Histamine is a simple but very important chemical that performs crucial functions in the body. It is produced endogenously (i.e. produced within the body itself), but it is also found naturally in many types of food, fruits and vegetables. In human physiology, histamine performs three important functions without which a person cannot survive. These are:
1. It acts as a neurotransmitter, communicating neural messages from the body to the brain.
2. It is an important component of the immune system, being triggered during injury, inflammation and allergic reactions in order to contain or limit the extent of damage to tissues.
3. It releases gastric acid during digestion.
Histamine intolerance is not exactly an allergy but a set of negative reactions experienced when there is a build-up of excess histamine in the circulation beyond the threshold of normal. A build up can occur if:
• An individual consumes significant amounts of histamine-rich foods, or a progressive and steady consumption of these foods.
• An individual lacks the enzymes that would normally break down or metabolise histamine whenever it is released within the blood stream.
Normally the enzymes Diamine Oxidase (DAO) and Histamone-N-Methyltransferase (HNMT) are released as needed to ensure histamine break down in the body, so as to prevent its build-up and unpleasant manifestation of symptoms. However, most sufferers of histamine intolerance are deficient in these enzymes, and the result is that they easily build up histamine. This is usually worsened when they consume histamine-rich foods. Additionally, people with pre-existing allergies, SIBO (Small Intestinal bacterial Overgrowth), gastrointestinal bleeding and/or leaky gut syndrome are at a higher risk of histamine intolerance than other people.
The symptoms of histamine intolerance can be widely varied and because the chemical travels through the blood stream and affect all organ systems in the body that have blood supply It can therefore be quite difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms among sufferers include headaches/migraine, diarrhoea/nausea, difficulty with sleep, nasal congestion/allergic rhinitis, PMS and irregular menstrual cycle, eczema/hives or rashes, flushing, and vertigo. Other more serious symptoms may include hypertension and irregular heartbeats, anxiety, loss of body temperature control, anxiety and tissue swelling. Histamine intolerance may trigger an asthma attack and cause anaphylactic shock.
Management of histamine intolerance at Mart-Life Detox Clinic begins with establishing the histamine intolerance with our bio energetic test. The test determines whether or not an individual has intolerance to such histamine-rich foods as:
▪ Fermented foods: Vinegar, Yoghurt, Soy sauce, Mayonnaise etc
▪ Processed meats: Hot dogs, bacon, salami, corned beef etc
▪ Alcohol: Beer, Champagne, wine
▪ Nuts: Cashew, peanuts, walnuts
▪ Vegetables: Tomatoes, spinach, egg plant, avocado
▪ Citrus fruits: orange, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine
▪ Fish: Mackerel, Tuna , sardines etc.
Once diagnosis has been made, the best course of action is to avoid histamine-rich foods, but particularly the identified ones in the bioenergetic test. The individual thereafter has a sit-down with the Mayr nutritionist who provides nutritional counselling that helps minimise histamine-causing foods and eliminate foods that tend to block the actions of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) and Histamone-N-Methyltransferase (HNMT) in the body.