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Updated: Mar 5, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About Histamines & Histamine Intolerance

What is a histamine? To explain simply, histamine is found in nearly all tissues of the body. It’s a natural bioactive chemical compound released by your immune system, part of your body’s defense. It sends out signals to dilate capillaries to help blood flow to parts of the body that have endured injury, inflammation, or allergic reaction. It is essential to the functioning of many body systems including; the regulation of stomach acid and digestion, smooth muscle contraction, brain function, and is a crucial component in defending the body against invasion by potential disease causing agents like bacteria, viruses, and other reactions that occur when the immune system recognizes a threat. Histamine also serves as a neurotransmitter, carrying chemical messages between nerve cells.

While histamines are a good thing, too much can be bad.  You can develop what is known as histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is not a sensitivity to histamine, but an indication that you’ve developed too much of it. Some symptoms of too much histamine in the body include runny nose, watery eyes, itchy skin or hives, headaches and migraines, irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, anxiety, and fatigue. It also can cause the secretion of excess stomach fluid with can result in abdominal cramping, stomach aches, and even peptic ulcers. The best way to lower histamine levels in your body, is to simply cut back on high histamine foods.

If you have a histamine intolerance, incorporating low-histamine foods into your diet can help reduce symptoms. There’s no such thing as a histamine-free diet. Trying to cut back on high histamine foods may be challenging, as it can be found in common healthy foods. Some high histamine foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapples, nuts, aged cheese, fermented foods/beverages, soy, spinach, avocados, eggplant, smoked meat and deli meat, chocolate, vinegar, and red wine.

However, you can replace them with great alternatives. Low histamine foods include fresh meat/fish, egg yolk, fresh fruits and veggies (except for the previously mentioned high histamine fruits and veggies), grains, coconut milk, rice milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, as well as hemp, chia, and flax seeds.

There are also histamine liberating foods, meaning that these specific foods encourage the body to release even more histamine. They are not necessarily high in histamine themselves but can increase overall histamine levels and trigger symptoms. Some people have a hard time breaking down excess histamine and don’t even know it. A few examples of histamine liberating foods include citrus fruits, cocoa and chocolate, nuts, beans, wheatgerm, and additives such as benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, and food dyes.

If you think you may have a histamine intolerance, come see us at The Energy Wellness Center of Orlando and get tested. We have several ways of testing to find out if you are in fact, histamine intolerant, or if it is something else affecting your body. Our tests are non-invasive and can pinpoint the root cause of whatever is going on. Schedule an appointment today and get some answers to your health concerns and get back to feeling great!

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