Histamine is a bigger deal then people realize. Its estimated that most of the population is dealing with some sort of histamine issue. And mostly middle aged. When we see these histamine issues, it is known as a “histamine intolerance”, which many conventional doctors are unfortunately not well versed in, so they don’t know what to look for or test for when a patient walks in with certain symptoms.
Histamine is chemically classified as an amine, an organic molecule based on the structure of ammonia. It is produced as part of the immune response in mast cells and basophils, to cause inflammation and other immunological symptoms. It performs several important functions in the bowels and acts as a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that carries signals from one nerve to another. If you have heard of histamine before, you probably know it as something that causes allergic symptoms – swelling, puffiness, itchy, watery eyes, nasal drip, sneezing, anaphylaxis and motion sickness! I have had terrible “travel sickness” since I was a child. Histamine also effects estrogen and your period…especially around ovulation and PMS. More below.
Histamine is found in nearly all tissues, such as stomach mucosa lining, neurons, mast cells, and basophils (a type of white blood cell). This histamine release or immune response, causes vasodilation and capillaries to become more permeable to white blood cells and other proteins, which proceed to target and attack foreign bodies in the affected tissue.
If you answered yes to one or more of the options in either of the picture or PDF, you may have a histamine issue.
Histamine is more than allergies. Histamine is crucial to your health! But when the body is taking in more then its putting out (think detoxification), we can have problems. Including that flush many women report when they have a red wine.
Histamine intolerance is not a food allergy. It’s an entirely different concept. Histamine intolerance is an overload of histamine in the body, leading to negative symptoms and responses.
Common Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance (there are lots more though);
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weak muscle tone
- Sudden low blood pressure/cardiac collapse
- Itchy and flushing skin
- Hives and rash
- Swelling and puffiness
- Nasal drip
- Nasal congestion and irritation
- Sneezing and shortness of breath
- Bloating and gas
- A feeling of ‘fullness’
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Travel or motion sickness
- PMS and menstrual cycle issues
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- breast tenderness
This study proposes that histamine issues originate in the gut, which would make sense if your not detoxifying properly or having gut issues, which most people do. This would also be due to a lack of DAO enzyme “and therefore, the food component histamine not being degraded and/or absorbed properly within the GI tract.”
Histamine may also be a contributing factor to other gastrointestinal issues and can be exacerbated by gut issues and a dysfunctional microbiome but is rarely considered when looking at the gut.
Take a listen to this podcast episode to understand histamine more.
So what about histamine and MIGRAINE? Specifically migraine that many women experience with PMS or before out menses?
Histamine symptoms are actually more common in women because of our hormones, and often track with the menstrual cycle, occurring when estrogen is high at ovulation and then again just before the period AKA PMS.
- Estrogen stimulates mast cells to release histamine and down-regulates the DAO enzyme that clears histamine. While, histamine stimulates the ovaries to make more estrogen. The net result can be a vicious cycle of estrogen → histamine → estrogen → histamine.
- Progesterone stabilizes mast cells, up-regulates DAO, and can therefore reduce histamine… but most women have issues with low progesterone due to chronic stress. So of course are not metabolizing and detoxifying histamine efficiently.
- It is proposed that symptoms of estrogen dominance are actually symptoms of high estrogen.
Several symptoms on the symptoms list above are typical symptoms of PMS which makes sense because histamine rises and falls with estrogen. Histamine is highest just before ovulation and then again during the days before the period. Histamine can also cause period pain because of its inflammatory effect.
HISTAMINE A MAIN DRIVER OF MIGRAINE!
Its been long known that migraine is very much driven by histamine issues in the body, but it very much gets overlooked! So if this is the case for you then tools and supplements to help reduce histamine in the body could really influence migraine and instances of migraine. How would you know? Well the next time you get a migraine… take an antihistamine. If it helps, then you know your issue is that of histamine.
The below podcast goes into more details on how histamine influences your cycle and we cover how to reduce histamine in the body in both episodes… this could be a real game changer for you, not only with migraine but other chronic symptoms you are experiencing.
So what are some aids that can help us get 𝙃𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙊𝙪𝙩?
Along with the food changes we may need to make and supporting metabolism and detoxification…
Histmine food reference list SIGHI-Leaflet_HistamineEliminationDiet
Several of these
were mentioned in the podcast episode. Each can be helpful but my top would be Quercetin, DAO and B6.
☞ 𝗤𝘂𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻 turns off mast cells and the histamine immune response.
☞ 𝗗𝗶𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘅𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘀𝗲 is an enzyme that breaks down and clears histamine.
☞ 𝗩𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝟲 because it upregulates DAO.
There is also some research
on the efficacy of rosemary for helping with histamine intolerance.
I hope you found this helpful and please reach out if you have any questions! We could go int a lot more detail but I think this is enough for the majority to understand and prevent overwhelm. Let me know if you try an antihistamine the next time you have a migraine or travel sickness too… does it help?
Best regards always,