Histamine Intolerance and Diet
Thought I would throw this on this BB in case some are having similar issues...
Having suffered with LPR this past year and as a person who suffers migraines, long time excess acid in my stomach (for years handled by Pepcid prescription strength) , seasonal allergies (last year I had a sinus operation to clear them) and an apparent sensitivity to some foods I wondered if all of this might be tied to something. My mother , brother and a son also have these same issues so I thought it might be a physiological trait tied to genetics.
These past months like many of us I have been watching my diet closely to see what foods trigger my LPR. As it turns out they are pretty predictable, alcohol , pizza, caffeine, excessively spicy foods, smoked meats etc.. I also noticed the closer I watched my diet and restricted the intake of these foods/drinks that my migraines dropped dramatically and my sinus seemed very clear. So what gives is there a link?
Apparently for a segment of the population there is a link and it is related to a common nitrogen compound found in the body, histamine. Histamine is required in our body to regulate many bodily functions but it is closely tied to our bodies response to allergens. Now if you are truly allergic to something your body will show a response and a allergist can measure this thru their tests. However if you are sensitive to many environmental factors such as pollen , foods , drink but not actually allergic your body will not respond in the same manner and it may give you allergy like symptoms but they are not dramatic enough to be classified as an allergy. Over time though the bodily response of increased levels of histamine create havoc with your system though. Unlike the allergy sufferer it is a not a huge spike in symptoms but rather death by a thousand cuts so to speak as elevated histamine levels over time lead to all kinds of health issues.
Elevated histamine ties sinus issues, inflammation issues (itchy skin, asthma etc..) and stomach issues together as well as migraines in some. If you naturally have high histamine levels it can cause your gut to produce too much acid , your mucus glands to produce at high levels and create all kinds of inflammation problems within your body. The resolution is a low histamine diet which can very somewhat with each individual. I find it no coincidence that many of us with reflux are very intolerant to many of the high histamine food/drinks such as cheese, beer, wine, sugar, aged or smoked meat etc.. Now some histamine is necessary for bodily functions but many of us could be overloading our bodies thru diet. Add to that pollen etc which we have no control over and it can really impact how we feel.
I tend to get bad seasonal allergies in the fall at harvest time and did this year again but I also noticed that if ate or drank something which I shouldn't it was doubly bad as if it added to the issue. Then I started doing some research on this.
Histamine at high levels is what causes drippy noses, sore red eyes , increased acid in the stomach (Pepcid, Zantac etc actually are histamine blockers working on the H2 receptor instead of the H1 receptor which Claritin and the like products work on - there are actually 4 histamine receptors in the body labelled H1-H4) , itchy skin etc..
There may be a underlying link to this in some of us as well a missing or deficiency in a enzyme in the stomach callled DAO ( Diamine oxidase) which scavenges histamine from foods for most of us and eliminates it from the body. DAO is a digestive enzyme, the deficiency in it can be compared to those who are lactose intolerant and lacking the enzyme lactase which allows most of us to digest milk products. The difference is that being lactose intolerance shows up in the stomach with pain , gas etc. while the deficiency in DAO shows up with high levels of histamine going into your circulatory system and impacting many parts of the body similar to an allergy.
Apparently a portion of the population genetically is deficient in DAO and with age it can also decrease in the body like many hormones, enzymes.
Some things like alcohol actually block it from doing its job thus with drinks like beer or wine you can get a double whammy , the alcohol blocks the DAO from doing its job and beer, red wine etc. are loaded with histamines which then enter your circulatory system and cause all kinds of grief, increased stomach acid, runny nose, inflammation throughout the body, migraines.
Sound familiar, if so it may be a underlying cause to your reflux as well. Excess stomach acid over time wears at the stomach and related components such as the esophageal sphincter which stops acid from going up your esophagus. If you are very sensitive to histamine it may show up more quickly for some.
This may not an issue for many but I would bet a good many folks suffering reflux and stomach issues are sensitive in this area and learning about it, paying attention to it like any reflux diet could help a lot.
For me this is the first time I have been able to tie a genetic link, my various health issues despite a reasonably healthy lifestyle together to a common thread that seems to make sense.
Sinus, stomach , migraines , food and drink seems they do have something in common for me at least , histamine. Always wondered why I suffered from a few drinks much more than others. My mother dealt with these issues all her life but never had the internet to do research with. Seems you can learn something here, hope this helps.
You eat the wrong things, symptoms increase, you become upset or concerned and it adds to the body load factor of histamines. Interesting to note that some traits of individuals who have been tested for high histamine levels tend to be very focused, achievers, somewhat obsessive/compulsive which probably adds to the concern when the body isn't working well.
Last edited by Administrator; 12-04-2012 at 11:11 PM.