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Histamine Intolerance: Understanding Its Cause and Symptoms

If you find yourself struggling with allergy-like symptoms, popping antihistamines like Tic Tacs, or just think there's the possibility you might be getting a reaction but can't quite pinpoint it, then this blog is for you.

Let’s start with understanding what histamine is and how it works in the human body.

What is Histamine

Histamine is a natural compound in the body that can also be found in a certain food. It is released by cells in the body for many important functions.

  • It triggers the release of gastric acid in the stomach to regulate the digestive system.

  • It acts as a neurotransmitter which is very important in the brain function and nervous system.

  • It is the body defense mechanism that signals the immune cells to fight foreign invaders.

  • It also plays a key role in our alertness. So when people take an antihistamine such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, and any other Loratrodine derivatives, they often feel drowsy because these antihistamine molecules are blocking the histamine that allows us to be alert.

Histamine intolerance: Understanding Its Cause and Symptoms

Histamine intolerance is not an allergy to histamine itself, but a sign that the body has too much histamine.

As described above, Histamine is very important in our body but most people think of it as a problem. What they don’t realize is that histamine only becomes a problem when the body has too much of it, an overload.

Your body has two enzymes that keep levels in check, naturally allowing it to process and metabolize excess histamine build-up.

Diamine oxidase (DAO) is one of the enzymes that help break down excess histamine in our body. It is released when eating food that is rich in histamine. For some people with DAO deficiency, their body may not be able to produce enough DAO to break down excess histamine. When the body accumulates too much histamine, you will have a buildup of histamine that develops to Histamine Intolerance which is commonly associated with food allergies.

Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) is the second histamine-metabolizing enzyme expressed in the central nervous system. This plays an important role in degrading histamine and in regulating the airway response to histamine.

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

Symptoms of histamine intolerance may look like an allergic reaction but the only way to be sure is to have a medical test. You may experience sneezing, hives on the skin, itch, flushed skin, red eyes but most alarming is when histamine contributes to anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction…

Histamine intolerance is something you may be living with, but you don't have to!

To address the symptoms, people usually go to drug stores for antihistamine. This is a huge mistake, not just masking the symptom of the bigger underlying problem but also putting your long term health at risk.