Can Probiotics Help with Histamine Intolerance or Make it Worse?

Can Probiotics Help with Histamine Intolerance or Make it Worse?

Can Probiotics Help with Histamine Intolerance or Make it Worse?

If you have been struggling with histamine intolerance; you have probably been looking for supplements that would help relieve the symptoms, like IBS, gas, and bloat. And most likely, you have tried some probiotics to help heal the gut and reduce histamine levels.

After all, histamine intolerance is primarily due to a lack of diamine oxidase (DAO), produced predominately in the gastrointestinal lining where our gut microbiota resides. So, it would make sense that probiotics that help to balance the gut microbiota and heal the gut would help to resolve your histamine intolerance.

Research on probiotics and histamine intolerance is evolving at this point. However, research shows that an imbalanced gut microbiota or dysbiosis plays a significant role in food intolerances, including gluten, histamine, tyramine, and glutamate.

Probiotics and prebiotics (food for the commensal bacteria) are essential in overcoming histamine intolerance as they can help rebalance the gut microbiota.

But what are the right probiotics is the question? Could some probiotics make your histamine intolerance worse?

Histamine Intolerance & Our Gut Microbiota

Every time we sit down to eat a meal, we expose our gut to toxins and endotoxins (toxins that the body produces during digestion).

When we think of toxic substances, food does not come to mind. But eating and the process of digestion is the most common exposure to toxic substances that we as humans experience.

Our microbiome helps protect us from these toxins, digest our food, deliver nutrients, and promote healthy metabolism of nutrients like vitamin B12.  And helps to degrade and block histamine from foods during the digestion process.

More than 100 trillion commensal bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract or the gut lining play an essential role in our immune system and our digestion. The diversity and abundance of our gut microbes determine whether or not food is digested safely and efficiently, providing the best protection against endotoxicity.

When our gut microbiota becomes imbalanced, lacks diversity, or we have reduced bacteria due to antibiotics, toxins can pass through the body. When our gut microbiota becomes imbalanced, this can lead to a condition known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut.

Leaky gut leads to inflammation, the release of histamine, and a reduction in the DAO enzyme increasing histamine levels.

DAO & Leaky Gut

DAO functions in enterocytes or the cells of the intestinal lining.  Here DAO degrades histamine from our food but there many different factors that can impact the production of DAO including an imbalanced microbiome.  Courtesy of Histamine Intolerance – The More we know the Less We Know

How Does Gut Dysbiosis or Microbiome Imbalances Cause Histamine Intolerance?

A diverse and balanced microbiome is similar to a vegetable garden with few weeds. Weeds are an evitable part of any garden, but there are fewer vegetables if they overgrow and take over our garden.

The same goes with gut microbiota – some bacterial or yeast (Candida) strains can easily take over our microbiome. Candida and other molds are known histamine producers and often can be a “hidden infection” that we are unaware of.

Other bacterial infections that increase or produce histamine are:

  • Candida – Yeast Overgrowth
  • Citrobacter
  • C. perfringens
  • E. coli
  • H. pylori
  • Staphylococcus

In most cases the bacteria are gram-negative bacteria that release a substance known as Lipopolysaccharides (LPS). High levels of LPS can cause a strong immune response, inflammation, and histamine release.

In addition to a robust immune response, a compound known as Zonulin will be released that loosens up the tight junctions in our intestinal lining, leading to leaky gut and histamine release.

Top that off, dysbiosis and leaky gut cause a reduction of DAO – the very enzyme you need to degrade histamine. There are many causes for low DAO with gut dysbiosis the number one cause.

Are There Probiotic Strains That You Should Avoid?

Yes, definitely.  I learned the hard way on this one.  Trying to experiment with making my own yogurt, I purchased a culture to make my yogurt containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus.  Oops…

Lactobacillus bulgaricus is a common probiotic used in many popular yogurt brands, i.e., Fage.  Always read the labels on yogurt and other fermented products to see what strains they are using.  Avoid products that do not correctly list probiotic strains used in their products.

Probiotic strains that are commonly found in probiotic supplements that are histamine producers:

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • S. thermophilus

Some of these strains can also produce other biogenic amines making your histamine intolerance worse. While you are beginning your healing process of resolving histamine intolerance, it is best to avoid these probiotic strains.

What Are the Best Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance?

Just like there are probiotic strains that promote histamine, there are strains that degrade histamine.  Along with DAO which blocks absorption, these strains degrade and breakdown histamine.  These are also commonly found in fermented foods and dietary supplements.

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus paracasei
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus salivarius

Using probiotic supplementation is a great way to improve your gut microbiota and resolve histamine intolerance.  But don’t forget to add healthy foods that contain prebiotics to truly heal leaky gut and dysbiosis.

Some of the foods that are high in healthy prebiotics, like apples, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and even barley, are all high in prebiotics.

Root vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes provide the gut bacteria with the food that the good bacteria need to flourish.

 

Best Probiotics to Reduce Histamine Intolerance

Three hearty Lactobacillus probiotic strains (Lactobacillus plantarum, L. salivarus, and L. rhamnosus) in a dairy-free formula help reduce histamine intolerance. Sign up today with my Fullscript account and get 15% off of professional-grade supplements.

  • Supports the structure and functional integrity of the epithelial lining*
  • L. plantarum has very high lactase activity, supporting the digestion of lactose*
  • L. salivarius produces lactic acid and bacteriocins and has moderate lactase activity*
  • L. rhamnosus supports the activity of both white blood cells and natural killer cells*

What Para-Probiotics and Can They Help with Histamine Intolerance?

Para-probiotics are the new kid on the block of microbes that heal the gut, reduce inflammation, and most cases, reduce histamine release. 

What makes para-probiotics unique is that these probiotic strains are not viable or, in other words they are “dead”. 

Even though they are not alive, para-probiotics have been found to be very helpful in modulating the immune system and helping to reduce inflammation. And, this means a reduction in histamine.

 

Can Prebiotics Help You Overcome Histamine Intolerance?

The best way to balance and support a healthy microbiome is to ensure your diet has adequate fiber to help feed the probiotic strains. Probiotic strains will not stick around and set up residency if they don’t have a hospitable environment. And that means having food so that they can flourish and grow.

Prebiotics are fiber or sugars like oligosaccharides that help the strains adhere to and colonize your gut.

Not only does fiber helps feed the beneficial bugs, but fiber, like pectin, lowers inflammation, and allergic reactions, especially in allergic asthma. And that means they help to reduce the release of histamine!

But perhaps the most significant benefit certain fibers like resistant starch have is that they help promote short-chain fatty acid production (SCFA). SCFA, like butyrate, is fuel for the colon cells and helps to reduce inflammation.

Reducing inflammation and helping to support a healthy and balanced microbiome will lower histamine release, increase DAO enzymes, and help heal the gut.

Check out my guide for resistant starch.

If you struggle with getting enough fiber in your diet, Designs for Health, Paleo RS Fiber is an excellent supplemental fiber that helps produce butyrate.

 

Are there Tests that Help You to Choose the Right Probiotic to Overcome Histamine Intolerance?

Rebuilding and balancing the gut microbiota can be difficult with histamine intolerance since most foods containing probiotic strains, like fermented foods, are high in histamine.

Top that off, most foods rich in healthy fiber that supports the microbiota, like legumes, are high in histamine.

That is why you may have to supplement with probiotics and prebiotics while you heal your gut and overcome histamine intolerance.

How do you know what will work with so many different probiotics? The first step is to ensure you are not taking probiotics or consuming foods containing histamine-producing probiotic strains.

But can you test to see what strains you need to supplement with? Microbiome testing can give you an idea of what is out of balance, your diversity, and abundance – all key to balanced gut microbiota. Some microbiome testing like VIOME comes recommended and tailored probiotic supplements.

Want to learn more about microbiome testing? Book a Discovery Chat today.

  1. Laura Maintz and Natalija Kovak, Histamine and histamine intolerance, American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 2007;85:1185-96
  2. Oriol Comas-Baste, et al, Histamine Intolerance: The Current State of the Art, Biomolecules, August 14, 2020
  3. Degradation of Histamine by Lactobacillus Plantarum Isolated From Miso Products, Kung, et al, PMID: 28885051
  4. Schnedl, W.J., Dietmar Enko, Histamine Originates in the Gut, Nutrients, 2021 13, 1262
  5. Nig ma, et al, Nutrients Mediate Intestinal Bacteria-Mucosal Immune Crosstalk, Frontiers in Immunology, January 24, 2018
  6. Martin Hrubisko, et al, Histamine Intolerance – The More We know the Less We Know A Review, Nutrients, June 29, 2021
  7. Daniel M. Linares, et al, Factors influencing biogenic accumulation in dairy products, Frontiers in Microbiology, May, 2012
  8. Effect of Dietary Fiber and Metabolites on Mast Cell Activation and Mast Cell Associated Diseases, Fokerts, et al, Frontiers in Immunology, May 29, 2018
What is Histamine Intolerance?

What is Histamine Intolerance?

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Does it seem like every time you have a glass of wine and a cheese appetizer, you get a headache or even a migraine a few hours later?  You might have histamine intolerance.

Both cheese and wine, especially red wine, are high in histamine, a chemical produced during the fermentation process of making wine and cheese.

You are probably more familiar with histamine as a chemical released by the body with allergic reactions like sneezing, watery eyes, and skin rashes.  And that is why you reach for antihistamine medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, or maybe Benadryl.

Histamine levels can reach toxic levels from foods high in histamine, a biogenic amine,  or from what your body produces due to poor degradation or breakdown of histamine and its cousin, tyramine.

Biogenic amines are a group of protein compounds that the body produces or are formed in foods mostly during the fermentation process.  Other biogenic amines predominately found in food are putrescine and cadaverine.

All biogenic amines can cause a toxic reaction if levels are too high, with histamine and tyramine having the highest potential to lead to symptoms of food poisoning.

Histamine intoxication was first described over 60 years ago when ingestion of fish from the scombroid family which includes tuna fish caused rash, diarrhea, reddening or flushing of the face and sometimes the neck, arms, and upper part of the body, sweating, headache, and vomiting.

Other fish that are in the scombroid family are tuna fish, mackerel, skipjack, and bonito and can form high levels of histamine if left in higher temperatures or not properly stored.

Recently however, it has been discovered that high levels of histamine usually caused by lack of enzymes like diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine methyltransferase (HNMT) to degrade histamine, can lead to the symptoms of histamine intoxication or histamine intolerance.

How Can You Become Toxic with Histamine?

Two main enzymes, DAO and HNMT, help break down histamine so that our bodies can safely eliminate histamine. The DAO enzyme also breakdowns other biogenic amines, putrescine, and cadaverine; however, DAO prefers histamine.

DAO is found predominantly in the gastrointestinal tract and degrades and blocks histamine from our food, playing a significant role in keeping histamine and biogenic amines at safe levels.

HNMT, on the other hand, plays a lesser role in the degradation of histamine from our food. HNMT is found in many tissues of our body, including the liver and the kidneys.

Because it is found throughout the body, HNMT plays a more significant role in degrading histamine that our bodies produces, such as from an allergic reaction.

Another enzyme that is often overlooked in the degradation of histamine is N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2).

The enzyme NAT2 acts as a “backup” system to degrade histamine that the body uses when histamine levels increase.

But NAT2 also breakdown many different chemicals and medications like sulfa antibiotics. Other substances that NAT2 breaks down or detoxifies are cigarette smoke, charring on grilled meat, caffeine, and some prescription medications.

Exposure to these chemicals or if you have a genetic variant that reduces the NAT2’s function; can increase the likelihood of being histamine intolerant.

Histamine toxicity results from too much histamine either from our food or being released that is not degraded correctly, reducing levels.

Some like to refer to your histamine bucket overflows leading to various symptoms like allergies, skin rashes, gastrointestinal disturbances, heartburn, headache, and autoimmune flare-ups.

We often focus too much on foods rich in histamine, but what can cause a high release of histamine? The chronic high release of histamine can lead to intolerance.

Some causes of chronic high levels of histamine release are environmental allergies, chronic mold infections, Lyme Disease, intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and long-term stress and anxiety.

What Can Affect the Levels of DAO and HNMT?

Many studies have shown that people who are struggling with histamine intolerance will have low serum (blood) levels of DAO. Current research shows that low levels of DAO are related to poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies, genetics, and medications.

Whereas most research on histamine intolerance is relatively recent, it has been shown that the number one symptom of histamine intolerance is gas, bloat, and IBS (constipation or diarrhea). These symptoms are all signs that you may have a leaky gut, poor digestion, malabsorption, and gut microbiota imbalances.

Most DAO is produced in the gut lining, dependent on a healthy gut microbiota (microbiome). A healthy and balanced gut microbiota helps to prevent leaky gut and increase DAO levels.

DAO is also dependent on many different nutrients, including copper, vitamin B2, B6, and vitamin C.  Having deficiencies in any of these nutrients can lead to lower levels of DAO. Nutrient deficiencies can be due to poor diet, poor digestion, increased demand, and genetics.

Many medications, prescription and over-the-counter, can inhibit DAO and increase the release of histamine. Chronic use of some medications like Amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed antidepressant can lead to lower levels of DAO.

See my full list of medications that can impact histamine levels.

The enzyme HNMT is highly dependent on a process known as methylation, which depends on B vitamins, including choline. Methylation provides the compound S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) that allows HNMT to break down histamine found in our cells (intracellular).

If methylation is slowed down or not functioning optimally, this can lead to lower levels of HNMT. Nutrient deficiencies, chronic health conditions like mold infection, chronic stress, toxins, and poor gut health can all impact methylation and, therefore, levels of HNMT.

What are the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine is synthesized and stored throughout our body to help perform many functions. One function is to support a healthy immune response to foreign invaders and act as an immune response when we have allergies.

When we develop allergies, we release high amounts of histamine hence the use of antihistamines to help control excessive histamine.

In addition, to providing a healthy immune response, histamine is used to promote the secretion of stomach acid. Most antacids block the action of histamine and are referred to as H2 blockers.

Because histamine is also produced as a neurotransmitter (brain signaling chemical), high histamine levels can impact our mental health and ability to sleep soundly throughout the night.

Histamine plays a critical role in our sleep/wake cycle and is regulated by melatonin.  A deficiency in melatonin can lead to higher levels of histamine leading to waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.

So, you can see how high histamine levels can lead to many symptoms, including digestive disturbances, insomnia, anxiety, and headaches.

 

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

What are The Causes of Histamine Intolerance?

Recent research shows that histamine intolerance originates in the gut, with the number one symptom being gas, bloat, and IBS. Maybe this is because the majority of dietary histamine is degraded or blocked by DAO, which is predominately produced in the gut lining.

Low levels of DAO were found in patients with irritable bowel disease (IBD), like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. By following a low histamine diet for four weeks, patients showed improvement in their symptoms.

Whereas poor gut health is the number one cause of histamine intolerance, other causes are chronic stress, autoimmune conditions like psoriasis, medications, food sensitivities, and genetics.

Causes of Histamine Intolerances

Histamine Intolerance Causes

What are the Genetics of Histamine Intolerance?

One of the steps to resolving histamine intolerance is to rule out your genetics. For me, genetic or genomics testing was a game changer when it came to overcoming my histamine intolerance. And, it has been for my clients too.

I would love to say that you could just test for your DAO genes and see if that is the reason why you struggle with histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is very polygenic, with numerous genes, including genes that involve nutrients like vitamin B6.

Even gut genes like the gene that is known as FUT2 can play a role in whether or not you might be more likely to develop histamine intolerance. 

The best genetic report for histamine intolerance covers the enzymes (DAO, HNMT) and the nutrients genes like vitamin B6 that support DAO. 

In addition, genes that play a role in methylation like MTHFR, would also give you what you would need to determine if you needed to support methylation to support the HNMT genes.

For me, the genes supporting methylation played the most significant role in my histamine intolerance. 

And, why supplemental DAO enzymes didn’t work for me because I needed B vitamins to support HNMT rather than additional DAO.

How Do You Know if You are Histamine Intolerant?

Because symptoms of histamine intolerance are so varied, it can be challenging to determine if histamine intolerance is causing them.

In addition, other food intolerances can cause similar symptoms like lactose intolerance, glutamate intolerance, or sulfur intolerance. Even food sensitivities to nightshade vegetables (solanine) can have similar symptoms.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar found in non-fermented dairy products due to a lack of the enzyme lactase. It has been found that it is not uncommon to have both histamine and lactose intolerance.

Food sensitivities which are different food intolerances can also cause similar symptoms especially digestive disturbances, unexplained skin rashes, allergic-type reactions, and joint pain.

Currently, the gold standard test for histamine intolerance is to do a food/symptom journal for 30-day while staying on a low histamine diet. Get my food/journal for histamine, which includes a food list, and more.

Whereas there are no definitive tests for histamine intolerance, it has been found that testing for intestinal permeability marker known as zonulin, DAO and histamine blood levels is the best test. Not only does it test for histamine intolerance, it gets down the cause of your histamine intolerance.

The Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment by Precision Point is the test I use in my AIBA package to determine histamine intolerance and its cause.

See my blog for more information on the best test for histamine intolerance.

 

References:

1. Comas-Baste, et al, Histamine Intolerance: The Current State of the Art, Biomolecules, August, 2020

2. R Leintner, E Zoernpfenning, A Missbichler, Evaluation of the inhibitory effect of various drugs/active ingredients on the activity of human diamine oxidase in vitro

3. K Mori, C Maru, K Takasauna, K furuhama, Mechanism of histamine release induced by levofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibacterial agent, Eur J Pharacol, 2000, Apr 7

What is The Best Test for Histamine Intolerance

What is The Best Test for Histamine Intolerance

What is the best test for histamine intolerance?

Are you giving up your favorite foods because you believe you are histamine intolerant to help relieve your symptoms? 

Then you are probably looking for a test to determine if you are histamine intolerant and what might be the cause of your food intolerances.

After all, who wants to give up wine, cheese, yogurt, and avocados forever?

Determining if you are histamine intolerant can be frustrating as there is a lack of understanding and even recognition by most healthcare practitioners.

One of the causes of the lack of recognition of histamine intolerance being the cause of your symptoms is that there are currently no clinically proven tests for histamine intolerance. 

Most of the tests for histamine intolerance in conventional medicine have not proven to be very accurate, including the often-used test known as testing for tryptase serum levels.

But could there be integrative tests not used in conventional medicine that could help you determine if you are histamine intolerant? And what might be the underlying cause of your histamine intolerance? 

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine is a chemical that our bodies releases and is used for many different purposes, including playing a major role in our immune system – think allergies.

Because it is technically a toxic compound, histamine needs to be degraded or broken down to prevent symptoms like digestive disturbances, insomnia, migraines, and allergic symptoms.

Most of the food we eat also contains histamine as a natural chemical that, in most cases, is produced by bacteria coming into contact with the food and converting histidine (protein building block) to histamine.

For instance, histamine levels increase with fermented foods as a reaction between the bacteria and histidine. Fish is exceptionally high in histidine, so fish that has been left out at room temperature for an extended period of time before cooking or eaten as a leftover will be very high in histamine.

Like other food intolerances, enzymes are used to break down chemicals and compounds in the food. For instance, lactase is the enzyme that breakdowns lactose (milk sugar), and a lack of lactase will lead to lactose intolerance.

Histamine that our bodies release and the histamine found in food are broken by two main enzymes: diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyltransferase (HNMT).

Histamine intolerance develops when histamine levels increases or our histamine “bucket” is full due to a lack of these enzymes that degrade histamine.

Why are Symptoms so Varied with Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine is synthesized and stored in many different parts of our body to help perform many functions.

One function is to support a healthy immune response to foreign invaders. When we develop allergies, we release high amounts of histamine hence the use of antihistamines to help control excessive histamine.

In addition, to being stored in our immune system, histamine is stored in gastric cells known as enterochromaffin cells, lymph nodes, and the thymus allowing histamine to be used for many functions, including stimulating gastric acid (stomach acid), healthy inflammatory response, and helping to manage blood pressure.

Because histamine is also produced as a neurotransmitter (brain signaling chemical), high histamine levels can impact our mental health and ability to sleep soundly throughout the night. 

So, you can see how high histamine levels can lead to many symptoms, including digestive disturbances, insomnia, and more. 

  • Migraines, Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Brain Fog
  • Nausea
  • IBS – Both Constipation & Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • PMS – Estrogen Imbalances
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Nerve & Muscle Pain
  • Allergic Symptoms
  • Autoimmune Flares – Hashimoto's, Psoriasis

What Are Causes of Histamine Intolerance?

We have been eating foods high in histamine for centuries as we use fermentation, drying, and smoking as a method to preserve our food. These preservations methods create high levels of histamine in our food like smoked fish, dried beef, or sauerkraut.

Why are people suddenly struggling with eating foods high in histamine like fermented vegetables, yogurt, and preserved meats? One of the reasons is that histamine intolerance was not recognized as a disorder until the 21st century.

And we did not understand how histamine is degraded until recently with the continued research on gut health, the microbiome, and the genetics of histamine intolerance.

Determining the cause of histamine intolerance is exceptionally challenging as histamine has many functions in our body. High histamine levels can also cause various symptoms, from allergic symptoms to digestive disturbances.

More and more research is showing that histamine intolerance originates in the gut. Maybe this is because DAO is predominately produced in the gut, which helps to block and degrade histamine from our food.

Having intestinal permeability or leaky gut is now considered one of the leading causes of histamine intolerance as leaky gut decreases DAO. In addition, microbiome imbalances or dysbiosis, which plays a significant role in leaky gut, can increase histamine levels and lower DAO.

Are there other causes of histamine intolerance? 

  • Autoimmune Conditions, i.e., Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, or IBD
  • Other Food Sensitivities & Intolerances (i.e., Gluten, Tyramine, Sulfur)
  • Hidden Infections, i.e., Candida Overgrowth
  • Hormones – Estrogen Dominance
  • Chronic Stress
  • Genetics
  • Nutrient Imbalances
  • Allergies

 

What are Some of the Tests for Histamine Intolerance?

Right now, the “gold standard test” for histamine intolerance is to complete a symptom/food journal like my journal for 30 days and see if high histamine foods may be the cause of your symptoms. Get my journal which includes a list of high histamine foods and cooking tips to lower histamine in your meals.

In addition to completing a journal and consuming a low histamine diet, try supplementing with DAO Enzyme like Histamine Manager. If these supplementing with DAO helps, then you most likely have a reduced DAO enzyme.

Histamine Digest – 30,000 HDU of Diamine Oxidase DAO per Serving – Digestive Enzyme to Help Block and Manage Food-Derived Histamine Intolerance, 60 capsules

Histamine Digest contains 30,000 HDU per serving of the active enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO) responsible for neutralizing histamine in your digestive tract. Due to genetics or autoimmune conditions, your body may not make enough DAO to degrade the histamine in your digestive tract. 

Get 15% off – sign up for my Fullscript Account.

Doing a food/symptom journal will help you to identify if you are histamine intolerant and hopefully give you some relief from your symptoms. After all, it was how I discovered I was histamine intolerant and finally got some relief from my IBS, anxiety, psoriasis flare-ups, PMS, and migraines.

However, a food journal and supplements won't get down to the cause of your histamine intolerance. Knowing the cause of your histamine intolerance is the first step towards resolving histamine intolerance, reducing symptoms, and getting back to eating the foods you love.

Let's look at some of the tests for histamine intolerance, including those that will help you get down to the underlying cause.

  • DAO Enzyme – Serum (Blood)
  • Histamine – Serum (Blood)
  • Tryptase
  • Food Intolerances – Gluten
  • Leaky Gut or Intestinal Permeability
  • Neurotransmitters – Histamine, Glutamate (Urine)
  • Genetics

 Is Testing for Histamine and DAO Very Accurate for Histamine Intolerance?

Current research shows that testing for the DAO enzyme levels can be a reasonably accurate way to determine histamine intolerance. However, it does not determine the cause of histamine intolerance.

In one study, patients who struggled with histamine intolerance were found to have low DAO enzymes. It has also been shown that patients with IBD (Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's) did have reduced DAO enzyme, and symptoms improved with a low histamine diet. 

Testing for serum (blood) histamine and tryptase alone have not been shown to be an accurate method for testing for histamine intolerance. These tests are not as reliable to determine if you have histamine intolerance because blood samples are a moment in time as histamine is rapidly metabolized.

To test positive for histamine intolerance, you would have to either eat a meal high in histamine or have an “event” like an allergic reaction at that moment or shortly before your blood is drawn.

Tryptase, which is often used to diagnose mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), samples would need to be taken throughout the day or during what they refer to as an “event” to be accurate.

However, testing for serum DAO and histamine can be a reliable test for histamine intolerance by looking at the ratio between DAO and histamine. For instance, if histamine is high with a low DAO, this could indicate histamine intolerance.

Can Testing for Leaky Gut Be an Accurate Test for Histamine Intolerance?

Since leaky gut is one of the leading causes of histamine intolerance, could a test for leaky gut be an accurate way to test for histamine intolerance and determine the underlying cause at the same time?

We do know that leaky gut often increases what is known as zonulin. With increased zonulin levels, you will see decreased DAO enzyme. And often times increased histamine intolerance.

One of the leading causes of leaky gut is gluten intolerance. What if you had a test that tested not only for leaky gut but also for gluten intolerance?

The at-home Wheat Zoomer test by Vibrant Wellness tests for both! In addition, it also tests for zonulin, giving you a good idea that if that level is high, most likely, your DAO is low.

Now you have a pretty good idea if you are histamine intolerant AND what the cause is! Learn more about my Wheat Zoomer Package and get started resolving histamine intolerance today.

 

What is the Best Test for Histamine Intolerance?

What if there was a test that not only tested for leaky gut, but histamine, and DAO levels? And would test for possible dysbiosis or microbiome imbalances, another key cause of histamine intolerance.

With the Precision Point Diagnostics' Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment (AIBA), you can begin your journey toward resolving histamine intolerance. This integrative test tests histamine, DAO, zonulin, leaky gut, and possible bacterial infection. Remember bacterial imbalances in the microbiome promotes histamine release. 

Whereas this test does not include testing for gluten intolerance, you can be pretty sure if zonulin levels are high, you may be intolerant to gluten. 

 The AIBA test is not only a key indicator of histamine intolerance; it will provide you with the underlying cause! Knowing the underlying cause is the key to overcoming histamine intolerance.

 It will also give you the ability to rule out histamine intolerance as there are other intolerances and allergies that can have the same symptoms, like sulfur, glutamate, and an allergy to nickel.

By the way, many foods high in histamine are also high in nickel. Ruling out histamine intolerance may point you in the right direction! 

 Are you ready to begin resolving histamine intolerance and leaky gut? Get my Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment Package today.  Payment plan also available.  

Is Histamine Intolerance Causing Your GERD?

Is Histamine Intolerance Causing Your GERD?

Have you been trying to get rid of GERD or heartburn following all of the usual advice – elimination diets, drinking apple cider vinegar and nothing seems to work?  Using over the counter medications?

Maybe there is another reason we get GERD that has very little to do with making too much stomach acid – the usual noted cause of GERD.

Over the holidays, I began to suffer from GERD keeping me up at night and of course, I blamed it on what I was eating and drinking.  Could there be something else going on?

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder is a really a disruption of the normal hormones of our digestive system that regulates the production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and flow of stomach contents.  Phew!

Hormones that are released from the hypothalamus (brain) signals the release of hydrochloric acid (HCL) and gastrin as soon as we smell, taste, see or even the thought of food occurs.  Enzymes to break down protein in our food are also released at this time.

Without HCL and these enzymes, proteins are not completely broken down and that leads to a myriad of side effects including the lack of absorption of vitamin B12, dysbiosis, SIBO and for some chronic fatigue.

In the second phase of digestion, hormones are released that reduce the acidity and instruct the release of the stomach content into the small intestine.

If there is a reduction of these hormones, the content of the stomach just sits there.  Eventually, it can back up and force relaxation of the esophagus – leading to the feeling of heartburn, coughing, pain and even ulcers.

This signally process can also be disrupted if the stomach content pH is too high or other words not acidic enough.  The acid level of our stomach content is what signals the gut to move forward with the release bicarbonate to make stomach content more alkaline and safer to enter the small intestine.

The continued use of antacids will slow down the whole digestion process

What causes the disruption of these digestive hormones?

  • Standard American Diet – High in sugar, unhealthy fats, processed food, commercially raised meats and low in healthy vegetables and fruits.
  • Medications – Asthma Medications, Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Meds), Birth Control, Sleeping Meds, Anti-depressants
  • Antibiotic Use – This leads to dysbiosis and eventually can promote GERD.  This especially true with the chronic use of antibiotics.
  • Gut Flora Imbalances or Dysbiosis – Most people who suffer from GERD also suffer from IBS (constipation and diarrhea), SIBO,  and leaky gut.
  • Estrogen Imbalance – Estrogen dominance which can occur even with post-menopausal women, has been found to be a factor in GERD.
  • Chronic Stress – The release of digestive hormones can be disrupted when we are under chronic stress.
  • Histamine Intolerance – A food intolerance that lead to increased stomach acid production.

Most medications like Prilosec, Zantac, and even Tums can be even more disruptive overtime on this hormonal balance and lead to the very cause of GERD – IBS, and dysbiosis.

High Histamine Foods Psoriaisis

How Does Histamine Intolerance Make GERD Worse?

When we think of histamine, we think of antihistamines that we reach for allergies or allergic reactions.  Histamine has many other functions in our bodies, one of which is the regulation and release of gastric acid.

Not only is histamine produced in our bodies, but some foods are also very high in histamine. Usually, the body manages histamine levels by degrading histamine and eliminating it.  But if histamine levels become too high, we may experience symptoms like acid reflux and acid indigestion.

Histamine intolerance is a food intolerance where we develop an intolerance to foods high in histamine because the process of degrading and blocking histamine from food becomes disrupted.

Some common foods known to cause heartburn, like tomatoes, are also high in histamine.   If you are experiencing acid reflux and indigestion, you may want to see if it is from foods high in histamine by using a my food/symptom food journal. Sign up below.

As a matter of fact, over-the-counter medications referred to as H2 blockers like Zantac block histamine from signaling the production of stomach acid.  It is not uncommon for me to recommend H2 blockers for my client struggling with histamine intolerance to get relief while we uncover the underlying cause of their histamine intolerances.

How to Prevent GERD or Acid Reflux?

There are some simply lifestyle tips that can help you prevent getting acid reflux.  Most of these also help to promote healthy digestion.

  • Avoid large meals
  • Finish eating 3 hours prior to bed
  • Eat slowly; chew thoroughly
  • Ensure adequate, quality sleep
  • Raise the head of the bed 6-8 inches

In addition to these tips, try to avoid foods that are known to cause heartburn and acid reflux because either weaken the esophageal sphincter or irritate the esophageal:

  • Fats – even healthy fats, i.e. olive oil
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Mints especially peppermint and spearmint
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Onions
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances, i.e. histamine

Medications, cigarettes, and over the counter drugs can also lead to acid reflux.  Here is my list of foods and medications that can promote acid reflux.

Are there natural or herbal remedies that can help reduce and prevent GERD?

Herbals Recommendations – Ginger, Aloe Vera, Turmeric and DGL Licorice.  I often recommend a product by Designs for Health – GastroMend works great for those struggle with GERD and for those trying to get off of GERD medications.

Digestive Enzymes –If you are struggling with GERD and acid reflux, then start with a digestive enzyme product that does not promote HCL production like, Similase for sensitive stomach from Integrative Therapeutics.

Get my Fullscript Healthy Digestion Guide Today and Get 15% off!  You will need to sign up for my Fullscript account to access my guide and get your discount.

Struggling with Chronic GERD?

If you struggle with chronic GERD, acid reflux, and indigestion, it might be time to get down the underlying cause and get off of OTC medications.  My Healthy Gut Solutions guides and coaches you through how to finally resolve your digestion conditions using a holistic approach.

Sometimes are digestion symptoms are simply a process of resolving food sensitivities and intolerances like histamine intolerance.  Other times, the solution may be more complicated, like addressing H. pylori overgrowth to microbiome imbalances.

Want to learn more about my programs? Book a Discovery Chat today.