Relief from Histamine Intolerance

As said in my previous post what Histamine intolerance is, I mentioned that a histamine intolerance stems from a lack of the enzymes that break histamine down. If that happens histamines consumed with foods en histamine released from mast cells starts to build up within the body as it’s not broken down fast enough.

This means that there are several ways in which one can try to get the symptoms of histamine intolerance down.

The lack of these enzymes can come from a genetic problem, an injury in the gastrointestinal track, the inhibition of these enzymes or a shortage of certain minerals and vitamins that are used to create these enzymes. If the enzymes are inhibited by certain medicines, chemotherapy or the use of alcohol. This can be reversed if the factor inhibiting them is taken away. Restoration can be helped with the aid of those vitamins and minerals necessary for functioning, these can also help in any other instance if there is a lack of the enzymes.

There are also supplements on the market that contain diamine oxydase (DAO), and can provide some relief.

A third way is avoiding eating those foods that are rich in histamine. By following a diet. This is the main way a histamine intolerance is treated, and a way to diagnose it as well, but the diet can be pretty hard.

The fourth way, is to stop the histamine in the body from starting a reaction, this is what antihistamines do. They block the receptors histamine binds to, so no further  reaction occurs.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C is well-known for its antihistaminic working, in this article the show that in a lot of cases blood histamine levels are directly correlated to the vitamin C levels, and that the intake of vitamin C will lead to less histamine in a matter of days.It functions as a cofactor of DAO, just like vitamin B6 does.

Diamine oxydase, the enzyme that breaks down histamine in the blood and the gut, depends on vitamin B6 to function, so if a shortage of B6 arises, the enzyme is practically useless. The intake of vitamin B6 often leads to a higher activity of DAO, at least in vitro.

Magnesium is also quite important in the histamine metabolism, a shortage  increases the activity of histidine decarboxylase in some tissues. Histidine decarboxylase is the enzyme that makes histamine from histidine. While at the same time a lack of magnesium leads to lesser activity of DAO.

Calcium is a mineral that is said to help combat histamine allergy levels, by flushing it out, or stopping the secretion, for both of these I’ve found some basis the literature, but it seems a rather complex. so I haven’t yet fully figured this out.

Copper is another cofactor of DAO and able to reduce histamine levels. It’s not often recommended to supplement, but seeing its function, it could provide some relief.

Zinc inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. And is also sometimes mentioned as a supplement that can help.

Manganese also inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. And just like zinc is mentioned sometimes.

So the main vitamins and minerals that can help, are vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium and calcium. Vitamine C can be taken in a dose ranging from 1000 to 5000 mg. Vitamin B, one should be careful with, see my warning about it, I wouldn’t recommend going above a dosage of 25 mg, as 1 to 2 mg is enough. Magnesium can be taken up to 500 mg, I recently read this, about it causing diarrhea and what can be done if this happens. Calcium you can just add the recommended daily amount which is about 800 mg.

DAO supplements

There is also Histame and DAOsin, these are same thing, coming from Sciotec a company based in Austria, which found a way to extract DAO  from porcine kidneys. They do contain some extra ingredients as stabilizers. So it can provide relief for a lot of the people suffering from a histamine intolerance and for some it can make things worse. Or doesn’t seem to work at all. The only way to find out, is to try.

Diet

But the main way, which also helps in healing an injury or infection in the bowels or colon is to keep to a strict diet. Avoiding foods that can upset the gastrointestinal tract, those that are rich in histamine and those that are able to release histamine from the mastcells. Many diet examples can be found on the internet, though a lot of these have different opinions about certain foods and it can get quite confusing. Soon I will go into more depth with these lists, and do some more research on them. Hopefully that can shed some light on the matter. Since they make me crazy! I’ve been on the diet for about 8 months, and I permit myself quite some freedoms without having it affect me too much. Some things that aren’t good don’t set me off, as the threshold at which reactions start isn’t reached. But this also means, that I won’t notice those things I try to add to my diet, but that are bad even though they were mentioned as safe on some kind of list.

For example I had started to eat some cheese again, it’s not recommended on the diet, but as one needs to try new things every so often so you’re not to restricted I tried it, just really young one the 24+ , one sandwich didn’t cause trouble  another didn’t either, but when I started to eat it more often and more on a daily, since I love cheese, it became apparent that it made me really tired. One of the most important things is to diversify your food, and rotate often. So you don’t eat one thing to often.

Histamine rich foods tend to be those that have aged and or processed. Bacterial activity converts the histidine to histamine, so the longer this bacterial activity can go on, the more histamine a food will contain.  There are also some other foods that contain lots of histamine even when still fresh, like tomatoes and spinach.

Anti-histamines

There are a lot of anti-histamines available on the market. In small dosages over the counter as hay fever medication. In general the main one recommended are those that block the H1 receptors. These are widely distributed throughout the body, and are the mediators in a lot of symptoms. Older generations easily travel across the blood brain barrier into the brain, where they also interrupt the histamine pathway that is active when you are awake, making you very drowsy and sleepy.

I’ve got fexofenadine prescribed by my doctor. These are from a new generation and shouldn’t make a person drowsy. But of course they did, luckily the effect wore off within a month, and by taking them at night I slept rather well for a view weeks.

H2 blockers are also often prescribed, these mainly regulate the secretion of stomach acid. And are often given in case of a stomach ulcer, or with acid reflux problems. But these receptors are also present in different parts of the body, one of the reasons they are also often prescribed to those with skin problems, like in case of urticaria.

H3 and H4 are hardly ever used.  H4 has only recently been discovered. And H3 has an inhibitory effect on histamine itself. It works as a negative feedback loop, to regulate the reactions histamine starts.

Warning about vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is often mentioned as help to be relieved from high histamine levels, due to it’s important role in the breakdown of histamine by DAO.

But I’d like to warn everybody, it is well-known that high dosages of vitamin B6 can lead to neurotoxicity, meaning that it kills of your nerves. What is less well-known is that even in lower dosages in can have detrimental effects on certain people. Which I experienced myself.  I started taking about 25 mg a day, within a view days my limbs would often get numb, just like you get a sleepy leg or arm every now and then, but this was worse. They’d fall asleep constantly whatever position I took, I started to get tired and dizzy. And before I knew it, I was laying in my bed trying to find a comfortable enough place not to be bothered by the constant tingling and sleepiness of my body, while trying to remain conscious. Didn’t really help that deadlines and exams were coming up.

Luckily for me, the effect didn’t last very long, as opposed to those people who get problems after taking high dosages  for a long time, but it was still very uncomfortable and highly disruptive of my life. During the time I was able to stay awake, I googled like crazy, trying to find out what was happening to me this time. I soon found out about the toxic effects of B6, and that it can also have nasty effects in lower dosages in certain people.  This can be due to a certain sensitivity in those people, but it can also come from a deficiency of other vitamin B’s and magnesium. Magnesium shouldn’t have been an issue, since I already supplement with magnesium. Maybe it was due to the lack of other vitamin’s, since well, I’ve stopped taking complete vitamins and complete vitamin b supplements. As these contain minerals and vitamins that can lead to a higher level of histamine and should be avoided in case of a histamine intolerance. Yes folic acid(B9), vitamin b12 and niacin(B3) I’m looking at you.

So instead I’ve started to eat more foods that contain high levels of vitamin B6, the daily dosage is only about 1 to 2 mg, and the melatonin I often take also contains a view mg, so does the energy drink I often indulge in. And yeah I know caffeine is bad, the weird chemicals in it are also bad. But I need my caffeine dose and sugar dose, and I just love to drink them. When I don’t drink too many too fast it doesn’t affect me all that much. Though coffee and green tea, which both contain caffeine can make me feel very sick.

So if you’ve started taking vitamin B6 and notice any side effects like numbness, dizziness and fatigue. Stop taking it!