Did you know that the act of digestion itself causes histamine release ? No, not many people do. I get so many emails from people who are convinced they have multiple amine, food intolerance or allergy issues because they react to everything they ingest. They explore salicylate, amine, oxalate, yeast and other issues obsessively, convinced that
I’ve been exploring the catch-22 of probiotic supplementation for some time now. The dilemma? Probiotics are necessary for proper intestinal function – the histamine lowering enzymes diamine oxidase and monoamine oxidase live there, so fixing up our poop tube seems like a good idea right?
Not so simple.
Probiotic supplements are fermented (a no go for histamine intolerance/histamine related disorders) and some strains actually raise histamine and tyramine in the body. The good news is that strains commonly found in babies can actually lower histamine, helping us fight allergies and lower our overall histamine burden.
Lactobacillus casei (TISTR 389) andLactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (TISTR 895) were found to produce BA (biogenic amines). The highest levels of histamine (1820.9 ± 3.5 mg L−1) and tyramine (5486.99 ± 47.6 mg L−1) formation were observed for the TISTR 389 strain, while TISTR 895 produced only histamine (459.1 ± 0.63 mg L−1) in the decarboxylase broth. Biogenic amine potential was not observed for the Lactobacillus acidophilus,Lactobacillus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, and Lactobacillus plantarum strains studied. This study confirmed that BA formation is strain dependent and not related to the species. Read the full study here.
Lactobacillus casei was shown to produce histamine and tyramine, while Lactobacillus Bulgaricus increased histamine alone.
‘Tis the season to head to warmer climes and enjoy a little dining…but eating out is no picnic when you have histamine intolerance/histaminosis/mast cell activation/mastocytosis. And yet this has never stopped me from trying (and succeeding).
My top tip for surviving restaurants is PREPARE!
1. I have a couple of restaurants who have my allergies/preferences in the system or know me by now. That’s where I take my clients so I don’t have to get into it with them! I’ve never had anyone be rude or dismissive. Restaurants nowadays take these things very seriously because they don’t want a lawsuit on their hands. I’m also always super nice and leave a big tip so they remember me.
2. If I have no control over where I’m going, I’ll peruse the menu online and call ahead and make my order. If I can’t find anything on the menu, I’ll just explain that I have a number of allergies, that I need to come in for a business meeting, and I ask if they would be so kind as to prepare me an omelette (even if it’s not on the menu). They ALWAYS oblige.
3. ALWAYS order dressing/sauce on the side. This is where most restaurants slip up.
4. Tell them outright, you MUST have the freshest food on the menu, so ask for their help in choosing it. I’m always very tactful on this one. Restaurants never admit their food was not cooked from scratch daily and yet (having worked with a number of restaurants over the years) I know this is not the case. Very few restaurants in the world are from scratch, daily.You could copy and paste this text into a word doc, then add your foods, (don’t forget nuts!), and either laminate (my choice) or print it off and keep in your wallet. I suggest multiple copies as these will inevitably be lost along the way…
5. I have the text below printed on a two sided card to be presented upon arrival.
MY RESTAURANT CARD
WHICH FOODS ARE HIGH HISTAMINE? That depends on which list you follow. Histamine in foods varies depending on: the country grown in, whether pesticides were used, climate, transportation, ripeness when picked, how long on the supermarket shelf, bacterial contamination. In particular the level varies in flesh. The reason for which is that bacteria release histamine
I’m taking a number of steps to help my body recover from any inadvertent histamine hiccups (ahem, cupcake incidents) I may subject it to. One of them is the food-coaching course I’m taking with my nutritional hero Dr. Fuhrman, and an intensive immersion into herbalism, which I’m sure to expand upon in coming years. I’m currently devouring the modern herbalism bible I’ve seen the Whole Foods naturopathic gurus toting when in deep consult with customers. I naturally started in the immune system chapter where I came across yet another ayurvedic miracle herb.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my top hot beverages… As you can see from my picture here, the detox is going great! Ok, busted, that’s not me in the picture! But as you can see from plenty others on the site – I’m not looking too shabby! My natural antihistamine beverages… Valerian
I’m not just going for a catchy headline here – turns out that valerian root is not only a powerful anxiolytic (natural chill out pill) overall, it’s also an antihistamine which helps with menstrual cramps. I mean seriously, the study is actually called: Relaxing effects of Valeriana officinalis extracts on isolated human non-pregnant uterine muscle.
Here’s an interesting headline for you: nightshade flower as effective a mast cell stabiliser as commonly prescribed sodium cromoglycate. This definitely brought a smile to my face, given that most of us in the allergic world only have to hear the word nightshade to run a mile in the opposite direction. It also confirmed that some foods we’re told are bad for histamine related conditions, may have benefits that far outweigh the modest amount of histamine they release. Unless you’re allergic to them!
AS EFFECTIVE AS COMMONLY PRESCRIBED MAST CELL STABILISER/ANTIHISTAMINE
Do you spend hours roaming the supermarket in search of a quick meal? Are you bored with eating the same five foods over and over? Would you like to whip up nutritious, low histamine recipes in 20 minutes (or less)? Then make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter for an exclusive 10% discount on the 60+ page Low Histamine ‘On the Go’ Cookbook!
The Low Histamine ‘On the Go’ Cookbook takes you on a whirlwind tour of Vietnam, Lebanon, Italy and India, via the good ol’ US of A. Eating healthy’s NEVER tasted so good, or this easy.
WHO AM I?
YASMINA YKELENSTAM – THE LOW HISTAMINE CHEF
The fridge and fields are my medicine cabinet. I’ve managed to withdraw from all pharmaceuticals including: anti-histamines, anti-anxiety meds, antidepressants, migraine, nausea, and dizziness meds. I’m now the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve learned to harness the positives that high histamine bestows (appetite suppression, higher metabolism, energy) and make them work for me!
Who the hell am I to give dietary advice? My cookbooks reflect the incredible amount of research into histamine and other biogenic amines in food that I’ve obsessively collected over the last two years since my histamine intolerance diagnosis. As a former journalist with over 10 years research and international news production experience for 60 Minutes, CNN and the BBC, I know how important the facts are. Not only do I back up each claim on my site with numerous studies, I’ve even used myself as a guinea pig, taking myself from washed up medical mystery to successful 21st century businesswoman.
I suffered daily migraines for many years. At some point I finally came to the conclusion that my headaches, which made me bang my head against the wall on occasion, had something to do with my diet. I was vindicated by the person who diagnosed me with histamine intolerance in London, and now by the growing number of studies clearly spelling out the allergy/histamine migraine link.
I cannot even begin to properly thank my lucky stars for curing me of this blight. I was about six weeks into the low histamine diet when I was able to trash the 600mg ibuprofen that I had been scarfing daily by the handful for most of my adult life. Not to mention the migraine injections. Youch! You truly haven’t experienced hell till you’ve had a constant migraine for six months.
Interestingly, in Spain (and France), it’s commonly acknowledged that migraines are caused by a lack of the histamine-lowering enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). Seems that the US and UK are way behind the curve on this one.
But histamine can also cause migraine in “healthy” people:
Tired of your man attributing every nuance of behavior to your menstrual cycle? Well, he could have a point, but you’d die before admitting it (yup that’s me I’m talking about).
Well here’s a little nugget to wave under his nose. It’s not the menstrual cycle, it’s the histamine stupid!
Japanese researchers have (re)confirmed that the histamine lowering diamine oxidase enzyme (DAO) is influenced by the menstrual cycle.
“Serum DAO levels were influenced by the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, our findings suggest that serum DAO levels should be interpreted cautiously in premenopausal women.”
This could explain why an allergy to food or environment seems to affect you differently each time, depending on where you are in your cycle and how much histamine-lowering diamine oxidase is available to you.
We know from Maintz and Novak’s seminal histamine study, that DAO is at its highest during pregnancy (500% – 1000% higher) so it’s a not unreasonable to conclude that lower hormones = lower diamine oxidase? BUT, that’s not right…
“estrogen can influence histamine action. A significant increase in weal and flare size in response to histamine has been observed to correspond to ovulation and peak estrogen concentrations (118).” Maintz and Novak.
This would seem to point to diamine oxidase being lower during ovulation – though we’re now not taking the potential involvement of monoamine oxidase and HNMT (the other enzymes involved in histamine metabolism) into account. Phew, I’ve confused myself. What is certain is that high histamine mimics the symptoms of anxiety so if you have a histamine-related disorder, certain times of the month are going to be tougher than others.
So, where does this leave your average diamine oxidase impaired lass?