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Histamine Hysteria Part I.

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

It is all about the balance….even when it comes to histamine.

Most people come across histamine due to anti-histamine medications, before that life is blissfully free from ‘allergies’.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a biogenic amine, a substance that is produced by living organisms that is an ammonia derivative, which basically has the role of communication within the body. Key role of histamine is to alert the immune system to sort out the ‘invader’.

You may know histamine as that ‘chemical’ that creates, itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy palate, swollen eyes, and maybe irritability to boot.

But the body requires histamine, it is a vital substance that plays various roles from innate immunity through to neurotransmission.

Most of us know histamine to be released by the immune cells called the mast cells and basophils. When these cells release their ‘surge’ of histamine it is to call the other troops down to the area of ‘concern’. Histamine is released for a purpose.

Histamine is also involved in digestion specifically the stomach acidity.

Histamine has an important role in the sleep-wake cycle. This is why anti-histamines can make one feel drowsy. Histamine also regulates the release of other neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, serotonin and noradrenaline.

Histamine Hysteria

We can have too much or too little even. An imbalance in histamine can manifest as…..

  • Migraines

  • Low blood pressure

  • Fast heart rate

  • Insomnia

  • Bloating

  • Acid reflux

  • Fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Cramping

  • Sinusitis

  • Urticaria

  • Eczema

  • Psoriasis

  • Asthma

  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Joint aches and pains

  • Poor heat intolerance

  • Hives

  • Palpitations

A Healthy Body

In a healthy body

In a healthy body, there is a balance between the amount of histamine that is made and released and the amount that is then metabolised (i.e. cleared). As long as we keep clearing what we make, all is good.

So once histamine is made, and released and done it’s necessary ‘duties’ , it is metabolised by one of two enzymes:

  1. DAO (Diamine oxidase)

  2. HNMT (Histamine N-Methyltransferase)

If any of these two enzymes do not meet their nutrient quota, then they will not be able to fully metabolise the histamine.

DAO requires copper, vitamin B6 and vitamin C and it’s action is hindered by alcohol and caffeine (yes, they get everywhere right?)

HNMT requires S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and is hindered by nicotine and caffeine. But the HNMT also requires the help of another enzyme called MAO-B (Monoamine oxidase B) and this enzyme needs co-workers , zinc, magnesium, vitamin B3 and B2.

So imagine, if you are nutritionally running on empty or low, then histamine can build up in the body, which can result in histamine hysteria.

What you can do

First and foremost your nutrition matters, the food on your plate matters. These enzymes cannot work well without their nutrient co-workers. Ensure you are eating a nutrient dense diet, avoid the refined foods, the chemical laden foods, the lab made foods.

Secondly, reduce foods that are high in histamine, histamine liberating foods and remove foods that block the DAO enzyme.

High histamine foods: Citrus fruits, canned and cured meats, ages cheese, nuts, processed foods, dried fruits, fermented foods, soured foods, vinegar containing foods, smoked fish and foods that include vegetables like avocado, spinach, tomatoes and aubergines.

Histamine liberating foods: Strawberries, tomatoes, wheatgerm, shellfish, pineapple, papaya, chocolate, alcohol, bananas to name a few

DAO blocking foods: energy drinks, green tea, alcohol, black tea, caffeine, mate tea.

Start with the above if you have histamine hysteria, we will be sharing more in Part II.

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The team at the New School Of Nutritional Medicine.

Learn about the Founder & Principal of the New School of Nutritional Medicine, Dr Khush Mark PhD HERE.

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