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Naturopathic Medicine

Histamine: A Hidden Source of Food Intolerances and Chronic Inflammation

Many people are familiar with histamine through the medications that block it, commonly called anti-histamines. These medications are frequently used to treat environmental allergies, or when a person has been exposed to a food allergen. Antihistamines help to decrease common allergic symptoms such as:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sinus congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Hives
  • Sneezing
  • Rashes and itchy skin

A certain class of anti-histamines, called H2 blockers are also commonly used to treat heartburn and reflux.

Histamine intolerance can lead to a large list of other symptoms not commonly associated with histamine response including:

  • Facial flushing
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Eczema/dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irregular periods
  • Rosacea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating/gas

Along with clinical symptoms, our naturopaths can help to identify if you suffer from histamine intolerance using diagnostic testing that includes:

  • Urine histamine levels
  • DAO levels-an enzyme that breaks down histamine
  • Blood histamine levels

Further naturopathic testing can help to identify underlying causes for histamine intolerance such as:

  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth
  • Celiac
  • Chronic infections
  • Leaky gut
  • Comprehensive stool analysis

In addition to treating underlying conditions, our naturopathic doctors suggest a combination of a low histamine diet, with supplements that either to decrease histamine release, or increase the breakdown of histamine. These supplements may include DAO, Vitamin C, quercetin, copper, zinc and B-vitamins. Histamine content in food not only varies in different food types, but also is the freshness of the food. As food ages, the histamine content increase, and it can’t be decreased with any method of cooking. It is best to choose fresh meat, fresh fish, avoid canned foods, and even avoid fermented foods and aged cheeses. Some common foods that are high in histamine are:

  • Avocados, eggplants, bananas, tomatoes
  • Fermented drinks such as wine, beer and kombucha
  • Canned meats
  • Aged cheese
  • Sauerkraut, vinegar, pickles, olives
  • Kefir and sour cream
  • Cured meats: salami, sausage, pepperoni, bacon
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Spinach

Call today to schedule a naturopathic consultation if you think histamine intolerance may be affecting you. Our naturopathic doctors can help to develop a plan to regulate histamine levels and help you return to health.

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