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Histamine Series Part 1. Nutrient Deficiencies

03 August 2022
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Evidence-Based ✅

 

Histamine Intolerance - Part 1

 

Nutrient Deficiencies & How They Relate to Histamine Intolerance

 

Histamine intolerance sucks! I feel you! 😣

 

I just discovered that I have histamine intolerance. So I am going through the process of working it all out and learning along the way. It's becoming clear that the whole thing can be complex and has many factors to consider.

 

If you are reading this blog, I am sure you have come here for a reason. That reason may be because you think you may have histamine intolerance, or you do.

 

Nutrient deficiencies are just one of the many, and we will do a series about this topic over the next few weeks, so be sure to stick around!

 

Before we get into the first part of histamine intolerance, it's essential to go over the symptoms.

 

Symptoms

 

If the body isn't dealing with histamine, it builds up in the body and can have a flow-on effect that creates many symptoms, such as:

 

  • Skin issues (dermatitis, eczema, hives, itchy skin, crawling skin, psoriasis)
  • Flushing skin (red skin)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability 
  • Dizziness or even vertigo
  • Shortness of breath
  • Food allergies 
  • An adverse reaction to eating certain foods (fermented, aged, leftovers)
  • A negative response to drinking alcohol (especially wine or beer)
  • Feel fatigued after eating certain foods
  • Tightening of the throat after eating 
  • Experience low blood pressure
  • PMS frequently (premenstrual syndrome)
  • Get heartburn
  • Experience motion sickness
  • Loose stools
  • Chronically inflamed 
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

 

 

How to Test for Histamine Intolerance?

 

We are repeating the symptoms above but in more detail. Symptoms measure testing for Histamine Intolerance. How you score on the questions below can help you to gauge whether you have this condition or not.

 

  • Gut Problems: Gut issues may occur after eating in most cases. You could feel pain or have trouble with your stools. ❏
  • Diarrhoea: You may experience random abdominal pains and diarrhoea. This occurs when your histamine load gets too high. ❏
  • Bloated tummy: When you have too much gas in your gut, this can signify histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is complex! However, gas can also be related to many other issues). ❏
  • IBS: You experience irritable bowel syndrome ❏
  • Nausea: You often feel nauseous for no particular reason. ❏
  • Chronic constipation: You may experience frequent constipation also for no particular reason, and your diet contains fibre. ❏
  • Inflammation: This is a massive deal. Do you experience an achy back? Or maybe you feel achy in your knees or wrists? Histamine intolerance can cause this. ❏
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Histamine intolerance can cause anxious thoughts and feelings since it affects the central nervous system. ❏
  • Shortness of breath: Breathing difficulty can be a sign of histamine intolerance. ❏
  • Severe PMS: You may find it unbearable before you get your period and pain when starting your cycle. It may get worse over the years and not better. ❏
  • High heart rate: Sporadically, you may feel a fast heart rate for no real reason. May you experience heart palpitations or a heavy feeling in your chest? ❏
  • Skin problems: Skin issues include dry skin, eczema, hives (itchy welts), dermatitis, psoriasis and scaly or patchy skin. ❏
  • Exhaustion: You may experience fatigue or exhaustion ❏
  • Low Blood Pressure: this can be caused by histamine intolerance ❏
  • Dizziness: You might feel dizzy (this can be due to low blood pressure) ❏
  • Sneezing Frequently: Sneezing can occur in the early hours of the evening. ❏
  • Watery or Itchy eyes:  You may experience watery eyes, and sometimes they may also be itchy ❏
  • Runny nose: You may experience a runny nose when you don't have a cold. Or you may experience a blocked nose. ❏
  • Headaches or Migraines: You may experience frequent headaches or, worse, a migraine! Histamine intolerance can cause this issue for many people. ❏
  • Tingling/Crawling Skin: Odd sensations of tingling, stinging, sharp or crawling feelings in the skin can indicate a histamine overload. ❏
  • Sleep disorders: You may become unable to sleep, leading to insomnia. You might wake too early in the middle of the night or find your sleep disturbed. ❏
  • RLS: Restless Leg Syndrome is experienced by some when trying to sleep. Magnesium can help here; however, one must deal with histamine intolerance to help resolve this issue. ❏

 

How You Scored

 

0 symptoms: Woo Hoo! – it looks like you don’t have a problem with histamine. Lucky you!

 

1 – 4 symptoms: You may have histamine intolerance. More investigation would be needed as many of the symptoms can be related to other health issues. Might it be time to speak to a naturopath to get further insight?

 

5+ Symptoms: Histamine intolerance can be tricky to test for, but if you did score five or more on the questions above, it might be time to start looking at your diet, lifestyle and environment. We can support our bodies through diet and correcting nutrient deficiencies. We can also support our health and healing through adjusting our lifestyle, habits, behaviours and environment.

 

This information is not conclusive as this area of health is vast and complicated. It is, however, a great place to start.

 

The Role of DAO

 

Before we get into the nutritional deficiencies that create histamine intolerance, we must discuss the role of DAO.

 

DAO stands for diamine oxidase. This enzyme is involved in histamine metabolism (breaking it down for excretion from the body). This topic deserves its own blog, which will cover in this histamine series soon.

 

It is essential to mention certain nutrients' role in DAO production. Suppose you are deficient in any of these nutrients. In that case, you may suffer histamine intolerance as the production of the DAO enzyme goes down. 

 

How Nutrient Deficiencies Relate to Histamine Intolerance

 

The specific nutrients regarding DAO production are vitamin C and copper. Vitamin C and copper help to increase the function of DAO.

 

Vitamin B6 is also essential as it significantly affects histamine breakdown.

 

You can find copper (zinc and B vitamins) in liver and liver supplements.

 

Acerola cherry is a fantastic source of bioavailable vitamin C.

 

Consuming liver supplements and high-quality, non-synthetic vitamin C supplements regularly can help.

 

Just 1/4 tsp of Perfect Acerola each day is adequate.

 

Four capsules of Perfect Desiccated (grass-fed beef) liver daily is all you need.

 

This simple practice can favour DAO production and help break down histamines better.

 

Testing for Deficiencies

Testing for deficiencies through a simple blood test can be helpful. Testing for zinc and copper levels especially as these minerals have an opposing relationship in the body.

The thing is, that copper and zinc are competitive with one another. The only way to create balance and prevent a problem is to ensure that you're getting more zinc in your diet than copper.

This is because copper can easily accumulate in the body. This can become toxic.

Zinc on the other hand, is stored short-term in the body and gets frequently excreted through both urine and our stools. 

The correct ratio of copper to zinc is 1:8.

Copper Deficiency

If you have a copper deficiency this can be one possible cause of histamine intolerance.

Correcting imbalance is the key as you don't want to be deficient or overly abundant in any nutrient.

 

How to Get the Right Ratio?

If you consume a diet that is rich in animal products you will fair much better in regards to nutrient balance. That is because animal products contain more bioavailable nutrients compared to plant foods (such as veggies).

One of the reasons that plant foods are not as bioavailable and how they can interfere with proper nutrient absorption is because they contain certain anti-nutrients.

Anti-nutrients such as phytic acid (phytates) affects zinc absorption, but also other nutrients such as iron. Phytates are found in legumes, pulses, beans, nuts and seeds. They can be soaked, sprouted and fermented for better absorption and fewer phytates. 

 

Best Zinc Sources

  • Oysters & Shell fish
  • Lamb
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Chicken
  • Pastured eggs
  • Grass-fed liver

Other Zinc Sources

(not as good due to lower bioavailability and anti-nutrients)

  • Legumes (high in phytates)
  • Seeds (high in phytates)
  • Nuts (high in phytates)
  • Dairy (difficult for some to tolerate and may cause histamine issues)
  • Whole grains (contains the anti-nutrient gluten, hard to digest and can cause histamine issues, most grains in general with the exception of rice*
  • Dark chocolate (contains oxalates so eat moderately or cut out completely)

*Rice can be high in toxic arsenic so choose carefully.

 Best Copper Sources

Note: when found in animal products, you are usually getting the right amount of each nutrient (nature is intelligent like that). But if you take in synthetic supplement form, sometimes we may either get too much or we may not absorb it as the body can have trouble recognising synthetic nutrition.

 

Other Copper Sources

  • Nuts and seeds (high in phytates)
  • Beans (also high in phytates)
  • Spinach, chard and kale (high in oxalates if eaten raw but ok if cooked in ghee or butter)
  • Potato skins (high in oxalates too) Opt for certified organic potatoes to reduce harmful pesticides and herbicides such as glyphosate). This goes for all produce!

A Quick Word on Oxalates

Oxalates are another type of anti-nutrient and they are found in many vegetables and some fruits. We will be chatting more about this soon. Oxalates can be broken down through the cooking process and also by fermentation.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed this information today, and stay tuned for the next part of our Histamine series: 'Most Common Causes of Histamine Intolerance'.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649098/

https://drjockers.com/copper-zinc-imbalance/

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/copper-zinc-imbalance-unrecognized-consequence-of-plant-based-diets-and-a-contributor-to-chronic-fatigue/#gsc.tab=0

https://drhagmeyer.com/dao-deficiency-how-to-activate-the-enzyme-that-reduces-histamine-intolerance-and-mcas-symptoms/

https://draxe.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-zinc/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-foods-high-in-zinc

https://www.copperh2o.com/blogs/blog/ultimate-guide-to-foods-with-copper

https://www.low-histamine.com/tag/grains/

 

Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as health advice. Statements made have not been evaluated by the TGA and are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent and one should always consult with their trusted health professional before adding a new supplement to their diet.

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