused/
Hi Dr. Tsafrir,
Thank you for this post. It seems as tho my two year old son has a histamine intolerance. He has had eczema since only a few weeks old and has always had digestion issues. Finally I stopped listening to western doctors and saw a naturopath. She said he had leaky gut because of the test results we got back. I decided to start the gaps diet to help with the eczema and digestion caused by leaky gut. We are on day 15 and things have not gotten any better but if anything they have gotten worse.
My question is… If gaps is supposed to heal his leaky gut but is high in histamines how is the diet supposed to work? Broth is the key component to the diet but everywhere I read it says that it’s high in histamine. Our gaps practitioner says I should be letting the broth cook for 24 hours for beef and the same for chicken and everyone else says only a couple hours. Which one is going to heal him the fastest? Do I cook it then freeze it while still hot or do I let it cool?
If I simply avoid all high histamine foods and still implement the gaps diet is that going to be enough? This diet is so much work already and now this gets thrown in. What if we were to just ignore the histamine intolerance and just push forward? Would it resolve itself with the gaps diet?
Sorry for so many questions but this is so hard to see my kiddo suffer. I took two months off between jobs and I’ve only got five weeks left before I need to have some normal foods to send him to daycare with. Thanks again for all your hard work you put into this
If bone broth is a problem for your son, then you can feed him meat broth, which is cooked much less time, and thus has a lower histamine content. I am more and more impressed with the role of foods causing an auto immune reaction which creates symptoms. If I had this situation with my child, I would follow the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol, which is essentially an elimination diet of the foods that most frequently trigger an auto immune response for a minimum of 30 days, and until you see an improvement in his symptoms, and then follow the reintroduction protocol, and try and identify what are the triggering foods. I think GAPS principles are very useful, but these days I am increasingly impressed with the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol.
Thanks for your reply. The problem is I only have one more month before I go back to work and he goes to daycare so switching diets is not really feasible. I have another big problem too tho which might make it necessary to switch diets and quit my job. My son started getting hives yesterday morning on his thighs. By night it was covering most of his body. By morning it was covering his whole body. His sleep is horrible (has been since before we started but got worse after). I posted a comment on Facebook regarding this and one woman seems to think a mast cell disorder from the gaps diet. I’m so lost on what to.do and its not like there are people I can just make an appointment to talk to about it. Our gaps practitioner is looking into it but I just don’t know. If you have any other suggestions or info I would really truly appreciate it. Thanks you.
I suggest that you take a look at the website of The Low Histamine Chef. She has information on approaches to mast cell activation disorder. I do not know what else to suggest. I wish you all the best. http://thelowhistaminechef.com
I suggest that you take a look at the website of The Low Histamine Chef. She has information approaches to mast cell activation disorder. I do not know what else to suggest. I wish you all the best. http://thelowhistaminechef.com
I apologize for asking more questions but I am at a loss. Do you think it is possible to heal a leaky gut with the gaps diet while keeping it low histamine? Thanks again.
Yes, but make sure to identify any specific foods that cause symptoms and take them out of your diet.
My toddler has also had eczema and strong reactions – even his urine hurt! What worked for us was going complete elimination diet – freshly cooked turkey or chicken for our proteins, rice or millet as our grains, safflower oil or ghee as our fat, and pears, yellow squash and green beans as our fruit and veg. It got worse within the first week and after two weeks, it got much much better. When we tested him for food allergies, they all came back negative. Very frustrating! Now we base our meals on freshly cooked low histamine foods and have just started adding a small bit of probiotics to his morning cereal. It is amazing the difference that has happened from 5 months ago! His eczema is not healed but much better – I think when it is so bad for so long, it is deep within the layers of the skin and needs time to work its way up.
I really wish you luck – I understand how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be when your little one is obviously in pain and irritated.
Hi, thanks for a great article. Is there a better cooking method to choose that doesnt raise histamines as high when cooking? How long are left overs safe for? I know histaimines rise as soon as you start cooking, so the less is better, but can you cook something and eat within 24hours without fearing the histamine level. Would specific proteins be more of an issue if left, eg chicken?
The more quickly something is cooked, the less histamines are created. I don’t know the answer about specific proteins. I think you need to experiment with your own tolerance in terms of the histamine content of left overs.
Thank you for your reply! Im finding boiled chicken (for 30 mins, from frozen) and the use of a flavourwave (convection oven) best for lamb and beef, 30 mins from frozen = med-rare. Im getting an Imupro test done on friday to see exactly what foods effect me, getting tired of this guessing game 🙂 From there I will cut out high histamine and IBS trigger foods.
I’m curious, when you had the imupro test, did foods that were high in histamine come up as something you should avoid? I’ve heard that this is not the case and that the imupro test tests intolerance and not histamine reactions to food. I am interested to know if you found the imupro test helpful for histamine-related issues? I was going to do imupro300 and a histamine blood test but the imupro costs A LOT! Any wisdom gratefully appreciated.
Dear Dr Safrir,
Thank you for this excellent article. I have a quick question. You mention that “probiotics can be used, as long as they do not contain histamine producing species of microflora.” Can you recommend a specific brand of probiotic that meets this criterion? Since learning that I have histamine intolerance I have stopped eating fermented foods and have stopped taking probiotics but would still like to take a probiotic if possible. Thanks again!
Well, I think that Prescript Assist does not contain histamine producing species of microflora, and it is generally well tolerated and effective. In my experience the reaction to probiotics is very individual, and what is well tolerated by one person is not tolerated at all by another. So, its really a matter of experimentation with yourself as the subject. Try a high quality product and see if it agrees with you.
Thanks for your quick response and commiseration!
I have actually been thinking of getting back into doing more yoga again plus hypnotherapy. Sort of similar territory as NAET.
I did receive some hypnotherapy last Fall which helped me heal an old low back/hip condition. It helped me release and overcome anger I had as a child not being treated for a serious injury I had. The results of the hypnotherapy was just short of miraculous in combination with taking food grade diatomaceous earth (which helps bone formation and connective tissues). Now finally my sacrum and low back are far more stabilized. The mind body connection can be amazing!
Good luck with your treatment. I have heard good things about it!
I am also finding certain herbs are very healing: nettles, peppermint, chamomile, skullcap, rosemary, ginger and yarrow.
The above herbs have strong antihistamine qualities. I have been making a tea from them the last couple of days and notice a big difference in how I feel! They definitely take down inflammation and thus seem to be helping me sleep better. I have actually seen inflamed tissue normalize as a result of drinking the tea.
I looked the herbs up on the Internet the other night when I couldn’t sleep after having barberry extract I reacted strongly against. Barberry is very healing for me, but not in any kind of extract it appears! I thought it would be OK since they were dry capsules. But no. I had the full monty reaction and hardly slept a wink with rls nearly all night. I was a wreck the next day. Ironically it was my naturopath/TCM acupuncturist who prescribed it for me.
So instead I am boiling up the straight herbs instead, which work just fine for me: Golden Seal, barberry or Oregon grape root for the berberine (to knock out the infection) as well as wormwood (which helps against infection too plus is good for digestion and anti critter) with ginger and licorice root to balance the energy. I am also eating lots of fresh garlic with my meals.
With this histamine/SIBO condition it appears very few doctors know much about it. Just a few on the Internet for the most part. And even with them, it seems few have really thought about how to get past the common histamine sensitive problem of not being able to eat much meat or nuts/seeds etc. plus being uber sensitive to most antibiotics.
As I see it, it will take time. But then I have time. At least now I know what it is I am dealing with and with that knowledge can progress.
Do let me know how the NAET goes for you. I have heard it can be a powerful healing agent since this histamine condition often connects with the amygdala’s seemingly autonomic reactions.
I am very curious about your straight herb brew. Where do you get your herbs? What is the recipe, how much herb, how much water, how long to boil, steep? Do you put all the herbs you mentioned into one brew?
I will write about my NAET experience when I am further along with it and have a better sense of it. This particular practitioner combines it with a few other modalities, so it a hybrid of sorts. I will keep you posted. All my best.
What I usually do is for a pot of water (4 to 5 cups of water) I put in the detox root herbs–1 tablespoon if powdered, 2 tablespoons if the plain root: barberry or oregon grape root or golden seal (do not take these cold detox herbs more than 10 days in a row), dandelion (usually OK continuously), then ginger root, licorice root, and finally wormwood. I boil the pot of detox root herbs for 20 minutes to half an hour. The licorice root and ginger root do not need as long a boil–maybe 5 minutes? Be careful when you add in the licorice root since it tends to foam. Though longer is OK. (Note that not everyone with histamine issues tolerates licorice root.) Then you add in the wormwood at the end after you have turned off the heat and let it steep with the lid on for 20 minutes before you strain some into a cup. I usually add some extra water in my cup since it is very bitter.
I boil a smaller pot of water (2 to 3 cups) for the leafy and flowery herbs: nettles, peppermint, chamomile, skullcap, rosemary. I then turn off the heat and add in the herbs, stirring and put the lid back on. Alternatively one can use a teapot. I use 1 tablespoon of the regular whole herbs, and 1/2 tablespoon if it is a powder. I let it all steep a minimum of 20 minutes before straining and using. Again I often add extra water into my cup to dilute it.
I find I can easily use these two brews up in a day or day and a half, up to two days. Right now I am using more than usual in order to kill off/deal with the SIBO as well as the histamine intolerance.
In addition I use quercitin and vitamin C as natural antihistamines. I am thinking about using Monolaurin. I already use nattokinase to help break up the bacterial biofilm, as well as reduce fibrin in general (aka scar tissue!). Other fibronylitic agents can work equally well. But I decided not to use lactoferrin given the kind I was prescribed was made with egg white–which for me is a huge no!
Bromelain is OK too I just found despite the fact it is made from amine rich pineapple!
Anyway all this is what so far has worked for me. I have been using herbs for over 40 years so I have a lot of books and resources as well as experience. Herbs have often saved my life! However it wasn’t until fairly recently that I knew I had histamine intolerance. And knowing this business with SIBO is brand new. I just knew several of these herbs helped me feel better. And the other night I looked up some of these online (i.e. antihistamine herbs). However I am no doctor and can’t say if the above formulations will work for you or not.
Do let me know if you try them out. And if you do, if they work for you too!
And oh yes, I get my herbs from the local herb shop “Down to Earth” here in San Jose. Likely there are some herb shops in Boston. If not, you can order them in bulk online from various places. Just remember extracts could be dangerous unless the herbs are simply freeze dried. I find overall its best to get the real deal instead, plus it is way cheaper too.
Thank you, Bea, for taking the time to write all of this great information. I look forward to trying these herbs.
I’ve mentioned this before, but prior to 1995 when I got on Pycnogenol and subsequently Grape Seed Ex a year later, I was a slave to anti histime drugs….these antioxidants reduce histimine majorally in our bodies…..I have NOT bought/used one of those drugs in 19 yrs soon. Grape Seed Extract every day, often take Pycnogenol as well…but no more drugs for allergies/sinus issues.
Terrific. Thank you for taking the time to write. This may be of great help to someone with similar challenges.
I recently was diagnosed with having SIBO from a breath test. Thing is I already knew something was wrong since I have severe histamine and gluten sensitivity plus a tendency to have a puffed out belly with weight fluctuations depending on how many carbs I eat. I also still have been having insomnia and migraines, though not as bad at all or as frequent as in the past.
I just learned that most who have this severe histamine sensitivity are speculated to have SIBO.
But really, then what can someone such as I eat for protein?? Even nuts are out for me though I tolerate a bit of fresh ground up flax and pumpkin seed plus dried plain coconut shreds sans nitrates.
Fortunately I tolerate eating soaked cooked fresh beans even though they are said to be high histamine. I pour the water off before cooking (and adding more of course) and then pour off the water and rinse at the end of cooking, which seems to help just fine.
I certainly cannot eat much meat at all without a migraine from the sensitivity to the amines. Ditto with fish unless I catch it and cook it right away myself!!
I think so very little is known really about this condition. At first I thought I should get treated by refraxamin to help end my histamine reactions. But then learned the treatment is not that good. The infection often comes back with a vengeance. The antibiotics can in fact Cause SIBO to develop in some patients. Plus for me, antibiotics are a risky business to begin with due to problems I had with my kidneys as a young woman. I had a hobby making wine and yeasted bread, which in retrospect was absolutely the worst things I could have done!
So my plan is to not panic and just focus on long term dietary and herbal remedies. And continue to eat fresh cooked beans with my salad and other greens. And drink my herbal antihistamine, antibacterial detoxing concoctions.
One change though now is to eat white jasmine rice since I read in two places now how it is less allegenic and digests before it gets into the small intestines–which then gives the small intestine a break.
Seems to be my path to go where few have tread (publicly at least), except maybe the Low Histamine Chef. But for her I don’t know if she has SIBO or not…
Meanwhile I hope you are well!! Thank you so much for continuing this discussion. I wrote some time ago, but now of course know a bit more… while feeling a bit like the blind person finding the shape of the elephant. It is slowly getting to be more clear!
I even read today that if I take a bit more thiamin (I tend to be thiamin deficient) it may lessen my reaction to fish. Well my hope is to be able to tolerate fish oil if I freeze it immediately after opening (like I used to), though perhaps this is a bit of figmenting my imagination with hopefulness, eh??
My heart goes out to you with all that you have been through and struggling with. It is all so mysterious, and just as you said, it’s like the blind person finding the shape of the elephant. its I recently have begun a series of treatments with an NAET practitioner. It is a an unconventional approach, but I am hopeful. Please continue to update. I will be curious to hear about your progress. All my best.
yes. Thanks for writing on this topic & spreading the word. I just found out about this age 40. I wish I knew 20 yrs ago. I had my genes tested with Dr Amy yasko and 23andme.com and I follow MthfrSupport wall on Facebook (very helpful on this topic!!). I DO have TWO gene mutations blocks for DAO enzyme. So i produce less DAO. I DO have histamine issues. I just purchased DAO enzyme online and seems to help, BUT i still limit my histamine foods. Any foods with Yeast extract, chicken broth give me headaches. I have one now from making bean soup with MSG free and low sodium chick broth (organic). I would go back to vegan broth, but most have tomato paste (also high in histamine). I think I’ll stick to making my own Low-Histamine vegetable broth for recipes now.
I also have Mthfr C677t, CBS and many more gene mutations
Brenda A says
I was diagnosed with Mthfr TT and was put on a plant based B12 with plans to add B complex etc. I started having serious welty rash, diarrhea and chills within a few days of starting the supplement. After checking with the nutritionist I found that all the plant based B12’s have brewers yeast in them and she said I should not have any of those, methylcobalamin was recommended but all the supplements I’ve found for that have folic acid and I’ve been told that will do more harm than good, that its folate I need not folic acid. I’m feeling like I’m walking a tight rope..I’m was just starting to get my symptoms manageable from 6 months of reactions that culminated in being unable to eat anything but organic beef and chicken and sometimes organic rice cakes (this was 3 weeks ago when my body started reacting to all foods except those items) I had found your site last week and was given great advice about meat stock vs bone stock (I had lost 14 lbs in 12 days) the advice helped me and I have stopped the extreme weight loss. I was also gotten in touch with another member who went through similar 4 months ago, she has been a wonderful and caring supporter. Thank you for your help, hoping you or one of the other members can give me some clarification on which supplement is best.
Don’t know if you have found any of these yet; but Seeking Health supplements by Dr. Ben Lynch who also runs the http://www.mthfr.net site has methylated B12 and methylated folate for those with MTHFR mutations (www.mthfr.net)
karin skacel says
This article may be over a year old, but it is still great to read! I thought I was the only person out there trying to balance a low-carb and low histamine diet. It took me over 10 years to figure out that my symptoms (terrible hangovers that occurred for “no reason”) were histamine related. Now, with a combo of a low carb and low histamine diet, along with DAO supplements (ordered through Swanson), I no longer lose three to four days a month due to severe symptoms. And, by following the diet and using the supplements, I can even allow myself to have a shot of gin or clear rum on occasion. Aged cheeses and meats are unfortunately still out of the picture. However, I do sometimes want to climb on a rooftop and tell the world about histamine intolerance. Not many people, and extremely few doctors know anything about it. Had even just one doctor who I visited been aware, they could have saved me from several endoscopies and colonoscopies, not to mention many drugs which were totally unnecessary and only made my symptoms worse. Now only if you, Dr. Tsafrir were located in Seattle!
Tamara Lee says
I noticed you are also in Seattle – I’m looking for an educated Dr to help me navigate double-hetero MTHFR, I need good info on low carb & low histamine diet – can you or anyone give me guidance on this? Is there a website that consolidates the best foods and recipes?
I am not in Seattle, only Boston, and would not know who to recommend. It’s hard to find a single website that consolidates recipes and foods for all these different needs. My recommendation is to cobble together something that suits your individualized needs, culling from different approaches.
Try Dr. Robin Sinclair. She is a naturopath at North Seattle Natural Medicine. She diagnosedy SIBO and I have been on the GAPS diet with slow progress. I have a hyperactive histamine response. So I’m now starting the low histamine diet in conjunction with GAPS.
Brenda A says
Could you please clarify what the difference is between meat broth and bone broth? Would that be the broth from a boneless roast vs a full bone-in chicken?
Here is a good post from the Healthy Home Economist which clarifies this issue.
Brenda A says
Thank you for your quick reply… I tried to purchase the book referenced but it is not available on Kindle. I am having severe reactions to all foods/meds now, I had some before but as of 2 1/2 weeks ago the only thing I can eat without histamine reactions are organic beef and chicken plus organic rice cakes (only at times). I have lost 14 lbs in 12 days and need to find something my body will tolerate while I try to get the histamine lowered in my system. I cannot take antihistamines. I am in extreme need of the recipe for meat stock and was wondering if you could send that to my email? I also have a food journal from the last several days that I would be glad to send to your email .. it includes the minimal foods I’ve tried to introduce and my reactions (length of time and severity). Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated, I am starting to get discouraged today with all the reactions and how weak I am starting to feel.
That is not a book, its a link to a web site that is freely available to anyone. To make meat broth put a chicken in enough water to cover it, add onion and carrot and celery and cook it for 2 hours, and then take out the meat and take it off the bone and drink the broth. I hope it works out.
Brenda A says
Thank you… the recipe was not on the blog, only a link that takes you to Amazon to order the book. I greatly appreciate the info… I cannot have the vegetables right.. tried a very small amount of carrots yesterday (1 tsp) and was in histamine reactions within 20 minutes. Will the broth be sufficient without those?
Its fine to just use the meat. I just approved a comment from someone who has been in your shoes and has offered to e-mail with you. She may be a great resource.
Brenda A says
My Drs are thinking I might have Histamine Intolerance/ DAO deficiency but we have not been able to get a test for it yet. All my symptoms, including the most severe seem to be leading us that way. Do you have any suggestions for when a reaction is so severe I can only eat organic beef and chicken?
I understand how you feel. I can sense the desperation in your tone and is so familiar as I was in your shoes only 4 months ago. I am doing much better now, though still dealing with many issues. After a very harsh elimination diet consisting of chicken, rice, onions, lamb, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and apples (these began to turn on me too!) I have begun to reintroduce many, many foods. Though I’m still reacting to many things, the reactions aren’t as bad and I haven’t had anaphylaxis since November. I have added P5P (activated form if B6 and quercetin, vitamin c, and proniotics (metagenics). I also found a doctor familiar with methylation because it is so key to these conditions and it relates to your body’s ability to detox (Dr. Vinitsky in Gaithersburg Maryland) and per his protocol (which I modified) I have added B12 and folapro (not folic acid!) because I have two different copies of mthfr. Hydration is also HUGE!!! i try to drink 8-10 cups of water and do so much better when I do. Dr. V also recommends trimethylglycine and taurine which I haven’t added yet. How odd to be taking so many supplements as I’ve always been one to think health could be achieved through food alone, but things had to get pretty bad for me to see this just wasn’t going to happen. I still drink broth every day and follow gaps/scd 95% of the time (the rice and sweet potatoes got me through my almost-died stretch). Feel free to contact me to discuss. I feel your pain. It will get better. [email protected]
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a useful and encouraging comment.
Brenda A says
Thank you for your help.. I will email you privately
Brenda A says
I was just told recently that I have a mutation (TT) with the mthfr.. my daughter and I also have CYP450 metabolic disorder. Does anyone know how all of this might be connected (if at all?)
Thank you Dr Tsafrir and El for such quick responses..after all the problems I have been having … months and years culminating in extreme the last 2 1/2 weeks I was feeling discouraged this morning… your responses make me feel that I might be heading in the right direction
Since I posted about a month ago, I ‘ve cut out (for the MOST part)
every high histamine food I can find listed. Still itching. Some relief yes, but not enough. I was miserable. Went to Allergist (though I did not suspect “allergies”) I was right, only 2 things showed a “possible” reaction and he ordered further blood work to verify… sesame seed (who knew) and wheat (duh!) Don’t eat either but now I guess I should even TOUCH wheat. I am currently in process with my GP doctor to be tested for H PYLORI.
I can’t help by think I have found at least a major part of my problem. All symptoms line up. If others can’t pin point their root cause… look into this. I stumbled across it (with God’s help I must add) and WOW. It is definitely worth looking in to.
Pycnogenol in 1995 for 1 yr and then all the years later it’s been primarily Grape Seed Extract….
Prior to 1995, I was the histimine queen, horrible allergies/sinus issues, did every otc drug and spent much time and money with an allergist. NEVER getting better….
These antioxidants have been my Salvation…. I have NOT taken an otc anti histimine is going on 19 yrs……j
Thank you for writing. How much do you take of the Grape Seed Extract?
A good daily dose is 200mg grape seed extract….I often take more….My family and friends all take it….my 17 yr old grandgirl even takes it now, most days 100mg for her some days more…
One has to take ENOUGH for bodyweight……
I have no had cold/flu in many years. And never take a flu vaccine….. If I feel like something may come on, I hit my body with Echineaca high dosing for a couple days and it nips it…..
Thanks for the information. I plan on adding it to my daily supplements.
I know this is an old post, but I’m curious if grapefruit essential oil would suffice. Thanks!
I am alittle confused. I have a 12 year old daughter with mastocytosis and lately her stomach issues have become a real problem as well as being lightheaded and low blood pressure. I am not sure what you are recommending i.e. is GAPS good for her to heal or tummy or bad for her because it is high in histamine.
Thank you for your information
I believe that the GAPS healing protocol could be beneficial, but would need to be modified to avoid high histamine foods like bone broth and fermented vegetables. There would be a need to try and detect which foods she is reacting to and eliminate them until further healing occurs.
Great information. Thanks you ! But I see you do not list spinach or avocado as high histamine foods. I read on other sites that they are. Being celiac, I thought I was eating Healthy and have a salad for supper (most nights) with lettuce, spinach, avocado, cooked ground turkey and sometimes topped with plain fat free greek yogurt. Well, after a while, I began itching. And I ITCHED. I began to notice it was every night, well into the night (waking me from my sleep etc). and it started after the salad….not so good. So, being used to the process of elemination, I began backtracking and also started asking the web. I noticed yogurt definitely made it worse. Avocado, much itching. When I left out Spinach, I slept all night. Coincidence ??? I’m going to avoid (sad sad face) these 3 jewels for a while. I read histamine intolerance is common for those who are gluten intolerant and in menopausal women. YEAH, I’m both. Grain, any grain even white rice makes me itch as well. Boy do I love bakes sweet potatoes. I PRAY, really, please Lord let me have my sweet potato !
Thanks for writing. These lists are very variable and confounding. I know someone who has a terrible reaction to avocados which I suspect is related to histamine intolerance. Then others who seem to react to other high histamine foods seem to tolerate it. That is fascinating with the spinach. I understand sad sad face. These food intolerances are really hard. That is interesting about the grain. I had not heard that before. We are all snowflakes. Each of us with our own unique reactions. You are a good detective. Hopefully you will heal and again be able to enjoy these wonderful and healthy foods.
Many thanks for taking the time to write this post. I think it’s very important that people are made aware of the histamine component that can in a lot of cases lead them to look into the GAPS diet. I began on the GAPS diet just over a month ago and was very quick to add in fermented foods & bone broth. In hindsight I realize now that I should have taken more time to slowly incorporate these things. As a result I seem to be experiencing some pretty bad histamine responses. I started following the full GAPS diet (instead of just intro), cut out fermented food and broths, and have started following the recipes outlined by the great work of the Low Histamine Chef. I am concerned though, It’s been about 5 days since I started eating low histamine, and while my symptoms have improved, I am still feeling dizzy almost constantly all day. Like vertigo. Do you think this is normal or could there be something else going on on top of the histamine ? I know the histamine is a factor for sure. When I eat eggs, I can almost feel the energy being drained from me, will get palpitations and my cognitive capacity just grinds to a halt. The reason I ask is that I seem unable to walk more than a few hundred meters now without becoming totally overwhelmed and having to sit down. I’m in my mid twenties and before I began GAPs I had plenty of energy all day, now after only a number of weeks I feel quite debilitated, unable to leave the house for complete lack of energy. Sorry for rambling on, I’m just keen to hear how this compares with any any one elses experiences and if anyone has any advice as to why I may be experiencing the constant vertigo and fatigue. Can the histamine reactions be reversed? Is it just low histamine food and time we need to heal?
Well, its hard to say what is going on. You might want to get a conventional check up just to rule out anything else going on besides your response to GAPS. Hydration is also key.
A lot of people feel like hell when they start the GAPS diet. There is both detoxing and die-off that is going on. When you make a radical change in your diet, like if you were eating a lot of grains, starchy vegetables and sugar before, there can be a significant die off of pathogenic micro flora which release all sorts of toxins into the body and make you feel very ill. Similarly, there may have been a food that you were consuming regularly and are now avoiding, and that can cause a detox reaction that can make you feel like you have the flu.
I am fascinated by the specific emotional reactions to foods. You mentioned your response to eggs. I have not tested myself in a long time, but previously when I would eat eggs, i would feel very angry. So weird. Many people can tolerate egg yolks, but not egg whites. Egg yolks, if you can tolerate them are a super healthy food. Dr. Natasha recommends eating as many as possible for gut healing. So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We want to be able to maintain a varied diet and eliminate as few healthy foods as possible.
I hope you feel better soon!
John D says
I’m a 19 year old freshman in college. For the past 3 years I have been enduring severe stomach and phsyiological pains. At first I thought it was simply acid reflux but after the various diets and pills I’ve been on, I can defintely say that the problem is bigger than that. I am almost positive that I have a histamine Intolerance but I have absolutely no idea where to go from here…I mean I have a refrigerator in my dorm but that is it! If anyone has any ideas or plans that I could follow to achieve a low histamine diet, that would be greatly appreciated
Sorry to hear about your suffering. There are many lists of low histamine foods available. The way to determine if you are suffering from histamine intolerance is to follow a low histamine diet and to see if it makes a difference in how you feel. That is the litmus test. Its not easy living in a dorm and probably its hard to cook for yourself. I wish you all the best.
I just want to make an observation. There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding meat stock vs. bone broth on the GAPS diet. Dr. Natasha specifically says that she is advocating meat stock….. bone broth has many minerals in it.. but it is the meat stock that is healing to the gut. I don’t understand why people are so confused about this. You seem to be a very knowledgeable person and yet you seem to be explaining this same confusing aspect to your readers… GAPS diet is about meat stock…. simmered for 2-3 hours. However, another important point is that GAPS is a full healing protocol.. the diet is only part of the protocol. I just feel if bloggers such as yourself are going to explain the GAPS protocol they really should be much more careful to explain it accurately, and in full.
I am aware that the GAPS Healing Protocol involves much more than just diet, and that has been made clear in a number of my previous posts.
Dr. Natasha advocates both the use of meat and bone broth as part of the healing protocol, not just meat stock. In the Introductory Diet only meat broth is recommended, but over time as the gut heals, bone broth may be introduced. Some individuals can only tolerate meat broth, but both are actually very nourishing. The timing of the introduction of bone broth is important. Those who are sensitive to MSG will have a reaction to the free glutamates created by the longer cooking bone broth. Thank you again for writing and giving me an opportunity to clarify this important matter.
I am eating less broth based on various sources including this great link that I thought you’d enjoy. http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/how-to-increase-gaba-and-balance-glutamate/
It is a great link. Thank you for sharing. The body is so complex.
This was written by an expert on oxalates and the link to histamines, fyi. (I didn’t include the study link):
I think a lot of people doing research did not anticipate how deficiencies or dysfunctions of B6 could increase intracellular oxalate due to effects on the enzyme that causes primary hyperoxaluria, a B6 dependent enzyme called AGT. The way to make AGT work better is giving high dose B6.
The following study found that pyridoxine supplements did inhibit mast cell degranulation, so those with histamine issues, please take note!
Niacin can spare tryptophan, but one of the steps to make niacin from tryptophan requires a B6 dependent enzyme that very well may be this same AGT enzyme. By giving niacin, you keep from using B6 up trying to make it from tryptophan.
There are 56 genes that make b6 dependent proteins in humans, and when larger amounts of oxalate stress B6 chemistry, in the effort to extinguish the oxidative stress oxalate causes, you can lose a lot b6 through the transsulfuration pathway.
Some who are dumping [oxalates] may experience increases of histamine issues simply because the liberated oxalate is causing oxidative stress. To cope better, take more B6, if the oxalate dump happened for a different reason.
If your dump happened from B6 supplement, that is a bit more challenging. Slowing down the supplement may ease the dumping, but you might actually need more B6 to stop the degranulation issues. Hard balancing act!
I don’t see why you couldn’t take the niacinamide with the B6 to help on both ends.
It’s all so complex, isn’t it? Finding your own way has so much to do with trial and error.
I just made a discovery yesterday that I think is the answer to the problem of many people who have low DAO. Do you know that DAO has a negative feedback inhibition when the levels of its product get too high? I didn’t.
Here is the quote from this site:
“Histamine can be metabolized by extracellular oxidative deamination of the primary amino group by diamine oxidase (DAO)…Therefore, insufficient enzyme activity caused by enzyme deficiency or inhibition may lead to accumulation of histamine. Both enzymes can be inhibited by their respective reaction products in a negative feedbackloop”
So if the enzyme that degrades the PRODUCT of DAO, the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, doesn’t have it’s cofactors, there is a negative feedback and there isn’t enough DAO. Aldehyde dehydrogenase requires NAD(P)+ in order to function.
So if you don’t have enough niacin or niacinamide, you will not be able to get rid of large amounts of histamine.
DAO also has the cofactors B6, vitamin C (we have found this doesn’t work without it), and copper. If someone tries this and it works at first and then stops working, and they are taking B5 or P5P, and vitamin C, then it is most likely because they are running out of copper. We have found this to be a real drain on copper stores in the body. But we have a lot of histamine to deal with from gut bacteria.
(My son is on GAPS.)
Kim and Judy, have u heard of the dao blood test? Also, what do u think of the dao enzyme supps?
I am not very familiar with the dao enzyme supplements. I understand that they can be useful in an emergency if there has been an accidental ingestion of excess histamine, however they are expensive and I believe that the focus should be on increasing the body’s intrinsic capacity to metabolize histamine and to decrease release of endogenous histamine as well as decrease exposure to high histamine foods.
So how does a person do that?
Also, why do u think the dao test is bad? It shows if u are deficient in dao, which can be a genetic condition (23andme tests will show ones susceptibility). And if u are deficient, and thus aren’t able to make ur own dao, why wouldn’t u take a supp, simile to how one would take digestive enzymes, probiotics, or hcl if deficient
I am not saying it’s “bad”, I am just not sure how useful it is. Let me say that I am no expert about this. I have the feeling that with taking dao supplements its like putting your finger in the dyke and the more effective approach is to address the underlying cause.
I don’t think the blood test makes much sense. The clinical picture is more valuable.
I was recently diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder, and had many of the symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Disorder. I lost 10 lbs. in a month and could not go even 1 day without vomiting or GI distress. Although massive doses of antihistamines helped for a short period of time (5 days before the side effects kicked in), I have severe chemical sensitivities that make it impossible for me to take ANY OTC or Rx so I decided to experiment w/ a low histamine diet. But I made the mistake of trying to heal my gut w/bone broth (YIKES!!). I had such horrendous reactions!!
Thankfully, I stumbled upon your blog!! I also was eating copious amounts of kiwi which was on the low histamine list I consulted (http://www.mastocytosis.ca/MSC%20HT%20Restricted%20Diet%20Nov2012.pdf). I will continue to follow your journey as I navigate my own. THANK YOU!!
I am familiar with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. That is very tough condition. I know what you are up against and its really hard. I am glad that the blog has been helpful.
Which doctor was able to distinguish between mast cell activation and Ehlers Danlos? Both are unheard of with the 6 “top” doctors I’ve been seeing to help get a diagnosis, as I have symptoms of both. I’d love to hear from you and know what you are doing to cope, how you are eating, and if there are supplements that help. Also wonder what type of doctor I should see? My email is [email protected]. Take care.
Thanks for answering, judy. Right now I’m struggling on intro, it seems as if I react to the meat. What a challenge! :-/
The people you know of that have improved their histamine problems, did they tell their stories somewhere online? If so, would you mind to tell me where I can read more? Would love some uplifting success stories. 🙂
Maybe the low histamine chef would be a good place to start.
I might be Histamine intolerant. Can i consume bone/meat broths if i prepare them and freeze them right away (for 2-3 days)
I believe meat broths are better tolerated than bone broths for those who are histamine intolerant, and yes, consuming them in the most fresh state will minimize the histamine exposure.
I seem to have a histamine problem (hoping that’s all it is and not masto). I also did gaps for a while. I was not doing well and soon realized that I’m not responding well to meats or nuts or eggs or yogurt. Most grass fed meat is dry aged, and even when I managed to find fresh grass fed beef (2 days after slaughter) I didn’t respond well. I’m having palpitations, dizziness, hives, eczema flare ups, and episodes of convulsions that have landed me in the ER. I’m just tolerating chicken now, but do well with raw veggies. Also can handle lentils, but not all the time. Hoping to get better. I really found the beyondmeds.com posts on histamine to be useful. Also enjoy lowhistaminechef.com. Best of luck. [email protected]
Thank you for taking the time to write. We are all so different. It seems like you respond better to a more vegetarian type of diet. Its good that there are different options for different people. Please continue to write in about your progress. We are all learning.
Sarah Sikora says
Wow, I am just learning about this issue. I’ve been on a long road trying to figure out whats causing my allergy symtoms. Right now I’m off gluten, which means low carb diet for me. I had a milk allergy skin test and I didn’t react to the histamine. Does this mean I may be intolorent? Allergist said that it didn’t matter there was not a reaction.
Its my opinion that these tests are not particularly reliable or meaningful. I think it is much more useful to eliminate foods and then reintroduce them if you are suspicious that they are causing a reaction, and to keep a food diary so in general you are able to link how you are feeling and what you are experiencing with what you have eaten. I believe that these tests not infrequently yield false positives and negatives, and that the situation is also in flux, and what may be true one week is not a month later. Its tricky and you need to be your own detective and guinea pig.
Dig Mem says
A question about low histamine diet: Pumpkin is a no no, so does that mean I should not eat zucchini and yellow squash? I have not tried them yet, but would love to expand my menu. Right now, I pretty much each rice krispies, oatmeal, corn flakes (with milk), pinto beans, veggies, rice cakes with butter, honey, or natural peanut butter, spaghetti noodles with butter, gala apples and mango. I tried unbleached flour and I seemed to react to that. I think almonds are a no no as well. But, Blue Bunny natural vanilla ice cream seems ok. Yeah for a dessert!
I believe that many reactions are very individualized. In many cases it is worth eliminating a food that you have reason to view as problematic, and then retrying it and monitoring your symptoms. I did not think that zucchini or yellow squash were problematic for most people. It seems from my research on line that pumpkin is controversial as to whether or not it needs to be avoided on a low histamine diet.
Dig Mem says
Wow! I had SEVERE allergies. I was tested and found to have seasonal out door as well as dust mites. Nothing seemed to help and I refused the shots. My allergies caused constant runny nose and congestion so bad at times that my ears felt plugged. I also seldom slept through the night.
Long story short, in desperation I discovered sites about low histamine. Since October 7, 2013 I have been eating low histamine foods. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! About every two or three days I try something new and either continue to eat if I don’t react, or cut it out if I do. Last night I had almonds and then again just a bit ago. I sneezed and have a slightly runny nose again, so I’m guess it’s that.
So, what I’m guessing is the case with me; I have a high level of histamine and so am eating low histamine to bring the level down. I CAN BREATH THROUGH MY NOSE!!
Now to do some research on the earlier mentioned of Oxalate level foods because the almonds are listed as low histamine, but I think they are what is causing my sneezing and runny nose again.
Dude! This is so me! I figured out a while ago that I was having histamine reactions from beer and wine. Now my allergies and allergy induced asthma have gotten so bad that I’m taking upwards of 6 kinds of meds to ease my sinus pain and, ear issues, runny nose, etc. I lived off leftovers and soups I’d make in big batches. Like an idiot, it just occurred to me that all of the ssymptom could be related to histamines. I just started a low histamine diet. Glad to hear it’s working for you!
I will be interested to hear if the change in diet makes a difference for you.
Dr. Tsafrir, what do you think about histadelia/pyroluria/under methylation? I read it has to do with high blood histamine levels as well as vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I know someone who has many of the symptoms listed for the condition, including anxiety, depression, irritability, extremely driven and competitve, perfectionism, headaches, social isolation, extreme fatigue, low pain tolerance; but the symptoms are so different from my symptoms of high histamine, which are the ones you list in your article (with the addition of hives, eczema, burning/itchy eyes). What’s the connection here?
I just wanted to write back to you that this issue of defects in the methylation pathway keeps coming across my radar. I am in the process of trying to learn about it, and will be writing about it when I understand it better. It seems very important from my preliminary research.
I am also very interested in the topic of methylation. I found out I am heterozygous for two of the gene mutuations (MTHFR) and have been researching on line about this topic. I look forward to what you come up with as well.
If you don’t already know about her site you might check out Patty’s Loving Our Guts, where she talks about MTHFR and GAPS.
And Dr. Ben Lynch’s site. He is a leading researcher on this topic:
Thanks so much for these resources. I am trying to learn all I can about it.
wow! so glad to have stumbled upon this article. being a young male in hos twenties trying to gain muscle (underweight) i have most likely been shoveling huge amounts of histamines down my throat as its a high protein (and carb) diet, and being im very busy i have been making my food in advance. it makes sense to not do this. i will try to focus more on readily prepared protein sources and vegetable protein sources, while eliminating the other histamine foods. it will certainly be a challenge but i want to pit my health first.
I am delighted that you found it useful, and would be grateful to hear if making changes in your diet makes a difference for you. This is the way to learn. Thanks again for taking the time to write.
I have serious intolerance to dairy products (constipetion) do you tink is safe for me to eat ghee? I am not sure wheter it has lactosa or not. I am under weight. Best
Ghee does not contain lactose, as all the milk solids have been removed. It is pure butter fat. Dr Natasha specifically mentioned it as helpful for constipation. It also would be good for the underweight issue. I think its definitely worth a try. I wrote a post called Liquid Gold about ghee a long time ago. You might want to check it out. https://www.judytsafrirmd.com/liquid-gold/
It has a great recipe for making home made ghee in a crock pot.
I do not have histamine tolerance but have read that reishi may be very helpful for this condition.
How kind and generous of you to write in about reishi. Thank you. That is good to know, and I was not aware of that.
I have been reading your blog with great interest, since I have histamine intolerance as well and suspect that I have leaky gut. It is so inspiring to read that you manage to eat according to GAPS even with the obstacle of the HI. I’d love to read a sample meal plan of yours, as a help to get started on GAPS! I’m right now trying to put everything together, but I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Thank you so much,
Thanks for writing. It is not easy to follow GAPS and it is not easy to follow a low histamine plan and putting the two together is a challenge, but it can be done. My health keeps evolving and I am not sure now if I have generalized histamine intolerance or just specific intolerances to certain foods that are high in histamine like egg white and almonds. I can tolerate certain foods that are very high in histamine without a problem. It’s all quite confusing to sort out. Sometimes it seems like food intolerances shift and what was previously a problem is no longer and visa versa. But at any rate, for quite a while I did follow a diet that kept both GAPS and low histamine parameters in mind and I felt better. Here is a sample menu from that period.
Here is a sample menu:
Freshly prepared Chicken soup with onions and carrots and celery that was frozen in portions and then thawed for breakfast (I often eat soup for breakfast) Two egg yolks can be broken into the soup when it is boiling and that is very good for gut health
Mixed vegetable Salad with oil and lemon dressing and quickly pan fried turkey cutlets in butter
Roasted Lamb, butternut squash, and steamed broccoli with butter
Apples for snack
I would like to know if the reason dried fruits are inadvisable for people with histamine intolerance is because of the sulphuric acid used in the commercial drying process. Are they OK. when dried with a dehydrator?
I imagine that dried fruits made in the dehydrator would be fine if you have not problems with insulin resistance.
Thank you so much, I was also following a paleo and gaps diet and didn’t get better. Today I got my blot test and it says that I have histamine intolerance, I was only making worse with those diets. At the same time, I have dysbiosis it is like a vicious cicle. One question do you eat potatoes and rice?
I am an adherent of the GAPS/SCD school of thought when it comes to improving gut health. I do not recommend grains or starchy vegetables to my patients.
How do you do it with very skinny patients? I quit all grains I lost 4 kilos in one month. My high is 1,56 and my weight 48, I cannot afford to lose more weight. I was counting on GAPS diet and high fats from animals but with the histamine is not going to be good for me.
GAPS allows quite a few carbs such as all kinds of winter squashed, as well as fruit and honey if tolerated. It also includes large amounts of healthy fats like ghee. If the soup is meat soup, and not bone broth, it would not be particularly high in histamine, if it properly frozen after it is prepared. I do not think that one losing weight when eating a GAPS diet is necessary. I do understand your frustration though with more and more restrictions to bear in mind when choosing what to eat.
Thank you so much for posting about this! I’ve been trying to find the missing link to my daughter’s eczema. She’s 2 1/2 and no matter how clean I get her diet or remove all the foods she showed up sensitive to thru muscle testing, it just won’t go away. I’ve now removed all bacon, deli meats & hot dogs(even though grassfed/organic), avocados, coconut products and leftovers and in just a few days she’s doing much better! Odd thing is I gave her a cut up peeled apple yesterday and it triggered lots of itching, etc. but when I juiced the same apple today along with carrots & celery, she did fine. I guess fresh juice doesn’t cause release of histamines? It is hard because a lot of “convenience foods seem to be out, but Im willing to do the extra work I cooking, etc. if it makes her better!
I am delighted that the information was of use to you. It’s really puzzling, isn’t it with the fresh fruit vs the juice. Hard to know how to understand that. Thanks so much for writing and sharing your experience. This is how we all learn from each other.
re: your comment about apples .. I have “oral allergy syndrome” involving apples –they are related to birch & when birch is pollinating i get quite severe allergy symptoms to raw apples ( though cooked are o.k.) I am gluten free ( 12 years) now attempting low-histamine plus low fodmap ( as sadly onions & garlic give me grief as do hard beans ..) anywhoo –the good news I was trying to get across is that maybe the apples are related to ther allergens seasonally ( as I can have raw apples about 8 months of the year) & cooked are o.k. hth! cheers 🙂
I am fascinated by your comment. Thank you for taking the time to write. I am intrigued with the seasonal relationship between a food allergy to apples and the birch trees pollinating. Its always more remarkable evidence about the interrelatedness of all of creation.
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says
Yes, this is something that I used to suffer from a great deal. It’s fascinating but not fun. 🙂
I have Histamin Intolerance and low blood presure in same time. I assumed how these two things are coming to me one day after another. never knew it has link inbetween.
Thanks for interesting information
Dr. Tsafrir says
Yes, they are linked, and most conventional MD’s do not understand that. Often low blood pressure is seen as a sign of health, and it is not recognized that it is part of the whole histamine intolerance syndrome.
I think this may be an issue (and thiols). IDK how to plan a days worth of meals….it seems like everything has a lot of histamine. Do u have any meal ideas? I also have colitis, so this throws another wrench (GAPS didnt work….too meat/fat-heavy and histamine rich)
My recommendation would be a modified GAPS diet. If you make chicken soup with vegetables, do not cook it for longer than 2 hours, and then freeze it in individual portions. This will minimize histamine content. If digesting fat is an issue you can take digestive enzymes including Lipase. Chicken and lamb are supposedly lower in histamine than beef and pork. If you quickly cook pieces of chicken or turkey, or roast a leg of lamb and then slice it and freeze individual portions, and then defrost and cook it quickly, this will be low in histamine. You can eat this with a variety of vegetables. I hope this is helpful.
Bee and Judy….I’d like to jump in here.
My husband and I are on the GAPS plan and we are adapting it for checking for histamine intolerance. I already had to delete bone broths and heavy meat/fat intake. My husband can handle more of those. I also thought I couldn’t do GAPS because I was reacting to the primary foods on GAPS, but I have read a lot of how other people have had to also adapt GAPS because of intolerances so I thought I’d try it. I have a strong feeling that GAPS is right for me for healing my gut so I wanted to see if it can work even modifying it. In reality, I was even more limited in what I could eat before starting GAPS. So I’m grateful for the healing that has already occurred. It is all pretty early to say but I think it’s working. (I’m on the 5th month and at the last stage of GAPS Intro).
Reading Baden Lashkov’s website and all her kind wisdom as she responds to people who have written questions at her site has been the most helpful in understanding how to use the GAPS protocol. (http://gapsguide.com/about/).
The essence is that any food that you react to with in the GAPS list of foods, you leave out for a while and then try later, but only the tiniest amount at first. Keep a food diary. Always add only one new food at a time.
I couldn’t handle meat fat at first so I used coconut oil. While that isn’t on the GAPs intro, Natasha McBride wrote that if you can tolerate coconut oil (if you don’t have intense die-off) then you can use it on Intro. That made a huge difference for me. That’s an example of how I’ve adapted GAPS. On the topic of fat digestion, I’ve been using some herbal bitters to stimulate bile production, for fat digestion. I use bitters that are in food form like very strong chamomile tea, only a few mouth fulls before eating. or Arugula or dandelion greens etc.
You might also look at Roo’s Clues….She has successfully used GAPS while having to avoid some important GAPS foods AT THE BEGINNING. Then, after gut healing, she was able add them in gradually.
Blessings on your healing journey.
Thank you, Angela, for this helpful comment. I like all of your suggestions very much. Thanks for taking the time to write.
I really appreciate this topic and your blog.
I have a question about the protocol for determining which foods you react to. I understand that everyone will have their own list. I’ve been on GAPS for two months (Intro) and I believe the increase in histamine from the broth etc…is giving me trouble. I have already backed off from bone broth and a few other foods that I seem to react to.
I’m considering clearing my diet of the most high histamine foods for a few weeks then adding one at a time.
My question is regarding the threshold aspect. I’ve read that you have a threshold of tolerance for a certain amount of histamine before you react. So I don’t understand how the elimination diet would help you identify which foods are your worst….It seems that you’d clear out a lot of histamine during the elimination phase then when you add one food that wouldn’t be enough to overflow your threshold, so theoretically you wouldn’t react to that food. but if you eat , say several high histamine foods you might have a reaction because of the load increase.
Do you have anymore insight on this issue?
Thanks for your great writing.
Thanks for writing. Yours is a very intelligent question, but I do not have an equally intelligent answer. Your point is so well taken. I don’t know what to say. There are some foods that people really seem to notice a marked difference in their symptoms. I have one friend who has a crazily intense reaction to avocado, so she knows that she simply needs to avoid it. But I am sure there are other reactions to foods that are much more subtle. I think the main point is that histamine is not like gluten; its in so many foods that you cannot simply avoid it, you just need to try and reduce your exposure if you are having a problem. Keeping a food journal is key to sorting it out. Its a pain to do, but invaluable.
I have heard of a number of people having trouble with bone broth and fermented foods, so it makes good sense to back off, and then when you feel better, to maybe introduce them in tiny amounts that you do tolerate. Its important to find a probiotic that you do tolerate, if you cannot tolerate fermented foods. I have just purchased Prescript Assist, that I have heard good things about, but have not yet tried it. Some probiotics have bacteria that produce histamine and seem to aggravate symptoms.
Dr. Georgia Ede just wrote a post on Histamine, and one of her readers commented about the particular process of fermenting sauerkraut impacting histamine levels. They seemed to fluctuate in time depending on the way the fermentation was done. It’s worth reading. I plan to investigate anaerobic fermentation. There is a type of jar that allows anaerobic fermentation called Pickl-it that sounds very interesting to learn more about.
I wish you all the best with your healing.
Thanks for your reply.
I will do a trial period that excludes most high histamine foods.
Do you know if coconut products are high or low histamine foods. I don’t know if it’s considered in the nuts category, so you?
I have not seen coconut on the list of high histamine foods, but I do know that some people do not tolerate it at all. I do not seem to have a problem, and a friend of mine who is very histamine intolerant does not have a problem either. I think its OK for most.
Scott C says
The “Food Intolerances” app for Android has coconut at a moderate histamine level: 70 mg/kg.
Thank you, Scott for sharing this. My perspective is anecdotal. It is all very complicated, that is for sure.
Hi Dr. T
Your helpful comments on my blog inspired me to research histamine intolerance and I posted an article about it today. If you get a chance to read it I’d really appreciate any feedback you may have time to provide. Thank you again for pointing out this intriguing possibility!
Hi Dr. Ede. I am so glad that it stimulated your thoughts and research. I can’t wait to read what you wrote. You are such a great researcher and clear writer.
I think HIT is a very under recognized condition. Its good to get the word out there.
I will read what you wrote and and post a response on your blog.
I was just rereading your post, and saw something I”d not noticed before (don’t know how I missed it!). The GAPS diet allows DARK CHOCOLATE!??! WT*??? I’m not on the Gaps diet (I follow a quite plain WAPF diet, and have for 13 years with much success), but I NEVER eat chocolate in any form! Why?? I’d be awake all night, and probably for two nights :). If you gave up the DC, that’s probably why you’re sleeping better. Forget worrying about the stocks and just stay away from the chocolate.
Thanks, Joyce, for your suggestion. I wish it were that simple. Chocolate is just one of many foods that create sleep difficulties for some of us with histamine intolerance. You are right, that it would probably be best avoided all together, but sometimes I cannot resist. I love it.
Correction: Tulsi (holy basil) lowers blood sugar, not blood pressure. And, I can be hypoglycemic-ish, so that is why I stopped taking it in the past. I may try it again, though.
Just for you and folks to be aware if low blood sugar is an issue.
Judy, I’ve reread this post and I continue to think there is so much in it.
I just had an awful reaction to eating a whole avocado (brain and blood pressure crash and awful bloating and gut reaction). The more I read about the sxs, the more I realize this could really be something for me and others. I have the ongoing ANS dysregulation in a huge way, very low BP, weird bruising, memory issues, constipation, “rosacea,” etc. My doc is on board with me exploring this further, so I hope you continue posting about it. I’m a holistic psychotherapist and would love to integrate this knowledge into my practice as it relates to psychological issues.
I also realize it’s allergy season, and while I’m just sneezing a little and that’s all, mercifully, histamine intolerance is about load and perhaps in autumn or summer I wouldn’t have as bad a reaction to high histamine. Who knows. Trial and error.
I think Holy Basil lowers BP, so I’m wary of taking it, and too high Vit C. can convert to oxalates if that is an issue. Alas. I just ordered some DAOsin, NOT so I can eat high ox foods, but to get some relief, hopefully.
Thanks for being so thoughtful about things, and thinking outside the box.
I am so glad that this is useful to you.
I am continuing to think about this whole issue and plan to write a follow up post.
I have a friend who also has an absolutely horrendous reaction to avocados with “zooming brain” and restless leg syndrome. I don’t seem to react to them. Its tricky to discover how each of us in particular is affected. It’s not like you can go to an authority and get the answer. Its trial and error and highly individualized.
Thanks so much for writing and sharing your experience.
Thanks for the time on the phone. The lOw Histamine Chef is the person I was telling you about who runs the FB group. I did write to her.
I read your blog and am a bit confused given that the GAPS diet is so high in histamine. Many of those foods I have not eaten in nearly a year and some are part of my low histamine diet.
I have heard not great things about the Histame supplement.
I would refer you to Dr. Theoharides at http://www.mastcellmaster.com for more information on his research.
I do keep a food diary with all of my symptoms, of which many are listed. Being gluten and soy intolerant makes me very cautious of cross contamination.
I must confess, from reading the blog, I am unclear how a diet that is so high in histamine, like the GAPS, can help the gut with healing and reducing symptoms.
You give me a lot to think about.
The traditional GAPS diet is high in fermented foods and bone broth. It includes foods that some people with HIT might not tolerate. That is what I was eating before I recognized that I am suffering from HIT. I had been eating a lot of left overs. Now I have been eating fresh soup made with chicken and non starchy vegetables, and am feeling better. If you could eat fresh chicken soup with non starchy vegetables and cooked vegetables it might help heal your gut, which is likely causing your poor health. If that would not agree with you, I don’t know what else to recommend.
Great post! Now I have an article to direct people to when I’m asked about GAPS/FODMAP.
Regarding antihistamines…taking them can cause a further imbalance of histamine. While they may be necessary in the short term for those with mastocytosis or other conditions involving anaphylaxis, my research shows that they cause a number of dangerous side effects including: b12 deficiency, anemia, hormonal disruption, dopamine changes, stomach cancer and even (imagine the irony) new food allergies.
What most people don’t know is that the four histamine receptors balance each other. Throw one out of whack with an antihistamine (h1 or h2) and you risk flooding your body with even more histamine.
Then there’s that histamine is only part of the picture. Focus on it too much and you may throw your body systems into chaos. Histamine is needed for most bodily functions (wakefulness, procreation, embryonic development, as a neurotransmitter and more) and yet is only one of many pro inflammatory molecules released by unstable mast cells.
In the coming weeks I’ll be elaborating on these themes in my interviews with a number of leading mast cell/histamine experts as well as holistic and pharmaceutical industry professionals.
BTW: did you know that the very act of digestion causes histamine release? You can read about it on my blog. Most people don’t and drive themselves nuts looking into other intolerances after arriving at histamine intolerance…
Thank you for this helpful and informative comment. That is very useful info about anti-histamine medication. That question comes up frequently. I know that many people feel lousy when they take them, and that their drying out effect upon the eyes and gut, and impact upon the nervous system make them a problematic option, even without the cautionary scientific perspective you supplied.
Someone, Somewhere says
Fascinating. Thank you for sharing this. For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced many of these symptoms after eating any kind of meat other than fresh and quickly cooked. I’m already on an extremely restrictive diet—meat, fruit, water, and salt—nothing else—so eliminating leftovers, fresh sausage, etc., will make things even more challenging, but I know from experience that this is exactly what I need to feel good. I suppose it should come as no surprise that I have a bunch of food intolerances—among them, gluten—and that my intestines are still in the process of healing.
A quick, unrelated question: Are you aware of any dietary (or otherwise natural) treatments for tic disorders or psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (aka, pseudoseizures)? It’s not clear which diagnosis fits me best—different doctors have voiced different opinions—but I have zero interest in taking drugs. I asked Dr. Ede about this on her site (which is where I found you and learned from you about histamine intolerance, in your comments, and where I just replied to one of your comments under the same screen name), but she had nothing to offer on this subject.
I am so delighted that this information is useful to you! Its music to my ears! Its made such a difference for me.
For Tics I would recommend focusing on healing the gut with an appropriate nutrient dense diet, probiotics and/or fermented foods as tolerated, and all the other GAPS recommendations.
If its pseudo-siezures, then I imagine that the cause would be psychogenic, and in that case, I would recommend psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, because the idea would be that some unconscious conflict was getting translated into a somatic symptom.
Two very different remedies for two different causes.
Someone, Somewhere says
Thank you for your quick and helpful reply. This information on histamine intolerance is incredibly helpful to me. I’ve reduced histamine-rich foods since reading your comments on Dr. Ede’s blog a few days ago, and it’s already made a significant difference in how I feel 🙂
I don’t tolerate probiotics or fermented foods well, but I’ll read about the GAPS diet.
Without going into too much detail, my symptoms don’t fall neatly into the category of tics or pseudoseizures. Contrary to the DSM definition of tics, which states that they are *non*-rhythmic, my twitches and vocalizations are entirely rhythmic. And though my symptoms look virtually identical to epileptic seizures, I am fully able to suppress them (though not without a great deal of discomfort), so the neurologist was reluctant to give the PNES diagnosis.
Regardless of the label, I have no doubt that my symptoms are affected by both my mind and my body. During the “episodes,” I babble about mommy, sippy cup, wa-wa, etc., so there’s no doubt a psychological component to them. But the episodes are worse when I feel agitated as a result of imperfect diet, so the body is also clearly a contributor.
I’ve spent many years in both psychoanalysis (5 days/wk x 4.5 years) and psychotherapy (from various orientations; I myself am trained as a psychotherapist), to no avail. The symptoms came about from a meditation experience in which I followed the simple instruction: “let go of control.” It seems that a mountain of repressed infantile material was unleashed in that moment, 6 years ago, and has continued to vent ever since (as a typical Harvard grad, I was an extremely controlled person prior to this release).
No amount of psychotherapy, bodywork, spiritual counseling, or any other treatment modality has helped (if anything, they’ve only made it worse). Only rest and improvements to my diet have made it easier to bear.
I welcome any thoughts or reflections you might have, should you have any.
Wow, everything you have been through. Incredible.
Well, it is indeed very mysterious.
Since you have evidenced improvement on the lower histamine diet, that is a sign that your gut needs healing, because a healthy gut can handle histamine. I recommend the GAPS protocol to you, as the most effective protocol I know for healing the gut. You may need to start very slowly with a probiotic, taking perhaps a small fraction of a capsule, even an 1/18th, and working your way up. Maybe have just a shred of fermented vegetables. Titrate up very very slowly. In any case, no matter what these tics are, we do know that you will be helped by healing your gut. I would start there.
I do know of a truly remarkable body worker in Cambridge, as it seems like the talking cure is not doing much for you. I would be glad to give you his contact information if you are interested. He might be able to help you in a way that gets around your conscious mind and speaks directly to your body.
Someone, Somewhere says
Hi Dr. Tsafrir,
Thanks for you reply to my latest comment. For some reason, notification of your reply ended up in my spam box, and I didn’t discover it until now.
Regardless, I appreciate your suggestions. I will look into the GAPS diet, and consider implementing your advice about how to make it work for me.
I appreciate the body worker suggestion in Cambridge, but for better or for worse, I moved far away after graduating Harvard—but perhaps I’ll look for a good body worker where I live currently.
Thanks again for your help!
I too developed a tic/twitch during a long intense meditation retreat. Like you I could suppress the tic with some discomfort, it was best to let it happen. I searched for all sorts of deep seated psychological issues. However what helped the most was hearing from a Tibetan lama that yes, it does happen to some people and that it will improve as I become more conscious without investigating or even worring about what it could have been from. In fact emphasizing the psychological component seemd to make it worse. As I have continued to meditate with an attitude of curiosity, the twitching has disappeared.
That is fascinating. Thank you for writing.
One question I have is whether it might be helpful or dangerous to take an anti-histamine such as Benadryl in order to counteract a histamine “overdose”. I understand that changing the diet is the long-term fix, but can this be used as a short-term fix for diet mistakes?
I have read on line that taking Benadryl could be helpful for the occasional “overdose”, though Benadryl has unpleasant sedative drying out effects. There is a product called Histame that is apparently quite effective, though expensive.
It is an enteric coated DAO enzyme. Here is the link:
Scott C says
I break an Allegra 180mg in half, and take a half (90mg) twice a day, to help keep histamine levels in check. Since histamine ingestion causes problems, I don’t want to be producing histamine myself too, since I have other airborne and food allergies. The Allegra doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier, so it doesn’t have all the side effects that Benadryl has.
Hi Scott. Thanks for taking the time to write. The comment from the author of
Thelowhistaminechef (http://thelowhistaminechef.com/) explains the science behind why taking antihistamines for HIT (histamine intolerance) is counterproductive. In addition I read on a site of patient review of Allegra, that many experienced adverse effects. Many experienced depression with it, constipation was also notable and many other unpleasant side effects. Here is the link:
Scott C says
Please see the last section of this article, “How Can Diet Help in Reducing Excess Histamine?”:
It helps explains how “histamine excess” can be contributed to by the body adding to the overall histamine levels that the system has to cope with and neutralize.
Folks who are otherwise regularly producing their own histamine, because of airborne & environmental allergens, often have a rough time keeping total histamine at asymptomatic levels. Antihistamines can help these people a lot. It’s like a glass of milk that’s already 3/4 full from the body’s histamine, and eating foods with histamine easily spills it over. If you can keep the glass at 1/4 full, the food related histamine that’s ingested can often be much better tolerated, falling short of a “histamine excess” event.
I’ve tried a lot of antihistamines and Allegra seems to have the fewest and mildest side effects [for me]. A slight dry mouth is a lot better than popping ears, itchy eyes, sinus drainage and sore throat from excess histamine through out the body.
Obviously, if the side effects of medication are worse than the original condition(s), you need to choose the lesser of the two evils, in order to maintain the highest level of quality of life. But, I do believe that people who tend to be highly allergic in the first place, and who also have a histamine intolerance to food, will often feel better taking an antihistamine to keep excess histamine in check, especially during their allergic season.
Thanks, Scott, for taking the time to write back. Allegre is clearly is of great benefit to you, and I am glad that you are sharing your experience. One of the only things that I know for sure when it comes to the complexity of each person, is one size does not fit all. It would be so much simpler if it did. Someone could just tell us what to do. Instead we are all groping to find our way in the dark, hopefully learning from one another. But as is often said, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
WAPF recommends soaking raw nuts for several hours, and then drying them in the oven overnight, either on low or with just a pilot light on. This helps to reduce and/or eliminate the oxalates in nuts. Plus, I find that it makes all nuts much sweeter and more delicious!
Hi Joyce. Thanks for writing.
There is a Yahoo group with a great deal of info on oxalates called Trying Low Oxalates. There was a question about soaking grains, nuts and legumes and how it affected oxalate levels. Here is what was written:
The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends on the type of oxalate
in the food – insoluble oxalate will not be removed by soaking. Further, I’m not
even sure that you can remove all the soluble oxalate if it’s very high.
As for nuts, the oxalate values are so high, even if there is considerable
soluble oxalate, it’s not likely to be enough to make the nuts low.
So, I know that soaking nuts is recommended by WAPF and that is my habit, but I am not sure that it resolves the oxalate problem. I plan at some point when I have my histamine intolerance under better control, to re-test myself with soaked and dried almonds and see what happens.
Roger Elliott says
Thanks for writing this article. I’ve been dealing with histamine intolerance for a couple years, and I think I have made a connection between H Pylori infection and HIT in that my HIT reduces when I treat my HP infection (with mastic, manuka etc).
One theory here is that HP loves vitamin B6 ( http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/v8/n10/full/nrmicro2444.html ) and B6 is needed for DAO production.
So I was wondering if anyone else with HIT problems had been tested for H Pylori?
Thank you so much for writing Roger and sharing these natural remedies. I had not heard of mastic and manuka. I looked both of them up. Fascinating. I am going to buy some Mastic and Manuka and see if it helps.
The link you provided required a subscription to view.
I was wondering what your HIT symptoms are that were helped. The anxiety I was feeling resolved with lowering the histamine level in my diet, but I still am having a buzzing racing sensation and a sort of ringing in my ears, that is not exactly the right way to describe it, but I can’t think of another way to say it.
Gaye Mack says
Judy, this is fabulous…I have a very good friend who has been suffering from many of the characteristics you describe; for some time I’ve thought it was a food intolerance or over sensitivity issue which I learned much about when I worked for a homeopathic/ayurvedic MD in the early 90’s…this post is going to her, pronto!
Gaye, thanks for writing. Please let me know if it is helpful to your friend. There is so much to learn about this.
Great post! I have honed in on two big offenders for me simply by not eating them for a long time and then eating them two days in a row. Avocados and parmesan cheese, both foods that I love, provoke a VERY strong reaction for me. These reactions had been altogether mysterious and thankfully infrequent, because these foods were not constants in my diet. I have now removed 90% dark chocolate (two squares maybe 3-4 days/wk) and tomatoes from my salads and will challenge after sometime has passed. When I do get what I now feel sure is a histamine response, it is very marked. My brain goes on ultra zoom, I feel anxious and the worst is that I have an all overbody reaction that is like restless leg syndrome of the entire body.This combo of symptoms at night effectively almost totally precludes sleep. I am also cutting back on leftover consumption which is a biggie in our home. Right now, I will eat day after leftovers, but no longer than that. It has been common for us to cook stews, potroasts, etc and eat leftovers for 3 days after. I also have a source for uncured sausage that I like alot and am working on moving more toward less cured meat. This is difficult with bacon which is a real breakfast staple!
This issue really began to stick out to me when I began to be treated with 300mg bioident progesterone at night which dramatically improved multiple menopausal symptoms, including disrupted sleep. I have been taking it for nearly 12 months now, and these symptoms would come suddenly at night for me (after eating offending foods) and overide the healthful sleep promoting effects of the progesterone. This was a big clue that something *else* was going on, and that it might food related because of the relatively infrequent pattern.
Its so great that you have been able to identify particular triggers.
I have the same experience with the bio-identical Progesterone, that it greatly improved my post menopausal poor sleep quality, except when I eat something that I am reacting to. The other night I ate some almonds before bed, not a particularly high histamine food according to the lists, but is one of the highest oxalate containing foods. Apparently oxalate can cause histamine release. I slept very poorly that night and woke up in the middle of the night with a lot of anxiety. I am going to avoid them and retest.
Here is a great post about oxalate sensitivity where it mentions that oxalates can stimulate the release of histamine.
The more I read about oxalates, the more I’m thinking it could be a primary issue, whether it be the cause or result of a leaky gut. Susan Costen Owens is a researcher and was working with the autism community, mainly researching sulfate pathways. She came upon oxalates as it relates to that, and has been researching it ever since. She sees a link with not only oxalates and autism, but oxalates and many things.
I know when I started eating “healthy smoothies” (spinach, cacao, beets, carrot, almond milk – every one very high in oxalates), my existing neurological issues increased AND I started getting bladder issues, which is a classic oxalates symptom, though by no means defining or the only one. (I had a test for an infection, and though “irritation” showed up, there was no bacteria. I stopped eating high oxalate foods and it went away.)
Oxalates are poisonous for everyone, it’s just that some of us and our guts are better at dealing with it – like why some folks can smoke for 25 years and not get cancer, and some can’t.
Some have found when they go low oxalate (which you have to do slowly if you’ve been high for a while, or you’ll “dump” too much in your system and feel worse, other food “allergies” and sensitivities go away, like to histamine.
We’re all different and I’m still exploring experientially, but there is absolutely something to this, in my opinion!
Not trying to sell you on this, just food for thought, and it’s exciting when things come together!
After you mentioned this in your first comment I started to do some research into this and saw in a Roos’ Clues post
that oxalate containing foods can release histamine. I had a handful of almonds the other night before bed and woke up in the middle of the might very anxious and slept poorly.. I saw that almonds are one of the highest oxalate foods. I was eating a lot of them along with sesame seeds. They were ingredients in a home made cracker I made that had become a main stay of my diet. So I was very interested to learn about the oxalate histamine connection. I have so many symptoms of histamine intolerance. low blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety/depression, constipation, easy bruising. I don’t really identify with the typical oxalate symptoms in the same way, but it may well be that high oxalate foods should be avoided, as they can cause histamine release. I am going to do food elimination and then rechallenge myself to see what I notice. Thanks so much for writing. It brought oxalates to my attention and I think its important not only for me, but for my patients. I joined the Susan Costen Owens Oxalate Yahoo Group. Its a great resource.
Hah! Not for the faint-hearted indeed! Thanks for the oxalate post–I’ll look at that. Yes, Batmanghelidj’s work has validity, I think. His books are worth reading–the best is his last called something like “Obesity, Cancer and Depression”. He goes deeply into the science of hydration and dehydration, and it makes a lot of sense. Yes, those leftovers…..it’s hard to throw out good healthy food, but then is it healthy at that point? hard to decide….
Hi Joyce. I solved the left over problem by going to COSTCO and buying a box of glass storage containers of all sizes. They have plastic lids. Very nice. Anyhow, after I cook a pot of soup or stew, I eat it, and maybe save a portion for breakfast, and then freeze the rest in individual containers. At first I was resistant and felt burdened by the whole idea, but it really has not been a big deal at all. Its just a matter of getting the right containers. Thanks for writing and I will be interested to hear if trying a low histamine diet will make a difference for you.
Thanks! This is most interesting. It seems odd that diets/nutritional systems that seem so healing for so many, such as GAPS and WAPF, also contain high levels of histamine-producing foods. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. I have had so many wonderful things happen eating a good WAPF diet for many years, but upon reading this post, I suspect that I , like you, do have some histamine issues. How to square that? Are there other things about these diets that may also help to neutralize the histamine? Reading this also reminded me of Dr. Batmanghelidj, of “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” fame. He talked a lot in his books about histamine, and how histamine reactions are more pronounced when the body is dehydrated, even if that dehydration is at a very low level. Lots to discover here.
Thank you, Joyce, for writing. Its really hard to figure out what to eat. The hydration issue is an interesting one. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride made a point about only drinking if you were thirsty, she thought the 8 glasses of water a day dictum was nonsense. I never heard of Dr. Batmanghelidj. (that is quite a name!) When I think back over the recent months, I think I had been drinking little water comparatively, which may have been exacerbating my situation. I am now going to pay more attention to hydration. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
One reader mentioned in a comment about oxalate sensitivity, another subject I have not really explored until now. I am now reading up on that, and suspect that it may also be playing a role in my symptoms. Here is a great post about it:
last night I had a handful of almonds before bed, and woke up very anxious in the middle of the night. Almonds are one of the highest oxalate level foods. Who knows?
It is all so complex, and then on top of it, leftovers of healthy well prepared foods become high in histamine through sitting in the fridge. Dealing with all of these issues is not for the faint hearted.
wow, that’s a great testimony to histamine intolerance and how relatively simple changes can be so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
It is you I have to thank for helping me figure out what was going on. That is why we need each other. We all have a piece of the puzzle. I will be curious to learn what you continue to discover going forward. Your open mindedness allows thinking outside the box. I was in a GAPS low carb box but it was not working. I needed fresh input to figure out what to try next. Again, many thanks.
Thanks for the post. Very interesting.
Btw, eating high oxalate foods is said to create excessive histamine.
That is very interesting and I did not know that. So much to learn here. Thanks for taking the time to write.