Histamine is often overlooked as a cause of chronic health problems yet the fix for this issue can be quite straightforward. In this article, I cover the details of histamine and how to follow a low histamine diet.
Histamine intolerance (HIT) affects approximately 1% of the population. Approximately 80% of those affected are middle-aged.1 Histamine intolerance occurs when an individual has more histamine in their system than they can breakdown. Excess systemic concentrations of histamine can result from overproduction, overconsumption, and/or having a reduced ability to clear out histamine from the body. For those with HIT, eating a diet that results in increased histamine can contribute to chronic inflammation due to the ongoing exposure to histamine. This excess histamine often accumulates as a result of decreased diamine oxidase (DAO) activity.2, 3 The resulting excess histamine contributes to the physical symptoms associated with HIT. Following a low-histamine diet along with supplemental DAO is often recommended to decrease the symptoms associated with HIT. Eating a low-histamine diet involves more than simply eliminating foods that are high in histamine. This article will help to explain the challenges with following a low histamine diet and will highlight the many ways excess histamine can occur in food and in the body.