Print Friendly, PDF & Email

‘Histamine intolerance’ is a condition that results in high histamine levels. It is technically caused by a deficiency of an enzyme that breaks histamine down called diamine oxidase (DAO). Anything that causes histamine to increase contributes to this condition.

Often, a variety of food chemicals can cause a spike in inflammation and histamine, as was the case in myself.

In addition to my own battle with histamine intolerance, I have had quite a few clients who deal with histamine intolerance. This protocol is dedicated to them. Read on to learn about histamine intolerance, how it affects your health, and what you can do to treat it.

More About Histamine Intolerance

The clearest sign of histamine intolerance is a bad reaction after eating fermented foods like sauerkraut.

One of the biggest contributors to histamine intolerance is chronic HPA activation.

If you have histamine intolerance, some potential therapeutic options include:

If you have histamine issues in general, then do the following:

  • Use Cromolyn as a mast cell stabilizer. It is effective when used right before or during a reaction
  • Take 1 capsule of Forskolin as a mast cell stabilizer [R]
  • Take 1 capsule twice a day of EGCG to inhibit histidine decarboxylase and stabilize mast cells
  • Experiment with other substances below and in the Th2 dominance page

To help combat histamine intolerance, I came up with the lectin avoidance diet to minimize food sensitivities, along with a cookbook.

What Does Histamine Intolerance Come From?

Histamine intolerance comes about as a result of too little histamine-degrading enzymes in your gut (DAO).

The result is accumulated histamine. This causes numerous symptoms that resemble an allergic reaction.

It can come from gut damage, alcohol, drugs/supplements, or a microbial imbalance.

If a lack of DAO is the sole cause of your histamine issues, then all you need to do is take the enzyme.

I suspect, however, that many people who complain of histamine intolerance don’t always have issues with the enzyme in particular. Rather, I believe such people are Th2 dominant and just produce excess histamine after meals.

For this post, I will discuss all the ways in which you can reduce histamine overall, not only ways to increase the enzyme.

Do You Have Histamine Intolerance

Reduced DAO levels can also lead to the following symptoms:

Scientific Evidence for Harm Caused by Histamine and Biogenic Amines

When blood histamine levels are raised above the normal range (0.3 to 1.0 ng/mL) this produces certain effects. For example, a level of 1 to 2 ng/mL causes increased stomach acid secretion, with flushing, headache, hives (urticaria), and itching skin (pruritus). At a level of 3 to 5 ng/mL), patients experience a high heart rate.. At a level of 7 to 12 ng/mL, bronchospasm is experienced, and cardiac arrest occurs at levels of 100 ng/mL [R].

Thus, large amounts of ingested histamine can cause significant symptoms in otherwise well individuals. For example, symptoms of flushing, sweating, hives (urticaria), GI symptoms, palpitations, and in severe cases bronchospasm, may occur following the consumption of spoiled fish [R].

This condition, known as scombroid poisoning, occurs due to the high level of histidine in certain fish species being converted into histamine by marine bacteria [R].

Due to the nature of the symptoms caused, reactions involving vasoactive amines may be incorrectly diagnosed as a food allergy.

One study found that a diet low in vasoactive amines alleviated chronic headaches in 73% of patients [R].

Another study reported that 27 out of 44 (61%) subjects had a significant improvement in idiopathic urticaria, angioedema, and pruritus on a diet low in dietary amines, although foods containing additives or high in natural salicylate were also restricted [R].

Subjects with chronic hives or angioedema had a marginally significant reduction in their use of antihistamines on a histamine-reducing diet, compared to a control group who eliminated artificial sweeteners from their diet [R].

Fifty-eight percent of adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) considered foods rich in vasoactive amines, such as wine, beer, salami, and cheese, to be a cause of their symptoms [R].

Although 75 mg of liquid histamine can provoke symptoms in healthy volunteers, defining a safe threshold level for sensitive individuals is difficult [RR].

In a placebo-controlled study, no correlation was found between wine histamine content and wine intolerance. It also concluded that other vaso-active amines or sulfites may be more relevant in intolerance to wine [R].

It is thought that other foods may be able to cause histamine release directly from tissue mast cells, although evidence for this is lacking [R].

Amine and Histamine-Rich Foods

Histamine is considered a biogenic amine. Biogenic amines are commonly found in fish, fish products, meat, dairy products, wine, cider, and beer, as well as spinach, tomatoes, and yeast products [R, R].

Biogenic or vasoactive amines are produced by bacteria during fermentation, storage, or decay [R].

They include beta-phenylethylamine, tyramine, tryptamine, putrescine, cadaverine, spermine, and spermidine, but histamine is the one most frequently linked to food-related symptoms [R].

Citrus fruits are histamine “liberators” and should likewise be avoided [R].

In general, foods likely to contain high levels of these biogenic amines are fermented foods or foodstuff exposed to microbial contamination during storage [R].

Histamine, tyramine, cadaverine, spermine, spermidine, putrescine, tryptamine, and agmatine are considered to be the most important biogenic amines occurring in foods [R].

Biogenic amines have a negative reputation, but in reality, some like spermidine are quite healthful.

Spermidine prolongs the lifespan of several model organisms including yeast, nematodes, and flies, and reduces oxidative stress. Spermidine induces autophagy in cultured cells and flies [R].

The main bacteria responsible for biogenic amine production in fermented food are lactic acid bacteria (LAB) [R].

These bacteria can break down amino acids into amine-containing compounds. Bacteria produce these compounds as defense mechanisms to withstand acidic environments [R].

Biogenic amines play critical roles within the human body [R].

Some countries place limits for histamine in wine such as Germany (2mg/l), Holland (3mg/l), Finland (5mg/l), Belgium (5 to 6mg/l), France (8mg/l), Switzerland, and Austria (10mg/l) [R].

According to one study, the average levels of histamine in wine were 3.63 mg/L for French wines, 2.19 mg/L for Italian wines, and 5.02 mg/L for Spanish wines [R].

The histamine content varies widely even in foods with supposedly high histamine levels [R].

The following foods generally have high histamine levels:

  • Fermented products: Sauerkraut, kombucha, alcoholic beverages (except distilled), pickles, fermented soy products, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, mature cheese
  • Cured, smoked, and fermented meats: Sausage, pepperoni, salami, etc.
  • Canned fish products [R]
  • Tomato paste [R]
  • Spinach and yeast products [R]
  • Citrus fruits are histamine “liberators,” which increase histamine release, and should likewise be avoided [R]

Introduction to Mast Cells

Other than histamine, mast cells release:

Mast cells are present in most tissues surrounding blood vessels and nerves. They are especially present in areas that interact with the outside world: the skin, lungs, digestive tract, mouth, eyelids, and nose.

Mast cell activation plays a central role in asthma, allergic rhinitis, anaphylaxiseczemaitching (pruritus), hives, pain, and autoimmunity. It also suppresses fertility and sperm motility in males.

Mast Cells, Histamine, and Stress

Whenever your stress response is set off, your hypothalamus releases Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH), which results in an increase in cortisol release.

People think that cortisol is the villain. Chronically elevated cortisol is certainly bad, but chronically elevated CRH is even much worse.

Mast cells get activated by CRH, which leads to histamine release [R].

On the other hand, cortisol inhibits histamine secretion [R].

So, we see that activation of your stress pathway has opposing effects on histamine. But eventually, you become insensitive to cortisol and the histamine-reducing effects of cortisol are diminished, while CRH stays elevated.

CRH also activates brain mast cells to release inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and IL-8. [R]. Activation of mast cells by CRH increases brain barrier permeability [R].

Some people produce high levels of CRH and lower levels of cortisol, and this causes a lot of histamine issues.

Through my consults, I’ve realized that a majority of people’s histamine issues are most impacted by chronic stress response activation, i.e., too much HPA activity.

Psychological stress is only one of the dozens of reasons why your stress response is overactive. However, it’s often the most significant factor.

Read the full list of reasons for chronic stress pathway activation and see how many factors apply to you.

You can take a salivary cortisol rhythm test to get a better idea of what your stress response is like.

Mice who were exposed to acute stress more quickly developed multiple sclerosis, a disease with a leaky brain barrier. When these mice were lacking mast cells or CRH, the effects disappeared [R].

Read why stress is bad.

Histamine and IgE Allergies

If you’re Th2 dominant, you will likely have issues with histamine.

This is because B-cells produce IgE antibodies, which in turn stimulates mast cells to release histamine.

Therefore, you should think about taking supplements to suppress your Th2 system.

Histamine and Biotoxin Illness/CIRS

People with biotoxin illness generally have issues with histamine-rich foods, such as cured or fermented foods.

The most common biotoxin is mold, which is in all of our homes to one degree or another.

Mold is a broad category that includes the actual mold itself like Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, and others.

However, it’s important to note that it’s usually not just the mold, but also the algae, bacteria, VOCs, and chemicals from the mold that can be mass activators of inflammation, causing histamine issues as a side effect.

The most common markers of biotoxin illness are elevated C4a and TGF-beta. These inflammatory responses activate mast cells, which cause blood histamine levels to rise [R].

Mast Cells and Infections

Sometimes, if people have chronic infections, they can have histamine/mast cell issues. Mast cells get activated by parasites through IgE responses, for example.

Histamine and Lectins

Lectins can bind to the lining of the gut wall and make it leakier [R].

Undigested lectins can enter the bloodstream [R].

Lectins such as ConA are probably the best-studied food components in triggering mast cells and basophils [R].

IgE antibodies contain sugar molecules that are a target of lectins. Lectins can then cause histamine to be released. (This works by cross-linking the glycans of cell-bound IgE.)

In the picture below, the Ys are IgE antibodies, the red dots are the sugar molecules, and the purple egg is a lectin. This is what’s called “cross-linking the glycans of cell-bound IgE.”

Misc_fig_2 (Condensed)

The cited study was performed with potato lectins, but many other lectins would likely have a similar effect.

Potato lectin is present in amounts of 5 to 8 mg per 100 g raw potatoes, and ∼0·5 mg per 100 g when cooked [R].

Cooked potatoes still retain about half of the biological activity of lectins, so even cooking them won’t get rid of the problem, but it does improve it to a large extent [R].

The following lectins increase histamine release:

  • White potatoes and certainly unmodified potato starch (STA): “As potato lectin activates and degranulates both mast cells and basophils by interacting with the chitobiose core of IgE glycans, higher intake of potato may increase the clinical symptoms as a result of non-allergic food hypersensitivity in atopic subjects” [R]
  • Tomatoes: “Tomato lectin behaves similarly to potato lectin in a glycoprotein-binding assay, based on their structural homology and identical sugar specificity” [R]
  • Soy (SBA) [R]
  • Gluten-containing grains (WGA): However, this evidence is contradictory. It could be that WGA increases histamine release, but when histamine is released the stores get used up for a bit, and histamine is inhibited [R, R, R]
  • Legumes (ConA) [R]

Leptin, Mast Cells, and Histamine Intolerance

Leptin may have to do with histamine intolerance.

Leptin and leptin receptors are in mast cells in human skin, lungs, gut, and urogenital tract, suggesting that leptin has some effect on mast cells [R].

In metabolic syndrome patients, there was a positive correlation between leptin levels and the number of fat tissue mast cells, suggesting that leptin may stimulate mast cells [R].

It seems like leptin causes mast cells to be more inflammatory [R].

Leptin correlates with, and probably increases, mast cell activation in children with asthma who exercise [R].

See my post on leptin: All About Leptin: Its Role in Chronic Inflammation, CFS, and Weight.

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Activates Mast Cells

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) activates mast cells, which causes the release of histamine. BDNF, and other neurotrophins, However, it does not activate mast cells [R].

This may contribute to histamine intolerance.

A number of autoimmune conditions have high NGF as well as more mast cells [R].

NGF is one mechanism by which stress increases histamine intolerance, inflammation, and autoimmunity [R].

Ghrelin Activates Mast Cells

Ghrelin and obestatin induce hunger, anxiety, and mast cell activation [R].

This hormone is another reason why anxiety often goes together with histamine intolerance.

Mast Cells and Fluoride

Fluoride potentiates mast cells to trigger more easily. People are exposed to more fluoride in the US because of the fluoridation in water.

Histamine and Mast Cell Stabilizers

Histamine is released by immune cells called mast cells. When you stabilize these cells, histamine doesn’t get released.

When mast cells are activated, they release much more than histamine.

People with mast cell activation from food allergies can experience brain fog. I believe this is because mast cells release superoxide, which is the central cause of brain fog [R].

Various herbs within the Th2 list are mast cell stabilizers, and therefore prevent the release of histamine.

Mast cell Stabilizers/Histamine Reducers

A relatively safe and effective drug that stabilizes mast cells is called Cromolyn. This drug works via multiple mechanisms in combating allergies. It’s available over the counter in the US.

The following also stabilize mast cells:

Mast cells have a circadian rhythm [R].

Most of the supplements for Th2 dominance decrease histamine release from mast cells.

Histamine and Antihistamines

Antihistamines (H1-receptor antagonists) block histamine receptors so that with a given amount of circulating histamine, the effects will be less severe.

Fexofenadine or Allegra seems like a safe drug that doesn’t cause drowsiness because it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier much. First generation antihistamines (Benadryl) do cross the brain barrier and cause fatigue.

Research on humans taking Allegra at normal dosages shows no significant adverse effects when compared to a placebo. No deaths occurred in testing on mice who took 110 times the maximum recommended dose for an adult human. I recommend speaking to your doctor to get a prescription.

Benadryl is good to take at night since it induces sleepiness. It’s actually an FDA-approved sleep medication.

Benadryl has other positive effects besides blocking histamine receptors. It decreases anxiety, increases serotonin, increases dopamine, and is useful for the treatment of OCD [R, R, R].

Histamine and Bradykinin

Bradykinin is a protein that causes blood vessels to dilate (enlarge) and therefore causes blood pressure to fall.

It is used in studies to increase histamine levels [R].

One potential mechanism by which it increases histamine is via an increase in calcium within our cells [R].

ACE inhibitors or blood pressure-lowering drugs increase bradykinin.

ACE inhibitors also constrict our airways, which makes sense because histamine causes such effects.

Therefore, people with histamine issues would be wise to stay away from ACE-inhibiting drugs, unless absolutely needed.

Click here to see a list of natural ACE inhibitors, which are weaker than drugs.

Supplements that inhibit bradykinin:

Histamine and Histidine Decarboxylase

Histidine decarboxylase (HDC) is the enzyme that speeds up the reaction that produces histamine from the amino acid histidine. This enzyme is helped by vitamin B6.

If you inhibit the enzyme HDC, you decrease the production of histamine.

Inhibitors of HDC are:

It might be a good idea to check if you’ve got H Pylori (breath). H pylori infect about 52% of the American public. H pylori infection increases histidine carboxylase, which increases histamine [R].

Histamine and Probiotics

Some probiotics degrade histamine and are recommended for histamine-intolerant people.

Histamine degrading bacteria:

People with histamine intolerance generally do better with Bifido probiotics.

Supplements That Increase DAO Production

Besides taking an enzyme, some supplements increase DAO.

The following increase DAO:

  • Vitamin C: In one study, 1 g of vitamin C also directly decreased histamine in everyone it was given to, and histamine levels increased exponentially as the ascorbic acid level decreased. Take 500 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C periodically throughout the day, as it is rapidly excreted [R, R]
  • Vitamin B-6: Caution, this also increases histidine decarboxylase) [R]
  • Benadryl [R]
  • Pancreatic enzymes: Don’t know if it increases DAO, but it supposedly helps [R]

H Pylori inhibits absorption of vitamin C [R].

SAM-e may help break down histamine by methylating it.

Histamine N-methyltransferase is an alternative to DAO in breaking down histamine, using SAM-e to accomplish this.

Histamine and Erythropoietin

In a clinical trial with uremic patients, 8 out of 10 people with pruritus had marked reductions in their pruritus scores during erythropoietin therapy.

The patients with pruritus had elevated histamine (20.7 nmol/l), compared with the patients without pruritus (4.2) and normal subjects (2.1).

Therapy with erythropoietin decreased histamine, and discontinuation of erythropoietin was accompanied by increases in histamine [R].

Read a list of Ways to increase EPO.

Flushing: Histamine, MSH, or Both?

People with histamine issues are most often underweight, have low blood pressure, have increased pain sensitivity, and don’t display a fever generally, even though they exhibit inflammation.

While histamine has a role in these, activation of the melanocortin receptors can cause the same issues (MC4R) [R].

People with chronic stress and/or inflammation have the MC4R receptor activated, which then leads to flushing, weight loss, lower blood pressure, and increased pain [R].

My guess is that both histamine and MC4R cause flushing symptoms.

You can check your genes for MC4R.

Be Wary of These Supplements

Histamine-producing bacteria:

DAO inhibitors:


Genetics of Histamine Intolerance

SelfDecode is the best and most powerful genetic application, which helps you interpret your genes. You need to sign up and upload your genetics to see what versions of these genes you have.

Sign up for 23andme for only $99.

SNPs in the HDC gene:

Some HDC gene variants increase the risk of developing allergic rhinitis [R].

  1. RS16963486
  2. RS2073440

SNPs in the HNMT gene:

A variant of HNMT increases the risk of developing atopic dermatitis in children twofold, while another variant is associated with chronic urticaria [R].

  1. RS1050891

rs1050891: The HNMT gene known as C939T regulates histamine. “AA” will increase histamine.

If you have AA, don’t despair, as ~56% of the population has this gene.

Food additives can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and cause non-IgE-dependent histamine release from basophils [R].

“AA” for this gene indicates an increase in ADHD behavior for children when they have been exposed to certain food additives: Sunset yellow, carmoisine, tartrazine, ponceau 4R, quinoline yellow, Allura red AC, and sodium benzoate.

It’s believed that”AA” increases histamine levels and this is responsible for the ADHD behavior [R].

Taking SAM-e should negate this gene, theoretically.

SNPs in the Diamine Oxidase gene (AOC1):

  1. RS1005390
  2. RS1049793
  3. RS17173637
  4. RS10156191
  5. RS1049742 
  6. RS2052129
  7. RS2071517

rs10156191 (DAO Gene): Each “T” allele means you have reduced DAO activity [R].

A “T” allele means you’re more likely to get migraines and you’re also going to be more sensitive to NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen) [R, R].

rs1049742 (DAO Gene): Each T allele means you have reduced DAO activity [R].

SNPs in the H4R gene:

Variants of the H4R gene are associated with an increased risk of atopic dermatitis, and infection-induced asthma [R, R].

The number of H4R copies correlates to the incidence of arthritis, proteinuria, and antinuclear antibody abnormalities in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) [R].

  1. RS11662595
  2. RS11665084

SNPs in the H1R gene:

A variant in H1R has been associated with Parkinson’s disease [R].

  1. RS4684059
  2. RS7651620

SNPs in the MS4A2 gene:

The MS4A2 (Membrane-spanning 4-domains A2) gene codes for a subunit of the IgE-receptor protein. The IgE-receptor protein is found on the surface of mast cells and plays an important function in allergen response [R].

Mutations in this gene are associated with asthma and fibromyalgia, among other conditions [R, R].

  1. RS512555
  2. RS569108
  3. RS983392

SNPs in the GABRB3 gene:

This gene encodes a protein that serves as the receptor for gamma-aminobutyric acid, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the nervous system. It is associated with epilepsy and autism [R].

  1. RS25409
  2. RS3212335
  3. RS4906902
  4. RS61996546
  5. RS8043440
  6. RS878960

Testing for Histamine Intolerance

You can do a histamine test to check for elevated blood levels. You can also check your tryptase levels, which are markers for mast cell activation.

The diagnosis of sensitivity to vasoactive amines is usually made through history and dietary exclusion; however, some studies have suggested that the measurement of diamine oxidase (DAO) levels may be helpful.

One study found a DAO level <3 kU/mL was associated with reported symptoms to high histamine foods, whereas a level of >10 kU/mL indicated histamine intolerance was unlikely [R].

Patients with chronic idiopathic hives/urticaria and GI symptoms have reduced DAO activity [RR].

Another study reported that the size of the wheel used in the “histamine 50-skin-prick test”, was a useful diagnostic indicator: 82% of subjects with histamine intolerance maintained a wheal size greater than 3 mm, compared with 18 % of controls [R].

I suggest just taking the DAO enzyme and see how you feel.

SelfDecode Pages

To get full use out of these pages, it’s best to have your genetics uploaded to SelfDecode. For example, you can see if any of your related genes are flagged as “potentially problematic.” If you have many genes that are flagged as problematic, you might be susceptible to alterations with that biological process.

Here is an example of genes that I found were problematic for me related to mast cell degranulation.


Some people supposedly have trouble converting sulfur to sulfate (phenol sulfotransferase issue), and those who have a sensitivity to certain foods and chemicals because of this often times develop a high histamine level.

Avoiding certain phenolic and high salicylate foods may help the sulfation problem and subsequently lower the high histamine level.

MSM or Epsom salts also supply sulfur to the system and may be helpful. Some people cannot convert the sulfur in MSM to the needed sulfate form, although other people can.

Epsom salts supply sulfur in the sulfate form directly. Taking MSM or Epsom salts may alleviate a histamine reaction. You can also try glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate.

Are You Struggling With Chronic Health Issues?

If you are struggling with chronic health issues – the way I used to – you probably have piles of lab tests that can potentially tell you a lot about your health. However, doctors never had enough time to explain it properly. They will only notice it if the lab flags your test results as outside of normal. But what if all your results are coming back normal, yet you know you are feeling nowhere near healthy? They may even tell you there is nothing wrong with you, and that it’s all in your head – I’ve been there.

Lab Test Analyzer is the tool I wish I had when I was dealing with all my health issues. Instead of normal, it will tell you the optimal values for lab tests. And if you are outside the optimal range, it will give you actionable tips and recommendations that will help you get there.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 4.89 out of 5)

Why did you dislike this article?



  • Janet Jackson

    I do suffer (horribly) from histamine intolerance – my very worst symptom is panic attacks. I now live on a low histamine diet, but have other factors affecting histamine. While I would like to try your diet, I believe I also have a sensitivity to salicylates, which complicates everything that much further. I noticed that many of your foods do have salicylates. Do you have any suggestions or do you have any experience with salicylate sensitivity?

    1. Ana Aleksic

      Hi Janet, you are absolutely right. The lectin avoidance diet includes foods low in salicylates ( However, some included foods do contain salicylates. You may want to start out with an elemental diet for a couple of weeks

  • Helan

    I have a low DAO level, 2.84, but my doctor told me it’s not that low to take Daosin. So, I did my own research and started a non gluten, non lactose, and low histamine diet. Yes I know, it’s quite challenging. I can eat fresh meat, with brocolli, caullyflower, carrots, cucumbers, salads (no tomatoes), rice, quinoa, millet, or pollenta, fresh fruits, except oranges, lemons, bananas. Pears, apples and cantaloupe works best for me. Two days per week I go without any meat, only fresh vegetables. I’m also taking a homeopathic remedy – Histaminum 30CH, 5 pellets per day, and Blatta orientalis for dust and mites allergy. I also take vit D 1000 in the morning, iron, code liver oil for DHA and EPA, Q10 15 mg, and vit C. I feel much better now after 3 weeks of diet, but I need to redo my blood tests to see if DAO went up to a normal level. Anyway, I can see a lot of benefits – no more migranes, lost 3 kilos, better sleep, improved digestion (still not perfect).

  • carol close

    Someone asked if there are long term health effects from taking anti-histamines. Yes, definitely! Pretty much any drug that makes your mouth really dry is an anticholinergic drug and can cause dementia. I know lots of people who take Benadryl to fall asleep and that is really bad. Anti histamines are anticholinergic drugs and people who take these over a long period of time are at greater risk of developing dementia. The use of anticholinergic drugs has been strongly associated with adverse health outcomes, including cognitive impairment, dementia, falls, functional decline, hospitalization and mortality, especially in older adults. Anything that interferes with the crucial neurotransmitter acetylcholine can be bad for the brain. A great many medications have what has been called “anticholinergic” activity. Research has verified that anticholinergic drugs may have a serious impact on the brain. Also, any drug that disrupts sleep architecture (deep slow wave delta sleep) is bad for the brain and can cause dementia including sleep inducing drugs such as benzodiazepine sleep medications and sedative hypnotics and there is no long term recommended drug for long term insomnia. Click here to see if your drug is on this list of drugs that are anticholinergic and can cause dementia. Benadryl and Claritin are just a couple of many. Make sure you scroll down to go through all of the lists.

  • Iness

    good afternoon, sorry to write here, did not find a form for communication. The menu does not work on the site. This means that the submenu does not appear if you hover over the buttons, the buttons are dead. I’ve tried three browsers. My friend has the same.

  • Lili Brewster

    Interesting reading shows how different we all are.
    I have many of these hisamine intolerances and suffered from joint pain, wrists, hands, elbows, shoulders. I had read somewhere, years ago, about stinging nettle plant (not the supplement) I found some growing in my backyard so i stung myself with the plant directly on the painful areas, yes it stings but only lasts a couple of minutes. And yes it worked only required to do it 3 times a week for about 2 weeks and then followed up if i felt any niggling pain. So that was a year ago and am still pain free though have had some mild pain returning in my wrists but thats ok as stinging nettle is a perennial plant and have noticed that I have new plants just stating to shoot. Research has told me that the stings release histidine and possibly seratonin though not really sure.

  • MCADgirl

    This is well researched and has some interesting suggestions. I’m currently take Quercetin, Resveratrol, CO Q 10, Ginger, Omega 3s, and Melatonin. I haven’t had much luck with probiotics in the past, but I’ve never tried L. Plantarum or Fisetin, so I will see if I have any improvement with them.. However, I can’t make heads or tails of the low lectin diet. I’ve made attempts to look for “delayed reactions” by cutting out dairy and gluten for long periods and I don’t seem to have them, even though I also have autoimmune diseases. I don’t eat any wheat, beans, legumes or nightshades except potatoes, though for what its worth.

    People say that fasting causes histamine release, but I’ve found it is the absolute best thing for an acute allergic exacerbation. I have MCAD, which is a severe cause of histamine intolerance. Shortly before I was diagnosed, I had become so ill that I was told I wasn’t going to get a diagnosis and was probably terminally ill and should “prepare.” I was in the worst pain and eating was nearly impossible, so I stopped eating. Instead of worsening and dying, I actually improved after several days. I can’t seriously recommend this (in fact I don’t), but when I realized this helped, I only ate every third or fourth day for months and it turned the course of my disease around. This is just one person, but its an extreme example, and I don’t think that people with HIT need to be afraid of intermittent fasting necessarily.

  • MCADgirl

    Hi SelfHacked,
    Opioids are direct mast cell activators. They signal to the mast cells to release inflammatory mediators. That’s why itching is such a common side effect for anyone taking them. It’s not logical that they should improve a histamine intolerance.

  • Hope Farmer

    Asking for a friend: does anyone know how long a DAO supplement works? You take it 20 min. Before stint, but what if you finish eating, two a break for an hour or two and then want dessert or some one? Do you need to speak the cycle? It’s also an economics question since the pills work but aren’t cheap. Thanks!

  • Barry

    Hi Wayne,

    That is a very insightful comment you made. My very persistent UC went into remission with low histamine foods and Benadryl about 1.5 years ago. I assumed the compound heterozygous mthfr mutations and a cbs mutation I found through genetic testing were the cause of my buildup of histamine. But it just might be the initial intestinal inflammation due to poor eating habits years ago that was the tipping point for the UC.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    But if your histamine is coming from, say, colitis, many of the foods and supplements you list above worsen colitis. In other words, your histamine may be systemic not directly related to food intolerances.

  • mary

    Where can I buy in the US?

  • Anthony Smith

    hey just wondering if you have any antibiotic use. mainly of Floroquinlone or qunilone antibiotics?

    1. Helen

      Quinolone antibiotics may induce histamine release. Check these studies: and

  • Cindy

    Thank you for this information. What form of magnesium helps?? Also aloe in pill form ?

  • Victoria

    Hi. I am having he exact same issue, but I have not yet found he reason behind it. It came about very suddenly after I switched from a high carb junk food diet to the GAPS diet very quickly. I think I shocked my system or something. Omeprazole makes me worse. I have extreme hunger pangs and wake up hungry several times during the night and cannot get back to sleep until I’ve eaten an been to the toilet to pee. There are many other symptoms including thirst, dry eyes, muscle loss, nervousness, pale skin, thinning skin, thinner hair. I’ve had all the obvious doctors tests done. I have only just started reading about histamine intolerance. Do you still think this is your issue? I think I might try a low histamine diet and see how it goes. I would really appreciate it if you let me know if you have made any progress. I will do the same for you. Thanks. Victoria from the UK

  • question

    BTW I also rarely get sick

  • selfhackedquestion

    hey joe,
    if opioids seem to lower my flushing, anxiety, and histamine… does that mean I have a high th1 immunity?

    1. Helen

      Hi, you can ask Joe inside of VIP: or over at

  • Matt

    Glad to hear about the low histamine Wines!

  • Weingut Fuchs

    Wines are indeed often high in histamines, especially red wines, but not necessarily so. As a winery, we were confronted with the histamine problem by our customers.
    After devoting some time and research into the topic, we are proud to have a rather large assortment of wines containing histamine quantities of about or even less than 0.1 mg/l. From histamine intolerance suffering customers report, that they can easily enjoy these wines sans any bad effects.

  • Sheron Pearson

    Ive been researching this subject of histamine intolerance alot recently and have read a few times from practicioners that using antihistamines can help short term but because your body thinks you are getting low in histamine it producers more so you get a rebound effect from more histamine being produced. Theres also H1 and H2 antihistamines that work on different pathways so using both is often needed to get the best result. Understanding your reasons for having histamine intolerance by first checking your DAO and methylation status is really the best place to start.

  • Meldene L Dorn

    Jeff, Mensah Medical treat over/under metholation. They also work with Bill Walsh.
    Google Mensah Medical. We go there

  • Nick

    I’m taking colostrum which I heard can help heal the guy therefore help with histamine intolerance. But one of ingredients in it is sunflower lecithin. Is that safe for someone with a histamine intolerance problem

  • arthenning

    Hi there, I’m having problems with HIT for years but managed to improve it a lot, mainly thanks to magnesium, l-plantarum, ginger and quercetin. By sheer chance, I came across another very helpful plant. I had broken my arm and can’t take pain killers as they are all histamine releasers. Looking for natural pain killers I found and tried Aloe Vera. It has also anti-histamine properties AND fixes the digestive tract which is generally not in best shape with HIT people. Many diseases come from digestive disorders anyway. So, the Aloe Vera has helped me a lot and I’ll continue to take it.
    Best wishes, Bridget

  • Marie

    Great article and comments !

  • DarrenA

    Hi Folks

    2 part questions on Anti-histamines

    1. Chemical anti-histamines – some have been recommended above such as fexofenadine, claritine , that are few years have past [2014 is when i see the discussion] does anyone have any feedback on A. Effectiveness. B. Long term impact to Health [what are the side affects and what impact has that had on your health]

    2. Natural anti-histamines – what dosage are people using in the real-world and does it work. What are the side effects you have noticed on your health.


  • Dee

    Thanks for the well-researched and referenced site. Appreciate the thoroughness and thoughtfulness, including the neg effects of some recommended therapies. So, high-ish histamine seems beneficial for cognition, and some antihistamines (Benadryl) appear to have detrimental cognitive effects. You have not commented on this site on any detrimental effects of choline, lecithin, racetams or afinils, nor do they appear on any histamine-linked drug lists, yet some isolated reports suggest they could increase histamine- mediated adverse skin and GI reactions along with their potential cognitive benefits. Can you comment? Do these supplements increase histamine?

  • Amanda Patrick

    This is a great comprehensive guide to histamine. I have been dealing with histamine intolerance symptoms for a number of years and found it helpful to address candida overgrowth. It has dramatically reduced my symptoms. I started writing about it at Candida can definitely cause histamine issues. Great article.

  • Dusty Miller


    Thanks so much for this informative article.

    I took omeprazole/ranitidine as recommended by my Dr (bad idea) & had a severe reaction to them. I stopped taking them a year ago but ever since & still I have been getting what I think is histamine reactions. I get blocked ears when I eat egg or drink alcohol, GI upset from chocolate & severely acidic stomach (powerful hunger pangs only relieved by eating) when I drink kombucha or take probiotics. Even when I don’t take these things my stomach is very acidic which is causing pain.

    I am at a loss on what is going on. I do not get any other of the classic histamine reactions like rashes or headaches, so it seems it’s only effecting my H2.

    Needing advise,


  • Claudia Rowe

    Thank you so much for your well researched and informative site. Spent hours here reading! Have a quick question, if you’d be amenable to answering.

    I have had chronic leptin resistance (serum levels of +50) with no lifestyle factors for 15 years (started testing in 2007) and as a consequence uncontrolled weight gain (I chronically fast to maintain normal weight). I’m wondering of this may be the result of taking sleeping agents, specifically anticholinergics and quetiapine (very low dose – 10mg per night). Both excellent sleep agents but have they caused problems with H1 receptors in my hypothalamus.

    I also have hashi’s, lupus, coelliac and diabetes 2 (no lifestyle factors – don’t eat sugar, exercise a lot).

    Any ideas or opinions most gratefully accepted.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      You can book a consult with Joe or join SelfHacked VIP to ask these questions.
      It’s possible inflammation causes the leptin resistance, but there’s more to it.

  • Janet

    That’s a really common reaction when you have a mast cell disorder. You can try taking an antihistamine before going out in the sun, and then the best thing I have found afterwards is breaking open an Advil soft gel capsule, mixing it with lotion I tolerate, and rubbing it on my skin. You only absorb 1/17 of the dose vs taking it orally, but it stops the prostaglandin production in the skin cells that causes the inflammation.

  • Dendro

    I have had what I call a sun “allergy” ever since taking an antibiotic about 10 years ago. I break out in a hive like rash as soon as i get OUT OF the sun?! It lasts about an hour or two and burns and itches horribly, leaving me drained and ill for the remainder of the day. It’s AWFUL. Do you think this could be a histamine dysfunction of sorts?? If so then what would the recommended course of action be to correct it?? Any advice welcome, I have tried everything I could think of and doctor’s have no answers for me. Thanks!

  • Janet

    I think that’s why Hollywood always portrays the geeks as sneezy and sniffly 🙂 I have a primary immune deficiency and if I suppress my histamine levels too much my viral load goes up. So I try to keep it right on the edge of tolerable, but still some mild reactions. I have good results with astaxanthin, but didn’t do well with quercetin or luteolin. I started taking a supplement called AHCC for my immune system and I was very surprised when my food allergies almost completely disappeared (I have DAO mutations).

  • carol close

    Surprised that seasonal allergies/histamine increase brain cells and memory. Allergy enhances neurogenesis and modulates microglial activation in the hippocampus.
    Seasonal allergies like hay fever increase neurons in the hippocampus and increase the growth of nerve tissue which leads to changes in the brain. Seasonal allergies like hay fever deactivate microglia and reduce the presence of microglia, the brain immune cells. Allergy led to a reduced microglia presence and activity and to an elevated level of neurogenesis in the hippocampus 
    Histamine stimulates neurogenesis in the rodent subventricular zone.

  • Muhammad

    Hi, can you please share the generic name of Benadryl? I am in the UK and the underlying ingredient appears to be different to that use in Benadryl sold inout US and Canada.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD


      1. Muhammad

        Thanks. Yup, Benadryl in UK isn’t diphenhydramine but cetirizine. Ill check if I can find the other one.

        My son who is 3.5 years old has eczema and itchy skin and its been 3 months without much luck. Given the flare ups start with histamine skin reaction (little bumps), I was hoping Benadryl will help.

  • Robby

    H3 is an autoreceptor.

  • Cheri Starr

    I have never, in all my studies, read such a fantastic article! Thank you.

  • Nicole

    This is one of my biggest issues and o can’t believe it took decades to figure out. I don’t have seasonal allergies but food histamines are awful. My question is about the last note in this blog about sulphur. I can’t convert (genetically and symptomstically) but I need sulphate to detox my body and reduce oxalates as these two exchange within the cell (or so I understand). I have this predicament with so many nutrients I need- they just don’t convert and cause horrible symptoms! Any help appreciated 🙂

    1. Carol Labelle

      Do you have any MTHFR MUTATIONS? I started addressing poor methylation by methyl B12 injections which have been so wonderful for mood and energy, three years ago. My seasonal allergies, which are no longer able to express throught coughing or sneezing, now just drain energy and causes weakNess, and poor balance. These lifelong seasonal allergies expanddd to food intolerance after menopause. I just found out that higher Methyl B12 without sufficient enzymes to break down histamine, can cause my symptoms. The methylation process is essential for so many functions in our body. I am hopeful that if I use a combination of methylation support, combined with enzyme therapy for histamine reduction, that this will give me back my summers which used to be my best time of year. My experience with methyl B12 and the unrealized interaction with histamine reducing enzymes has been a reminder of the domino effect that can occur from supplimentation. I have had to navigate most of this on my own, with little or no help from doctors who have accused me of creating my own illness. I am thankful for the ease of access to so much information! Wishing you well!

      1. Nicole

        Thanks Carol, yes, I actually have been told to avoid methyl supp’s and reduce high methyl foods because of this reason. It causes adrenal issues (wired tired insomnia etc) and histamine symptoms and jams up my methylation. I dont understand the specifics, but I suspect the sensitivity of my histamines is related. It doesn’t help that my MOA and DAO pathways are a mess. DAO enzyme supplements in the past didn’t help at all and I’ve never taken antihistamines as I thought they caused Alzheimers. I’ve tried cromolyn years ago and don’t recall if it helped, I may retry. I’m nervous with avoidance ashistory shows I usually need what my body reacts to in order to fix the issue but there’s a lot of cofactors involved too. So frustrating! Thanks for sharing and I wish you luck with it too! 🙂 I have read that B2 deficiency may be related and you need to start this alone before the b12… but we’re all different.

      2. Susanna

        Carol and Nicole, I also have MTHFR mutations (as well as others), and have started on methyl B12 (methylcobalamin) capsules and methyl folate tabs. From what I understand, I need methyl folate, but not too much, to get my slowed methylation cycle moving. Methyl B12 is needed to help the methyl folate. I had started with the wrong form of B12 and it didn’t work. I switched to the methylcobalamin form and immediately felt the difference. I’ve removed folic acid from my supplements (that slows the cycle), but so far have not reduced leafy greens folate. I have a great doc leading me through this, but research myself a lot too so I know what’s going on. Seeking health website has been useful. I hope my new direction provides the answers, my issues were thought to be my many allergies (food, other). But histamine makes so much sense! Histamine can build up if your methylation cycle is slowed. My DAO on the genetic report was fine. DAO supplements did not work for me.

      3. Jeff

        Thank you Carol! I am so glad I found this post of yours as I am so confused and at a loss for what has happened to me after supplementing for MTHFR…For a bit of history, I recently started visiting a natural doctor after having about 2 years of not feeling like myself/chronic fatigue syndrome. I thought it was a result of unhealthy lifestyle in my early 20s now that I’m in my late 20s. Then I found all the online material on MTHFR mutation and read everything I could find. I was certain I had all the symptoms, but the symptoms are not very specific to this mutation vs other problems such as Thyroid/Adrenal etc. Sure enough, a month ago the blood work came back that I have 677TT (homozygous) and a normal 1298AA. For the last two years I have been religiously almost over supplementing when I didn’t know what was wrong with me, long before I recently found out about MTHFR. I was taking NAC, Glutathione, Milk Thistle blends from NOW/Gaia/Whole Foods, vitamin C, tumeric, SAMe, ALA, etc. The supplements helped a lot with energy, with the exception of SAMe, but the anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue would appear out of nowhere and freak me out because I had no explanation why. I should note, certain supplements like SAMe made my anxiety into mild depression so I stopped taking it. Anyways, now that I know about my gene mutation, I have isolated what I am taking to only active b9/b12. I have gotten my anxiety under control but am so fatigued in the morning, more than normal, and have brain fog all day for the last month I’ve been on methylfolate. I have tried both Dr. Lynch’s brand (800mcg methyl-folate, 1000mcg methyl-b12) and Jarrow (400mcg methyl-folate/1000mcg methyl-b12). I am certain it is making my brain not feel right for about 6 hours after taking it in the morning. Today I went and had a dumb 5-hour-energy shot because I knew it has 30mg of niacin and cheap folic acid. It made me feel so much better and alert. I honestly think I do not need methyl-folate even though I have this mutation, is that possible? Because I am not sure Dr. Lynch’s information is informative for everyone (perhaps just homozygous ones like myself), it can do more harm than good. I honestly think I was better off before just taking the liver assistance/methylation supplements and just knowing I need to avoid cheap folate in high doses and I should skip the methylfolate all together. That is what lead me here…looking for stuff like over/under methylation and histamine. If you have any advise, that would be much appreciated; as you noted, I feel very alone and even my wife thinks I’m crazy. The natural doctor is just recommending heavy methylfolate supplementation…I seriously feel like out of no where, after supplementing the methyl b vitamins, if I have wine or alcohol or any of my normal foods, I am having extreme histamine intolerance/high histamine feeling when I have never had any allergies before!

        1. Cyn

          Bill Walsh explains this phenomenon…adding methyl folate for under methylators works for a sec, and then backfires, making it worse. Check out the Walsh institute videos or his book. I discovered the same reaction and then heard his description…Made perfect sense.

  • tony

    The histamine that’s released from mast cells and food is different than the histamine in neurotransmitter form inside your brain right?

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      It’s the same thing, but other amines in foods can act like histamines, too.

      1. tony

        But other amines don’t act as neurotransmitters in the brain like histamine right? My problem is specifically with brain histamine. Does histamine cross the BBB?

        1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

          Well, I haven’t looked that up. But when I eat too much amines in foods (i.e. fermented foods, chocolate, wine, cheese), I get neurological symptoms like anxiety/depression and insomnia. It might be because of higher inflammation, but I believe high dietary amines can really affect your brain.

          1. tony

            Me too. Thanks for the info.

            reply icon
        2. Janet

          Tony, there is a great presentation by Dr. Theoharides about histamine in the brain. It was given at an autism conference but applies to anyone.
          If you go to YouTube and do a search for Dr. Theoharides Brain Allergy and ASD you’ll see the video. (Don’t know if it’s okay to share links in the comments.)

          I have used the Neuroprotek he mentions and it does work well but is very expensive…you don’t need nearly as many doses in a day as it says on the label to see some results.

  • carol close

    Usually where there are high histamine levels, there are also high tryptase levels.

    To lower histamine levels, eat only fresh foods- eggs, chicken, rice, gluten free pasta/crackers, cream cheese, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, non-citrus juices, milk, herbal teas (not coffee, black tea), fresh/frozen fish, fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables. No tomatoes, strawberries, vinegar, matured cheeses, pickled/canned foods, shellfish, salami and other cured meats, sausages, ham, bologna, etc. No beans, nuts chocolate, peanut butter, ready meals, deli food because its been sitting, energy drinks, as these are all high in histamines, so the key to low histamine is fresh as fresh can be.

    To reduce high tryptase levels, take lactoferrin. (Should be a link back to lactoferrin here). Colostrum is another supplement with lactoferrin. Human colostrum (“first milk”) has the highest concentration, followed by human milk, then cow milk (150 mg/L).[3] “Inhibitors of tryptase for the treatment of mast cell-mediated diseases.” (These inhibit tryptase elevated in 3 diseases- Mast Cell Activation Disorders (MCAD aka MCAS-Mast Cell Activation Syndrome), Ehlers Danlos and POTs which are linked together in a disease called Familial Tryptasemmia, which also includes these symptoms- chronic skin flushing, itching, or hives, bee sting allergy, dizziness and/or difficulty maintaining a normal pulse and blood pressure, sometimes diagnosed as dysautonomia or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), chronic head, back, and joint pain, hypermobile joints, scoliosis, retained primary teeth or other skeletal abnormalities, sometimes diagnosed as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Type III, hypermobile type, GI disturbances including heartburn, IBS, and numerous food and drug reactions and intolerances, anxiety, depression, and/or behavioral disturbances). The first three drugs to inhibit tryptase are synthetic and the last is natural- lactoferrin also found in the supplement colostrum: 1) peptidic inhibitors (e.g., APC-366), 2) dibasic inhibitors (i.e., pentamidine-like), 3) Zn(2+)-mediated inhibitors (i.e., BABIM-like), and 4) heparin antagonists (e.g., lactoferrin). They have implicated tryptase as a mediator in the pathology of numerous allergic and inflammatory conditions including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and most notably asthma. A growing body of data further implicates tryptase in certain gastrointestinal (IBS), dermatological (excema), and cardiovascular disorders as well. “Mast Cell Activated Disorders” These disorders include these symptoms- 1) Wheezing/pulmonary signs and symptoms -Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Carcinoid tumors. 2) Hives/itching/rash- Atopic dermatosis, Chronic urticaria, Angioedema, Scleroderma, 3) Autoimmune disorders- Vasculitis, Diarrhea/abdominal pain, Allergic reaction to food, Eosinophilic GI disorders, Celiac disease, IBS, VIPoma
    4) Hematologic disorders- Myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasms, Chronic eosinophilic leukemia. (So, lower these symptoms with a histamine free diet and colostrum/lactoferrin.)

    1. tony

      You actually want to stay away from protien like eggs and chicken. Protien contain the amino acid histidine which your body converts to histamine.

      1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

        Not all of it, though. You still need some histidine for other proteins in the body. Amines in general can be a problem for people who are sensitive.

        1. tony

          Well of course. Almost all food contain some level of protein. I’m talking about high protien foods that contain high levels of histidine like animal products.

          1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

            Histamine intolerance is a misnomer for amine intolerance. You don’t always react to histidine or histamine, but maybe tyramine or other amines as well.

            reply icon
      2. Janet

        I agree with Nattha about the histidine. I had very severe food and chemical sensitivities for years (I have mast cell activation disorder). There were times when I could only tolerate a handful of foods. I came across a book about amino acids in the 90s and a doctor in England was talking about the paradoxical effect of using histidine to treat allergies. Because histidine binds zinc, as you take more, less free zinc is available to stimulate conversion of histidine to histamine (B6 is the other cofactor).

        I started taking 500 mg a day and it was life-changing for me. I have used 500 – 2000 mg a day for the last 25 years to control my high histamine issues. I use more during allergy season or if I have any inflammation. It helps to raise cortisol naturally without the side effects of a steroid. You do have to be sure it’s pure histidine with no B6 added. The only side effect is lower zinc levels if you take it regularly, so you have to supplement 10 mg or so per day if you tend to be deficient. A surprising benefit for me was that it totally cured my mercury sensitivity and all my tests normalized. It chelates several heavy metals.

        I recommended it frequently to my clients when I was working as a personal trainer and nutritional consultant, and often saw great results with IBS-D. I only saw one person seem to have higher histamine levels from it, and it turned out she had a genetic condition called histadelia. It helped her with salicylate sensitivity, but she had some signs of increased histamine and that actually helped her finally get a diagnosis.

        I used to get hives in my mouth and throat from certain foods. I can stop a reaction now immediately by putting some histidine powder in my mouth. The best brand I have found is Montiff…it’s a slightly different formulation than the other brands and works better for me.

        1. btrute

          Dear Janet, thanks for spelling this out. I am very excited to add histidine to my current regime of supplements soon. Till now, my main weapon (along with low histimine diet), which helped stop my ulcerative colitis was benadryl. No other antihistamine helped. I have a few questions that maybe you could answer/speculate on. Do you take the 500 mg of histidine in 1 dose or spread it out? What brand do you use? Did it help you with food sensitivities?
          Would the benadryl I take and histidine be contraindicated? Or would it make sense to start the histidine and if there is no negative reaction increase it, while I slowly try to come off the benadryl? Thanks again for your post!

          1. Janet

            I use both with no problem. I only take a child’s dose of Benadryl and that’s adequate. I take 500 mg of histidine at a time, sometimes just once a day, but during allergy season or if I’m eating foods I’m allergic to I’ll take it twice a day. Have you ever done a NutrEval test with Genova Diagnostics? That can show you if you are deficient in histidine. My test results recommended 1000 mg per day.

            Also have you been checked for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? That is strongly correlated with mast cell issues (mentioned above) and lots of GI tract symptoms.

            The brand I use is Montiff from Many brands add B6 and Joe mentions a few times above in the article that B6 can stimulate the conversion to histamine and I do better when I avoid it in supplements.

            reply icon
        2. Mary Sue

          Janet, Are your chemical sensitivities better too?

          1. Janet

            Mary Sue, I can tolerate most anything during the day, but still have to be careful about exposures when I’m sleeping. I keep my bedroom clear of any fragrances or chemicals.

            reply icon
    2. Tricia Montgomery

      Fantastic comments on a fantastic article. Thank you!

  • Nattha Wannissorn

    I would say just be on a low histamine and low lectin diet while you use supplements that support Th1. It’s possible to have both Th1 and Th2 messed up, though. You don’t know if that’s the case. When in doubt, just avoid the supplements that push the Th1 or at least avoid high doses/prolonged use of those.

  • carol close

    Quercetin is recommended to stabilize the membranes of mast cells; however, 2 supplements, luteolin and quercetin, can disrupt hormones.
    Endocrine disrupting activities of the flavonoid nutraceuticals luteolin and quercetin.

    Dietary plant flavonoids have been proposed to contribute to cancer prevention, neuroprotection, and cardiovascular health through their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, and antiproliferative activities. As a consequence, flavonoid supplements are aggressively marketed by the nutraceutical industry for many purposes, including pediatric applications, despite inadequate understanding of their value and drawbacks. We show that two flavonoids, luteolin and quercetin, are promiscuous endocrine disruptors. These flavonoids display progesterone antagonist activity beneficial in a breast cancer model but deleterious in an endometrial cancer model. Concurrently, luteolin possesses potent estrogen agonist activity while quercetin is considerably less effective. These results highlight the promise and peril of flavonoid nutraceuticals and suggest caution in supplementation beyond levels attained in a healthy, plant-rich diet.

  • arthenning

    Hi again, after plenty of severe trouble re histamines for about 10 years, I started using magnesium oil spray a week ago and the effect of it is close to a miracle. Most people with histamine intolerance are depleted in magnesium and getting it in through the skin just fixes a lot of the problems within no time like cramps, headaches, dizziness etc. etc. You can also take baths with Epsom Salts and probably have even better results. I haven’t tried it yet but I will.

    Just thought I let you know. Regards, Bridget

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      Interesting. I personally find I need to supplement around 600 mg of Mg (like 4 capsules every day). It doesn’t necessarily help with histamine intolerance, though.

      1. arthenning

        From what I was reading the absorption from oral magnesium is not great. Transdermal is far better. I couldn’t take the oral supplements at all. So I tried the spray. It stopped lots of problems and I am on a far more varied diet already. Magnesium is important for the formation of Glutathione, which is important for the formation of B6, which again is important for the formation of DAO. DAO is responsible for the degrading of histamines in the digestive tract. Maybe that is why it helps me. Magnesium maybe does not directly reduce the histamines.

        I am not a scientist but I do know that I feel far better than I have for years. Magnesium is great for the brain, too, like for concentration. I did notice that the histamines were interfering there as well.

        I’ll certainly continue with the transdermal magnesium.

        1. Nattha Wannissorn

          That’s amazing you find what work for you. I have some magnesium spray but I only really feel the effect if I take an epsom salt bath. I can definitely feel the difference between different forms of magnesium, i.e. citrate, malate, threonate, glycinate so it might be worth trying.

          B6 for the win!

          1. Megan

            How much b6 for hit?
            Also is it ok to take at bedtime or is it stimulating ?

            reply icon
          2. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

            could titrate up from 25 – 100 mg I guess? I’ve slept immediately after taking it, but it depends.

            reply icon
      2. Cheri Starr

        Would you recommend a particular type of Mg?

        1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

          Epsom salt baths are good. I rotate between glycinate, citrate, malate, taurate, threonate and sometimes just take a mix of them.

  • tony

    How do you lower histamine in the brain that isn’t released from mast cells? DAO doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier. Any ideas??

    1. btrute

      Tony, you might not like the answer, but I would try Benadryl since it does cross the blood brain barrier. It has worked well for me.

  • JG

    Although I’ve had issues for decades and did reasonably well as long as I stayed away from foods high in vinegar, my histamine intolerance came out in full force when I was prescribed high-dose vitamin D because my levels were in the single digits. Within days I got to a point where I reacted to nearly everything I ate. My assumption is that I have a vitamin D dysregulation and that my low levels are actually a protective mechanism. The vitamin D that is usually tested is a pre-cursor to calcitriol, which is the active hormone – as long as my calcitriol levels are adequate, I have no need to supplement.

    1. Viola

      I completely agree with your thinking about VitD. I have made the same painful experience, in contrast to what so many people ecommend so enthusiastically. I believe that my high consumption of it even caused an increased inflammation in my body, maybe by a change of calcium or other factors. I believe that the medical science is often in it’s begininings if something isn’t shown in standard blood tests .And as long your symptoms aren’t live threating the research in these fields is not sufficient- regardless how much the life quality of these patients suffers. I hope ways of diagnosis and treatment will generally change sometime in the future. But I believe there is no quick fix for s.o. having some of the symptoms of something that is called HIT.

      Non of all of the long list of supplements has helped me in the end. They always created new symptoms and have side effects.

    2. maddy

      how high a dosage? very interesting. do you react to low levels like 1,000 to 4,000 units? do you know why you react that way?

  • Robin

    Fermented foods (home made kraut, etc.) bone broth. Basically the GAPS diet would be great for someone needing MORE histamine.

    1. Science Writer

      It’s a catch 22 situation: often enough, histamine intolerance stems from gut dysbiosis – a condition that is helped by the digestion of probiotic rich foods that are usually rich in histamine…

    2. Lisa

      The Gaps Diet almost killed me!

      1. Aura Gael

        Lisa, in what way. I would be interested in reading some of your experience.

  • Robin

    Benadryl is one of the anti-cholinergics. The vagus nerve depends on acetylcholine to properly function. This is the autonomic nervous system not the central.

  • Steven

    Would intranasal LLLT 810nm or 655nm theoretically release histamine?

  • Barry Trute

    After reading this article I started taking Benadryl for a couple of days and it seems to help with my IBD. However many supposed histamine intolerane experts say to stay away from antihistamines because they deplete DAO longer term. So while I do plan to slowly increase levels of vitamin C and try a DAO supplement if I can find one that doesn’t have too many questionable “other ingredients” I am worried whether Benadryl is going to cause a boomerang bad effect longer term?

  • arthenning

    Hi there, I have very high histamine for some years and I am on a very limited diet. I learned about probiotic plantarum from you. It is brilliant. I helped me a lot as well as a bit of silica and zinc. I also noticed when I eat a bit more rice that I feel a lot better and researched it. Most likely it comes from manganese which inhibits the release of histamine from the mast cells. Manganese is high I brown rice. Even rice cakes are great.
    Thanks for your help anyway.
    Regards, Bridget

    1. S

      Should we take a manganese supplement?

      1. arthenning

        Try hazelnuts instead for the manganese. Selenium is a mastcell stabilizer, too, and comes in loads in Brazil nuts. Almonds are good for magnesium which is another mastcell stabilizer. Water and salt are great anti-histamines.

  • retiredmd

    Greetings to all. I have a history of dysautonomia that presents as unusual inflammatory or pruritic reactions to medications and supplements. For example: Caffeine, vitamins B1/ B12 (methyl form), quercetin with bromelain and boswellia each produced a burning/pruritic sensation about my forehead, prednisone and doxycycline produced pharyngitis and laryngitis and coq-10 a prostatitis. I do not have any obvious food-related reactions other than a very rare short-lived palatal burning after ingesting vinegar (salad dressing) as the first food following an all-day fast. I assumed my reactions reflected excessive glutamate and/or insufficient GABA. Given my reactions to quercetin and prednisone, I further assumed said reactions were not secondary to histamine given that these should have inhibited any histamine-based reaction. I attempted a trial of Zyrtec to rule-out a histamine etiology and developed paresthesias (prickling sensation) in my hands/feet. Unfortunately, I made have muddled things by regularly taking magnesium and curcumin/piperine supplements. I thought to seek any general comments/suggestions/advice.

    1. HivesLoveMe

      Was prescribed just this Monday to take quercitin with bromelain and I have broken out in hives that have lasted longer than they should Zyrtec would have pacified in a 24-hour period. It’s Wednesday now and I’m itching still. Also, usually the hive footprints (as I call them) will go away after my body calms down; this time they’re still there as more hives developed.
      Am I actually reacting to quercetin and or bromelain??? Argh!!!!

      1. Renee Ann

        I react to bromelian, but “can’t live” without quercitin. Try some plain quercitin.

      2. george

        Bromelain come from pieapple and pineapple is not compatible with histamine intolerance.

        1. Rosemarie

          Thank you George for the comment about pineapple. I have severe pineapple intolerance.

  • James Bishop

    Just thought I’d inform you that you have bromelain listed twice, once as a helpful supplement and once as a histamine inhibitor. Shouldn’t you delete it from being helpful?

  • Bill

    My lifelong histamine sensitivity totally disappeared with 3 magnesium sulphate IV’s. I’m very surprised that magnesium deficiency and supplementing doesn’t make your list especially since magnesium is a well known to be necessary for normal histamine metabolism! Thats always been my problem too… working too far downstream on a problem. Sometimes the solution is very, very simple.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen
      1. Eva Stevens


        what about someone who has the opposite problem—very low histamine levels? This is my daughter’s condition (she is overmethylated) and any consumption of an anti-histemine will literally shut her down. What supplements/foods can restore/augment one’s depleted histamine levels? Have you written anything on that? Thanks!

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Sun and exercise

    2. Lisa

      Bill…what type of doctor did you see for this treatment? I’m not seeing the correlation b/t histimine and magnesium. Would love to end my search for my Mom with something that can fix her histimine induced eczema once and for all!

      1. Sheila Henry

        After years of sinus headaches, allergies and ear infections that lead to a perferated drum in one ear , and hives when I get cold I now take daily 400 mgs of bisglycinated magnesium ,MSM also for histamine intolerance,Oregano oil one a day,and VitC..Plus ground flax in my cereal daily and these things have really improved how I feel.The reason magnesium is recommended is because it increases water in the intestines and water reduces excess histamine.So drinking plenty of water really reall helps.

      2. Angie

        Research on the Magnesium advocacy FB group

    3. Pat

      Where did u get your mag sulf IVs??

    4. jennifer jensen

      Bill, I’m weary you won’t ever see this response but taking the time to post to you is a drop in the bucket compared to the 30 years and tens of thousands of dollars I be put towards lifelong illness. When I stopped outsourcing my health and started using foods to heal, minerals and vitamins from quality food became my focus. Finding out I’m frighteningly low in magnesium made sense, connecting other dots related to the years of histamine issues. Can you please provide some more info regarding your intravenous magnesium supplement that turned everything around for you? How was your situation diagnosed and what kind of doctor recognized this treatment as a good protocol for you? At this point, I’m willing to travel distances to work w/ a doctor that could help with this. It’d prob be safer than self administration. Can you provide some info please? Thank you!

      1. Sheri Tarr

        I feel exactly the same. I would do anything for relief and this seems to be the golden ticket right here!!
        Please provide your useful information for those who have been desperately searching for so long.

    5. Maddy

      Bill, thanks for that post. I have spoken with mothers of children with cyclic vomiting syndrome who swear by Epsom salt baths for terminating a vomiting cycle. Magnesium sulfate=Epsom salts. Maybe this can keep you in maintenance without the need for IV.

  • Astral Pharoh

    You definitely do NOT want to take NAC if you have high Histamine issues. NAC increase Histamine release from mast cells. I found out the hard way….

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


    2. Westchester

      I can definitely second that! I also learned the hard way and have been more or less ill for the past 8 months after taking just a little bit of NAC in the form of a nasal spray. My nasal membranes were irritated, because I had spent time in a building with damp structures and associated microbes/toxins in the indoor air. When I applied NAC to my nose, I got a severe reaction in less than a minute. It was exactly the pseudo-allergic reaction described in the article you have linked here.

    3. Nita

      I experience histamine intolerance via my skin, itchy, rashy, etc. Within a short time of taking NAC, it goes away.

    4. Nita

      I found NAC to help me quite a bit when experiencing histamine episodes, flushing, itching, etc.

  • Jenny Pagliai

    I’ve been really sick for ten years, diagnosed migraines, tyramine food sensitivities, bipolar (depending on the Doctor, 0steoarthritis with hip replacement and compiles pain syndrome. Then there are episodes “caused by heat, stress, tyramine foods, etc” , which put me in the hospital. I can barely walk most days and I recently went to an immunologist where I was allergic to ALL of the environmental ones. I just felt like giving up yesterday. Im desperate, and then I found your website. My daughter is a chef at whole foods and she’s been trying to get through to me. Those doctors cannot and don not care if they help me or not. I think I’m in a state of histiminosis. my daughter called today. She said, mom? I had a dream that you were well again and happy and running around. A premonition. Saying thank you. Thank you for being here with the science, I don’t anyone patting me on the head, while they’re peeing on my foot. I just need the science and the guidance. You’re a God send.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks 🙂

    2. Joe

      Thank-you for teaching me a new word – Histiminosis. And I also suffered through an acute/chronic 10 year period when my body could no longer process the offending foods. It’s reassuring to finally discover the science behind the problem, that in reality it’s no different than treating a fracture. You’ve just got to know what to do and then do it.

  • John

    Hi All

    Before getting too carried away with all the reasonable suggestions please check you are not copper deficient. If I get copper deficient my sense of smell increases, I get airborne allergies and I am intolerant to high histamine foods. I confirm this with a hair analysis and then have to take 4mg of chelated copper with a protein meal and separately take 1000mg of calcium and 500mg of magnesium chloride. I stop taking my B’s until it is resolved (if I take niacin when there is a problem I feel bad). BUT only do this if you a copper deficient.


    1. Jake

      How did you test for copper. did you just do ceruloplasmin? or did also do urine or other tests for copper? I also have issues with histamine/mast cells and a couple years ago i had low levels of copper, but I’m unsure of how the test was done. Most likely ceruloplasmin. It was part of a very comprehensive nutrient blood test.

      1. daz

        hi Jake, looking at John’s comment, he used hair analysis to test his copper status.

        Personally i would opt for both Caeruloplasmin (Ceruloplasmin) and Plasma Copper (plasma copper is more accurate/a better test that serum copper, apparently).
        You need both tests to get the full picture.

    2. Shaun

      Amen brother.. I knew I was copper deficient not based on tests but based on vitamins/minerals I took. My Ige has gone up since. I have gone through hell when I thought I am OK now and can take Zinc, Magnesium and high potency B vitamins. Well this made me end up with severe skin rashes, oil running down my scalp and so on…

      I have become so sensitive that smallest amount of dust/pollen triggers severe coughs that I almost chock. I will be more careful now and avoid all supplements so that copper get a fighting chance to go up…

      Thanks John.. This was the first time I see that I am not crazy and not alone after 5 years of reading different posts

  • ursulaa8

    Most helpful article. I actually have a condition called “mastocytosis” and have a terrible time getting help with it. It is the cutaneous type. All blood pressure meds fail with me and lately I am experiencing alopecia aerate . I would love to hear more of what I could do to control this condition.

    1. Joe

      I’m no doctor but I’d recommend looking at the diet first. Typical western diets are extremely unhealthy.

    2. twostonestudio

      This is a great presentation by Dr. Theoharides on mast cell disorders. He explains how it affects the brain as well as the rest of the body.

      I have mast cell activation syndrome, a related disorder.

  • Joe

    This site is a great help. This insidious condition is something I’ve suffered with all my life but didn’t know anything about until it became acute and put me in the ER ten years ago. Unfortunately all the doctors were clueless so I turned to Dr. Google and cured myself.

    My list of do’s and don’ts:

    -Eliminate offending foods. For me coffee tops the list of about 7 food/food groups. The list used to be much larger as almost anything I ate was a problem. That is not the case anymore. It was hard to break my coffee addiction but it was necessary if I was going to have any quality of life.

    -Keep some DAO around. I use Swanson’s Ultra. It’s a buck a pill but it works.

    -Activated charcoal tablets put me right 95% of the time when I get all gassed up and can’t breathe properly. Swallow a few and sip water. I also use these at times before strenuous exercise. They work. They must gobble up the histamine.

    -Eat foods high in quercitin. The two highest are capers and a celery-like herb called lovage. I use them copiously on foods. My preference is to eat the right foods instead of using supplements.

    -Ativan. I don’t use this much but when my condition was acute and I was learning it put me right every time. It let me breathe, which was my main problem. It actually let me learn without being desperate for relief. I would bloat with high gas that would not exit south because of intestinal inflammation and would nearly suffocate. It was literal torture. Generic Ativan is a mast cell stabilizer and highly addictive. One milligram would usually keep me right for 24 hours but took about 30 minutes to kick in. But it was my go-to med for a while until I learned how to cure myself.

    And that’s the short story. Reading through the comments I had many of the same symptoms but didn’t know the root cause until I had to either figure it out or jump off a bridge. My father was similarly affected but didn’t have an internet to turn to for help. He suffered needlessly his entire life.

    Thanks for listening!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      If you do so well on activated charcoal, then I would look into CIRS

      C3a, C4a and C5a increase histamine release.

    2. Crysta

      Hi Joe,

      Do you think there is any relation between Histamine intolerance and a skin condition called granuloma annulare?

  • RubyShaylove

    What are some great Dao enzyme supplements. I’ve seen histamine block. Its nearly $90 and thats soo much money.

  • Mick

    Hi Folks
    It can be hard to figure out what food really affect you and there are a whole bunch of nutrients in foods that are otherwise good for us

    I’ve had success with a rotation diet, including fats, proteins, starchy+non-starchy foods.

    Try it for a month. Rotation over 3 to 4 days seems to be a practical approach. Ensure you aren’t getting ‘hidden food’, so stick to fresh veggies and meat – as opposed to canned/boxed/fastfood.

    Good luck

  • Junior

    Just the slightest bit of anxiety sometime sets off severe wet flushing. I started taking 50 mg Zoloft (thinking this was anxiety related) which reduced the frequency and severity but I started to become too depressed all the time. I stopped taking the Zoloft, then 4 days later had a sever attach with only very minor anxiety, in fact, anxiety started once I felt the heat in my body, took off jacket, but too late. Episode lasted 15 minutes after removing and isolating myself.

    I had 4 shots of whisky + 1 beer, left over meatloaf, left over mashed white potatoes, the night before I had the above attack.

    Is this histamine related? Do I have histamine intolerance. How does Zoloft (sertraline) affect flushing/sweating? Is this somehow related to suppression of histamine or increased DAO?

    1. Mike

      Cut out the booze Jr. It is high histamine. If you have a sensitivity to alcohol it will worsen if you continue to drink too much and then you could be looking at anaphylactic shock which can be life threatening

    2. Eli

      I think its got more to do with the beer and leftover meatloaf. As a general precaution I stay away from meat unless I am 1000% sure it is fresh. Beer is fermented and so does meat over time.
      Think of histamine as a bottle that fills up, you will only really feel it when it overfills and starts spilling. This is why the combination of old meat, beer and other alcohol is so bad. The meat and beer contain huge amounts of histamine, and the alcohol blocks the DAO enyzme which processes histamine in the body, in simply put; you blocked you body from processing the histamines you ate with the alcohol.

  • Ole

    I did some googling around and a lot of what i found is things that suggest people with LOW histamine should not take inositol. Yet you say people with high histamine should not take it.

    The world of health and supplements is too damn contradictory..

    “Inositol is especially helpful for undermethylated (high histamine) persons (for example most persons with OCD), but can cause negative side effects in those who are overmethylated (low histamin). Since Inositol is one of the primary second messengers in neurotransmission, it’s surprising it isn’t more commonly used. It’s especially useful in reducing anxiety and enhancing sleep.”
    Willam Walsh, Ph.D., past senior scientist, Pfeiffer Treatment Center

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I agree that inositol is good for people with OCD.

      I took out the portion on inositol and histamine. Too speculative on my part.

      I don’t think it’s going to have much to do with methylation per say, but it helps people with anxiety and under methylators are more likely to have anxiety.

      1. Roderick

        Hi Joe. There seems to be a whole lot of confusion with histamine issues. There’s a lot of controversy regarding some high histamine foods, also referred to as ‘natural antihistamines’, eg. tomatoes. The term ‘natural antihistamine’ is frequently used by ‘Thelowhistaminechef’ but refuted by janice Joneja(scientist). She said that there’s no such term. Getting back to your post. You list tea, chocolate and vinegar as HDC inhibitors, but these are all high histamine. You started off your post with fermented foods being excluded. Please explain. Thanks

      2. Maddy

        First, fabulous site, thank you so much. I am a mother on a search for help for a child who was completely healthy until age 16 and then suddenly had a cascade of worsening food allergies AND migraine headaches. They worsened and expanded in lock step. Both an allergist and neurologist told me they were not related. “nothing in the scientific literature” to quote.

        On the inositol and anxiety, it helps with that for sure. But requires high dosages. Interestingly, inositol is a secondary signaler for INSULIN. People with migraine often have issues co-existing with glucose metabolism or frank T2D.

        Obviously migraine is histamine related. Amitrypteline/Elavil is one of the go to meds in the anti-depressant category and is a potent anti-histamine. Food triggers are well known by patients.

        do you know if mast cells become more sensitive to histamine in the prescence of more estrogen?

  • Crystal

    Thank you ,thank you ,thank you! I’ve suffered with granuloma annulare since I was 12 – now 30 and this helped me to finally figure out the cause!
    It makes complete sense . The results of my intolerance hair test , the reason it went away during both pregnancies, the reason I notice improvement when I take Benadryl. The list goes on and on. I’ve seen countless number of specialists over the years and they never once mentioned anything about My DOA levels. Are you at all familiar with or had any experience linking histamine intolerance to Granuloma annulare? I appreciate this report more then you know!

    1. Cicely

      Hi! I’ve had granuloma annulare for 20 years (started when I was 21). Recently I’ve realized I’m likely histamine intolerant and that histamine may be linked to my GA. Have you implemented a low-histamine diet and seen your GA improve?

    2. Marjan

      Crystal, is the Granuloma Annulare gone now?

  • Nelko87

    I’ve been battling with OCD for a long time, and this sums some of my investigations
    and adds a great and valuable insight . Special mention to the th2 dominance. Very extensive
    and invaluable information for everyone looking to sum up a practical approach to their issue.
    I am just skimming throu this, will read later on.Thank you very much sir.

  • Ole

    You say take 1 cap of a lot of these products yet the product itself claims u should take 2-6 caps a day. (Quercetin claims 2-6, Immune modulator by LEF claims 2 or more etc)

  • Gregory Gargiso

    I wonder if you consider a hyper reaction to mosquito bites and hives , histamine intolerance? Yes, I am a lyme sufferer

  • Immajenn

    Fantastic Article!!

    I have many, many medical issues (Dysautinomia, inflamitory, low immune, something like CFIDS/me, general failing of health-escallating- Narcolepsy, True Adrenal Insufficiency (pituitary based), lots of other HPA based issues with hormones GI, Kidney..etc…etc). I’m pretty much falling apart (like a few of your posters)

    My Dr had me rerun my raw genetic data from 23andMe through It is probably the most comprehensive genetic compiler for looking at genetic defects in methylation, phase 1 & 2 liver detox, mitochondrial disorders, neurotransmitter defects, and more.

    Turns out that (in addition to other things) I all of my DAO genes are mutated, as is MAO-B. So problems with both paths of riding my body of histamine.

    I have tried some of the supplements in the past to low or bad effect (quercetin, curcumin & um-methylated b vitamins would be an example) because of other mutations in the above mentioned areas.

    So, my Dr is having me implement alot of the directions you have made, but not all.

    I would highly recommend that your posters who have bad or no reaction to DAO enzyme replacement (or reactions to other supplements) get their generic data tested. That way they can avoid any supplements that will make other situations worse, and get the supplements that are safe for this going.

    23andMe costs $99 and running your generic data through Stirlings App on is $30. has a Dr Finder. Several will do phone consults. (I have no affiliation with )

    It is pretty amazing how the genetic defects are lining up with most of my medical issues.

    Again, this, and most of what I have read so far on your site is amazingly well researched. The genetic component is all that may be missing (I have not read your whole site).

    Thank you for your time & research.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks… I have my own genetic reader that I put clients genes through and many more genes…450 and counting – with explanations as to what specific variations mean…

    2. mimikjohnson

      Immajenn good points but all of your seemingly unrelated sx sounds like you are at very high risk of chronic inflammatory response syndrome or CIRS which can be ruled in or out with simple bloodwork and VCS vision test at — methylation issues are interesting and important but if you have biotoxin illness need to address it first

  • Jake

    Has anyone here experienced dizziness due to histamine intolerance or mast cell disorder?

    1. Mookafish

      Definitely! Especially if I’m dehydrated too. Drinking lots of water and taking a diamine oxidase enzyme supplement usually helps me.

    2. Jay

      Vitigo more likely!

  • Felipe

    definitely, you are a genius!
    i think histamine intolerance is caused by gut dysbiosis first, compromised gut barrier / leaky gut, and hepatic/kidney saturation in the end..
    Im trying to correct my histamine intolerance with aloe vera, glutamine, holy basil and leaky gut supplements like NAG, seacure or licorice, plus a low histamine almost paleo diet.
    Im doing very better this year

  • luigi

    does doxylamine succinate work the same as benadryl?

    1. luigi

      i mean in reducing histamine?

  • Rafau

    You save my life. God bless you <3

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Lol, Thanks.

  • Marta

    Hi, I’m from Polish. I’m looking for people whose children have low levels of DAO. My daughters are 8 and 16 years old and can not find them specialist. We have a few months to wait for an appointment at the clinic. Diet recommended for adults is too restrictive for children. What are the diagnostic standards and dietary recommendations for children are valid only in the US? Do be given to Daosin children? Sorry for my poor English 🙂

    1. Basia

      Marto też szukam specjalisty w Polsce Bądźmy w kontakcie! Do jakiej kliniki czekacie tak długo? Pozdrawiam

  • Kelly

    That may be a temporary help, but the more you restrict foods, the more intolerant you’ll become. At least that’s the trend.

    The key is getting to those other issues you mentioned on your blog — correcting the leaky gut that may have been caused by parasites or gluten, etc.. When the gut is healed, then more foods are tolerated.

  • Michael

    Hello Joe,

    Great post, thanks! I’m definitely going to use some of your suggestions here. One question I had when I looked at the flow chart was on the MAO enzyme. My main reaction is with cheese and soy and I get the ‘Adrenaline’ side effects. Should I focus on bringing up my MAO or do you think doing the histamine treatments such as DAO will help as well?

  • Jean

    I have a question about the vitamin B6. Is there any reason not to take a B complex vitamin with this histamine problem?

  • Jean

    Hi Joe,

    I have a question for you. When you say “take 2-3 caps DAO enzymes to break down histamine” is that one time, daily, or with each meal? I think I may have histamine intolerance, but I’m not sure. My only real symptom is eczema on my face that has gotten progressively worse over time. I have never had this problem before now, and I am 47. I suspect I may have caused this problem by adding lemon to my water over the last year and eating a high histamine diet. I drink a lot of water and I’ve been adding a significant amount of lemon juice every time I drink it. (Other than that my diet has always been the same).

    I have now stopped with the lemon to see if my skin will improve, but I am afraid I may have created an imbalance in my system. I just ordered the dao enzyme that you recommended and thought I would try starting with that. I am hoping that I don’t have to change my diet. I am otherwise very healthy ( I run long distance, lift weights and eat very well.) At first I thought I had developed a food allergy, but I am reacting to too many foods (ie grapefruit, cinnamon, etc).

    How long do you think I should take the enzyme, and should I continue with the Allegra and Benadryl? Do you think things will eventually go back to normal if I stop with all the lemon water and take the enzyme?

    I really appreciate your help, and if anyone else wants to chime in it would be greatly appreciated. I am getting kind of depressed because this isn’t pretty and it hurts.


    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      With a histamine meal

      1. Jean


        Thanks so much for the great article. I have been reading up on histamine intolerance, and I’m pretty sure that this is my problem. I thought your article was the best of the ones that I have read, and it has really helped me to get started in my recovery.

        I just found a great probiotic called Insync (kind of like Align), but it has 6 strains, all 3 of the ones that you recommended and none of the ones you said to avoid. You can pick Insync up at many drugstores and their website can tell you which ones. The cost isn’t that bad. You can print a 5$ off coupon on their website. I was delighted to find all 3 probiotics in one pill.


    2. MeggyV

      i’m not sur gif cinnamon is high histamine, but i’ve been researching sailicylates lately and sals are in EVERYTHING. ALL spices and seasonings, many fruits, veggies. HIT and sals apparently can go hand-in-hand!
      if you think going low histamine is hard, add low sals 🙁

  • Joseph M. Cohen


  • esmeelafleur

    Thank you for this awesome post!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


  • David

    Has anyone had any success taking high doses (1-2 gms) of niacin to deplete histamine stores in the mast cells? I have two family members that get extreme brain fog with histamine release that at times can last for days. Taking supps noted in above site and hoping niacin helps too.

    1. Bette

      David, google niacin and histamine, and you’ll find out that niacin increases histamine, it doesn’t deplete it.

    2. Shawn

      David I also have experienced and believe that Niacin (when taken just before anaerobic exercise) helps to lower histamine. I haven’t read that Niacin increases histamine, rather just releases it from the cells like some citrus does. The exercise I believe helps your body then remove it. Taking Niacin alone, from my experience, doesn’t do this. I lift weights and have had good experience taking 50-100mg Niacin just before. The workouts are strenuous but not overly intense.

  • Renee Ann

    I’m not convinced about the potato starch. It is an isolated substance and does not have most of the components of a potato in it. And, I feel better on it than off. Just an n=1, but I’d like to see a study that specifically names potato *starch*.

  • Sonnyjimster

    “Mast cells have a circadian rhythm”

    Could this be a possible reason as to why I always feel better post 8pm?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


      1. Bette

        Hi Joseph,

        Thanks for this great overview. I was kind of surprised though that curcurmin is mention above as something to avoid.

        This study found it lowers histamine levels:

        Also, do you have a reference for the claim that NAG is bad for Th2 dominant illnesses (like ME/CFS).

        Thank you!

  • Layla

    Good Morning All,

    I just would like to encourage you all to continue your journey with Histamine Intolerance ( HI )/ Chronic Uticaria( CU). There is a cure to it so dont give up!!! I remember when I first came down with HI/CU I was so scared and just wanted to find one person who was able to beat it and felt that could encourage me to continue, so I hope me telling you’ll that I am HI/CU free and back able to eat anything I choose will encourage all of you. The advice I have is continue to pray and never give up, people will come in your path that will give you bits and peices to your puzzle and soon you will be back healthy…. Joe you are doing a great job with this website and I will miss it but will not forget it and will peek in from time to time. God Bless…..Take care.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thx 🙂

    2. Sonnyjimster

      Interesting that pancreatic enzymes help increase DAO production as i remember taking them when I thought i had leaky gut, sibo low stomach acid etc and felt less wired and symptomatic and therefore more able to function cognitively after consumption, and if I took them before bed I would wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.

      1. Phil

        Do you mean Pancreatin? Thats the only enzyme I tolerated for digestive issues. Also, olive oil increases DAO production in the intestines.

        1. daz

          i was reading that the reason that olive oil increases DAO output is probably due to the oleic acid content. if that is true, then Macadamia oil should work as well.
          i was reading about it here;
          (tho no refs are included).

          This study seems to back it up (i think);

          “Nutrients regulate diamine oxidase release from intestinal mucosa”

          1. Phil

            Thanks, I’d much prefer macadamia oil! Although since nuts cause histamine release wouldn’t that be a problem? I wonder if the oil causes the same issues or if it’s the lectins in whole nuts that are the problem…

            reply icon
    3. Debbie

      Thank you for encouraging me. Just words I needed to read.

    4. Ang

      How did you beat it? I’ve had this off and on my whole life and now finally have the diagnosis but not fully sure of the cause. I will try DAO next. And the elimination diet. I just want it over. The brain fog and anxiety and irritability. This is so overwhelming to figure what to do next.

      1. Layla


        To answer your question I will start by telling you what I did not do. I believe that will help more. I did not depend on DAO’s. I did try DAO’s a couple times when I first came down with Histamine Intolerance (HI) /Chronic Uticaria ( CU) but realized very quickly that it would hinder my progress, because personally I believe it causes one to cheat themselves out of a quicker recovery. I did not eat anything that had histamine/ Histadine. I did not work at all and gave myself plenty of rest!! It took approximately eleven months once I became serious and decided I wanted to be cured of HI/ CU, I did not take any pharmaceutical drugs ( this part is very important ) even though doctors proscribed so many different prescriptions. I did not become confrontational with my doctors, I would take their prescription, fill them at the pharmacy, pick them up and toss them out. This way I kept a good relationship with my doctors so they could continue to run blood work I requested ( It is important to run blood work often to see if you are progressing). I did not allowing any negativity in my world. I did not use store brought cosmetics…. Now on to what I did do…. Many people have ask me the same question but really, each persons body is different, so if I list all the supplements ( all supplements are listed on this website !!! ) that I took etc., it’s possible it would not act the same in someone else body. In addition, it would take me a book to cover everything that went into my 11 months of serious detox and regimen. I do believe one of the most important things that help with my recovery was the fact that I surrendered myself and I cried out and humbly asked the one who created this body to guide me and each morning I would wake up and it was as if I had been here before and knew what to do. So in saying that it is not me who did anything, I provided the body with what it needed and this body healed itself. I do believe that we kinda know what to do but its about becoming connected with oneself and carefully listening and then and only then will we be guided.

        1. Jason Klinger

          Hi can you please comment on what you did to resolve your histamine issue? thanks

      2. Joseph M. Cohen

        I would guess that you have most of these symptoms:

        DAO and even histamine is somewhat of a red herring. There’s a central cause involved. Wait till book comes out.

        1. Ang

          Yes I have or have had almost all of those. It’s like reading my autobiography when I read these blogs. I am waiting on my MTHFR lab and am guessing that is my central cause. I am working with an NP who is not very familiar with methylation problems but is researching it and recently went to a conference on it. Anyway, right now I’m in an acute phase of this nasty ordeal and just need to feel better. I’ve even gone on sleep meds and SSRI meds because I wasnt functioning. This was before I out these peices together and was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic Uticaria. I Myself am an RN and have been researching like crazy because I felt like I was going crazy. I just wish I could find a provider in my area familiar with all of this. I spent all weekend reading and trying to accept this. Also trying to find what I can eat for protein. I was a big clean eater and did meal prep ahead, not sure what to do now. Just really overwhelmed.

          1. Joseph M. Cohen

            You’re looking in the wrong place.

            You should be focusing on this post:

            reply icon
          2. Carol Allin

            I take quercetine three times a day and take histamine herbs I got at the dollar store that you put under your tongue, they are Chinese herbs for histamine intolerance. Eat lots of broccoli and apples
            Because they lower histamine levels also cucumbers. I eat eggs and vegesfor breakfast and
            Salad with lots of broccoli and cucumber for supper with lots of basil because basil also lowers
            Histamine levels. I drink white tea from the health food store because unlike other teas it does
            Not put up your histamine levels. If you feel dizzy eat an apple it helps. Probiotics can give you higher histamine levels but here are two you can safely take, don’t remember what they are you can research them online.

            reply icon
      3. Chantal

        I’m where you were at when you posted this. I’m looking forward to some relief. It’s been a long haul.

    5. Jaclyn

      Thank you for posting this.Would love to know how you overcame this.

    6. Laura

      What did you do to recover? I’m nearly certain I have histamine issues as I have been struggling with a chronic cough, post nasal drip, allergies and asthma for many years. Sometimes it’s nearly debilitating and no doctor has been able to help. I’ve been on puffers and nasal sprays and stomach pills and allergy shots and nothing helped.
      I’m now trying to reduce histamine producing foods and DAO blocking foods as well as Vit C, MSM and HistDAO and I hope I get some relief soon.

      1. Layla

        As I explain previous, I didn’t do just one thing. There were many things. Most importantly I did not take any pharmaceuticals at all. My healing was all natural which consist of different supplements, herbs, foods, meditation, forgiveness and prayer!!! It took a full year to heel. I did not work which is really important in the heeling process bec the body needs rest. I am now healthier than I was before I got sick all thanks to the creator. I wish you the best with your heeling process. If your ever in AZ feel free to look me up. Take care.

  • Gilbert dorland

    Any Idea of using this protocol on Systemic Mastocytosis with Urticaria pigentosa patience????

  • Renee Ann

    I would love to try DAO enzymes but I need corn-free. I can’t tolerate a speck of corn. Do you or anyone know where I can find one that is corn free?

    1. Lindsay

      Hi there,
      sorry i do not have an answer for you but I am wondering if you ever found a corn-free DAO enzyme supplement? Would greatly appreciate any info. Thank you!

      1. Renee Ann

        No, I did not. Others helped me search, too. I don’t think there is a corn-free one out there. Such a shame.

  • Lulu

    Hi. Thanks for the article. Could you please explain how Egcg is good to use but green tea or matcha makes things worse? Thanks. Lulu.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Tea and Matcha are great if you’re not sensitive to caffeine.

  • An email to me

    “I wanted to thank you. Your articles healed me. I found out that I have lactose and histamine intolerance (Th2 dominance). Since then I lost more than 15 pounds and I am felling great. My sleep improved tremendously.

    Rigth now, following the advice in your articles, I take astragalus, cat’s claw, Boswellia, Ca-Mg-Zn pills and a blend of Passiflorae herba, Lippiae citriodorae folium, Melissae herba, hyperici herba and rhodiola. Feeling great but I suspect that something from my current stack increases intra-ocular pressure, especially when I am tired.

    My drug resistent severe form of athlete foot healed itself without any medication. I had that condition for 15 years.

    I estimate that my farting reduced itself by more than 95%. I have gas when I am eating fruits, especially when I am drinking fruit juice (eg. apple) but very little comparing to the gas I had from milk products in the past.
    I still have problems with my histamine but it is manageable because right now I know what triggers it. It is a currios thing though that I have more severe histamine symptoms in summer than in winter.

    Thank you, with your help I manage to calm down and stabilize my moods. I do not have any proof but I am convinced 110% that without your help I would be dead right now (cancer or stroke). Oh, I forgot to tell you that I am 39 yo.”


  • Layla

    Here are some more DOA producers

    Lactobacillus Sakei
    Lactobackillus sp.
    Weisella hellenica
    Sarcina lutea

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


    2. Joseph M. Cohen


      1. Gail Karlsson

        Sources are listed throughout as indicated by “(R)” — meaning Resource.

  • Thomas

    Would homemade yogurt that was started with only Acidophilus be suitable?

    Also I notice tea is on the list but not coffee. What exactly is it about tea (even herbal?) but not coffee that causes histamine production?

    1. That Goat Girl

      The accepted definition of Tea means using Camellia sinensis species.Tea is fermented to different degrees. Green tea less than black but still fermented. Herbal tea will be referred to as such in well written info.

      1. Joe

        Yup. Go Goat Girl!

      2. Phil

        How about white tea? I read it’s a mast cell stabilizer.

    2. Joe

      You have to experiment for yourself

  • Jean

    Yet another reason to stay away from coffee:
    “The results of our study show that arginase and diamine oxidase were decreased in animals treated with caffeine.”

    1. Joe


  • YimYam

    Just thought I’d give my 2 cents. Before I even realised I had histamine intolerance, after doing Buteyko breathing exercises for 3 weeks for 1 hour a day, I drank red wine and didn’t react to it. Rather than do what it usually does, which is send my nervous system into overdrive and reduce cognition, I felt very calm and had a very strong and noticeable cognitive effect.

  • Jean

    Getting confused about dates.
    In “HOW TO REBALANCE AN ELEVATED TH2 IMMUNE SYSTEM” you mention dates as a “safe food” and in this article there is a you say that we should avoid them. These are one of my main carb sources at the moment. Thanks.

    1. Joe

      Better would’ve been to call it relatively safe, compared to grains/legumes. I give it a #2.

      I think you commented in the wrong section.

  • Ericka

    Hi Joe,

    I am brand new to this whole amine intolerance world, so please be kind. I have a few questions/comments on what you’ve written here that I hope you will respond to.
    I read that one should not regularly take antihistamines to cope with a histamine intolerance because doing so will deplete DAO which only exacerbates the condition.
    Curcumin depletes DAO, so while it may provide short term histamine relief, wouldn’t it make sense to not partake in the long-term goal of building up DAO to process the excess histamines correctly?


    1. Joe

      Curcumin wasn’t recommended, rather I just listed it as mast cell stabilizer. But I will add a note there, thanks.

      Most antihistamines don’t decrease DAO,except for cimetidine and some increase DAO like benadryl.

      If you find studies about other antihistamines decreasing DAO please do post it.

      1. Ericka

        Hi Joe,

        Am I reading correctly that the study you posted was 8 hours long? 9 AM to 5 PM


        1. Joe


      2. carol close

        Very shocked to see this on PubMed today
        . The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin

        Curcumin has recently been classified as both a PAINS (pan-assay interference compounds) and an IMPS (invalid metabolic panaceas) candidate. The likely false activity of curcumin in vitro and in vivo has resulted in >120 clinical trials of curcuminoids against several diseases. No double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial of curcumin has been successful.

        This manuscript reviews the essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin and provides evidence that curcumin is an unstable, reactive, nonbioavailable compound and, therefore, a highly improbable lead.

  • Junior Valadares

    I will try Claritin. I have found a link from longecity. There are a old thread “Reflections from a med student”.

    “The final addition I’ve made is fairly straightforward: Claritin(loratadine), the OTC non-drowsy antihistamine. What most people forget about the antihistamines is that they’re also antimuscarinic/anticholinergic. […] Voila. No more systemic side effects and no noticeable reduction in CNS efficacy, the nootropic stack is now isolated to activity within the blood brain barrier… in theory. So far this has been working very well for me.”

  • Junior Valadares

    Joe, what you think about loratidine as a antihistamine?

    1. Junior Valadares

      I have found some studies like this, where they say that “ioratadine provided significantly better therapeutic response than fexofenadine in patients who failed to respond to initial therapy with the other drug.”

      1. Joe


    2. Joe

      Claritin is slightly more likely to be effective. “Of the 389 patients who responded to initial therapy, 61.0% had received loratadine and 57.0% had received fexofenadine.”

      But I need to look at the safety profile. Allegra is pretty safe, but I need to look into claritin. Likely not much of a different safety profile.

      1. Joanna

        From my own experiences, Claritin is pretty drowsy. It also takes awhile to work.To be honest I don’t find it to work at all for myself.
        Also, Claritin is metabolized by CYP3A4, so be careful about the grapefruit juice.

        I’ve tried a variety of second gen antihistamines and they don’t seem to work on me. I’m trying Allegra right now tho.

        1. Joe


  • Deltrus

    Why is chocolate bad but chocoamine good? I’m asking because cocoa powder is super cheap and tasty.

  • PC

    Holy Basil is also supposed to be a good antihistamine:

    1. Joe


  • PC

    As someone with histamine issues, I can say I have definitely felt better since cutting out all the lectins, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes etc.

    1. culturedsf

      Agreed! After trying and failing to become healthy on Paleo diets and Ray Peat’s regimen I realized that both the diets have you consuming an unholy amount of histamine rich foods. I was a hot mess of anxiety, insomnia, heart arrhythmia and IBD. Started limiting fermented foods, left overs, and wine. This helped but not enough. Added Quercetin, nettles, and 10-15 grams of acerola vitamin C per day. I tried DAO supplements but they are $$$$ and weren’t doing as much as other supplements.
      With histamines the dose is the poison so limiting works pretty well. I doubt I am part of the small percentage of people who have low DAO, but I have heard that some pathogenic bacteria we harbor can create excessive histamines. I also believe that lots of people who are gluten intolerant but not celiac may have problems with histamines which could explain why so many feel better giving up the grains and legumes while doing paleo. I did too until I started eating big bowlfuls of sauerkraut and kimchi with every meal. T
      Funny that every current diet fad seems to be bad for us histamine intolerant folks. I recently was eating 4 T of raw potato starch daily to try and build up my gut bacteria. Looks like that was a bad idea. I wish there was more understanding about managing and reversing histamine intolerance ie healing it because it is likely not a root cause of anything it also has a root cause or causes. I’d like to get to the bottom of mine.

      1. Joe


      2. Phil

        Could be leaky gut perhaps? I’ve read of good successes with probiotics like prescript assist in treating HI.

      3. Phil

        From a PDF I have, possible causes of Histamine Intolerance: Leaky Gut (caused by a lectin-rich diet, stress, infection, medicines, insect bites), Magnesium deficiency, Vitamin B12 and Iron deficiency, wrong mixture of gut bacteria (l-casei can be bad), H Pylori, HNMT & DAO enzyme defects, Menorrhagia, Malabsorption.

        So there’s quite a lot of potential causes! I believe mine began after a long period of stress and taking SSRI meds. They are anti-histamines, but taking any anti-histamines can make HI worse long-term once you stop taking them. They affect the brain histamine receptors, which increase in number to compensate for the lack of histamine (that’s the theory anyway).

        1. Ashley

          The Magnesium Advocacy Group on Facebook has info in their files section about Histamine Intolerance being rooted in nutritional deficiencies. Especially copper, since many people have high copper but it’s unusable by the body.

    1. Joe


  • Andrey

    “Curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) caused a marked decrease in histamine release.”

    1. Joe

      Thanks Andrey.

      ATTENTION READERS: I’m going to be more likely to answer questions by people who also share useful information

      1. balayla

        Really enjoyed reading your complete site. I was just wondering if you also noticed with this condition vit D levels will drop. From my research I have found they do. One would want to make sure they keep an eye on Vit D levels and supplement accordingly.

        1. Ck

          VERY interesting point. I recently had blood work done and my Vitamin D level was 10!! That’s borderline “oh-my-God”. It’s bad. I had horrible insomnia. Chronic migraines. I live in So CA and I had low Vit D? Who knew. Took 10,000 IU a day in tablet form (I reacted very badly to about 5 other various Vit D products) and in 3 months went back to get tested and now my level is borderline too high at 79 ha ha. But my sleep has *dramatically* changed. After a decade of death-defying insomnia (3 hours a night sometimes, and rarely in deep sleep) I now sleep into the depths of sleep dorm and it feels fantastic.

          Now, unfortunately the Histamine Intolerance rears its ugly head and will keep me up u til 5 AM with the adrenaline rushes and the inability to “go under” to sleep, the itching, the emotions, etc… But that is on bad days, which we know can stretch for a week or more.

          The migraines were daily and now they come whenever stress is high, I eat or drink poorly, or the weather is really whacked, which it has been lately.

          HI is an awful, ugly disease. It is the root to almost everything the body does!

          1. Felipe

            cold shower therapy, some meditation, D3 vitamin 1000 UI during 3 months and spirulina before bed has dramatically changed my insomnia to a very normal cycle. I think insomnia is also very related to allergic rhinitis / chronic sinus inflammation

            reply icon
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.