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Is your IBS related to excess Histamine

What is Histamine?

Histamine is an inflammatory compound that helps our immune system fight infections. It is also released during allergic reactions.

Plus, histamine can also be found in the foods we eat.

What Causes Histamine Intolerance?

In healthy bodies, histamine from food is broken down by an enzyme known as diamine oxidase which is found in our digestive system. If the activity of this enzyme is reduced, our ability to break down histamine is compromised, resulting in the histamine being absorbed into the body. In people with histamine intolerance, diet may contribute to high blood histamine levels.

Possible causes of decreased activity of diamine oxidase include:

· Inherited decrease production of diamine oxidase

· Certain medications

· Foods that are high in compounds similar to histamine

· Inflammation in the digestive system

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance

People with a histamine intolerance usually have symptoms that overlap with IBS.

Diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and excessive wind are common.

A key difference between histamine intolerance and IBS is that histamine intolerance causes multi-organ symptoms. If you have digestive symptoms only, you probably don’t have histamine intolerance. Common symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

· Skin: itching, flushing, hives, swelling

· Respiratory: red itchy eyes, sinus pain, nasal congestion

· Digestive: diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, burping

· Other: headache

1. Low Histamine Diet

A low histamine diet limits foods that are high in histamine and foods that may potentially cause a release of histamine in the digestive system. High histamine foods are very individual, so unfortunately there isn’t a one-size-fits-all list of foods to include and avoid.

Bacterial growth in food, such as fermented foods and leftovers, are susceptible to high histamine levels. Additionally, certain fruits and vegetables such as spinach and tomatoes are thought to be high in histamine, especially when overripe. Other foods such as egg white are considered to be histamine-releasing foods. This concept is very popular, even in medical journal articles, but we lack solid evidence to suggest that any food can cause a direct release of histamine in the digestive system.

A low histamine diet helps some people feel better, with symptoms usually improving within one week. If a low histamine diet has not made a noticeable difference within four weeks, the diet should be discontinued.

2. Diamine Oxidase Supplements

As described above, low diamine oxidase enzyme activity may lead to reduced histamine breakdown and increased absorption of histamine into the body. Luckily, the diamine oxidase enzyme is available as a supplement. The supplement is taken prior to meals and works by breaking histamine down in that meal, with potential benefits assessed very quickly. Biocare, Solgar, Holland & Barret,

3. Quercetin

Quercetin belongs to a class of water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids. Quercetin acts as an antihistamine and has anti-inflammatory properties. A variety of evidence indicates that quercetin possesses potent antioxidant properties.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, the “glue” that strengthens many parts of the body, such as muscles and blood vessels. Vitamin C also plays important roles in wound healing and as a natural antihistamine.

Vitamin C acts differently from antihistamine medications, reducing the amount of histamine you produce rather than blocking histamine receptors. Research suggests histamine levels may reduce by about 38% after a person takes 2 grams of vitamin C

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