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Histamine Intolerance & Foods to Avoid

Have you ever broken out in hives after eating fermented foods or experienced skin flushing after a glass of wine? Or do you just have a killer headache that just won’t go away?

These are all signs that you may have high levels of histamine circulating in your body.

What is Histamine Intolerance and how is it caused?

Histamine plays a fundamental part for many body functions. We need a certain amount to support a healthy immune response to pathogens and injury but too much of it can cause painful symptoms involving the skin, the brain, lungs, heart and digestive system. Histamine Intolerance can develop over time, commonly due to chronic overexposure to histamine foods and drinks, which overwhelms the body’s ability to break down histamine adequately.

The enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) is responsible for breaking down histamine and other biogenic amines ingested through food. DAO is mostly stored in cells of tissues that cover internal organs and other internal surfaces of the body. A deficiency of DAO will limit how much histamine can be metabolised without symptoms.

Another contributor to Histamine Intolerance is a genetic tendency for slow liver clearance of histamine via methylation. This is known as ‘undermethylation’ and often includes symptoms, such as; anxiety, addiction, phobias, OCD, perfectionism, competitiveness and allergies.

What are the symptoms?

People who are affected by Histamine Intolerances can encounter a varying range of different symptoms. A diagnosis involves at least 2 typical symptoms of the following:

Digestive tract

  • Diarrhoea
  • Diarrhoea alternating with normal motions (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS)
  • Chronic constipation
  • Flatulence and feeling of fullness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms affecting head and face

  • Headaches, similar to migraine
  • Runny nose and weepy eyes, although there is no clinical sign of allergies
  • Episodes of dizziness
  • Extreme tiredness, feeling knocked out
  • Flushing of face and/or chest

Skin problems

  • Skin rashes, itchiness
  • Eczema
  • Urticaria (Hives)
  • Psoriasis
  • Shingles

Chest area

  • Asthma
  • Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Tachycardia (fast beating heart)


  • Dysmenorrhoea (severe period pains)

Other symptoms

  • Chills and shivers
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Sudden psychological shifts (e.g. aggressiveness, inattentiveness, lack of concentration)
  • Sleep disorder

Food List

What can be done to help reduce symptoms?

What I call a low-histamine lifestyle will dramatically reduce the overall histamine load and increase tolerance of all antigens before symptoms emerge. This is achieved in two ways:

  1. Reduce consumption of histamine foods (above chart)
  2. Reduce excess fermentation in the gut by moderating carbohydrates in the diet. Histamine is a by-product of fermentation, both in the gut, as it is within foods.
  3. Take the DAO enzyme to metabolise excess histamine

How to find out what is causing your histamine symptoms

The most accurate way to determine which substances you have a hypersensitivity to, which then react with an excessive histamine response is to test for hidden micronutrients and environmental substances with a Bioresonance Immunotherapy Appraisal.

This tests over 250 signatures, giving % reactive scores for the highest items. It is performed with a small pin-prick sample of blood and clipping of hair. Collection kit and returned sample can be sent via post.

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By Kimballe Robyzen

Kimballe Robyzen is an experienced Naturopath specialising in women's health, allergies, immune, gut and mental health. Kimballe frequently works with interstate and overseas clients via Skype, Zoom, phone and/or email. Kimballe’s clinical approach is well suited to supporting you by distance, offering access to personalised health care to those challenged by distance and/or time.

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