The histamine bucket: Histamine levels fluctuate normally. For instance, histamine stimulates the production of stomach acid at meal time, and during digestion. If base line levels are right, there is no problem, however, if the base levels are too high, then eating (or getting hungry) will cause symptoms.
Histamine levels can be affected by:
- The body producing too much histamine;
- The body unable to break down and remove histamine adequately;
- Consumption of histamine containing foods.
The idea is to minimize production, support the body systems that control the immune system, support the body systems that remove histamine, consume nutrients that affect histamine production and removal, and of course, eliminate foods that contain high histamine levels.
THE WIDE-RANGING EFFECTS OF HISTAMINE:
In general, histamine is involved in excitation, inflammation, itching, pain, vascular permeability (local swelling), dilation of blood vessels, contraction, ejection. Low levels are essential for normal body functions such as digestion of food. Higher levels are necessary when things go wrong, to induce the defense and healing mechanisms of the body – these are the “symptoms” of illness and injuries. So, when histamine levels are chronically elevated a person feels ill all of the time, and with time, the body can begin to break down, as these mechanisms are only meant for times of crisis.
Now we will see how histamine normally affects some of the body systems:
BODY SECRETIONS – Histamine excess can be manifest as excess stomach acid production, saliva, tears, and thin nasal and bronchial secretions. Histamine can cause additional mucus production. Since histamine produces an abundant production of fluid secretions, histadelics have an overproduction of saliva that keeps their teeth free of cavities. (Sometimes, saliva is literally dripping from the corners of their mouth).
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM—Histamine potentiates gastrin-induced acid secretion. Histamine is distributed widely around blood vessels and acinar tissues in the pancreas and it is released in pancreatic juice during secretagogue stimulation. Histamine also stimulates the release of pepsin.
Histamine regulates the function of the gut. Histamine produces constriction of intestinal smooth muscle.
BODY’S DEFENSE and HEALING- As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils (a type of white blood cell) and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. Histamine helps the healing of injuries; bringing extra blood and fluid (edema and inflammation) to injured tissue. Mast cells are especially numerous at sites of potential injury – the nose, mouth, and feet, internal body surfaces, and blood vessels. Low histamine levels cause poor wound healing. Histamine increases pain, which works as a defense to immobilize the injured area and induce rest. It also increases itching, in order to induce the removal of offending agent (insect etc.).
Histamine is involved in the purging of poisons: salivation, gastric acid, vomiting, accelerated peristalsis, and diarrhea. It increases contracting (expelling) actions in the body; Ejecting foreign matter, particles etc from the body — mucous flow, sneezing, coughing, itching. Bronchial smooth muscle contraction prevents offending matter from entering the lungs. Increased vascular permeability causes fluid to escape from capillaries into the tissues.
Histamine can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea and excess stomach acid production. Excess hunger. There may be Nausea/Vomiting
Histamine increases hydrochloric acid production and this can damage gastric and duodenal mucosa. Affected mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis and with Crohn’s disease contained significantly more histamine than normal.
BRAIN- Histamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. It also has supressive effects that protect against the susceptibility to convulsion, drug sensitization, ischemic lesions and stress.
It has also been suggested that histamine controls the mechanisms by which memories and learning are forgotten. (Histamine promotes memory and learning). In the hypothalamus, histamine stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Another role of brain histamine is to counter-balance dopamine in that area of the brain that filters sensory information coming into the brain. If brain levels get too low the person may become paranoid and suspicious, their ears may ring, and they may see or hear things abnormally. They may make grand plans but never have the energy to carry them out. When abnormally high, histamine will cause over stimulation, aggressiveness, compulsivity, and a racing brain (among other symptoms.)
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM asthma, seasonal allergies, sneezing, burning, tearing, itching
eyes, chronic cough, running nose (rhinitis) airway constriction, nasal obstruction
CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM—Histamine promotes angiogenesis- The growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Fluttering heartbeat, prominent veins; may hear pulse in head at night. Stimulates the heart to contract; Low blood pressure (fainting, dizziness; hypotension). This affects young people more.
Headache (which aggravates when moving (in contrast with tension-type headache) – Migraines, dizziness and vertigo, Meneire’s Disease, motion sickness; The headaches induced by histamines are largely vascular in nature, with histamine triggering the release of nitric oxide from the vascular walls, opening up the large intracranial arteries and increasing blood pressure to the brain. Migraine sufferers show a reduced activity of the histamine—metabolising enzyme, DAO.
Histamine can cause inner ear problems (dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, inner ear pressure, and hearing fluctuation) Histamine sets off inflammation fluid build-up. In the confined space of the inner ear, these fluids create pressure on the balance (vestibular) and hearing (acoustic) nerves. Stimulation of Hl-Histamine receptors located in the inner ear can cause vomiting.
SKIN – Itching, Flushing, Hives (urticaria) and rosacea, allergic skin disorders with pruritis, referred itch (e.g.when scratch leg foot or other part itches) Skin mast cells in active psoriasis are functionally hyper-reactive.
MENTAL EFFECTS- The tendency to high levels of histamine runs in families. People with elevated histamine tend to have Type A, hard driving personalities. They are aggressive and productive. The histamine causes some of their brain neurotransmitters to run high and fire excessively. They are the perfectionists and the “doers” who never seem to know how to relax. They are often highly creative. Histamine also enhances memory and learning. There is also high libido. High-histamine people are often endowed with boundless energy and drive. While this definitely has benefits, there is also a downside: When abnormally high, histamine will cause over stimulation, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and a racing brain. People with high histamine may have abnormal fears, and cry easily; also anxiety, phobias, compulsions and ‘blank periods’ or absent mindedness. There is also a tendency to extreme mental anguish and depression. (Besides physical pain, histamine also
increases mental pain.) However, high histamine does not always cause depression. It is not known why some have depression and others do not.
High histamine levels are sometimes the underlying cause of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, tics etc. Individuals with autism tend to have elevated levels of histamines. Children with autism often struggle with many gut-related issues: dysbiosis; leaky gut; constipation; poor enzyme production; low stomach acid; reflux; inflammation; and autistic entero-colitis.
PANIC ATTACKS AND FATIGUE – A histamine rush will be countered by an adrenalin rush. High adrenalin levels can create panic attacks when surges are very high. The body generally maintains a certain amount of adrenalin that keeps changing to maintain histamine levels. When the body uses all the adrenalin supply one feels weary an exhausted.
If the high adrenalin levels are sustained for too long it can exhaust the adrenal glands.
SLEEP- Histamine tends to cause wakefulness. Insomnia can be severe.
BLADDER – Histamine can induce bedwetting by causing bladder inflammation and stimulating
strong contractions of the bladder.
MENSTRUAL cramping. Women with high histamine often suffer cyclical headache and cramping. In addition to a contraction promoting effect, this is attributable to the fact that histamine, increases oestradiol production markedly, but progesterone production only mildly. The painful uterine contractions are caused by an increased production of prostaglandin F2a, which is promoted by estrogens and inhibited by progesterone. Histamine can therefore intensify dysmenorrhoea via an increase in estrogen production. Conversely, estrogen can increase histamine activity. Women in pre-term labor have higher plasma histamine levels than normal.
Histamine promotes orgasm. Histamine increases estrogen production, and apparently testestorone also. Increases libido. Excess histamine can cause premature ejaculations.
Histamine increases cellular metabolism so body temperature may be above normal and they metabolise their food quickly. Typically histadelics have no problem with weight gain. If there is a weight problem, it is coming from food and chemical allergies that set off hunger, or from hypothyroidism. They often eat continually, but can be lean and lanky.
Not all the symptoms are present in every Histadelic.
Anaphylaxis and Histamine poisoning are two conditions caused by extremely high histamine levels. They demonstrate the affects histamine has on the body systems.
HISTAMINE (SCOMBROID) POISONING
Scombroid poisoning is due to histamine production by bacteria in spoiled food, particularly fish. Unlike many types of food poisoning, this form is not brought about by ingestion of a bacterium or virus. Histidine is converted to histamine by the enzyme histidine decarboxylase which is produced by enteric bacteria at temperatures above 60°F on air contact. Histamine is not destroyed by cooking.
Symptoms consist of skin flushing, throbbing headache, dizziness, burning mouth, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations, a sense of unease, cold like symptoms, and, rarely, collapse or loss of vision. Symptoms usually occur within l0-30 minutes, but up to two hours, of ingesting the fish and generally are self-limited. Physical signs may include a diffuse, blanching erythema, tachycardia, wheezing, and hypotension or hypertension. People with asthma are more vulnerable to respiratory
problems such as wheezing or bronchospasms. Symptoms usually last for approximately four to six hours and rarely exceed one to two days.
ANAPHYLAXIS -The most extreme (potentially fatal) form of allergic response: Symptoms typically include generalized hives, itchiness, flushing or swelling of the lips. Those with swelling or angioedema may describe a burning sensation of the skin rather than itchiness. Swelling of the tongue or throat may occur. Other features may include a runny nose and swelling of the conjunctiva. The skin may also be blue-tinged because of lack of oxygen. Respiratory symptoms that may be present, including shortness of breath, wheezing or stridor.The wheezing is typically caused by spasms of the bronchial muscles while stridor is related to upper airway obstruction secondary to swelling. Hoarseness, pain with swallowing, or a cough may also occur. Coronary-artery spasm may occur with subsequent myocardiai infarction, dysrhythmia, or cardiac arrest. The coronary spasm is related to the presence of histamine-releasing cells in the heart. While a fast heart rate associated with low blood pressure is more common, in 10% of cases the heart rate is slow. A drop in blood pressure or shock may cause the feeling of lightheadedness or loss of consciousness. Rarely very low blood pressure may be the only sign of anaphylaxis.
Gastrointestinal symptoms may include crampy abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. There may be confusion, a loss of bladder control or pelvic pain similar to that of uterine cramps. Dilation of blood vessels around the brain may cause headaches. A feeling of anxiety or of “impending doom” has also be described. Histamine also plays a role in all forms of shock.
CAUSES OF HIGH HISTAMINE.
EXHAUSTION, STRESS and ADRENAL FUNCTION
Stress of any kind can increase histamine, whether it be too much strenuous physical exertion or emotional stress. Exercise and fasting also tone the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Too much physical activity – exhaustion – can over-activate the parasympathetic. This is sometimes referred to as “adrenal-exhaustion”. However, I think it is just part of how the body maintains balance. When it is exhausted, it will eventually start going into the rest phase, like it or not!
Low adrenal out-put results in low blood sugar, low blood pressure, allergies and histamine issues.
Adrenalin, the fight or flight hormone, strongly stimulates the sympathetic. Adrenalin counters the action of histamine.
The parasympathetic is the “rest and digest” side of the nervous system. It stimulates the “rest and digest” system, stimulating digestive secretions, contractions, feeling of hunger etc. Parasympathetic stimulation increases histamine and vice versa. This is understandable, considering it is histamine the induces the secretions etc needed for digestion. However, if that tone is intensified it results in the more intense secretions, contractions, pain etc. of purging of harmful substances and inducing rest for repair.
Other factors can also impair adrenal out-put. The adrenal hormone Cortisol suppresses the immune system to its natural level, and is the main fighter of inflammation. Cortisol is made from cholesterol. If you have low Cholesterol, you can’t make Cortisol. Cholesterol is used to make bile also. Vitamin D is also made from cholesterol, so low cholesterol would result in low Vitamin D. Cholesterol levels are typically low in people suffering from Crohn’s disease. Low Cholesterol may result in an autistic-type personality.
Potassium and Magnesium stimulate the parasympathetic. Sodium and Calcium inhibit it. Excessively high levels of potassium in the diet, and insufficient sodium, can raise histamine.
The adrenal hormone aldosterone controls the sodium-potassium balance, and if it’s insuffient, then the body will keep throwing off sodium no matter how much is taken in.
Saturated fat is anti-histamine, anti-serotonin, anti-inflammatory, heals the gut, and activates the sympathetic nervous system. Saturated fats lubricate and nourish the intestinal lining. Saturated fat is what the body uses to make cholesterol, which, as we have seen is often low in people with histamine related conditions. Cholesterol is needed for the synthesis of the all-important Vitamin D, as well as the adrenal hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
Medium-chain fatty acids are a special type of saturated fat which are high in coconut and goat milk. They are anti-histamine, anti-serotonin, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and heal the gut.
Diets high in protein and carbohydrates favor fertility. Some degree of stress also favors fertility. Histamine is necessary for fertility and reproduction. So, you see a correlation. High fat diets favor longevity.
Saturated fat is said to be anti-histamine. This is likely because Vitamin D, Cholesterol and aldosterone are made from Saturated Fat. Vitamin D quiets the immune system (remember, histamine is part of the immune response.) Of course, Vitamin D is needed for the body to use Calcium, and calcium stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Vitamin D makes calcium available. Vitamin D deficiency causes or worsens many histamine—related diseases: Asthma, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Menstrual cramping, chronic hives, conjunctivitis, psoriasis, schizophrenia, depression.
Vitamin A balances against Vitamin D. If there is inadequate Vitamin D, then Vitamin A can exacerbate the problem. Vitamin A is said to be good for the immune system – apparently it can be too good?
Magnesium Calcium stimulates the sympathetic and Magnesium inhibits it. Magnesium is a strong calcium channel blocker. Studies indicate that Magnesium blocks some calcium channels at nerve endings, and thus inhibits norepinephrine release. Above around 350 mg. people can start to experience the effects of magnesium, which include relaxation, hypothyroidism, slowing down of the body’s systems, shallow, slow breathing, lethargy, and extreme sleepiness. Magnesium is supposed to be calming. Yes, excess leads to shallow breathing that results in hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, at which point the body starts to release adrenalin and go into panic mode. Hypnic jerks are another symptom. They occur when the body misinterprets extreme relaxation for falling or impending death and tries to right itself. Hypnic jerks are commonly seen in the use of calcium channel blocker drugs.
Magnesium causes the body to retain potassium. Although potassium is a potent calcium synergist, in high quantity it can become an antagonist by dissolving calcium from the bones and elsewhere.
However, magnesium deficiency causes mast cells to become unstable, and raises histamine.
THE HISTAMINE DEGRADING ENZYMES: DAO and HNMT.
DAO can be considered responsible for the extracellular breakdown of histamine, for example, in the gut and bloodstream, whereas HNMT inactivates histamine intracellularly. Therefore it is the DAO enzyme that plays a key role in metabolising dietary sources of histamine and histamine that are released from inside cells into extracellular spaces such as the gut and bloodstream. The tissues with the highest activity of DAO include the intestines, placenta, and kidney.
Diamine Oxidase –DAO is made principally by the lining of the small intestine. Diamine oxidase depends on vitamin B6 to function, so if a shortage of B6 arises, the enzyme is practically useless. Therefore compounds that inhibit B6 also inhibit the production of diamine oxidase. Food coloring agents like FD &C yellow #5, and excessive protein intake are some of the things that inhibit B6 production. Vitamin B6 works with magnesium in any enzyme systems and assists in the body’s accumulation of magnesium. Magnesium balances against Vitamin B6. Copper is also needed for the body to make DAO. Excess copper creates histapenia (low histamine) by decreasing histamine in the brain.
A copper deficiency frequently results in a lowering of tissue calcium levels, which serves to contribute to excess histamine. A copper deficiency will enhance the number of mast cells.
HNMT breaks down histamine on an intracellular level. HNMT is the only well-known pathway for termination of neurotransmission actions of histamine in the central nervous system.
The highest levels of HNMT are found in the liver and kidneys, but also in the bronchi and trachea. HNMT is a key enzyme concentrated in the liver which is responsible for degrading histamines generated as a result of the functions of the body and in particular mast-cells. HNMT is the key enzyme for degrading histamine in the bronchial epithelium.
Besides good liver function, nutrients called methyl donors are needed. These include: the amino acid methionine, choline, Vitamin B12, folate, cystine, and taurine. This class of nutrients, however, can have histamine raising affects also. So, pay attention how they affect you.
After histamine is methylated by HNMT, it still has to be broken down further by DAO.
Normal digestion causes histamine release. The stomach is one of the main sites of histamine production, as histamine is responsible for stomach acid production.
Histamine is part of the normal digestion function, and also part of the rejection mode of the immune resoponse. So, you might say, digestion is a very mild immune response, after all, you are putting foreign matter in your body! This is all fine of course, but when the histamine level is already at or above normal digestion level before you eat, then when you do, to breach over into the rejection mode. Now, your food isn’t going to digest properly, because your body is more or less rejecting.
Avoid getting too hungry before a meal: It is histamine that initiates feeling of hunger. So, once you start feeling hunger, the histamine is building up; the the bucket starts filling. Then, when you finally eat, there’s another increase for digestion, and the bucket runs over. Many times water will quell the hunger and stop the histamine. You know this is happening for sure when you sneeze right after you realize you’re hungry. Don’t ignore hunger.
Histamine can cause too much stomach acid. When this happens, proteins etc. don’t stay in the stomach long enough. If you start feeling hungry soon after a meal, then drink some water or milk. This is important, because if you don’t, the food will leave the stomach too soon, and result in undigested food reaching the small intestine, causing bacteria to proliferate and, of course causing even more histamine.
Be careful not to eat when there is still food in your stomach. Excess histamine can cause you to feel hungry soon after a meal, and when there is still food in your stomach. You should not eat in this situation, as it will interfere with the digestion of the food, and cause more trouble later. At the same time, you shouldn’t ignore it either, a glass of water often will take care of this false hunger for hours. Drinking milk or a little acidic fruit juice seems to work well, also. The best way to know that is from experimentation.
Large meals. This is a problem for a high histamine person. Cells in the stomach produce histamine in response to pressure. If you eat a large meal, even if it’s low-calorie vegetables or soup the stomach is getting stretched, and that is going to produce more histamine. This seems to only be a problem when the meal contain protein, since it protein needs acid, and acid needs histamine. The stomach has to produce enough acid to bring the ph down to the level the meat needs for digestion. If the stomach has to bring a quart of vegetables etc to that ph, it’s going to require a lot more acid production. So, no problem eating a large amount of watermelon! Hot foods stimulate digestion more, and guess what stimulates digestion? Histamine. So, normal hot meals are just a problem. A big bowl of hot soup with broth and meat is about as bad as it gets, while ice cream can actually relieve histamine symptoms almost instantly. Since dairy is so anti-histamine, I have found vegetable can be eaten in larger quantities with some cheese and butter. Meat and eggs have to be eaten in a smaller meal, so they digest as quickly and completely as possible. Again, you will learn your limits from personal experimentation.
IRRITATION OF THE SMALL INTESTINE
Histamine is normally produced by the small intestine, just like the stomach. As it is part of the response to poisoning etc., it is increased when anything irritates the small intestine. Serotonin also increases exponentially in the presense of irritants, poisons etc. Too much fiber can irritate the lining of the gut.
The first organ system to go during stress, is not the adrenals. It is actually the digestive tract. The epithelial lining of the gut and the enterocytes are starved and inflamed. Therefore foods are not being digested optimally. Stress also alters the intestinal balance. This results in dysbiosis.
The lining of the small intestine is also a major sight of production of the histamine-degrading enzyme DAO. Obviously, damage to this lining impairs it’s ability to do this, causing histamine levels to rise.
Also an injured lining cannot make DAO as it should.
Cortisol should come in also during a normal immunes response. Sometimes a person will feel absolutely wonderful, kind of high, when something causes an immune response, irritation to the gut etc., only to find out later what that was all about!
SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can result in high levels of lipopolysaccharides reaching the blood stream, causing the body to go into defense mode, setting off the immune system. Low-carb diets are bad for leaky gut because mucous, which is needed for the gut-barrier, is a mucopolysacharide. This is a molecule formed out of protein and sugar. If insufficent carbohydrate reaches the gut, this mucous layer get depleted. See page on Digestion.
DYSBIOSIS – Histadelia is often caused by Gut Dysbiosis and an excess of histamine-producing bacteria such as the Proteus family, the E. coli family and Staphylococci. Though histamine is produced by certain bacteria present in a healthy gut, the overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria can lead to excess histamin production. The small intestine can also get a proliferation of bacteria that is good in the colon, but bad in the small intestine. This in turn reduces liver function.
The intestinal mucosa plays a dual role in both excluding macromolecules and microbes from the systemic circulation and absorbing crucial nutrients. The mucosa is exposed to bacterial products — endotoxins, hydrogen sulphide, phenols, ammonia, and indoless——that can have detrimental effects on both mucosal and host health. A single dose of bacterial endotoxin, administered by injection, increases the gut permeability of healthy humans. Dysbiosis is a state in which the microbiota produces harmful effects via: (l) qualitative and quantitative changes in the intestinal flora itself; (2) changes in their metabolic activities; and (3) changes in their local distribution. Certain factors result in alterations in bacterial metabolism, as well as the overgrowth of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Most of the damage resulting from bacterial overgrowth is caused by bacterial enzyme activity. Bacterial mucinase destroys the protective mucus coat; proteinases degrade pancreatic and brush border enzymes and attack structural proteins. Bacteria produce vitamin B12 analogues and uncouple the B12—intrinsic factor complex, reducing circulating B12 levels.
Candida is a yeast that normally resides in the intestinal tract, mouth, throat and genitals, however it can burrow holes in the intestinal tract, enter the blood stream and then make it’s way into any organ of the body. It emits over 70 different toxins into the body. Candida is often linked to liver problems. People with yeast overgrowth tend to have high histamine symptoms.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME – The contents of the gut lumen lie outside the body and contain a toxic/antigenic load from which the body needs to be protected. Protection is supplied by complex mechanisms.When the intestinal lining gets damaged, the damaged cells, which are called microvilli, are not able to manufacture the enzymes that are important for digestion Hyper-permeability initiates a vicious cycle in which allergic sensitization, endotoxic immune activation, hepatic dysfunction, pancreatic insufficiency and malnutrition occur; each of these increases the leakiness of the small bowel. In people with leaky-gut syndrome the “tight junctions” between the mucosa cells have become loose and with this the permeability of the gut mucosa is increased. This allows unwanted toxins, undigested foods and other pathogens direct access to the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, these invaders can cause a chain of reactions to unfold. The first event comes from the adrenal glands, which essentially sound the alarm that an invasion has occurred. This causes the immune system to react and release macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell. These white blood cells clean up the debris in the blood. If they are overwhelmed by the amount of debris, they release histamine. Once the body has identified the invader, further exposure to these invaders can have a quicker response from the immune system. Food allergies and sensitivities are created this way. These food allergies or hyper—immune responses may further aggravate an already existing leaky gut situation. Foods are crossing over into the bloodstream and creating this chain of events. The relationship between food sensitivities and the leaky gut is complex and circular: Following exposure to allergenic foods, permeability sharply increases. Histamine and serotonin is responsible for the increase in permeability. It appears that an increase in intestinal permeability is important in the pathogenesis of food allergy and is also a result of food allergy. With leaky gut comes similarly inefficient and challenged mucous membrane everywhere – it just spreads from the gut, and along with it an over-reactive immune system.
POOR LIVER FUNCTION
As we have seen, the liver is important for histamine removal. Any kind of digestive disfunction stresses the liver. (see page on Digestion)
Following ingestion of meat, there is a release of histamine from the gut which coincides with the enteric phase of gastric secretion, The liver normally inactivates histamine brought to it from the gut via the portal vein, but when diseased, it is logical to hypothesize, it may fail to do so and allow a flood of histamine into the systemic circulation, The possible correlation of some of the clinical signs of liver disease with the inability of the liver to inactivate histamine has renewed interest in the intricacies of histamine metabolism. The classic metabolic role of the liver is that of a guardian over the gut, seeing to it that inappropriate amount of noxious agent absorbed from the intestines do not enter the general circulation
Saturated fat is needed to make cortisol, fat-soluable vitamins, including Vitamin D, and supports intestinal wall integrity. Medium-chain fatty acids are easy to digest (do not require bile), kill bad bacteria and viruses in the gut. Low fat diets can injure the intestinal lining. Omega 6 oils (vegetable oils) increase histamine and inflammation.
SUGAR Sugar is anti-histamine. Sugar digests in an alkaline environment. That makes sense, since it would be histamine that would produce the stomach acid….If there is heart-burn or untimely hunger caused by excess stomach acid, then eating a little sugar can knock it back.
Fruit and Honey: The flavonoids in fruit (and chocolate) inhibit the release of histamine and inflammatory mediators. Taken before eating, they may block allergic reactions. Fruit typically is a good source of Vit C, another nutrient that’s needed to remove histamine. Fructose, in fruit and honey, tends to remove phosphorus from the body, and phosphorus increases histamine. The soluable fiber promotes good intestinal flora.
When vitamin C levels fall, histamine levels rise in the body. In vitro, vitamin C inhibits the activity of histidine carboxylase, the enzyme that makes histamine. Vitamin C is also needed for the adrenals; it optimizes cortisol levels. While the adrenal glands need numerous nutrients to function normally, perhaps the most important of them all is vitamin C. The highest concentrations of vitamin C reside in the eyes, brain and adrenal glands. In the body, this water-soluble nutrient provides a strong anti-oxidant function, supports the immune system and increases the integrity of the artery walls and connective tissue. In the adrenals, vitamin C is required for healthy production of steroid hormones. Stress, infection and intense exercise all increase the cellular demand for vitamin C, with studies showing how blood levels of ascorbic acid fall at an increased rate during these times. A lack of adrenal output, as seen in adrenal fatigue, places all cells of the body under increased stress, with an almost automatic increase in nervous activity to compensate for diminished cortisol release and systemic inflammation that accompanies the low levels of this steroid hormone. The production of cortisol and other adrenal hormones, is dependent on an ongoing supply of vitamin C. If this supply dwindles, so too does the secretion of adrenal hormones. This feeble response from the adrenal glands places the body under further stress, further increasing demand for the vitamin C.
Studies have shown that the activity of enzyme histidine decarboxylase (H DC) increases in a medium deficient in ascorbic acid. HDC is the enzyme that converts L—histidine to histamine. Vitamin C also has been shown to lower blood histamine and indirectly augment neutrophil chemotaxis in healthy human subjects.
Excess meat: too much strong phosphorus. Phosphorus is pro-histamine and balances against calcium, which is anti-histamine.
Meat requires an acid stomach to digest, so the more meat that is consumed the more histamine will be produced.Tough meats, jerky etc. Any meat that is hard to chew, is probably going to sit in the stomach longer, producing histamine. The softer meats generally are easier to handle.
Protein should never be consumed without fat. Up to 60% of protein consumed without fat goes undigested, causing immune responses.
Think Fresh! -Histamine is a biogenic amine, which is formed from amino acids by an enzyme called decarboxylase. This enzyme is formed by bacteria and forms histamine from the amino acid histadine. Cadaverine and putrescine are also biogenic amines. So, you get the picture. Fermented or aged foods, esp. protein foods, meats, cheese etc. Fish should be prepared within 30 minutes of catch. Fish can cause scombroid poisoning, in normal people. Histamine cannot be cooked out, and the process of converting histadine into histamine continues under refrigeration, because it is the action of the enzyme, not the bacteria itself.
If protein is not completely digested, it will be fed on by bacteria in the digestive tract. Besides more histamine, ammonia will also be produced, and that also raises histamine. Alkaline urine is caused by gram positive bacteria producing ammonia during putrifaction. Eating too much carbohydrate with protein can interfere with it’s digestion, since carbohydrates digest in an alkaline stomach, and protein needs acid.
CALCIUM – Calcium is anti-histamine and Phosphorus is pro-histamine. Calcium reduces the release of the body’s store of histamine and lowers levels in the body. Conversely, histamine lowers blood calcium, and causes a drop in blood pressure. Calcium pulls histamine into the blood for elimination. Calcium stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Copper deficiency lowers calcium levels and increases the number of mast cells.
Goats’ Milk is a super-food for reducing histamine: It is a highly digestible protein, is high in calcium, medium-chain fatty acids, copper, cholestrol, prebiotics, glutathione* precursors and taurine. Taurine quiets the stress response and lessens histamine and serotonin release. Goat milk is healing to the the digestive tract. Raw goat milk even contains a good bit of Vitamin C.
*Glutathione is an anti-oxidant that is made by the body. It also helps make vitamin B12 into the proper form for methylation. The glutathione level in the lungs of a person having an asthma attack drops to almost zero.
Vitamin D, Vitamin D quiets the immune system. Many auto-immune diseases are associated with Vitamin D deficiency. The conventional recommendations for Vitamin D are being shown to be grossly inadequate. While the body makes Vitamin D from the sun, what you’re getting may not be enough, so it’s good to get tested and supplement as needed.
Histamine is a stress hormone, so any kind of stress will tend to raise it. Potential stresses are: Low blood sugar, over-work, excess heat or cold exposure, too much sun, anxiety, darkness, short winter days, possitive ions in the air.
Bright light (sunlight) and long days (summer), and negative air ions are anti-stress and anti-histamine.
While probably not from stress, vibration and movement such as being on a boat also raise histamine. Sea-sickness is caused by histamine.
Dehydration. As we have seen, high histamine usually go with low adrenal function. Aldosterone and adrenalin make the body retain sodium. Rising sodium levels in the brain cause the sensation of thirst. If the body isn’t retaining sodium properly, then you may not feel thirst, even though you’re dehydrated. When the body is dehydrated, substances in the blood, including histamine are concentrated. The body also reacts to dehydration by releasing histamine (which then releases adrenalin). Histamine is a stress hormone, and dehydration is a stress. A good practice is to drink a glass of water one hour or so before a meal. This guards against inadvertant dehydration, as well as making sure the stomach is cleared for the next meal.
Heat stress, working in the hot sun too much can cause histamine release. Other than normal common sense, this precaution probably isn’t necessary, but in the beginning when levels are very high, you may have to take any and all possible steps to reduce histamine.
Vibration, such as mowing grass on a riding lawnmower, can also release histamine, as in the case of heat, that sort of thing probably won’t matter once overall levels are lowered.Studies and animal experiments give clear indications that surplus histamine leads to the symptoms of sea sickness. In a test in an artificial wave pool, 50 men and 20 women tested their seaworthiness. Indeed, 23 of them had to leave the raft before the 20—minutes storm was over: the histamine level in the blood of the test persons increased significantly. The majority of the regular remedies against seasickness are anti-histamines. Pigs don’t get seasick. Since they are omnivores, pigs produce large amounts of diamine oxidase which makes it easier for them to process for example spoiled meat containing large histamine concentrations.
Tight clothes, bending. Since the stomach is a major producer of histamine, and responds to pressure, clothing that is tight around the waist is bad, as well as too much bending over, as some jobs require. This one is probably hard to do anything about, but cutting back on unnecessary bending will help. Again, this one shouldn’t be a problem once general histamine levels are lowered. When histamine levels are very high, bending over will sometimes cause you to sneeze.
ACETYLCHOLINE – Activates the parasympathetic, It has many of the same effects of histamine.
Both histamine and acetylcholine cause bronchoconstriction, vasoconstriction, and gastric acid
production. It appears acetylcholine causes histamine release.
Choline counterbalances norepinephrine. Choline is used to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline is a methyl donor, but it counters norepinephrine, and its product, actylcholine, has many of the same effects as histamine.
Zinc inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. However, too much zinc may be bad.
Manganese inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells.
Vitamine B5, also known as pantothenic acid, forms the key enzyme that produces
cortisol and is depleted by high levels of stress.
FOLIC ACID AND B12
High histamine individuals are inherently high in folic acid. Although folic acid is used along with B-12 in the production of methione line it is also involved in histamine production along with B-12. Consequently B-12 and folic acid are strictly avoided in high histamine patient care. In extreme cases, folic acid in food is enough to produce the adverse effects B12, is, however, a methyl donor and there is evidence that it also has some anti—histamine effects.
Zinc inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. However, too much zinc may be bad.
Manganese also inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. And just like zinc is mentioned
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid: although methyl donors, can be a problem because some of the same pathways are used to degrade excess Vit. B12 and folate as histamine.
Good foods/nutrients Bad foods/nutrients
saturated fat Protein (in excess)
Calcium Phosphorus, Magnesium (in excess)
Vitamin B6 Folate (in excess)
phenols, anthocyanidins (berries etc.)