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WHAT IS HISTAMINE?
Histamine is an important neurotransmitter and immune messenger molecule. It is involved in processes involving hydrochloric acid secretion for digestion, triaging water reserves to key areas of the body and the inflammatory response (1).
One of the major effects of histamine is causing the blood vessels to swell and dilate. When the body senses that it is threatened it will secrete higher amounts of histamine. This allows the white blood cells to quickly move through the blood stream and find the potential threat or infection. This is an important component to a healthy immune response.
WHEN DOES HISTAMINE BECOME A PROBLEM?
Histamine only becomes a problem when we have metabolic disturbances that do not allow us to effectively metabolize histamine properly. When histamine is formed it is broken down by specific enzymes. In the central nervous system it is metabolized by histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT), while in the digestive tract it is broken down by diamine oxidase (DAO).
The experts state that DAO is the major enzyme involved in histamine metabolism (2). The enzyme converts the histamine into imidazole acetaldehyde which does not trigger any sort of reaction in the body. DAO is responsible for ensuring a steady histamine level required for the balance of numerous chemical reactions taking place in the body.
Some individuals have altered DAO production due to a number of different factors including (3):
According to expert Dr. Amy Myers MD, “histamine blockers, a class of acid-reducing drugs, seem like they would help prevent histamine intolerance, these medications can actually deplete DAO levels in your body” (4).
According to Chris Kresser L.AC, “Histamine is different than typical food sensitivities or allergens in that it is a cumulative problem” (5). So we begin to have symptoms when we either take in too many histamine molecules or we reduce the DAO enzyme to the point where the histamines overload the system. These symptoms will last until the body metabolizes the histamines and removes them from the system.
WHO HAS HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE?
According to available research, histamine intolerance manifests in approximately 3% of the population (6). In up to 20% of these cases the symptoms occur mostly when histamine containing foods are used in combination with DAO inhibitors such as alcohol. Approximately 80% of individuals with histamine intolerance are women and most of them are over 40 (7).
The three biggest factors involved with histamine intolerance include leaky gut syndrome or related disorders such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel, celiac, gluten sensitivity, etc (8). The second factor is a genetic polymorphism with the DAO enzyme. Heavy alcohol and/or medication usage is another strong risk factor.
DIAGNOSING HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE
This is a challenging condition to diagnose for a number of reasons. The first is that there are so many popular foods, many of which are considered health foods that are high in histamines. Also, some individuals have a unique gut flora that is producing high histamine levels.
Most doctors are not familiar with histamine intolerance and never consider this as a contributing factor in the individual’s health challenges. In fact, many physicians including myself, typically recommend a diet high in histamine containing foods. This includes fermented foods which have incredible health benefits for those with adequate histamine metabolism.
As a clinician, I have learned that when individuals react very poorly to fermented foods it is a sign of histamine intolerance. Most people respond very well to small amounts and gradually increasing levels of fermented foods. Individuals with histamine intolerances often break out with hives, eczema, rashes, puffy eyes, headaches, etc.
Difficulty falling asleep, easily arousal
Vertigo or Dizziness
Arrhythmia, or accelerated heart rate
Difficulty regulating body temperature
Nasal Congestion, Sneezing, Difficulty Breathing
Abnormal Menstrual Cycle
Histamines travel throughout the bloodstream and therefore can affect the gut, lungs, skin, brain and entire cardiovascular system. This is why there are such a wide array of health problems associated with it and it is quite challenging to pinpoint and diagnose if you are not aware of the condition.
TESTING FOR HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE
We test for whole blood histamine to measure the amount of histamines in the blood. We also want to look at copper/zinc ratios and vitamin B6 as these are all necessary cofactors for DAO function.
Based on the results of this test a specific nutrition and supplementation program will be designed to optimize cofactors and DAO function and modulate histamine levels.
BENEFITS OF GETTING THIS TEST
Discover if You Have a Histamine Intolerance
Get a Nutrition & Supplement Program Customized to Your Needs
Get Over the Chronic Health Problems You Have Been Suffering From
Total Cost: $193.00
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If the test requires blood work you can take your kit to any local lab and have the trained professional take your blood and fill out the kit and send it in the mail.
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