What is Histamine Intolerance?

Aktualisiert: März 23

Histamine intolerance (HI, histaminosis) is a controversial clinical picture among experts. In case of histamine intolerance, the body reacts to an increased amount of histamine with intolerance reactions. This substance occurs naturally in the body, but is also found in many foods.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a tissue hormone and messenger substance that occurs naturally in the body. It is produced by the body itself and can be found in the entire organism. Biochemically, histamine belongs to biogenic amines. Biogenic amines are involved in many different important bodily functions. For example, they regulate blood pressure, stimulate the production of gastric juice, increase intestinal movement and ensure a balanced sleep-wake rhythm. They also play an active role in the immune defence. If, for example, a part of the body swells due to an injury, this is due to the effect of histamine. Histamine is also involved in the development of itching and pain - and in many allergic reactions.

Histamine is also found in many foods. Especially long matured products such as red wine and hard cheese contain a lot of histamine. Other foods such as pineapple and chocolate belong to the so-called histamine liberators: although they are low-histamine, they also release it in the intestines. Food containing or releasing histamine can normally be consumed without any problems because the body's own enzyme DiAminOxidase (DAO) breaks down histamine.

Normally, the organism is able to cope with larger amounts of histamine. However, in case of histamine intolerance even small amounts can cause symptoms.

Why can't some people tolerate histamine?

Due to the lack of the enzyme DAO, the body can no longer break down histamine from food adequately. The histamine issues can be both temporary (temporary) and permanent (chronic or permanent).

Fish poisoning, histamine-rich food, stress or heavy physical strain can cause a temporary excess of histamine in the organism. If the body then does not have a sufficient amount of DAO, various symptoms can occur. Alcohol or medication - even in small amounts - can also temporarily block DAO in its work. Such a temporary enzyme deficiency can affect anyone and cause symptoms.

The formation of DAO enzymes can also be affected genetically or as a result of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease. In this case a permanent (permanent) enzyme deficiency is present.


Symptoms can be very diverse, e.g. reddened skin with a feeling of heat (flush), itching, hives (urticaria), palpitations, headaches, migranes, dizziness, stuffy or runny nose, difficulty breathing, sore throat, asthma, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation, nausea/vomiting, stomach stings, heartburn, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, racing heart, heart rhythm disturbances, menstrual problems, water retention, bone marrow oedema, joint pain, states if exhaustation, fatigue, sleep disorders, confusion, nervousness, depressive moods, etc.

Some patients only show individual symptoms (such as reddening of the skin with itching). In others, on the other hand, histaminosis manifests itself with symptoms in several parts of the body. This is because the most diverse cells and organs have docking sites (receptors) for histamine. These include smooth muscle cells (in the stomach and intestinal wall, in the bronchi and uterus, in the blood vessel walls etc.), gland cells, nerve cells and cells of the immune system (such as mast cells).

Diet can trigger symptoms

Histamine and its derivatives are present in almost all foods and some beverages. However, histamine content varies considerably and can be influenced by processing procedures such as ripening or fermentation.

The consumption of histamine-rich foods increases the concentration of histamine in the body. If histamine breakdown cannot be increased accordingly, the histamine metabolism is out of balance and symptoms may occur. A low-histamine diet is advised for those with histamine intolerance.

If you are not sure which products are low in histamine, simply scan the barcode with your TIOLI app and find out if other people with histamine intolerance tolerate this product.

#histamineintolerance #histamine #lowhistaminediet

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