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Histamine sensitivity: It’s not just about histamine

How do histamine levels rise in the body and why does it quickly become a vicious circle that cannot be stopped? What happens in the body and how can you intervene? What products can help to interrupt the process? These are some of the questions answered in this article.

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Histamine sensitivity is complex and requires more complex solutions than just avoiding histamine-containing foods. We show you how to manage it effectively. Histamine intolerance is now considered a “common disease”. More and more people don’t realise how serious the problem is and that it can be resolved or minimised without disrupting everyday life.

The basics: What you need to know about histamine and histamine intolerance

Histamine is one of the most studied substances in medicine. Histidine is a biogenic amine, i.e. a nitrogenous breakdown product of a heterocyclic aromatic amino acid (a building block for proteins). As a neurotransmitter, it plays a very important role in the healthy functioning of our body. It is one of the main intermediates circulating between cells and blood. It is virtually indispensable for the immune response and, in small amounts, helps to regulate blood circulation and digestion, among other things.

When ingested in large quantities, it can cause problems such as allergic processes and excessive production of gastric acid, and act as a trigger for inflammatory processes. Side effects include headaches, runny nose, low blood pressure, oedema, hives, various respiratory problems, heart problems, and gastrointestinal and digestive problems. It can also play an important role in the development of allergic symptoms and hay fever and can interfere with the sleep-wake cycle.

What is histamine and where is it found?

This does not mean that histamine (or biogenic amines in general) is harmful to our bodies. As mentioned above, it is physiologically necessary. This is confirmed by the fact that we produce histamine ourselves and only part of it is supplied to the body in the form of food. Its beneficial or harmful effects, therefore, depend on how much histamine is present in our bodies and where it is produced. For example, the balance of the microbiome plays a crucial role in the production of biogenic amines.

Why are so many people sensitive to histamine?

There are two ways of avoiding histamine sensitivity. One is to avoid histamine-containing foods if you are sensitive to histamine, and the other is to make sure that the DAO enzymes in the body are in good balance. However, few people realise that the problem is much more complex and that many other aspects make the solution to histamine sensitivity even more complicated.

Histamine sensitivity can be classified as a food intolerance caused by biogenic amines. The main factor is the increase in histamine levels in our bodies, which leads to the development of clinical symptoms when there is insufficient activity of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO).

Many people will have noticed that histamine sensitivity has been affecting more and more people over the last two decades and is increasingly being seen as a “widespread disease”. There are several reasons for this.

How does histamine sensitivity develop?

The development of intolerance is partly due to intestinal bacteria and the condition of the intestinal mucosa. A lack of good bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria can be indirect causes of the problem.

Beneficial gut bacteria that are constantly producing the enzyme DAO are crowded out, creating an imbalance. And when the microbiome goes the wrong way, mast cells produce large amounts of histamine, starting a process that can lead to nerve inflammation.

For example, an overgrowth of decarboxylase-producing bacteria can lead to a significant overproduction of biogenic amines, which means that the histamine problem cannot be solved without appropriate gut flora. Of course, the doses of histamine that trigger allergic reactions can vary widely, with as little as 5-10 mg triggering a reaction in sensitive individuals.

Cortisol and histamine

However, if the body cannot break down histamine, our need for cortisol can increase, and high levels of cortisol can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Here we are in a vicious circle, as adrenal depletion further exacerbates histamine intolerance. From this example, it is clear that the histamine problem is not that you eat a lot of histamine-containing foods and your enzymes can’t break them down. The picture is much more nuanced and complex and cannot be solved in the simple two-dimensional way that many have suggested.

Lysine and the role of free amino acids

In addition, other synergistic biogenic amines, such as putrescine or cadaverine, can also interfere with histamine and thus increase the negative effect. Lysine and other free amino acids in feed and food also affect the development of sensitisation because they can cause an imbalance of amino acids in the body (for example, books on veterinary pathology have shown that an imbalance of amino acids occurs when free amino acids are added to feed or food). This is often the case today, including in supplements for bodybuilders.

The role of DAO enzymes

In addition, DAO and MAO-inhibiting xenobiotics (e.g. chemicals, pesticides) that enter our bodies can exacerbate the problem. Biogenic amines are detoxified by the enzymes monoamine oxidase (MAO) and diamine oxidase (DAO). Various chemicals inhibit the action of the DAO enzyme in the gut, while other xenobiotics kill the beneficial gut bacteria that are supposed to break down biogenic amines. In practice, therefore, xenobiotics also exploit the two-dimensional equation according to which avoiding histamine-containing foods and taking a DAO enzyme is sufficient for histamine intolerance.

Therefore, exposure to genetically modified foods and consumption of animal products produced from animal feed can also lead to histamine intolerance. Some studies have shown that GM soy and maize affect the gut microbiome, gut immune status, and liver and kidney function. But glyphosate has also been shown to block DAO directly.

For this reason, the simultaneous measurement of DAO enzyme levels and histamine levels is often recommended to detect histamine intolerance. However, it is essential to note that the DAO enzyme is not only responsible for breaking down histamine but also other biogen-amines. If you have low levels of histamine but no DAO enzyme in your body, you may be loaded with other biogenic amines.

This means that histamine sensitivity is a complex problem that needs to be seen in context and that in histamine-sensitive people it is not just the consumption of histamine-containing foods that causes the problem.

Anthroposophical medicine believes that the problems of the individual can only be properly understood and treated if they are seen in the context of the macrocosm that surrounds them. Seen in this light, histamine sensitivity is not necessarily due to an individual organ problem, but rather to environmental influences. And the problem is much deeper than it was 20 years ago. This is mainly due to our eating habits and the quality of food available on the market. This means that we can only change our health problems for the better if we change our eating habits for the better.

What helps with histamine sensitivity?

Fulvicherb-Synergy is a multi-component food supplement. It contains herbs, fulvic acid, arginine, praid salt and pectin to maintain and restore balance in the body. The fulvic acid content contributes to the perfect absorption of amino acids without carrier molecules due to its complexing effect. This prevents the bacteria that produce the enzyme decarboxylase from finding a ‘source’ of free amino acids in the gut (e.g. histidine, lysine, tryptophan). This helps to prevent the production of harmful biogenic amines, including the overproduction of histamine.

Apple pectin is one of the main nutrients for the beneficial bacteria of the intestinal flora and therefore plays an important role in restoring and promoting the health of the intestinal flora. This is very important because, as mentioned above, normal gut flora is the most important protective bastion of our body.

Various medicinal herbs (such as milk thistle, blueberry leaves or sorrel) also have a positive effect on intestinal bacteria, effectively boosting the immune system and indirectly increasing histamine resistance.

In summary, it can be said that the use of this product is beneficial for histamine-sensitive individuals due to the physiological correlations described above. The problems associated with the cocktail effect can be effectively avoided by taking a food supplement with a cocktail effect. Fulvicherb-Synergy can be an effective aid in overcoming the problem, provided that as a histamine-sensitive person, you are aware of important factors (what not to do and what to eat).

Fulvicherb-Synergy does not contain any preservatives that could inhibit the DAO enzyme and can therefore be taken by people with histamine intolerance.

In summary, histamine intolerance is a very complex issue that is not only related to histamine-containing foods and the levels of the enzyme DAO in our bodies. Avoiding histamine-containing foods is important in histamine intolerance, but not enough. The problem is largely influenced by the state of the microbiome, which depends on the quality of the food we eat.

Both genetically modified foods and meat from animals raised on genetically modified feed have the potential to adversely affect our gut flora and disrupt the function of the DAO enzyme in the gut, leading to short-term overproduction of histamine.

Keeping the gut flora healthy and restoring the microbiome will therefore help us to effectively combat histamine sensitivity. This is where dietary supplements such as Fulvicherb-Synergy can help, as their active ingredients help to build and maintain a healthy gut flora, supporting the production and absorption of histamine and the function of the DAO enzyme.

Read the article in German: Histaminunverträglichkeit (Histaminintoleranz) – Es geht nicht nur um Histamin

Read the article in Polish: Wrażliwość na histaminę: Nie chodzi tylko o histaminę


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