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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 05, 2015

Dear Mark: Histamine Intolerance

By Mark Sisson
71 Comments

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering one question. But it’s a doozy: histamine intolerance and what to do about it. Now, this is a huge question. As you’ll read below, there are numerous causes, many overlapping. There’s no easy fix. There may not even be a hard fix. However, we can almost certainly improve the situation. In today’s post, I offer Laura my take on what to do about histamine intolerance based on my reading of the available literature. It’s not perfect, mind you. It’s complex and often seemingly contradictory. But that’s how it is with the human body, isn’t it?

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,

I hope you can one day shed some light on histamine intolerance. I am extremely sensitive to histamine and also found out that I am mutated for the DAO enzyme, making my problem even worse. I’ve found it very hard to eat primally, since most of the foods promoted like bacon, sausage, cheese, wine, onions, lemons, vinegar, keifer/kombucha/kimchi, bone broth, and a lot of veggies and fruit, etc., all either contain high histamine or induce mast cells to release histamine, causing a huge reaction. I’m sure other people in the primal community are suffering from this as well and would also appreciate any insight you might have.

THANK YOU!!

Laura

Great question, Laura.

Just so everyone knows, histamine isn’t “bad.” It’s a normal biochemical produced by immune cells during certain immune responses that produces some unpleasant but necessary effects. The stuffy nose we get during seasonal allergies is histamine’s most famous product, but it’s also involved in bronchoconstriction, hives, the immune response to bug bites and stings, alterations in blood pressure, and vasodilation. Histamine also promotes gastric acid secretion and acts as a neurotransmitter that can increase and inhibit the release of other neurotransmitters. Histamine is only bad when your body can’t break it down fast enough or you simply make too much.

Why might a person make too much histamine?

Bad gut bacteria: Many gut bacteria produce histamine themselves. If these histamine-producing strains are overrepresented in your gut, you may suffer negative symptoms from any extra histamine.

Mast cell activation syndrome: Mast cells are immune cells that produce histamine as part of the immune response. In the recently-identified-but-still-relatively-mysterious mast cell activation syndrome, a person’s mast cells release excessive amounts of histamine.

Why might a person be unable to break down histamine?

Bad gut bacteria: Many gut bacteria also degrade histamine. A dearth of these histamine-degrading strains in the gut may lead to impaired histamine degradation and increased histamine load.

Diamine oxidase deficiency: Some histamine intolerance stems from a simple deficiency in diamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down histamine in the body. Without adequate diamine oxidase, histamine builds up and causes problems where it shouldn’t.

HNMT deficiency: We produce another histamine-degrading enzyme called HNMT, or histamine N-methyltransferase. HNMT deficiency is largely genetic, as various HNMT polymorphisms determine endogenous histamine levels.

A Primal lifestyle is a good idea, but it’s not everything. And because many of our favorite Primal foods are high in histamine or, as you mention, induce the mast cells to release it, when you can’t break down histamine effectively, even eating cherished Primal fare can produce negative symptoms. These foods include but are not limited to:

Anything fermented: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, cheese, yogurt, fish sauce, kombucha, wine, vinegar.

Anything cured: salami, bacon, cold cuts, sausage, ham.

The longer a food is exposed to bacteria or yeasts (even recently cooked food sitting out, IOW leftovers), the more time those microbes have to convert the amino acid histidine present in foods to histamine.

Many slow cooked foods, like bone broth, also increase histamine content and can be problematic in sensitive individuals. For a complete list, check out Chris Kresser’s post on histamine-rich foods (and prepare to be sad). They won’t trigger everyone with histamine intolerance, but it helps to know the potential offenders.

What can you do except avoid histamine-rich or histamine-producing foods forever?

Focus on gut health. I may sound like a broken record, but the gut may be everything when it comes to histamine tolerance. Certain probiotics are histamine-producing (which may worsen your symptoms), histamine-neutral (which will have no direct effect), or histamine-degrading (which should improve your symptoms). If the histamine-producing ones colonize your gut, that’s bad news.

  • Among the histamine-producing, foremost are Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, all of which are found in most yogurts. Avoid those. That’s why fermented dairy is a no-go for most people with histamine intolerance.
  • Take a probiotic that contains histamine-degrading strains, like Lactobacillus plantarum (my own probiotic supplement is one example). Soil-based organisms may also reduce histamine.
  • Eat prebiotic fibers and resistant starch. When choosing a resistant starch source, consider going with unripened green bananas (great frozen in smoothies, not so great as straight-up snacks) and/or cooked and cooled potatoes over raw potato starch. Raw potato starch may aggravate your symptoms, as potato lectins can induce mast cells to release histamine.

Check your intake of nutrients, foods, and supplements that support histamine metabolism and tolerance. Will they cure you? No, unless a frank deficiency in said nutrient is the proximate cause of your histamine intolerance. Might they make you feel better in the short term (which is incredibly important and shouldn’t be discounted)? Yes.

  • Selenium has been shown to reduce mast cell activation and attenuate allergic symptoms.
  • Quercetin, found in capers, apples, citrus, onions, and pretty much every fruit and vegetable, is a potent inhibitor of mast cell activation and histamine release. Supplements are widely available.
  • Vitamin C can regulate mast cell activity. Many histamine intolerance supplements (like quercetin) will often come with vitamin C.
  • Stinging nettle can reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. In one study, almost half of subjects found stinging nettle to be as effective as over the counter anti-histamine drugs.
  • ECGC, the primary catechin in green tea, also inhibits mast cell activation. You can drink green tea or take supplements.
  • Diamine oxidase is the enzyme that actually breaks down histamine in the body, and it’s available in supplemental form.
  • Common antihistamines like Claritin are fairly well-tolerated, too.

Support the liver. As HNMT (the other enzyme that nullifies histamine) activity takes place in the liver, a healthy liver is crucial for histamine intolerance.

  • Avoid oxidized PUFAs (refined seed oils, bad restaurant food, fried foods). Eat healthy monounsaturated fats and saturated fat instead.
  • Avoid excess sugar, especially refined sugar, and carbohydrates.
  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols.
  • Exercise regularly and stay physically active throughout the day. Deplete your glycogen regularly, as a liver with fully-stocked glycogen stores cannot store incoming glucose/fructose and must convert and store it as fat.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a major DAO inhibitor, making red wine a double whammy for the histamine intolerant.

Watch stress. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulates mast cells to release histamine. But CRH also releases cortisol, which inhibits histamine secretion. In normal circumstances, with acute, short-lived stress, this works to oppose excessive histamine. In chronic stress, things change. We become resistant to stress hormones, and cortisol loses a bit of its histamine-inhibiting luster. We’re releasing massive amounts of histamine-stimulating CRH, but the cortisol is unable to stem the tide. So: watch stress. Avoid it, limit it, mitigate it, or rethink it.

Maintain optimal sleep hygiene. The activity of mast cells adhere to one’s circadian rhythm, so getting inadequate light during the day, excessive light at night, going to bed too late, and neglecting one’s circadian hygiene in general will likely perturb histamine tolerance.

It’s a messy story with too many threads to easily follow, but you can try a few things. Let me know how things go for you, Laura. And everyone else, let’s hear about your experiences with histamine intolerance down below. What worked? What didn’t? What else should Laura try?

Thanks for reading, all!

TAGS:  immune health

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71 Comments on "Dear Mark: Histamine Intolerance"

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sandy
sandy
1 year 5 months ago

So maybe this explains why I’ve been having hives for the past 3 or 4 months. After reading Dr Perlmutter’s book Brain Maker in the spring, I started alternating several brands of probiotics (to get different strains), making my own sauerkraut and kombucha, cutting up green banana in smoothies — now I find out it could be the cause of breaking out in itchy welts. 🙁 Well, now I can try stopping all the fermented stuff and see if it helps. Thanks for the info Mark.

TeeDee
TeeDee
1 year 5 months ago
It’s really tough to say what can cause hives. I had them years ago before I ever heard of Paleo and was eating a typical diet (though never much junk food or anything like that). When I saw a dermatologist, he said that hives can come on due to anxiety, showers that are too warm, etc., but ‘sometimes we just don’t know what it is’. He said that they can last as long as 20 years or as ‘short’ as 5 years then will disappear as quickly as they showed up. Fortunately, mine last almost exactly 5 years then disappeared.… Read more »
Jill porvaznik
Jill porvaznik
3 months 17 days ago

I had hives show up one day 17 years ago, had them accutely for 5 and in that time had two babies. They just stopped. Twice since they returned for a few weeks span until August of this year. bam… They are back with a vengeance and meds almost don’t even touch the severity. Almost nightly they now appear in my face. This week I’ve stumbled upon the histamine connection, but I must get my gut healthy. Going to talk about probiotics tomorrow. Keep sending us good info!! It’s appreciated!!

Sharon
1 month 23 days ago

When you are pregnant, your body produces an incredible amount of DAO, something like 500X more than usual. Could be why you didn’t have any problems for awhile after have children.

Shauna
Shauna
1 year 1 month ago

You might want to see an allergist. Some forms of urticaria can only be treated with meds, such as Zyrtec. While you might be able to fix the issue with dietary changes, if that doesn’t work, it’s worth it to see someone that can help.

Caroline
Caroline
1 year 5 months ago
I only recently cottoned on to the fact that I might have histamine intolerance having been vaguely aware of it for some time. When I read the list of foods, it was like someone connecting the dots: every single food I know to avoid when I get heartburn was on there (incuding, sadly, bacon). My most acute symptom is probably the eye itching and frequent headaches, which I’ve had for about four years. It’s fine during the summer as I take meds for heyfever, but I could never figure out why my eyes itched. Seemed to have nothing to do… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
1 year 5 months ago

Tears and sad faces for your no bacon 🙁

DogLover
DogLover
4 months 1 day ago

There’s organic uncured bacon. No need to be sad

Nocona
Nocona
1 year 5 months ago

Stinging nettle is amazing stuff. Guy at our farmer’s market always has some. Make tea and any allergy symptom goes away pronto for me. Hope it works for you!

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
1 year 5 months ago

“A weed is an unloved flower”.

Nettles are “weeds” in my neighborhood.
Sadly the same with dandelions and comfrey. (The later for the soil and animals)

Lauren
Lauren
1 year 5 months ago
Great overview for those just starting to approach this issue. I wanted to note, however, that I would never recommend anti-histamines you mentioned, like Claritin. They can actually exacerbate your issues, as they don’t help one process histamine in any way. They mainly numb the histamine receptors in your brain, and since you mentioned that is is naturally present and necessary in our bodies, our bodies can notice the receptors aren’t receiving and ramp up production later. Anti-histamines also inhibit your ability to generate your own DAO, so talk about another double whammy! So, I think all of the other… Read more »
Christine
Christine
1 year 5 months ago

“a diet tailored to your needs, not just pure dogma, can help one move closer to health.”

Amen!

Shary
Shary
1 year 5 months ago
Vinegars and some types of alcohol (beer & wine in particular) are high in histamines. If you are a fan of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and also happen to be histamine sensitive, you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good because it’s still vinegar and is therefore high in histamines. I found that I can drink hard liquor (such as gin and tonic) with no problem, but drinking a glass of wine with dinner every evening would really do me in. I avoid most fermented foods for the same reason. I’ve been somewhat histamine sensitive just about forever. I… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
11 months 3 days ago
You’re right and I found this out the hard way! My food intolerance test came back with vinegar in the moderate, not severe, category. In hopes of aborting a migraine, and thinking it would be less harmful than some of my strong migraine meds, I took a swig of unrefined ACV. Didn’t know at that time I was histamine intolerant. My throat immediately closed up. I could not breath AT ALL for an agonizingly long 30 seconds or so. I literally had the phone in my hand and had dialed the 9 and the 1 just in case I started… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
1 year 5 months ago
Thanks for this post, most of my issues are a rash (red skin in the warmest areas of my body) after my fever breaks from fighing a virus. I got them after a unintentional sunburn as well. (Rather unatractive around my neck but I have clothes/scarves to cover it up until it disapates thankfully) They aren’t painful and seems to be a result of stressful things like a virus, however, only show up AFTER I start feeling better. Which isn’t often now that I eat well. I will have to see about what I may have eaten previously to make… Read more »
Claudia
Claudia
1 year 5 months ago

Interestingly my histamine intolerance got better after I stopped eating gluten. Maybe I had the wrong diagnosis, who knows. They never found a gluten intolerance or anything. I believe I am sensitive to gluten, however. So a primal diet with lots of fresh ingredients has helped me immensely. Wheat should definitely be avoided with histamine intolerance.

Kelda
Kelda
1 year 5 months ago

There’s growing talk about the cross-reactivity with gluten intolerance/sensitivity and other food groups. My son has noticed that when he has dairy a slip with gluten results in a more pronounced reaction.

And so much goes back to gut health. I’m beginning to think the gut biota is pivotal to many of these systemic problems, balance this area first and many issues will disappear.

Chris Kresser (who’s speaking in London last weekend of October) also talks a lot about cross-reactivity as does David Perlmutter and Dr Tom O’Bryan.

Merrilee
Merrilee
1 year 5 months ago

the tips of the villi in the intestines are often inflamed in gluten intolerance. The tips are where lactase (to digest lactose) and the DAO enzyme are produced.

Kate
Kate
1 month 12 days ago

I thought I had coeliac but tested negative. I seemed ok with pasta but bread and donuts gave me dermatitis. Now I know I’m sensitive to histamine I figure it was the yeast, not the gluten, that I was reacting to.

Kati
Kati
1 year 5 months ago

I’m happy to see that you are covering histamine intolerance! Now, please cover salicylate and sulphite intolerances. And MTHFR. I believe they might be related or have a strong interplay. Thank you!!

Lauren
Lauren
1 year 5 months ago

Absolutely a connection. Particularly with MTHFR.

Kati
Kati
1 year 5 months ago

Lauren,
Can you point me to some resources that will help me? I’m in process of the MTHFR diagnoses, and am having a horrible time with eating things that don’t trigger an “I want to die” reaction. I guess I could live on beans, potatoes, iceberg lettuce and milk, but I kind of want more variety, since I have a family I’m taking care of with meals.

Thank you!

Coco
Coco
1 year 5 months ago
It really is hard to eat primally while having histamine intolerance. Half the food recommendations here on MDA give me horrible headaches. It was a mind opener though to finally see all the food I can’t eat on the same list. The “I’m not crazy” feeling was nice. But afterwards, you realize that knowing it doesn’t really help all that much. Plus, there is no real scientific research made on histamine levels present in food so all those lists are contradictory. I have no trouble staying away from anything processed or bad for my health but I really don’t like… Read more »
b2curious
1 year 5 months ago

Chris Kesser’s post, linked to above, has a link to his Paleo Recipe Generator, which allows you to exclude various foods. Mind you, it’s $9.95 a month, but that could be worth it to get some ideas of what you can eat. I may have to try it myself, as my allergies are still insane, though somewhat improved over pre-primal.

MIchele
MIchele
1 year 5 months ago

Thanks for this post on a complex subject. It’s very frustrating to have so many primal foods off limits. Good resources: Janice Joneja; also the Histamine Chef. One fact I unearthed: the act of EATING releases histamine. So for some folks, eating fewer meals (no snacking) can really help. I notice a difference. My doc recommended a DAO (diamine oxidase) supplement, which helps as well.

Juli
Juli
1 year 5 months ago

This might be the reason that I have been a “natural” IFer my whole life, learned from my parents. If eat once a day, which I usually do, I feel so much better than if I need to another meal for social reasons. Wow.

Leslie
Leslie
1 year 5 months ago
Thank you so much for addressing this. I’ve had HI for many years but wasn’t diagnosed til two years ago. My primary physician also has HI so she recognized it immediately. It’s really difficult to live with this because the ‘culprits’ are moving targets and many healthy foods can cause serious reactions. Even taking a histamine blocker, Quercetin and Primal Flora, I often have reactions. Some have been life threatening. Salad, bone broth, wine, aged cheese, bacon, many veggies and fruits, leftovers – no way. The other thing is that the “lists” of histamine producing foods varies. The treatment for… Read more »
b2curious
1 year 5 months ago
See my reply to Coco. Also, have you tried stinging nettle, as mentioned in the post above? Or the probiotic strain mentioned? Believe me when I say I understand your frustration. My allergies only improved marginally when I went Primal, and one newer, slightly embarrassing, allergy symptom has gotten a bit worse. Sometimes, the underside of my breasts will itch rather fiercely. When I looked at the list of potential trigger foods, I realized that it was the bulk of what I eat! That was really distressing. But I’ve got Tara Grant’s book, The Hidden Plague, which looks like it… Read more »
Caliprimal
Caliprimal
1 year 5 months ago
I also want to thank Mark for addressing Histamine Intolerance. Like many people, the healthier and more primal I ate, the sicker I got. I recognized some of my symptoms on The Low Histamine Chef’s website and haven’t had a migraine since. Keeping a food journal never helped me because I didn’t know what I was looking at and I didn’t understand the “bucket theory”. First, I needed to be able to recognize the chemical groupings of foods–histamine, salycilates and oxalates. These sensitivities very ofter overlap for people–including for me. Then I needed to stop hyper-analyzing what I just ate… Read more »
b2curious
1 year 5 months ago

Interesting. I couldn’t find anything on antihistamines being mast cell stabilizers, but my searching, and modifying questions in my Google search did lead me to some intersting information. Only a few antihistamines do me any good, most notably Tavist (clemastine) and Benedry (diphenhydramine) are both considered first generation sedating antihistamines, which are also antimuscarinic, which means they block another receptor as well. Interesting…

So thank you for your comment, which lead me to finding that information.

Sherri
Sherri
1 year 5 months ago

After reading this, I decided to check out MDA’s probiotic. I noticed, however, that it contains potato starch…the article mentions avoiding raw potato starch. Is the supplement version different/safe?

Storm
Storm
1 year 5 months ago

Great article.

Eugenia
1 year 5 months ago
Mark (and Chris Kresser): I truly believe that the advice everyone is giving about histamine intolerance to “avoid fermented foods and Lacto bacteria” to be wrong. Histamine intolerance happens primarily to people with weak gut microbiota (mostly SIBO). And what you’re telling them is “don’t add more microbes in your gut”. That advice is very similar in nature to the bad wisdom of the last 40 years: – don’t eat fat, it makes you fat – don’t eat eggs, they have cholesterol, so you’ll get cholesterol I hope you now see the wrong side of that advice: the patient has… Read more »
b2curious
1 year 5 months ago
Mark did NOT say to avoid Lacto bacteria, he did say to avoid the Lactobacillus strains of casei, delbrueckii, and bulgaricus as they tend to stimulate histamine production. However, he said that Lactobacillus plantarum (still a Lacto bacteria) is a histamine-degrading strain. It’s apparently not a matter of not having enough microbes, but a matter of having too many of the wrong ones, and not enough of the right ones. As for your mention of SIBO being caused by having “weak gut microbiota,” everything I’ve ever seen on it says it’s either an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines,… Read more »
Eugenia
1 year 5 months ago
I know that, you don’t have to mention the obvious about the lacto ones. I just don’t believe that too much of casei, delbrueckii, and bulgaricus is a problem though. They’re only a problem if, as you said, they have colonized the small intestine, not that they’re a problem otherwise. If they have colonized the small intestine, then not eating yogurt or fermented foods won’t do much good anyway. It requires a different action. And a large dose with probiotics that go directly to the large intestine can be a solution, with casei in it or not (Mark’s brand does… Read more »
b2curious
1 year 5 months ago

Mark’s brand doesn’t survive to reach the large intestines? How did you reach that conclusion? According to the info about it in the store, the capsule will survive stomach acid and bile (which is in the small intestines). So I’m confused.

Kelly
Kelly
22 days 15 hours ago

You’re not entirely correct.

Not all strains colonize, so sometimes they must be taken for months or years.

And try telling Seth Roberts about the ‘safety’ of high cholesterol fats. Oops, he died of coronary occlusion…

Emily
Emily
1 year 5 months ago
My 6 year old daughter had this. She got hives that she itched open all the time, had tummy pains and rashes on any sun exposed area. She told me she felt like a dead butterfly. 🙁 The whole family is mercury toxic, mthfr, and had gut dysbiosis, liver and general detox issues. We have been doing a comprehensive program with frequent dose chelation avoiding gluten and processed foods as well as adding healing foods. She takes many supplements. In particular zinc has helped her, as does raw cow milk and magnesium. She also improved by seeing a Chiropractor who… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
1 year 5 months ago
About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and Mastocytic Colitis (too many mast cells in my large intestine) after 10+ years of illness. I also was tested recently after being GF for nearly a year and have bone loss (enough to be classified as osteopenia)- I am 30 years old. I thought a strict gluten-free diet would be tough, but it’s a cakewalk compared to navigating triggers with a mast cell issue. It is helpful having a real name for something, even if I can’t quite get all my symptoms under control. If you… Read more »
HealthyGuy
HealthyGuy
1 year 5 months ago

Excellent article. For anyone with histamine intolerance they should definitely follow Mark’s advice. I used to have a very persistent case of clogged sinuses and drainage causing ongoing coughing that was very frustrating and depressing and I found quercetin and sting nettle supplements to be VERY helpful. It may take a couple of months for it to take full effect however.

Anjali
1 year 5 months ago

@Mark

Hi
Does histamine cause mucus secretion?

Juli
Juli
1 year 5 months ago

This is eye opening. I could discuss my own issues with rashes (slogan, “don’t do anything rash”) but I will hold back. My dad and I both have “chronic idiopathic uticaria” caused seemingly by different things. Anyway, this is just a totally different lens through which to view these problems. I will study this thread and carefully consider this new info. Thank you!

Sandy
Sandy
1 year 5 months ago

There is no mention of Oxalates in this article. Oxalates cause histamine to be produced in the body. If a person is also Oxalate sensitive that means eating even less foods!!! 🙁

Merrilee
1 year 5 months ago

NAC and the leaky gut supplements from Gluten Free Remedies were a big help for the histamine intolerant in our household.

Histamine intolerance can show up as anxiety, not just as hives.

Peter
Peter
1 year 5 months ago

I’ve suffered from nasal congestion and headaches – what feels like a low-level migraine – all my life.

Histamine intolerance sounds like one more possibility, but what is the most effective way that I can find out without having to endlessly experiment with different food exclusions?

The original question mentioned a specific gene. If I go for genetic testing, which genes do I need to have them test for, and who does this as part of their normal package?

Marti
Marti
1 year 5 months ago

Could someone post a few “recipes” for stinging nettle tea? Young plants, full grown, before or after going to seed? Does it matter? We have a lot of it on our farm and I curse the stuff every year… who knows, maybe next year I’ll go looking for it. Please let me know some specifics on stinging nettle tea. And seriously… who in their right mind first thought to make that bastard of a plant into tea? Probably some pissed off wife trying to poison her husband. Haha!!

Margit
Margit
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Marti, don’t curse it, butterflies need it as food, it makes valuable habitat. I’d go for young leaves and brew them fresh, if you have them available. Lemon is supposed to make it taste better. BTW, there are better ways to ged rid of an unwanted husband, poisoning is the last resort 🙂

Sarah
Sarah
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Marti,
https://jessthomson.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/sting/
You can forego the pasta of course. I post this for the recipe.

But really, I buy my nettles dried and in bulk from Whole Foods, and sometimes from Mountain Rose Herbs online, and then steep them as a tea with or without other herbs/tea. It’s a distinctive taste, but I don’t think it’s hard to get to enjoy it.

I concur with Margit about only using the young leaves. My understanding was even to only harvest the young leaves in the spring.

Sarah
Sarah
1 year 5 months ago

I meant “I post this for the pesto part of the recipe.”

Even primal living doesn’t prevent typos, it seems.

Laura
Laura
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Mark,
Thank you for answering my question!! Your answer is incredibly informative. I will try your suggestions and report back.
Thanks again,
Laura

Sarah
Sarah
1 year 5 months ago

Oh my goodness. Thank you, Laura, for asking the question. I had no idea that histamine intolerance even existed, but am pretty sure it’s the answer to various questions I have. It’s taken me the better part of the week to come to terms with the implications, but I’m very grateful to have this information. You were right. There are others of us dealing with this very same thing. It’s not every day that I read something life changing, but today (or last Monday, really) might just be that day.

Thank you also, Mark, for posting answers to Laura’s question.

Angie
1 year 5 months ago
How do sulfites fit into the picture? I suffered horrible sinisitis and hayfever which became increasingly worse year after year. Since Paleo, nothing, Not even a shadow. (Although I still have a weird mucous reaction with some things, sweet things, like pumpkin or banana.) But when we went Primal, we also cut out all sulfites. No vinegar for a year, we’re only just now re-introducing. I really read the labels – no bacon, no prosciutto, no bresaola – if there is anything other than Ascorbic Acid as a conservative, I won’t buy it. If I don’t know what those numbers… Read more »
Jill
Jill
1 year 5 months ago

Have itched and twitched most of my life. Thanks for this information, going to give the suggestions a try.

Erica
Erica
1 year 5 months ago
I’ve always been histamine intolerant, and have had bouts of urticaria and sinus issues my entire life, but have been dealing with full blown Mast Cell Activation Syndrome for over two years now. The consistent symptoms started two years ago, and I’ve had them every single day since then, in varying degrees. I’ve dealt with severe flushing, urticaria, bronchial constriction, bowel distress, tachycardia, itchy eyes, extreme sinus congestion, etc. Here’s what I’ve learned over the past two years: Don’t drive yourself crazy with elimination diets. Seriously, don’t do it. I have tried them all, including 18 weeks on the the… Read more »
Kristiina
Kristiina
1 year 1 month ago

Yes, yes, yes!! The elimination diets can make a person become afraid to eat almost ANYTHING! Some of the foods listed I have horrible reactions to, while others Incan tolerate. Stop over analyzing and just listen to your body. Thank you, Mark for this article!!

Chris
Chris
1 year 1 month ago

Great advice on not getting depressed about diets. Thanks for the comment. I also find that DAOsin supplements work great but are pricey – I can even drink red wine with my aged cheese when I take them! Zyrtec worked well for a while in terms of suppressing the symptoms but then suddenly lost all impact. Now I find Levocetirizine works better. I disagree with zealots who say these are a waste of time. Anyone who has suffered these symptoms need relief even if temporary.

Shauna
Shauna
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t have HI, but I do have cholinergic urticaria and Zyrtec makes it tolerable. I’m also holding out hope that my symptoms will one day vanish like they just one day appeared, but in the meantime, Zyrtec it is. I don’t see why people would be cringing over a person taking a needed medicine. Sometimes a healthy diet, exercise, natural skin care, and natural household cleaners just aren’t enough certain conditions.

Dave
Dave
1 year 5 months ago
Some websites for histamine intolerance list green tea as a DAO blocker. I have had sinus trouble my whole life. As a teen, I had strep throat several times a year which meant antibiotics. I hate to think how many rounds of antibiotics I have taken. Maybe upwards of 50. I tried taking potato starch and broke out in hives. I recently went to an ENT who said I have a sinus infection and sent me home with antibiotics and steroids. When I got home I thought about it and didn’t take them. I have been eating paleo for several… Read more »
kay
kay
1 year 5 months ago

Thumbs up Mark!! Worth to re-read and go thru it again and again!

milky tea
milky tea
1 year 1 month ago

I was recently diagnosed with histamine intolerance. Sadly there aren’t many cookbooks around for it. I just spent over AU$30 on a “paleo” one from the Low Histamine Chef. I gotta warn you, it’s far more vegan-with-a-blender than paleo. Very carby. Expect lots of fruit smoothies, high oxalate greens and starchy vegetables. Also lots of buckwheat and almond flour. You get only two meat recipes (meatballs; beef stir-fry) and two fish recipes, one in a sugary sauce.

This is my invitation to paleo cookbook writers: can you do better?

dodojojo
dodojojo
11 months 7 days ago
Eye-opening. I’ve been making and drinking kefir milk the last two months. I even strain the whey and use it to make ginger ale and lemonade. First I didn’t notice much improvement from the billions and billions of probiotics I was supposed to be getting from the kefir. And over time, the brain fog and post-nasal drip has gotten worse and worse. With spring in the air, I thought maybe it’s just a particularly high allergen year and my sinuses can’t handle it. But looking back, the symptoms started well before spring though it’s gotten worse the last 2 weeks.… Read more »
dodojojo
dodojojo
11 months 7 days ago

Just wanted to add that I’ve been eating tons of peanuts lately and I see they’re listed as a high histimine food. So is alcohol. I have always gotten flush from the tiniest bit of alcohol intake and one teacher said I may be allergic to it. Which didn’t make sense to me as a high school student…but it does now.

Vince
Vince
10 months 20 days ago

I get a leaky nose from taking ACV. It seems really bad for my histamine issues. Keep a journal of foods that may be problematic. Alcohol is a big one so is chocolate.

Noegzit
Noegzit
7 months 2 days ago
“Among the histamine-producing, foremost are Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, all of which are found in most yogurts. Avoid those.” Sorry Mark, that’s a terribly wrong simplification: There is not one unique strain of these 3 bacterias but many strains. And in fact, most of the strains of L.Casei, L.Bulgaricus and L. delbrueckii degrade histamine, and only a relative small number of strains produce histamine. I must say to excuse you Mark, that the same simplification appears in practically every blog or forum I consulted in the last 24 hours. I read a lot about histamine intolerance since… Read more »
Chris
Chris
4 months 16 days ago

Noegait, thank you. The Natren brand, Megafood, , Supernatant all have the three strains you mention, I wonder if they are the histamine degrading ones? spent so much $$$ on these and then see all this controversy. Could you email me at chrstndc@yahoo.com?

DaveT
DaveT
6 months 19 days ago

Mark, is your probiotic safe for people who are histamine intolerant? Meaning that it doesn’t contain histamine releasing probiotics?

WheatFree
WheatFree
1 month 24 days ago

My only comment is that the recommendation for anti-histamines should be removed. Medications like Claritin only act to block H1 receptors (nasal allergies) and make more histamines available to attack H2, H3, and H4 receptors – so other symptoms may get worse if you take them!

Jo Reid
Jo Reid
1 month 3 days ago

Great article, I have MCAD with severe symptoms. I take 8 H1/H2 blockers each day and rescue meds as needed to keep out of the ED. Low histamine (taylored to my sensitivities) is really helpful for me. Im still no where near ‘normal’ and have a lot of chronic symptoms, but it allows me to care for my kids, feel joy again and even exercise a little. Stress management is another biggie, and not getting too tired. It is like holding a sensitive hand grenade, you never know when its going to go off!

Jo Reid
Jo Reid
1 month 3 days ago

I mean Low histamine AIP helps!:)

Blue Moon
20 days 9 hours ago

Avoiding fermented foods and leftovers help me the most. Recently, i came down with strep throat. During the week that I was sick, before taking the antibiotics, my histamine issues were greatly reduced. No nasal congestion. Once I started the antibiotics along with a probiotic and eating some leftover pizza, my symptoms came back with a vengeance. I will buy Mark’s probiotic to see if this is the problem. I suspect it is. I had to take allegra-d to stop the sneezing, runny nose, etc.

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