Health Begins in The Gut

How to Know You are Histamine Intolerant + Your Solution

Wine and cheese still life

Do you feel like you are constantly suffering from random gastrointestinal disturbances or a congested, runny nose that makes you keep a tissue box near you at all times? To make it even more complicated, do your symptoms occur randomly with no apparent pattern? Do they happen after eating? Do you ever feel flushed in the face, break out in hives or endure terrible headaches that hit you out of nowhere? Does your nose block up in the middle of a meal? Well, at the root of your symptoms, a histamine intolerance may be the case!

Statistics show that about 1% of the population suffers from histamine intolerance, and to make matters worse, about 80% of those individuals are middle-aged. That means peri- and post-menopausal women may think they’re having a hot flash, when in fact they are having a “histamine attack.” What is most frustrating for many people is that these symptoms often go undetected or misinterpreted by many practitioners.1  

This is what you need to know about Histamine Intolerance:

Common Histamine Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Headaches
  • Flushing of the Face
  • Runny Nose
  • Hives
  • Arrhythmia
  • Problems with Menstrual Cycle
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Symptoms may immediately follow eating

So, “What is histamine?” you ask? Histamine is an organic chemical signal produced by mast cells in your body in response to immune signals that is responsible for the symptoms we typically label as “allergies.”  However, it can also naturally occur in certain foods and certain beverages. The biggest culprits are fermented and aged drinks and food.

Say it’s a night out with friends, you reach for that piece of cheese and sip on a glass of red wine. The next thing you know, you’re flushed in the face and endure a debilitating headache. So why did something that taste so good and seem so harmless make you feel so horrible?

Well, this is one major sign that histamine intolerance may be at the root of your symptoms. Why? Because your body is unable to break down the histamine in the food fast enough, so you develop all the typical symptoms that histamine causes. There are two enzymes that break down histamine. N-methyltransferase (HMT) breaks histamine down in the central nervous system. The other enzyme, diamine oxidase (DAO) is produced in the gut and responsible for the breakdown of food and histamine degradation.

Check out the following list with foods high in histamine.1

Common Histamine Foods and Drinks

  • Pickled or Canned Foods
  • Aged Cheeses
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Meats (Smoked Sausage, Smoked Ham, Salami)
  • Shellfish
  • Walnuts and Cashews
  • Chickpeas, Beans and Peanuts
  • Eggplant
  • Spinach

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can enhance the reaction of histamine or block the action of DAO.1

Foods that Free Up Histamine (thus increasing histamine in the body)

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Wheat Germ
  • Additives: Glutamine, Nitrites, Sulphites, Food Dyes and Benzoate
  • Pork

DAO-Blocking Foods (thus increasing histamine)

  • Green, Black and Mate Tea (sorry tea lovers!)
  • Alcohol
  • Energy Drinks

When an individual lacks DAO to properly metabolize and de-activate histamine in the gut, the body then reacts to this excess histamine.  Often, this results in a cascade of symptoms (listed above) that mimic an allergic response, and these symptoms seem to come from nowhere.2

The next question is, why is your body histamine intolerant? It would make life much easier if you weren’t dealing with this, especially at a hormonal transition period. Wouldn’t it be nice to  enjoy the foods and beverages on the Avoid List? If you fit the bill for histamine intolerance, then you are either producing too much histamine in your body or your ability to break it down is impaired.1  

What causes overproduction of Histamine?

Overproduction of Histamine

  • Bacteria
  • Allergies
  • GI Bleeding
  • Leaky Gut
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Gluten Intolerance
  • Ingestion of Histamine (Food and Drink)
  • Impaired enzymatic function of DAO
  • AND Medications that Block DAO Function
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve)
  • Anti-arrhythmics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines (you know these as Allegra and Zyrtec to name a few)
  • H2 histamine blockers (like Pepcid and Zantac)

Your Solution

There is a solution to histamine intolerance. Take these steps to address the root cause of your suffering and start living symptom free.

The Histamine Solutions

  1. Keep a Food Diary
  • Keep track of what you eat, note any reactions and check the lists above to see if you consumed any histamine-provoking foods or beverages.
  1. Heal the Gut
  1. Supplement with DAO
  • If the gut is leaky or there is another reason you may not be producing DAO to break histamine down, supplementing with DAO can reduce the histamine load on your body and reduce symptoms related to consuming histamine-releasing foods and beverages.
  1. Eat a Low Histamine Diet
  • Fresh Poultry and Meats
  • Freshly-caught fish
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Coconut Milk, Almond Milk and Hemp Milk
  • Leafy Herbs
  • Herbal teas
  • Olive Oil and Coconut Oil

Hope this helps you make sense out of your symptoms, and start on the path towards proactive healing. I’d love to share more strategies to heal your gut and optimize your health with my free Quick Start Guide to a Happy Gut.

References:

  1. Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. 2007. “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85 (9). 1185-1196
  2. Wöhrl, Stefan; Hemmer, Wolfgang; Focke, Margarete; Rappersberger, Klemens; Jarisch, Reinhart. 2004 “Histamine Intolerance-Like Symptoms in Healthy Volunteers after Oral Provocation with Liquid Histamine.” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 25 (5). 305-311

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Your Cure for Spring Allergies: Addressing Food Sensitivities and Gut Health

Allergies-Dr. Pedre-Happy-Gut

Spring is an exciting time of the year, the weather is warmer, the days are longer and we are able to enjoy the outdoors more. But to some, nature’s pollen showers mean a stuffy nose, cough, itchy eyes and low energy levels. You and many others may have tried every year to endure the harsh effects of seasonal allergies. Statistics show that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies yearly.  It may seem unrelated, but the severity of your spring allergies are correlated to your gut health and food choices.

What does gut health have to do with it? The cells lining your gut are held together by “tight junctions,” which serve as protection from the outside world inside you. These junctions can become loose (or “leaky”) due to external triggers like toxins, specific foods or infections, a food poisoning, or even antibiotics. This is known as leaky gut. At this point, food particles, environmental toxins and microbes in the gut can enter the bloodstream. This systemic inflammation puts the immune system in overdrive mode, causing a cascade of symptoms.

Studies suggest the risk of developing allergies could have been triggered as early as birth. C-sections greatly affect the diversity of the gut microbiota, leading to issues down the road like allergies.

With Spring flowers kicking in, you might be reaching for an over-the-counter allergy medicine, tissues for a runny nose or homeopathic allergy relief. Frustrated and sick with seasonal allergies, you may feel hopeless. Imagine if there is another way to deal with allergies, aside from treating the symptoms? By addressing possible food sensitivities, any gut infections and improving the health of your gut, you can be allergy free this season!

You may wonder how your food choices impact your allergies? Each person can have certain “trigger” foods or food sensitivities, causing inflammation in their body and contributing to a leaky gut. This inflammatory response involves antibodies. When you think of a food allergy, these are mostly caused by IgE antibodies. However, a slower, more indolent allergy response is caused by IgG antibodies. An IgG response can take up to 72 hours to manifest into common symptoms like a cough, GI distress, a rash or headache. The time delay makes it difficult to determine a cause-effect relationship to foods and your symptoms.

However, a simple elimination diet, like the Happy Gut Diet, can be your path to healing, by cutting out the most common inflammatory foods. Keep in mind that IgG responses may take a few days to show up when you are trying to detect which foods are a trigger for you. This becomes relevant during a dietary re-challenge phase to discover the exact food triggers.

A Gut-Centered Approach to Spring Allergies

To begin healing your leaky gut today, download my free Quick Start Guide to a Happy Gut right here.

The Elimination Diet

The most common culprits in your diet that could be leading to allergy symptoms include:

  • Wheat/gluten
  • Refined Sugars
  • Dairy
  • Corn (95% GMO in the U.S.), and
  • Soy (95% GMO in the U.S.)

Foods like nuts, seeds and legumes have components known as lectins or “antinutrients.” These can contribute to inflammation in the gut by damaging cells and interfering with nutrient absorption. Best to avoid these at this time or soak nuts and seeds overnight then rinse them to reduce the harsh effects of lectins.

Why? Because, these foods are highly inflammatory and often genetically modified (GMO), which causes distress in your gut. Numerous studies have shown that eating gluten can increase your gut permeability (leakiness). When you opt for a gluten-free diet, you can strengthen your gut lining and reduce the effects of leaky gut syndrome on your overall system. Keep in mind, if you have a leaky gut, seemingly healthy foods may also contribute to your spring allergies. In order to identify what other foods may be an issue for you, a great starting point is the Happy Gut Cleanse.

Foreign Invaders

You want to address any underlying gut infections, yeast overgrowth or toxic exposure. Any imbalance or overgrowth in unfavorable microbes can lead to dysbiosis6 of the gut flora and contribute to leaky gut and worsen any food sensitivities. The foundational program in Happy Gut — the Gut C.A.R.E.® Program — addresses this.

Supplementation Recommendations

Other options to reaching your allergy solutions include proper supplementation. Specific supplements will help to support gut health and repair any damage.Buffered Vitamin C7 1000mg up to three times per day

  • Buffered Vitamin C7 1000mg up to three times per day
  • Quercetin7 500mg 2 – 3 x/day
  • Probiotics (the Happy Gut RESTORE)
  • Digestive Enzymes (ACTIVATE)
  • L-glutamine (or gut-healing powder like ENHANCE*)
  • Slippery Elm Bark Powder (check out our leaky gut-healing porridge recipe made with slippery elm)

Address your allergies and find the right solution so that you don’t suffer this spring! Through gut healing techniques and proper nutrition you can enter this spring sniffle-free, clear-headed and feeling vibrant!

* ENHANCE is available as part of the 28-Day Happy Gut Cleanse Kit.

I’d love to share more strategies to reverse leaky gut syndrome and diminish your spring allergies. To learn how you can optimize gut health for better total body wellness, download my FREE Quick Start Guide to a Happy Gut® today.

References:

1. “Home | AAAAI.” The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 15 Nov. 2016.

2. West, C. E. “Gut Microbiota and Allergic Disease: New Findings.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014.

3. Brenchley, J. M., and D. C. Douek. “Microbial Translocation across the GI Tract.” Annual Review of Immunology. U.S. National Library of Medicine.

4.Vasconcelos, I. M., and J. T. Oliveira. “Antinutritional Properties of Plant Lectins.” Toxicon : Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2004.

5. Lammers, Karen M., Ruliang Lu, Julie Brownley, Bao Lu, Craig Gerard, Karen Thomas, et al. “Gliadin Induces an Increase in Intestinal Permeability and Zonulin Release by Binding to the Chemokine Receptor CXCR3.” Gastroenterology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2008.

6. Dysbiosis is an imbalance between the favorable “probiotic” gut flora and pathogenic bacteria, yeast, parasites or viruses. It is generally used to refer to the gut, even though a dysbiosis can occur in any of the body’s mucosal surfaces or even on the skin.

7. Both Vitamin C and Quercetin act synergistically as mast cell stabilizers. This is important, because mast cells secrete histamine — the cause of allergy symptoms. Together, they can help reduce symptoms.