Histamine – All that random itching finally explained!
The most common histamine related problem we experience is when hay-fever season kicks in. It causes your eyes to puff up, your nose to leak uncontrollably and your skin to break out into hives and rashes. But this only tends to happen when there is too much Histamine in our bodies.
Histamine, in its proper levels, is perfectly safe and good for us. Histamine levels are kept in check by an enzyme called Diamine Oxidase (DAO).
This enzyme breaks down excess histamine in our bodies and allows us to continue consuming histamine rich foods like alcohol or processed meat without experiencing any adverse side effects. Eczema sufferers however have been found to have low levels of this enzyme called DAO which makes consuming foods high in histamine impossible. This would explain why eczema sufferers breakout randomly after eating a seemingly innocent food item. Which either means the histamine content in the food item was really high or eating several low content items together can cumulatively tip your histamine levels over the edge. Either way, this would explain why you become really itchy after eating certain foods that on other occasions you are normally fine with.
Also Histamine tends to leave most experts second guessing themselves because the symptoms often mirror those of an allergic reaction and this is partly why I have become super selective about the types of foods and drinks my son and I eat now. I make sure we stay away from certain categories’ of food and drink, the worst offenders being processed foods, fermented foods, acidic foods, aged hung meats, alcohol, aged cheeses, canned goods, certain spices, nuts and drinks like caffeine, kefir, etc. Click here to see chart of foods with high levels of histamine.
While this is a quick breakdown of how histamine works the reality is that it’s a lot more complicated than this and there’s also something called Histadine that you should be aware of. Histadine believe it or not feasts on the bad bacteria in your gut and converts this bacteria into brand new histamine enzymes. So in other words, you can avoid histamine-rich foods all you want, but if you don’t have a healthy digestive system full of good gut bacteria, then there is a good chance your body will STILL end up with too much histamine in it—not from eating histamine rich foods, but from the Histadine that’s converting the bad bacteria into new histamine.
This is why it makes sense to begin with repairing your gut and digestive tract first and restore your good bacteria levels before doing anything else.