Did you know that histamine may be playing a big role in your hormones?
For some of my clients, getting their histamine under control is the biggest game changer when it comes to some of the most advanced PMS symptoms. Keep reading to see if this is you!
What is Histamine and Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine is not a bad thing, but TOO much histamine is NOT fun. Too much histamine can be is responsible for headaches, fatigue, bloating, itching, insomnia, irritability and gut issues (usually in the middle of your cycle – at ovulation.
But even though you might see it as a pain in the butt, Histamine is actually there to help. When your body gets exposed to an allergen like dust or pollen it will trigger histamine to thin out the red blood vessels to create a way for your immune system’s white blood cells to get to the problem area. This trigger (dust, pollen, etc) and the subsequent histamine response is what causes that itchy, puffy, swollen, swelling that is associated with allergies and allergy seasons. This is why an ANTI histamine, like Benadryl, is so popular.
When the body either creates too much histamine OR can’t clear it out, that’s what is known as a histamine intolerance.
What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome of (MCAS) for short is a more serious or extreme version of histamine which can cause massive swelling. I have a fellow functional practitioner friend who has MCAS and when she is exposed to an allergen her entire face can swell up and she looks like someone inflated her with a ballon!
I don’t believe I have MCAS but before I knew better, I triggered my histamine response so badly that I ended up with 15 canker sores in my mouth! It was definitely one of the most painful experiences EVER!
What do your hormones have to do with histamine?
Ah the little known hormone – histamine connection or shall we call the Estrogen – histamine connection.
Histamine is unfortunately UPREGULATED by estrogen. Estrogen peaks at ovulation so this is why many women with a histamine intolerance experience these horrible symptoms at ovulation. It’s a total bummer since ovulation is meant to be a joyous time where you feel on top of the world. Additionally histamine release due to estrogen is released primarily in the uterus and the ovaries. To make matters even worse, there is a chicken and egg scenario where the more histamine you have the more estrogen you have and vice versa. Additionally, estrogen down regulates DAO which is the enzyme that breaks down histamine.
Why does gut health need to be considered if you have endometriosis. acne, period pain, PMS and heavy periods?
Endometriotic lesions contain high number of mast cells and that can contribute to pain and even the abnormal immune response that is at the core of endometriosis.
Mast cells (which release histamine) are also present in the uterus as I mentioned above. This means that they could be involved in heavy periods by the release of heparin (this sis a blood thinner) and blood thinners can increase our menstrual flow.
We know that the trigger for most of this inappropriate histamine is linked back to…..GUT HEALTH. The gut is where the immune system is held so addressing histamine without doing a stool test is skipping a step. Leaky gut & intestinal dysbiosis are key factors to addressing over active immune system including histamine in tolerance.
What else can I do?
You might be thinking, I don’t have the money right now to run a GI MAPS stool test – that’s okay babe! There are things you can do to bridge the gap until you can save up.
First things first, remove histamine containing and histamine triggering foods from your plate and see if all your symptoms disappear! To be clear, I don’t think removing all these foods is sustainable long term but anyone with histamine intolerance can tell you that it is utterly miserable to live with so this can be a temporary stop gap until you get your gut fully healed. You may also decide that you just want to reduce these foods 👇 around ovulation if you feel histamine is a cycle specific issue for you.
Histamine Containing Foods
- Alcohol, especially beer and wine
- bone broth
- fermented foods (pickles, smoked meats, sauerkraut)
- cheese or dairy of any sort
- Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, prunes, figs, raisons
- Canned fish like sardines and mackerel
- Smoked fish
- Processed Meats – sausage, hot dogs, salami
- Soured breads, such as pumpernickel, coffee cakes and other foods made with large amounts of yeast
- Vinegar or vinegar-containing foods, such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, ketchup, chili sauce, pickles, pickled beets, relishes, olives
Supplements: B6 and DAO and Probiotics
B6 helps the enzyme DAO which is what breaks down histamine in the body.
You can also supplement directly with DAO, especially if you know that genetically you have a SNP in your DAO enzyme (making it genetically difficult to break down histamine)
And manufacturers have come out with probiotics specifically designed to support your gut in breaking down histamine.
You can get my whole suite of histamine supplement support below 👇 for a 10% discount.
You know me, test don’t guess. Getting a GI MAPS stool test and a DUTCH complete would be two factors to consider. The GI MAPS is a stool test that could determine any imbalances in the gut – the more dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria) and the more leaky gut present the more likely your immune system is tweaking out and needs some love. Additionally, the GI MAPS has a marker called Beta Glucuonidase which tracks how well your gut (or phase III of detoxification) is actually doing in releasing toxins and excess hormones. The higher this number the greater a change that you are estrogen dominant in your gut 😔 I talk about this in more depth in Episode #37 of the SHE Talks Health Podcast with Guest Expert Kylene Terhune, FDN-P: “How Your Poop Impacts Your Estrogen Levels”.
The DUTCH COMPLETE is a hormone test that looks at a lot of hormones but the two most relevant for histamine intolerance would be Progesterone and Estrogen. You’d want to see if Estrogen was too high and if Progesterone was too low causing that hike in histamine. In some women their estrogen doesn’t come back down after ovulation and instead stays high all cycle long causing a non stop histamine issue.
Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to educate you about options to take care of your body and as a self-help tool for your own use so that you can reach your own health goals. It is not intended to treat or cure any specific illness and is not to replace the guidance provided by your own medical practitioner.
If you are under the care of a health care professional or currently use prescription medications, you should discuss any dietary changes or potential dietary supplements use with your doctor, and should not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting your doctor.
This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. If you suspect you have a medical problem, we urge you to take appropriate action by seeking medical attention.