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Finding The Cause of Your Histamine Intolerance or MCAS
Finding the Root Cause of Histamine intolerance is not as simple as one many think. Histamine intolerance has many causes and many things including certain medications can aggravate the conditions. With more and more awareness of histamine intolerance, doctors and patients are starting to see that it is not as rare as what was once thought. Histamine intolerance occurs when there is a buildup of histamine in the body. While many foods contain high histamine levels, there are many other causes for a build up of histamine that you need to to know about. In todays article, we will review some of these causes as well as some of the strategies for improving DAO function.
Finding the cause of your histamine intolerance

What is Histamine Intolerance

Histamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates a variety of physiological functions including sleep-wake cycles, appetite, memory and the stress response. It is also a key player in immune system, central nervous system, as well as your digestive tract.
Problems with Histamine is implicated in multiple neuropsychiatric disorders; for example, histamine imbalances have been reported in Anxiety, Depression, Alzheimer’s disease and narcolepsy
Histamine causes a sudden and rapid inflammatory response, setting off an alarm within the immune system that invaders are present.  As a result, white blood cells are called upon to swiftly identify and eliminate the foreign bodies.  It is the quick flood and build up of histamine that can cause symptoms such as headache, itchiness, flushed face, and overall feeling inflamed and uncomfortable.
Histamine works through your bloodstream so high levels that aren’t broken down can potentially harm not only your gut but your lungs, brain, skin, and cardiovascular system. It is for this reason that symptoms can vary from person to person.

Breaking Down Histamine With DAO

In a healthy person, histamine is broken down by two enzymes: DAO and HNMTHistamine intolerance symptoms may occur when one of these enzymes isn’t working correctly. DAO is made in the intestines and Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) is an enzyme expressed in the central nervous system.

Diamine oxidase (DAO) supplements can help replenish the diamine oxidase enzyme in your body. These supplements help break down histamine-rich foods and often show improvement in a variety of symptoms related to histamine intolerance. Research shows that these supplements might offer relief from headaches, digestive issues, and skin reactions.

If you have poor gut health you are more prone to histamine intolerance.


Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

If you have too much histamine in your gut and it’s released from your cells, you can end up with too much histamine collecting in your blood. This causes symptoms including:

  • Migraines
  • Bloating
  • Feeling sick
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Throwing up
  • Constipation
  • Fullness
  • Muscle aches
  • Pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Asthma
  • Hives
  • Dizziness
  • Psoriasis

Gut Problems Cause Histamine Intolerance

Treating Histamine Intolerance

What do you do if you have histamine intolerance besides implementing a low histamine diet?  The Key to naturally addressing High histamine is to address

1- WHY you are creating excess histamine.

2- Why Your body Cant break down histamine

So we already talked about bone broth and kombucha being potential dietary problems but there are others you should be aware of – food like sauerkraut, kefir, wine, beer, smoked meats, aged cheeses, pickles, eggs, citrus fruits and vinegar- any of these can be great sources of histamine. Does any of this sound familiar?

Now these are just some of the foods, you can check out this article for a more in depth list of foods containing histamines-I have also put together a free downloadable Histamine intolerance guide.

What Causes Histamine Intolerance

You naturally produce histamine along with the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). DAO is responsible for breaking down histamine that you take in from foods.

If you develop a DAO deficiency and are unable to break down histamine, you could develop an intolerance.

When we about the cause of histamine intolerance, keep in mind that there is no one singular cause or reason. There are many things filling up your histamine bucket. These things filling your histamine bucket may include.

  1. Genetic SNP in the DAO or HNMT enzyme- this is where the enzyme doesn’t work the way it should- you have a mutation in the gene
  2. Gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease
  3. Gut Dysbiosis, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO
  4. DAO-blocking foods
  5. Reheating foods that increase
  6. Inflammation- Maybe you have Crohn’s, Ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  7. LPS bacteria- LPS bacteria can also cause a Leaky gut we talked all about these in a past video and in my Histamine Newsletter.
  8. Medications: these may be from medications like Anti-inflammatories such (ibuprofen, aspirin),
    1. Anti-depressants (Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft)
    2. Anti-histamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl) H1 blockers
    3. Immune suppressants such (Humira, Enbrel, Plaquenil)- these are mediations people who have Rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease (UC or often are taking)
    4. Histamine (H2) blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac)- Many of these medications will either release excess histamine or will block the enzyme that breaks down histamine. Either way- you end up with excess histamine.
  9. Nutritional status- Several vitamins and minerals serve as enzymatic cofactors. These vitamins activate the DAO and HNMT enzyme. If the enzyme fail to be activated, we cant break down histamine and it accumulates.
  10. Hormones-The complexity of histamine intolerance extends to the interaction between histamine, estrogen and progesterone in the female body. Estrogen can also influence endogenous histamine levels by down regulating DAO activity. This ultimately leads to high histamine levels in the body.

Vitamins and Minerals Required for DAO and HNMT Enzyme Activity

So we have talked about the foods that cause excess histamine, we have talked about some of the conditions that causes excess histamine, we talked medications that liberate excess histamine or interfere with the enzyme that breaks down histamine. We know need to understand the importance of certain vitamins and how they “turn on” these histamine degrading enzymes.

Because a low histamine diet is so restrictive, its not something one can do for month on end. The Key to naturally addressing High histamine levels is to address two very important components

1- Histamine Production histamine- You can learn more about cause of histamine here

2- Histamine Degradation (Breakdown)

As a reminder, HNMT is the key enzyme that breaks down histamine in the Nerve system and DAO is the primary enzyme that breaks down ingested histamine as well as histamine originating from allergies. As you can see in this illustration-

Tips to Start a Low Histamine Diet and Best Supplements To Take to Help with Histamine Intolerance

The DAO enzyme is dependent on Iron, B12, B6, Copper and vitamin C . Remember in order for DAO to break down Histamine we need these vitamin cofactors.

Histidine and Histidine Decarboxylase

Histidine is an amino acid. People use histidine as medicine. Some people take histidine for health problems related to metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic diseases, diarrhea caused by cholera infection, ulcers, and anemia caused by kidney failure or kidney dialysis. But if you take a look at the above image you will also notice that histidine is broken down into histamine.

The enzyme that converts histidine into histamine is called Histidine decarboxylase. This enzyme is the key member of the histamine synthesis pathway. What this means is that Histamine cannot be generated by any other known enzyme. Magnesium and B6 are important enzyme activators needed for conversion of histidine to histamine.

Some Final Reminders About Histamine

So as I bring this video to a close, there are few closing points I want to summarize.

#1- There are many reasons you or a loved in is suffering with Histamine intolerance or MCAS- while we talked about many aspects of histamine intolerance today, please understand that if at any time you are dealing with a GI problem, you may need to do a bit more than go on a low histamine diet. You may need to dig a bit deeper into why. Your “Why” may be rooted in one or many of the problems you see below.

  1. You may have gluten sensitivity/Celiac
  2. You may have a gut infection
  3. You may have a leaky gut
  4. Might have a yeast overgrowth
  5. You might be sensitive to oxalates
  6. You may have bile acid malabsorption
  7. You may have food allergies IgE immune reaction
  8. You may a delayed food sensitivity (IgA and IgG immune reaction)
  9. You may have SIBO or SIFO

#2 Identify the Causes of histamine intolerance– Low histamine diets are only one piece of a much bigger picture.

#3 support the DAO and HNMT enzymes by taking the minerals, vitamins and cofactors that will help ensure the enzyme works correctly and finally at a minimum, take a supplement that contains Quercetin, NAC, and stinging nettle stabilize the mast cells.

#4- Naturally treating Histamine intolerance needs a multipronged approach

I hope you enjoyed today’s video (If watching on my Youtube channel) or todays blog if you are reading it on my website.  – I hope you learned a few things, if you did be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Comment below and share this video with someone you care about.  I will be doing another video where I will talk about some of the additional strategies for addressing histamine intolerances.


Finding The Cause of Your Histamine Intolerance or MCAS 6

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