What cause histamine intolerance?

The role of histamine

Histamine is an incredible natural chemical that helps regulate immune reactions, gut function and central nervous system processes. It’s also the chemical responsible for common allergy symptoms like swelling, itching, mucus and sneezing.

Believe it or not, allergy symptoms are designed to help our body defend itself against pathogens. (For instance, a runny nose reduces further exposure to airborne substances.) So, histamine forms an integral part of a healthy inflammatory immune response. However, for some people, histamine levels can ‘build up’ in the body, sparking new (or exacerbating existing) allergy symptoms.

What is histamine intolerance?

Typically, there are natural enzymes that help break down and maintain histamine balance in the body. But, if your body cannot break it down properly, histamine levels begin to build up, which leads to a condition known as histamine intolerance.

Why does histamine build up in the body?

We produce more than we need

An overproduction of histamine may be due to:

  • An unhealthy balance of gut flora, often seen with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • A prevalence of particular strains of bacteria in the gut (like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus casei for example)
  • Gut conditions – like leaky gut syndrome, low gastric acid levels and weak digestion

We don’t break histamine down effectively

Our intestines produce certain enzymes that help breakdown and balance histamine. So, when our enzyme levels (particularly DAO) are compromised, it can increase histamine levels and may even spark histamine sensitivity.

DAO levels are directly influenced by our diet, particularly our consumption of zinc, copper, and vitamins B6 and C. So, it’s important to ensure we get enough of these key nutrients. They can also be affected by some medications, alcohol consumption, genetics and hormone imbalances. So, consult with your health care practitioner If you suspect you have histamine intolerance.

We consume too many histamine-rich foods

It’s usually only once your histamine levels are high, and you have difficulty breaking it down, that high-histamine foods become a challenge. Watch out for aged or fermented foods, such as cured meats, wine, blue cheese, yoghurt and sauerkraut. Other culprits include citrus fruits, strawberries, dried fruits, tomatoes, eggplant, anchovies, chocolate, tea, yeast and some preservatives. Some foods also encourage our bodies to release histamine (even though they don’t contain much themselves). Bananas, pineapples, tomatoes, peanuts, egg white and shellfish all fall into this category.

Do you struggle with allergy-related symptoms?

At HWA, we perform a natural allergy treatment called Positive Association Technique (PAT), which may help reduce your reactions and help manage the symptoms.

PAT is a non-invasive holistic therapy, which:

  • draws on acupressure and kinesiology techniques
  • aims to re-train your body
  • may reduce your reactions to food and environmental substances that may be causing or exacerbating your symptoms

This blog is intended as general information only. PAT cannot diagnose or cure allergies – it is intended to decrease reactions and help manage symptoms. It is not intended to raise unrealistic expectations. If symptoms persist, consult your GP.

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