Can Histamine Intolerance Cause Anxiety?
Keywords: Histamine intolerance, Anxiety, Depression, SIBO, Leaky Gut,
If you have been following my blog posts or YouTube videos, then you know that an histamine intolerance can trigger various symptoms such as depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Those with histamine intolerance also tend to have and gut problems. In today’s article, I will review the connection between gut health- histamine intolerance and anxiety.
Anxiety, Stress and Histamine Intolerance
There is a close relationship between histamine intolerance and anxiety. Stress can have devastating effects on the gut microbiome. Stress has been shown to cause an increase in opportunistic bacteria, its been shown to cause leaky gut, stress has been shown to cause increase in intestinal pain, its been shown to effect intestinal motility, its been shown to suppressing your SIgA levels- increasing the risk of food allergies, bacterial and yeast overgrowth.
The research suggests that a disrupted gut microbiome, a vast ecosystem of microbes that help us control our weight, fight infection, regulate our sleep, and so much more, may contribute to a variety of cognitive and mood disorders including anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, and autism. The gut is known to produce various neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for various moods and emotions. Some of these include GABA and serotonin.
In addition, over 90% of our serotonin and over 50% of our dopamine are produced in the gut instead of in the brain. The importance of the gut’s bacterial colonization is evidenced by the vast number of these chemicals in the brain. When we’re anxious or experiencing a bout of anxiety, the body releases cortisol, which signals the sympathetic nervous system to take action. One area that is adversely effected is the digestive system. As the sympathetic nervous system stays activated, mast cells release more and more histamine into the bloodstream. The more stress and anxiety we experience, the more histamine we release. This is because the body’s natural response is to produce more histamine by releasing these receptors in the brain and throughout the body.
Histamine is also a neurotransmitter that can affect the amount of other chemicals in the brain that trigger mood swings. An excessive amount of histamine can also cause panic attacks.
Let’s Review a Few Ways Excess Histamine Can Cause or exacerbate a bout of anxiety.
We’re consuming too many fermented and histamine-rich food products in our diets. While following a low histamine diet alone won’t fix your histamine intolerance or anxiety. It is a necessary starting point.
2. Your Gut Microbiome May Be a Link to your Anxiety.
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is an imbalance of the microorganisms in your gut that maintain healthy digestion. When too many bacteria, or the wrong kind, populate the small intestine, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as weight loss, acid reflux, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Prolonged intestinal inflammation can damage the cells that make DAO. Remember DAO is the enzyme that breaks down histamine. Too much histamine can lead to anxiety.
3. Leaky Gut-Leaky Brain and Histamine
A breakdown in the tight junctions that maintain the health and integrity of the gut are very similar to the tight junction proteins of the brain. A Leaky Gut can lead to a Leaky Brain by breaking down the Blood Brain Barrier. As the blood brain barrier breaks down, we experience Brain Fog, Fatigue, Migraines or headaches, OCD, panic attacks, depression, and anxiety. Inflammation in the Brain is Not a good thing.
Individuals suffering from leaky gut syndrome tend to have an excessive amount of histamine in their brain. Those with leaky gut often struggle with a wide variety of food allergies, food and chemical sensitivities as well environmental sensitivity.
People with this condition often experience bi-polar like symptoms. Their excessive histamine production can also trigger irritability, aggression, anxiety and cause them to feel depressed and hopeless.
Having a leaky gut can cause food particles, bacteria, and toxins to enter the bloodstream. This can trigger systemic chronic inflammation as well as Neuroinflammation.
While Anxiety and depression are often considered to be caused by chemical imbalances in GABA, Serotonin, Dopamine many researchers are shifting their attention towards histamine.
While it is true that brain histamine promotes wakefulness and alertness that’s not all it does. Recent evidencesuggests that too much histamine in the brain may also be a key factor in anxiety, Panic attacks, addictive behaviors and degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s diseases and multiple sclerosis.
Histamine also affects other mood-altering neurotransmitters such as GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. An excessive amount of these chemical compounds will increase the amount of anxious and/or depressive feelings.
Supplement That Have Mast Cell Stabilizing Effects You Should Consider.
What should you look for when you are trying to calm down excess histamine in your body?. Research has show that things like Flavonoids, Antioxidants, Proteolytic enzymes, can all go along way when trying to stabilize Mast cells that are releasing histamine into the blood.
Let’s look at a few of these and how they benefit us.
- Quercetin- is known for its ability to stabilize Mast cells, thereby reducing the release of histamine (the compound that causes hypersensitivity reactions)
- Stinging nettles has been shown to support the mucosal passages
- Bromelain- breaks down large protein complexes and has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the circulating protein-allergen complexes.
- NAC is a precursor to one the most important antioxidants discovered aka Glutathione. NAC also can act as biofilm disruptors breaking apart the biofilms produced by bacteria. NAC helps break down mucous and helps clear the mucosal passages.
- Vitamin C has also been show to be advantageous when addressing histamine intolerance. Vitamin C is well known for its many immune boosting properties, but it has also been discovered that vitamin C can deactivate histamine.
Here Are 7 Ways to Better Manage Anxiety Induced by Excess Histamine
Sometimes by modifying your diet and reducing the histamine load you can reduce your feelings of anxiety, depression and panic and regain control. Other times you need to dig deeper. If you’ve already tried this and hit a roadblock, please feel free to set up a consultation with me. My team and I would love to help you regain control of your health. Don’t think for a moment that you need to continue feeling trapped in this body.
In the meantime, here are a few things you can do for yourself.
- Implement a low histamine diet. If you don’t know what this is you can review my article on foods to avoid on a low histamine diet and foods to eat on a low histamine diet. While you can’t eliminate histamine entirely, you want to avoid those foods that increase histamine load.
- Supplement with DAO. These enzyme help degrade histamine from the foods you eat.
- Supplement with Natural Mast Cell Stabilizers. Supplements that are high in Antioxidants, Flavonoids and proteolytic enzymes can help prevent further degranulation of histamine releasing Mast Cells.
- Make sure you diet Includes plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B12. These have been shown to naturally improve DAO levels.
- Avoid DAO-blocking foods.
- Be aware of Medications that interfere with DAO enzyme function– Histamine intolerance can be made worse with certain prescribed and over the counter medications.
- Supplements that Stabilize Mast Cells. Mast cells release histamine, the goal of stabilizing Mast cells is to prevent them from releasing histamine. Studies show that certain flavonoids have anti-inflammatory Mast Cell Stabilizing activities.
- Increase foods known to be Mast Cell stabilizers. Foods that are high in polyphenols and flavonoids are known to be Mast cells stabilizers. Pomegranates, Grapes, cherries, red peppers, kiwis, apple, pears, mangos, and watermelons are all great sources of polyphenols.
People Who Read This Article Also Recommend.
- Learn more about Histamine IntoleranceCauses, Triggers, Symptoms and more.
- How To Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet – Part I
- How to Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet-Part II
- Supplements to help support Histamine Intolerances
- Histamine Intolerance and Gut Health
- Estrogen Dominance and Histamine Intolerance- Hormonal imbalances that trigger Histamine/MCAS symptoms
- Why Adrenal Cortisol Testing is so Important for GI Problems
- Natural Ways to Increase DAO enzyme activity to help break down ingested histamine
- Check out Dr Hagmeyer’s YouTube Channel