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Histamine Intolerance Syndrome

by Dr. David Jernigan, Hansa Center for Optimum Health


Histamine Intolerance; The Cause of Hundreds of Symptoms

Histamine Intolerance Syndrome

There are not many issues that can cause so many problems in virtually every area of the body than Histamine Intolerance (HIT). The following is from a lecture I gave the doctors at the Hansa Center. Although every doctor has been extensively trained at the post-graduate level in virtually every pathology known to mankind, as you will see here, HIT is a specialty of its own, since there is so much to know. The following are just the bullet points outlining everything you would want to know about HIT. Before we highlight these points, you may want to understand that HIT can work towards managing anxiety. HIT may well be one of the pillars of mental health.

Histamine Intolerance has been called a “Pseudo-Allergy,” because many of its symptoms appear to be allergies when in fact they are not truly IgE-mediated, Type-1 hypersensitivity reactions typically seen in those suffering with allergies.

It is likely that some level of histamine intolerance is aggravating the condition of any person suffering from the many chronic, degenerative or inflammatory illnesses. Without our BRS testing to help guide our doctors, it would be a very difficult quagmire to navigate a person to resolution. Thankfully we can often rapidly find and address many of the possible causes, though it is definitely a lengthy process to dig deep enough to figure out all the various things that have created this systemic issue and how to then facilitate the body’s restoration of how it handles histamine.

This article will also provide you with the information of things you need to avoid in your diet, as well as medications, and even natural supplements that might be promoting the overproduction of histamine.

Before you say, “This isn’t my problem” please read this article thoroughly and possibly print it out for your doctor so that they can possibly help you.

What is the difference between Allergies and Histamine Intolerance?

  • Allergies are an IgE mediated, histamine response to an allergen, i.e., pollen or cat dander.
  • Histamine Intolerance (HIT) is a toxic response by the body due to the excessive accumulation of endogenous or exogenous histamine from an inability of the body to efficiently breakdown histamine and hypersensitivity of cell antigen receptors.

Histamine Intolerance is caused by:

  • The Over production of Histamine
  • The decreased ability of the body to breakdown histamine
  • Decreased Diamine Oxidase (DAO) enzyme production in the body
  • Histamine is broken down by oxidative deamination by DAO (former name: histaminase)
  • Decreased Histamine N-Methyl Transferase (HNMT) enzyme production in the body which is needed to breakdown histamine.
  • Histamine is broken down by ring methylation as a result of histamine-N-methyltransferase (HNMT)
See how many systems and symptoms can be caused by HIT

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance (HIT)

  • Histamine serves various functions in our body. This is why histaminosis may trigger a wide range of symptoms, affecting different organ systems.
  • People suffering from HIT may display highly diverse symptoms. Every person has individual weak spots, which may be afflicted earlier than other parts in the body. Sufferers may be troubled by many of the following symptoms, either simultaneously or alternately
  • Some afflictions are chronic or very frequent, others may only occur sporadically. The symptoms are so varied that the people affected by HIT often do not suspect a single trigger

HIT and Gastro-intestinal and Urinary Symptoms


HIT and Nervous System Symptoms

HIT and Endocrine System

HIT and Immune System

HIT and Skin

  • Excessive sweating, attack of sweating, night-time sweating, perspiring hands/feet, hot flashes
  • Flushing of face following meals (flush), heat build-up, facial skin feels slightly irritated
  • Skin blemishes, acne, pimples, blackheads, overproduction of sebaceous gland, oily skin
  • Rashes, flushes, itching, eczema, hives (urticaria)
  • Atopic eczema, Atopic dermatitis, Itching (e.g. itchy scalp, itchy vaccination scars)
  • Physical irritation such as scratching, strokes or heat triggering flashes/rash or itching
  • Upper arms covered in little red spots/pimples, partially keratinised or purulent (impaired keratinisation), perhaps in connection with pollen allergies?
  • Hands with burning/aching inflammation/blisters/nodules/calluses
  • Sun allergy: the skin goes very quickly red in the sun, but the sunburn disappears on the following day.
  • Dry lips

HIT and Respiratory Symptoms

  • Bronchial Asthma
  • Perennial rhinitis, swelling of nasal mucous membrane, runny nose (rhinitis, rhinorrhea) especially after food intake, also independent from type and histamine content of food, possibly aggravated by cold/smoke/smog/smells
  • Blowing the nose may lead to nosebleed (because of increased permeability of the blood vessels)
  • Aphtha lesions of the oral mucosa, which become small yellow-white holes/wounds that hurt and will not heal for days and sometimes months. In addition to the oral mucosa, some papillae on the tongue may hurt like an aphtha.
  • Chronic cough, constant tickly throat, dry cough, bronchitis, irritated bronchia
  • Constant clearing of the throat, particularly in stress situations
  • Sputum: viscid mucus to expectorate, frequent clearing of throat, perhaps also breathy vocal cords, particularly after sumptuous meals (similar to cystic fibrosis)

HIT and Fluid Regulation Symptoms

Possible Miscellaneous HIT Symptoms

  • Sensitivity to EMF pollution, WiFi, etc.
  • Sensitive to Geopathic stressors
  • Sensitive to Enviropathic stressors

DAO vs HNMT (The two pathways your body has to break down histamine)

  • Diamine Oxidase enzyme (DAO) expression is restricted to specific tissues; the highest activities are shown for small intestines, ascending colon, and for placenta and kidney. DAO is responsible for scavenging extracellular histamine (i.e., after ingestion of histamine-rich food) after mediator release.
  • Histamine N-Methyltransferase enzyme (HNMT) is widely expressed in human tissues; the greatest expression is in kidney and liver, followed by spleen, colon, prostate, ovary, spinal cord cells, bronchi, and trachea. HNMT is regarded as the key enzyme for histamine degradation in the bronchial epithelium. HNMT can convert histamine only in the intracellular space of cells.

Sources of Histamine and the cellular release of Histamine

  • Foods containing histamine
  • Mast cell dysregulation releasing excessive histamine
  • Mental/Emotional Stress
  • Allergies (endogenous or exogenous antigens)
  • Physical stress
  • Medications
  • Geopathic Stress
  • EMF/Enviropathic stress
  • Inflammation

Examples of Medications that influence histamine levels

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen)
  • Antidepressants (Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft)
  • Immune modulators (Humira, Enbrel, Plaquenil)
  • Antiarrhythmics (propanolol, metaprolol, Cardizem, Norvasc)
  • Aspirin – Histamine liberator
  • Amitriptylene – DAO blocker
  • Valium – DAO Blocker
  • Lasiks – DAO Blocker
  • Codeine – Histamine Liberator
  • Augmentin – DAO Blocker
  • Chloroquinine – DAO Blocker and Histamine liberator
  • Quinine – Histamine liberator
  • All X-ray contrast – Histamine liberator
  • Metoprin – HNMT blocker
  • Opiates (Heroin/Morphine…) – Histamine liberator
  • Thiamine/Vit B1 – Histamine liberator

  • Histamine release increases during the periods of panic attack, especially when the adrenergic, “fight or flight” response is at its peak
  • Histamine factors into the fight or flight because H3 histamine receptors in the brain promote the most “wakeful” firing pattern. In fact a sudden rush of histamine in the brain could contribute to a schizophrenic episode.
  • Histamine is involved in panic events by causing a closing of the airways in the lungs. When released in the lungs, histamine causes the airways to swell shut in an attempt to close the door on offending allergens and keep them out. Panic attack periods are known for the sense of weight or contraction on the lungs.

Effects of Sleep on Histamine

Influence of Histamine on Sex

  • Histamine is released as part of sexual arousal from mast cells in the genitals, and histamine release has been connected to the sex flush in women.
  • The female orgasm can be facilitated by supplemental folic acid along with niacin, which will increase histamine release.
  • Men with high histamine levels may suffer from premature ejaculations.

Four types of histamine receptors in the body (H1, H2, H3, H4)

H1 Receptors

  • Ileum contraction
  • Modulate Circadian rhythms
  • Itching
  • Systemic vasodilation
  • Broncho-constriction (allergy-induced asthma)
  • pain and itching due to insect stings
  • Are the primary receptors involved in allergic rhinitis symptoms and motion sickness.
  • Initiates release of intracellular stores of Ca2+ and opens Voltage gated Calcium channels.

H2 Receptors

  • speed up sinus rhythms
  • Stimulation of gastric acid (HCl) secretion
  • Smooth muscle relaxation
  • Inhibit antibody synthesis, T-cell proliferation and cytokine production

H3 Receptors

H4 Receptors

Problems with Antihistamines

Methods to address Histamine Intolerance

  • Eliminate foods high in Histamine (temporarily or long term)
  • BRADE allergy desensitization with NeuroPhotonic Therapy (Available at the Hansa Center only)
  • Eliminate medications that block DAO or HNMT, or that liberate histamine from the cells.
  • Use BRS to identify remedy support the biochemical pathways to enable the body to produce DAO and/or HNMT.
  • Restore probiotics, fecal microbiome transplants.
  • Supplement diet with Diamine Oxidase (DAO), such as Hist-DAO (Xymogen)
  • Treat Mental/Emotional (HPA axis) stress issues with BRS testing.
  • Stabilize IgE mediated prostaglandin activation of mast cell release of histamine. (gamma linolenic Acid…Evening Primrose oil, Borage Oil, Black Currant Seed oil.)
  • Oxford University Peptide shots (Amino acid shots) to block the histamine receptors at the cellular level.

Oxford University Peptide Injections

  • An antigen must first be attached to cell surface receptors on mast cells. This triggers a response that often includes the release of histamine. Most allergies involve the release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances.
  • The Oxford Peptides (U.S. = Amino Acid Injections) physically block the receptors so that antigens cannot attach to the cell receptors, therefore no histamine is released by the mast cells.

Antihistamine Supplements

  • Allermac (Jernigan)
  • HistDAO (Xymogen)
  • HistoCal (NutriWest)
  • Resveratrol
  • Turmero
  • Whole System Histozyme (Nutriwest)
  • Total CMO (NW) (autoimmune)
  • Phoenix (Dr. Recommends)
  • Isopathic Phenolics
  • All homeo categories, Dairy, Beautox,
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Sulfur (MSM)
  • Essential fatty acids (GLA)
  • Bromelain
  • Boswellia (Frankincense)
  • Pancreatic enzymes (Digest, Total Enzyme, Carbo-zyme, Amylase)
  • R-lipoic acid
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride
  • Proanthocyanidins (Plant pigments)
  • N-Acetyl Cystiene

Allergic reactions typically have an adrenal component. Cortisol, is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. For this reason proper adrenal function plays an important role in mediating the histamine release and inflammatory reactions that produce the symptoms experienced with allergies.

A vicious circle occurs with adrenal fatigue and the tendency to having allergies. The more histamine that is released the harder the adrenals have to work to produce more cortisol, thereby the more fatigued the adrenals become, which increases allergic reactions in a vicious circle.

Interactions of Nitric Oxide and Histamine

  • Increasing Nitric oxide will down-regulate the release of histamine. (NO Saliva test strips; treat with Neo-40, NOx…)
  • Histamine stimulates NO synthesis and release.
  • Too much NO increases histamine as the body strives to bring down the high NO. (Be careful when treating low NO that new symptoms are not created by causing the over production of NO.)
  • Several factors increase levels of NO in the body: Allergies (histamine), poor iron status, hypoxia (oxygen deficiency), estrogen dominance and Carbon Monoxide exposure.

Dietary Recommendations and Histamine (While eliminating high-histamine foods from your diet is a great idea, diet alone is NOT a long term correction for the underlying HIT problems. You must work with your doctor to correct the enzymatic and histamine metabolic pathways.

  • Avoid or reduce eating canned foods and processed or ready made meals.
  • Avoid or reduce eating ripened and fermented foods (older cheeses, alcoholic drinks, products containing yeast)
  • Histamine levels in foods vary, depending on how ripe, matured or hygienic the foods.
  • As much as it is possible, only buy and eat fresh products.
  • Don’t allow foods to linger outside the refrigerator – especially meat products

Foods High in Histamine

  • Alcohol, primarily wine, champagne and beer
  • Pickled or canned foods – sauerkraut. pickles, mayonnaise, olives
  • Matured cheeses, including goat cheese
  • Cured/Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages, bacon, salami, pepperoni, lunch meats and hot dogs
  • Shellfish
  • Various species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines
  • Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soy beans, peanuts
  • Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts, cashews, and peanuts
  • Chocolates and other cocoa based products
  • Avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
  • Most citric fruits, apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
  • Wheat based products
  • Vinegar
  • Processed and Ready-made meals
  • Salty snacks, sweets with preservatives and artificial colorings
  • Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, sour dough bread

Foods that are Histamine Liberators

  • Most citric fruits – kiwi, lemon, lime, pineapple, plums…
  • Cocoa and chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Beans and pulses
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
  • Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyes

Drinks that are Diamine Oxidase (DAO) Blockers

  • Alcohol
  • Black tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Green tea
  • Mate tea

Antihistamine Herbs and Spices

  • Amaranth seeds
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Berberine
  • Carraway
  • Chamomile
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Curry powder
  • Echinacea
  • Wild oregano
  • Fennel
  • Fig
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo
  • Grapefruit
  • Nutmeg
  • Passionflower
  • Tarragon
  • Tumeric
  • Skullcap
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow
  • Papaya
  • Reishi Mushroom
  • Stinging nettle

Foods Low in Histamine

  • Freshly cooked meat, poultry (frozen or fresh)
  • Freshly caught fish
  • Cooked eggs
  • Gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa, corn, millet, amaranth
  • Pure peanut butter
  • Fresh fruits: mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes
  • Fresh vegetables (except tomatoes, spinach, avocado, and eggplant)
  • Dairy substitutes: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk
  • Cooking oils: olive oil, coconut oil
  • Leafy herbs
  • Herbal teas

Effects of Low Histamine (Histopenia)

  • Histapenia (Low Histamine): It is found that 30-40 % of people with schizophrenia have low whole blood histamine levels and are over-methylated.
  • People with low histamine tend to have more severe mental disorders and hallucinations, paranoid thoughts with less pronounced obsessions, despair, depression, low libido, anxiety, nervous legs and grandiosity.
  • People with low histamine often have a multitude of food allergies and environmental allergies but they do not typically have seasonal allergies.
  • Approximately 25% of bipolar patients have low histamine levels.

Biochemistry of Histopenia

  • Low “Whole blood histamine”
  • Low blood zinc
  • Low basophils
  • Elevated levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
  • Elevated copper, which is a brain stimulant and destroys histamine; causing brain dopamine levels to rise; copper then oxidizes catecholamines such as dopamine thus propagating neurotoxin formation. This causes paranoia and hallucinations in younger individuals, but depression may predominate in the older ones.

Testing for Histamine Intolerance (HIT): (Not all of these test must be performed to diagnose HIT.)

For over 24 years the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, in Wichita, Kansas has specialized in the restoration of health for people with previously unresponsive and chronic illnesses of virtually all types. Over 85% of people come from other states and countries. If you have done everything you and your doctor know to do and are still struggling, contact our wonderful Patient Care Coordinator, Kara, at patientcare@hansacenter.com, for information on the exciting new treatments we have developed at the Hansa Center for Optimum Health. For additional info, visit our website at www.HansaCenter.com. Call 316-686-5900 ext. 1 to schedule your visit.

All of our doctors are proudly, Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine, with post-graduate training in Advanced Biological and Bioregulatory Medicine, as well as Anthroposophical Medicine. Our training does not require us to depend upon pharmaceutical drug-induced illusions of health, the suppression of symptoms, nor do we have to unlearn what we have been taught as do conventional medical physicians. What is only natural in our training and profession, to work to restore the optimum structure and function of every aspect of the body as a way to help the body eliminate disease, only in recent years have mainstream medical doctors begun to accept and learn the concepts of functional medicine and now proclaim it as self-evident and truly science based.

This article is for educational purposes. Before implementing any supplements/remedies always consult with your healthcare professional. Due to the complexity of the human condition there remains the possibility of symptoms getting worse. Again, discuss the ideas presented here with your health care professional before beginning, and stop, or get support, if your condition worsens. This information is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or illness, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. The Hansa Center does not treat named diseases, but seeks to restore the body’s optimum structural and functional integrity so that the body can rapidly heal itself.

*Due to the exhaustive time spent per day with each patient, and poor repayment history of insurance companies, we unfortunately cannot accept insurance assignment. We do participate in Care Credit, and accept all major credit cards. We will gladly accept insurance when our elected officials revamp the health insurance industry to cover all results-based care. We encourage you to vote with this in mind. Please call 316-686-5900 ext. 1, for current pricing for our economically-priced, All-inclusive 2-3 weeks intensive packages of care.
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