By Karen Urbanek, Holistic Healthcare Practitioner
Probably 40% of my clients deal with what they consider "food allergies."
But what research and my experience suggest... is that for several of them, their condition may actually be a histamine intolerance!
Could your allergies be a histamine intolerance?
Could your health issues be triggered by a build-up of histamines?
Could the planet be saved by quercetin and DAO?
Yes, yes, and maybe ... it may take more than DAO and quercetin!
Let’s talk HISTAMINE.
Histamine is a chemical involved in the immune system, central nervous system, helps with proper digestion and is a neurotransmitter made in the stomach as part of the stomach acid.
Histamine’s main role is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag notifying your body of any potential attackers and causes the blood vessels to dilate so white blood cells can quickly rush to the site of infection or issue.
Histamine travels in the blood thus affecting the gut, lungs, skin, brain and the entire cardiovascular system.
It is part of the natural immune response, and people irritated with its side effects (swelling, mucus build-up, itchy skin, headache, feeling terrible in general) take antihistamines.
Many people think they have allergies when in fact, they may have a histamine intolerance.
They share the same symptoms.
If we do not break down histamines properly, we can develop a histamine intolerance. And when you eat foods high in histamine - you can feel even worse!
I believe many of my clients may be in this category - as many have taken medications and have eaten a diet which has allowed histamines to build up over time creating a world of distress beneath their skin.
Check this out, this may just answer the health questions you have...
As histamine travels via the bloodstream it can affect every part of the body. The most common symptoms are: migraines or severe headaches, hypertension, dizziness and vertigo, accelerated heart rate or arrhythmia, fluctuating body temp, difficulty falling or staying asleep, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, flushing, hives, fatigue, nasal congestion and difficulty breathing, abnormal menstrual cycle, tissue swelling,
All histamine you make or consume are either broken down by an enzyme OR get stored in the body.
Histamine in the CNS (Central Nervous System) is broken down by histamine N methyltransferase (HMT).
Histamine in the digestive tract is broken down by diamine oxidase (DAO).
IMPORTANT NOTE: HMT and DAO are both enzymes, and when we eat food or drink fluids that have enzyme inhibitors on them, it prevents HMT and DAO from breaking down histamine.
This is why we really encourage you to sprout or germinate your grains, nuts, seeds and beans! This releases the enzyme inhibitor!
Foods and drinks that block specifically the DAO enzyme are alcohol, green tea, black tea, mate tea, energy drinks and cocoa.
Our body makes histamines as I mentioned before, but high histamine levels or low DAO levels may be caused by a number of things. SIBO, allergies, GI bleeding and leaky gut, gluten intolerance, particular genetic mutations (common in those of Asian descent), antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta and Effexor, inflammation from Crohns, colitis or IBS, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin, antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Benadryl and Allegra, immune modulators such as Humira, Plaquenil and Enbrel, antiarrhythmics such as Cardizem, Norvasc, Propranolol and Metoprolol, histamine blockers such as Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac, fermented alcoholic beverages such as champagne, beer and wine, a simple DAO deficiency, and consuming to many naturally rich histamine foods.
Some foods contain high levels of histamine, and others can trigger histamine to be released in the body.
Foods high in histamine are: Fermented alcohols and foods, foods containing vinegars, cured meats, bone broth, cheese (the longer aged the worst) and soured dairy and breads (sourdough), dried apricots-dates-figs-raisins and prunes, citrus foods, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, chickpeas, soy, canned or processed foods, avocados, eggplant, spinach ,tomatoes, smoked fish and sardines, tuna, anchovies, mahimahi and mackerel.
Other foods that can cause histamine to be released are: Bananas, chocolate, pineapple, alcohol, dairy, papaya, nuts, strawberries, wheat germ, shellfish, preservatives and dyes.
Foods that are low and cause little to no release of histamine include most FRESH foods - the fresher the better. Please note that foods that are frozen retain much of their electrical or angstrom measurement, while foods that are canned do not. We recommend freezing over canning!
Foods allowed on an anti-histamine diet are: Fresh organic eggs (some people do not tolerate egg whites), fresh or frozen poultry, freshly caught fish, rice and rice milk, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, organic cream cheese, fruits low in histamine: blueberries, cranberries, litchi, rhubarb, cherries, fresh apricots, mango, pears, watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes, and apples, ALL veggies (other than avocados, eggplant, spinach and tomatoes), almonds and almond milk, coconuts in all forms, hemp and hemp milk, chia seeds, olives (not in vinegar) and olive oils, all herbal teas and leafy herbs.
Ok Ok, so you have histamines built up in the body, perhaps a histamine intolerance - so what do you do next?
#1 - Avoid histamine-rich foods- remove them for 30 days and introduce one at a time. Follow the Elimination Diet plan except make it all about the histamine foods.
#2 - Test your DAO levels.
#3 - Take a good DAO enzyme supplement at each meal.
#4 - ENJOY natural anti-histamine foods above and those rich with Quercetin. Broccoli, lettuce, berries, red onions, garlic, parsley, legumes and apples.
#5 - Other Natural antihistamines are:
VITAMIN C, OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS are found in: cold-water fish like salmon, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and grass-fed meat.
STINGING NETTLE Using 300 mg of dried Stinging Nettle, 58 percent of participants found their allergy symptoms relieved.
BROMELAIN (Found in the CORE of the pineapple) is also found in supplement form – some enjoy 400-500 mg three times a day. NOTE: Pineapple MAY cause histamines to be released - so only eat the core or take the supplement form if you are avoiding it for histamine issues.
SALT! Place a little sea salt on the end of tongue and let it be absorbed.
So yes, while histamine is naturally made in the body to help us and to protect us from invading entities, eating products that build it up or a body not being able to process it can make histamine an irritant.
If you are wondering what Genes turn on that also affect the histamine production and assimilation, please do a gene study. Genetic variants of the AOC1/ABP1 gene can affect how much DAO enzyme is produced, and variants with HMNT can cause issues with the production of that enzyme as well.
We have done genetic studies for our own family and they have given us great insight! Well worth the $125.
YOU NEED a histamine response, it is normal, it is necessary. However, those allergies you think you have?
...May simply be a histamine issue after all.
Rebalance those levels and enjoy some symptom freedom!
To you amazing genetic health,
Karen Urbanek HHP