When I first read Janice Joneja’s book, Dealing with Food Allergies, I didn’t think I had histamine intolerance. Now, I wonder if that is part of my problem.
I saw a functional medicine doctor recently and she suggested I try a number of different supplements to help heal my GI tract. One of those supplements was called HistDao. I read about it on the internet, but I still didn’t think I had a histamine intolerance. Then, in the middle of the night (when I tend to have my epiphanies) I realized that I might indeed have a histamine intolerance! Three things brought me to that conclusion: (1) I broke out in hives on my elbows after challenging spinach (which is naturally high in histamine) (2) while traveling in Europe last summer I was eating quite a bit of fruit, yogurt and cheese, and I was feeling worse. (These foods are high in histamine.) When I ate some pickled cabbage I felt absolutely horrible the next day, and when I ate some packaged turkey deli meat from the health food store (that looked, smelled and tasted fine) I got very ill with vomiting and the other problem that goes along with that. Both of those foods are very high in histamine. And (3) parts of my body have been itchy on and off; which I had been attributing to the dryness and low humidity where I live. Then I also thought about the fact that my burning, sparking, crawling nerves that I’ve had since the start of my illness….well, the crawling part could also be described as itchy. So, I decided it was worth me taking a closer look at histamine intolerance.
I started with the book referenced above and began reading. Dr. Joneja has a chapter on Histamine and Tyramine Sensitivity (it’s chapter 19, entitled Biogenic Amines Intolerance).
Then I looked online and found this helpful information:
- Foods Matter: Histamine Intolerance a discussion with Dr. Janice Joneja
- Histamine and Histamine Intolerance The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Both of the above articles mention that histamine intolerant women often suffer from headaches around their menstrual cycle. That certainly has been true for me so that was another reason for me to consider this possibility for myself.
I found Yasmina Ykelenstam’s website, The Low Histamine Chef, both hopeful and intriguing. I certainly plan to spend some time reading that site!
Diamine oxidase is the enzyme that metabolizes ingested histamine in our bodies. If we are low in that enzyme, it may result in excess histamine in our bodies, which can result in symptoms. This enzyme is available as a supplement:
- DAOsin from Swanson Health Products
- HistDAO from Xymogen (which is the product my functional medicine doctor suggested I try)
Dr. Joneja comments on diamine oxidase supplements here.
Both of the above products contain rice starch and corn starch. I haven’t challenged corn yet, but rice gave me significant problems so I am hesitant to try either product at this time. I still might, but it will be with some fear and trepidation if I do.
Some people are trying to grow there own diamine oxidase in the form of sprouts. That information can be found here.
I really am not consuming many high histamine foods. I will have to stop eating avocados, which is sad, as they are a good source of calories for me. I will also have to freeze my turkey after cooking, instead of refrigerating any leftovers. Apparently, meats that are refrigerated can increase in histamine content due to the bacterial conversion of histidine to histamine at room or refrigerator temperatures.
Those two changes should be relatively easy for me. We’ll see if they help with some of my symptoms.