Histamine intolerance (HIT) is caused by an imbalance between the formation, supply and breakdown of biogenic amines. Histamine is the best known, but not the only, of these biogenic amines.
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How Common Is Histamine Intolerance?
About 1 to 4% of Austrians are intolerant to histamine. 70 to 80% of them are women.
Causes/Symptoms/Progression Of Histamine Intolerance
In the case of histamine intolerance, areas of the intestinal mucosa, particularly in the small intestine, are temporarily (for example, after inflammation) or permanently unable to break down histamine. One trigger is a deficiency in the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), which is produced in mucosal cells.
What Is Histamine?
Histamine is shaped from the amino acid histidine and triggers a variety of processes by binding to four different receptors. It plays a role in gastric acid production, intestinal peristalsis and appetite control, in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle and blood pressure, and last but not least in the immune system. Histamine is the substance that causes a runny nose and watery eyes when you feel cold or hay fever by stimulating the cells that produce secretions (tears, nasal mucus, stomach acid, etc.). But histamine is also obtained by eating and drinking! In case of stress or allergic diseases, the body releases large amounts of histamine. Large amounts of histamine can cause different symptoms in many people:
Blushing (sudden and violent blushing)
low blood pressure
palpitations or racing heart (tachycardia)
narrow airways (asthma)
Rare: functional heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) menstrual disorders (dysmenorrhea)
What Foods Contain Histamine?
Histamine content in foods varies greatly. For example, histamine is produced during storage, which happens very quickly with fish and shellfish, for example. While fresh ground beef is nearly histamine-free, it does contain a large amount of histamine after just one day of storage. In Emmental, values of 0.1 to 2500 mg of histamine per kg of cheese were found.
High level of histamine:
Cheese, particularly aged cheeses like Parmesan
Smoked: meat, sausages, smoked,…
Raw ham and raw sausages such as salami
Tuna (mainly canned) and other types of mackerel, bonito
Everything got hot!
Other fish, if not freshly caught (very high histamine content after only one day), are not included: plaice, trout, sole
Ground beef, if not fresh (perishable due to large surface area)
Red wine, sparkling wine (Prosecco) sparkling wine, brandy (alcohol releases histamine)
Wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauces
Also, Pickles and other pickles, vegetables, mushrooms
Histamine Intolerance Therapy
In addition to avoiding histamine-rich foods, antihistamine tablets can help with symptoms. Antihistamines (more precisely H1 blockers) block the effect of histamine for a few hours (depending on the preparation) because special active ingredients overcome histamine by occupying histamine receptors in the body itself. Also, With special dietary supplements, the intestinal enzyme DAO can be added before meals and thus support the breakdown of histamine.