Histamine intolerance results from the imbalance between histamine accumulation and the body's ability to degrade it. Histamine imbalance in the body can cause various pathological conditions ranging from life-threatening allergic reactions to localized itching, runny nose, or urticaria.
Histamine is involved in many types of allergic and inflammatory processes, including immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reactions. It also acts as a neurotransmitter and regulates the normal function of the gastrointestinal system.
Excess histamine can result from:
- Swallowing histamine (from certain foods)
- Releasing of histamine from its storage sites in the body (i.e. from foods or other factors such as alcohol and certain drugs)
- Deficiency of enzyme diaminoxidase (required for histamine degradation)
In any of the three cases, the resulting excess of histamine can cause many symptoms that mimic allergic hypersensitivity reactions.
Histamine testing along with serum diaminoxidase (DAO) levels, provide important information that conventional tests of food hypersensitivity (specific IgE and IgG) cannot reveal. We often suspect food allergy or intolerance, when in fact histamine intolerance may be the responsible factor.
Who should be tested for Histamine Intolerance?
Testing for histamine intolerance is particularly useful in people with symptoms and pathological conditions due to high levels of histamine such as:
- Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
- Low muscle tone
- High blood pressure
- Nausea, vomiting
- Diarrhea, gas
- Intestinal cramps
- Difficulty breathing, bronchospasm, asthma
- Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing
- Hives, itching, hot flashes
- Heart rhythm abnormalities, arrhythmias, tachycardia
- Changes in circadian (daily) rhythm
- Changes in body temperature
- Disorders in food intake
- Learning and memory disorders