Treatment of Histamine Intolerance
Georgia Ede MD
If you suspect you have Histamine Intolerance, here are some options which may help you to feel better:
- Eat a low-histamine diet. Avoid cultured, processed, cured, fermented and aged foods. Choose fresh foods whenever possible. Look for the “packed on” date of the meat or fish being sold. “FAS” (frozen-at-sea) fish may be your best bet. Grass-fed and pastured meats are not necessarily better choices—it depends on how far they had to travel to get to your store. Also, it is important to know that nearly all beef sold in the U.S. “hangs” for at least two weeks before it is packaged, even if it comes from a local family farm that pastures their animals. Therefore virtually all beef is aged to some extent. Yasmina Ykelenstam’s website contains a wealth of information about low-histamine diets: http://thelowhistaminechef.com/
- Occasional use of antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and Cetirizine (Zyrtec), or “mast cell stabilizers” such as Cromolyn Sodium (Gastrocrom) may be helpful if they don’t bother you.
- Vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc, and copper are all required for DAO to work properly. Addressing potential deficiencies in these may be helpful in resolving Histamine Intolerance.
- DAO supplements are available and have been proven effective. The one I use is called Histamine Block. It is made by Seeking Health, an Austrian company. Please note: this supplement is advertised as “vegetarian capsules”, but this is very misleading because it is only the actual capsules themselves that are vegetarian. Inside the capsules are DAO enzymes isolated from pig kidney. They also contain a small amount of vitamin C, which helps DAO to work better. While I generally try to avoid high-histamine foods, life happens. When I’m traveling, eating at someone else’s home, or not sure about the histamine content of a food, I use this supplement to help minimize symptoms of Histamine Intolerance from foods I suspect may bother me. It needs to be taken right before you eat—no longer than 20 minutes before, so that it will be in the right place at the right time—in your small intestine when the suspicious food arrives.
- Some people, especially those with prominent gastrointestinal symptoms of Histamine Intolerance may benefit from pancreatic enzymes.)
- Avoid alcohol—alcohol reduces DAO activity
- Be aware of medications that interfere with DAO activity. If you take any of the following medicines, discuss with your clinician how they may be affecting your Histamine Intolerance symptoms, to see if alternatives are available.