My Histamine Food Challenge

Challenging High Histamine Foods
Challenging High Histamine Foods

In January I decided to try a histamine food challenge. Not just with one food (eg avocado) but with lots of foods. I have been suspicious since May 2014 that high histamine foods may be contributing to some of my symptoms. When I eliminated high histamine foods in May I was definitely less itchy (especially where my arms connect to my body), I slept better, and I had less brain fog.

I started my histamine challenge the evening of the 20th by eating a very small amount of beef that had been marinating in soy sauce.  I ate less than one ounce of meat, probably closer to 1/2 ounce. I was afraid of what might happen so I wanted to start out slowly. (Yes, call me chicken…but I have had such severe reactions to some foods that I was afraid to eat more!)

I was agitated as I tried to sleep that night and my legs felt restless too. When I woke, I had a mild headache (2-3 range with 10 being excruciating).  That day (the 21st) I ate various kinds of high histamine foods such as cherry yogurt (yum!), avocado, tomatoes, cheese, an orange, chocolate, a spinach salad with a sprinkling of bacon, salad dressing, and a few strawberry slices. My headache continued, up to about a 5 throughout the day. This was the day I did a 24 hour urine collection in order to test for histamine.

Surprisingly, I slept decently that night. The next morning (the 22nd) I ate a bit more cheese and some leftover chicken and salmon from the restaurant meal the night before. I also ate some leftover chicken sprinkled with soy sauce, orange juice (I miss orange juice), some avocado, tomato, salad dressing and to finish things off a delicious piece of dark chocolate (double yum)! Then I drove to the lab for a blood draw (checking for histamine). By this time my headache was up to a 7. I was happy to stop eating the high histamine foods. In fact, there was no way I was going to continue eating high histamine foods due to my headache.

By the end of the day my headache was substantially less (yea)! That night I slept just OK because of a nightmare. (I rarely have nightmares….in fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one!)

The next day (the 23rd) I decided to eat some salmon that I knew was slightly problematic for me. This was a piece of salmon from a larger piece of fish that I had cut up and frozen myself. I had experienced slight problems with earlier pieces so I knew that I would have some issues. I ate 2 ounces of salmon at breakfast with 2 diamine oxidase supplements in the hopes of avoiding any issues. For lunch I did the same thing. By bedtime I was itchy.

That night I slept well, but on the 24th I had a headache up to an 8! I really wasn’t having a great day that day…in fact it was my worst day all month!  My guess is that the salmon gave me just enough histamine on top of what I had eaten previously (which wasn’t quite all the way out of my system) to give me a really yucky day.

The next 3 days (25th, 26th and 27th) I ended up with a HSV1 outbreak on my lip and then I had my awful “red alert” symptom…where I feel like something is really wrong…it’s a kind of internal tension feeling that is just awful! My wrists also hurt, especially my left wrist.

My blood and urine tests for histamine came back normal. I don’t know how accurate these tests are for histamine intolerance, but I can say that my body certainly didn’t feel normal after eating the histamine rich foods. Needless to say, I will continue to be careful with the amount of histamine rich foods I eat!

On the 30th, just to see what would happen, I did a much smaller histamine food challenge: I ate 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt. A headache started at 10 pm which made it a difficult to fall asleep and I was itchy during the night in the chest and neck area. So for now, I’ll stay away from yogurt.

Interestingly enough, with both histamine food challenges, my right shoulder started to hurt. In the past, my left hip would hurt with some of my food challenges, but I had never connected right shoulder pain to food. While seeing my physical therapist on the 28th I told her about my right shoulder. She fixed it (it is due to the shoulder blade getting caught by ribs that get stuck–amazingly enough).  She asked at that time how my left hip was, and I said it was fine. She was the one that mentioned my pain starting after my food challenge. I was shocked that there could be a connection.  When my shoulder pain happened again after my yogurt challenge I became even more suspicious that there could be a connection to my shoulder pain and what food I eat. It is something I will keep an eye on. At least I have some exercises to correct the issue should it happen again! (It’s amazing to me that food can cause all kinds of problems in the body, including joint pain!)

On the positive side of things I didn’t feel as badly as I’ve experienced with some other food challenges so I am hopeful that maybe my body is healing. Perhaps I will be able to eat some avocado, or tomato or a piece of orange or two without problems in the future.

Time and experimentation will give me that answer.  In the meantime, I’ll go eat an apple. 🙂



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