Many people noticed that not only are fermented foods found in almost every store, but some people are actually making them at home, like Kombucha, Kimchi, sauerkraut. You can find many different recipes online, and they are not so difficult to make. I am sure that there are a lot of people who enjoy these fermented foods for keeping a healthy gut, but for some people, fermented food causes an allergic-like response such as itchy skin, stuffy or running nose, asthma, and headache. Those people are left wondering why because the symptoms often feel like they come out of nowhere.
You may have heard of lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance. Both “food intolerances” refer to foods that you are sensitive to and that can cause you symptoms when you eat them. So, if you are having any of the symptoms listed above, plus other symptoms like gas or bloating, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, irregular or increased heart rate, a couple of hours after eating, you might have a histamine intolerance. This could mean you are sensitive to high histamine foods. Unfortunately, fermented foods and other healthy foods are among them.
You have probably heard of antihistamines. They are medicines that tame allergy symptoms. But what are histamines? Histamines are chemicals in your immune system that help you get rid of something that is recognized as dangerous to your body. For example, if a person is allergic to harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, or dust, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is a threat to the body. Then, the immune system sends a signal to “mast cells” to release histamines and other chemicals into the bloodstream. Since the histamines are now all over the body, depending on the person, the reactions to the histamines show up in eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, heart, and digestive system.
That is why people who have histamine intolerance suffer different symptoms. According to Chris Kresser, a Functional Medicine practitioner, Histamine intolerance occurs when there is a buildup of histamine in the body because DAO (Diamine Oxidase), the primary enzyme that breaks down ingested histamine, and HNMT (histamine-N-methyltransferase), an enzyme that helps break down histamine within the cells are not working well. He also said that Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD) is playing a big roll in this condition. MCAD is inappropriately releasing a variety of potent chemical mediators, such as histamine and gives a negative effect on the body. He explains that the reasons why MCAD has occurred are 1) gene mutation such as MTHFR, HNMT, 2) Infections or gut dysbiosis such as candida, parasite, SIBO (small intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), 3) Heavy Metal Toxicity, 4) Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
The first thing you need to do is finding out what is causing you to have malfunctioning enzymes. Is it genetic, infections, mold and/or other toxicity? Of course, it is better to work with functional and/or integrated medicine doctors, but I know it is hard to find a good one for a reasonable price since many do not take insurance. You can definitely ask your conventional doctors to run some tests to find out if you have any of the markers. Also, you can start a histamine elimination diet. When you google histamine elimination diet, different health professional’s sites show different foods on the list. So, I attached a PDF
list from Swiss Allergy Centre There is an app called “Food Intolerance
” which shows quantities of histamine, tyramine, salicylate, sorbitol on each food to help dietary restriction easier for people who have food intolerances or allergies. Even though wheat and gluten foods and some dairy products are low or non histamine foods, I do not recommend eating until you find the root cause(s) of histamine intolerance.
I am more than happy to work with you to heal histamine intolerance by giving you strategies to change your habits.