The Curious Link Between Estrogen, Mast Cells, and Histamine

Role of histamine in PMDDHeadaches. Anxiety. Insomnia. Brain fog. Hives. Nasal congestion. These are just a few of the symptoms of histamine intolerance or mast cell activation syndrome.

Histamine problems are more common in women, and are often worse at ovulation and just before the period. Why? Because that’s when estrogen is high compared to progesterone, and estrogen increases histamine.

Estrogen stimulates mast cells to release histamine and estrogen down-regulates the DAO enzyme that clears histamine. At the same time, histamine stimulates the ovaries to make more estrogen. The net result is a vicious cycle of estrogen → histamine → estrogen → histamine.

Symptoms of “estrogen dominance” (such as PMS and heavy periods) can actually be symptoms of histamine or “mast cell activation.”

What is histamine?

Histamine is the immune signalling protein that causes allergies and swelling. But it has lots of other jobs. Histamine also regulates stomach acid, stimulates the brain, and plays a key role in ovulation and female reproduction.

Did you know? Histamine boosts libido, which is why estrogen increases libido and antihistamines decrease it.

The curious link between estrogen and histamine and premenstrual mood symptoms.

Normally, your body regulates histamine by making it, and then by clearing it with the enzymes histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) and diamine oxidase (DAO). It’s a fine balance between “histamine in” and “histamine out.

Did you know? The placenta makes a huge amount of DAO, which is why histamine intolerance and food sensitivities often improve during pregnancy.

A histamine problem occurs when there is either too histamine being generated or being eaten, or not enough histamine going out.

Reasons for too much “histamine in

  • Mast cell-stimulating foods such as dairy and alcohol. Histamine is a big reason that dairy causes period problems.
  • Eating too many histamine-containing foods such as alcohol (especially wine), sauerkraut, and smoked meat.
  • Intestinal dysbiosis (wrong gut bacteria) because some species of bacteria make histamine.
  • Estrogen excess because estrogen stimulates histamine release.

Reasons for not enough “histamine out

  • A genetic variant of the histamine-clearing enzymes HNMT and DAO.
  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) because it impairs DAO activity.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency because vitamin B6 is an essential cofactor of DAO.
  • Estrogen excess because it down-regulates DAO.
  • Progesterone deficiency because progesterone is needed to up-regulate DAO. That’s why you have more DAO (and less histamine) early in the luteal phase when progesterone is high. (Better histamine clearance is just one of many ways that progesterone feels good.)
  • Hormonal birth control because it causes estrogen excess and progesterone deficiency.

What’s the solution?

Avoid histamine-stimulating foods such as alcohol and dairy. Read What dairy does to periods.

Histamine-stimulating foods:

  • alcohol
  • cow’s dairy

Reduce histamine-containing foods. This is the fastest and simplest way to feel better, but it can become restrictive and difficult in the long-term. If you address underlying gut issues, you should find that you improve your tolerance of histamine foods.

Histamine-containing foods:

  • red wine and champagne
  • hard cheese
  • avocado
  • smoked or canned fish
  • shellfish
  • soy sauce
  • deli meats
  • yeast
  • bananas
  • dried fruit
  • dried nuts
  • bone broth and fish stock
  • vinegar and fermented foods such as sauerkraut
  • chocolate

Improve gut health. This usually means identifying and correcting dysbiosis and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). I discuss SIBO in Chapter 11 of Period Repair Manual.

Supplement vitamin B6 because it upregulates DAO. This is one reason vitamin B6 is so incredibly helpful for PMS. B6 also boosts the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Food sources of vitamin B6 include meat, chicken, and sunflower seeds.

Promote the healthy clearance of estrogen. Read How to lower estrogen.

Consider taking natural progesterone because it up-regulates the DAO enzyme.

👉  Tip: Histamine reduction is a big part of why dairy-free diet, vitamin B6, and natural progesterone work so well for women’s health.

For more information, read The role of histamine and mast cells in PMS and PMDD.

248 thoughts on “The Curious Link Between Estrogen, Mast Cells, and Histamine”

  1. Thank you very much Doc. You have enlightened me a lot. My histamine level has reached a stage whereby feeling dizzy has increased and as well as always getting reactions from almost anything i take in, and now, i don’t even know what to eat. Kindly prescribe antihistamine drug for me.

    Reply
  2. I started taking bioidentical progesterone after not having success with years of diet restriction and supplements NAC and Saw palmetto, no gluten, no dairy except occasional cheese. I took the bio progesterone for 3 cycles days 6-21 and my estrogen went from 27 to 243. My progesterone only increased from .4 to 1.3 and my blood work was drawn on day 21 of my cycle. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • NAC is a histamine liberator, which means it frees histamine from mast cells into the blood, which could explain your lack of success. Next histamine stimulates estrogen production.

      Reply
  3. Hi there!
    This is excellent information and similar to what my naturopath/homeopath/Chinese medicine doctor has been helping me with.
    I believe that I became quite estrogen dominant this past winter – due to taking incorrect menopause supplements. I may have also got an infection that I can’t shake. I’m 48, and thought I had a fever since Jan, while some days it may have been, it was mainly the buildup of sinuses that led to the hot feeling in my head. I then started having allergies and asthma issues that I haven’t had for over 10-12 years. I was have been given 2 rounds of antibiotics (amoxicillin and Azithromycin) and had bad reaction to the Azithromycin- like I was allergic to it? My ND had me on 2-900 mg of NAC for liver support, 2 -1400 mg fish oil, unda drops 1,20&258 for liver support and allergies. After the bad reaction to antibiotics, she dropped me back to 1 NAC and 1 fish oil. I’m also taking a good probiotic for gut health. I tried to take zinc (30mg) which also had 50 mg of B6, but had a reaction to this. I’m done the unda drops and am now starting unda 10&16 to fix hormones. I’ve had some weird bloodwork come back where my WBC was 11.5, neutrophils was 8.1 and monocytes was 1.1. The ND is convinced I still have a bacterial infection, but I have no symptoms and don’t want to take another antibiotic. Does chronic inflammation or the use of NAC or fish oil increase WBC like this?
    How much B6, magnesium and vitamin C should I be getting? Since the antibiotics the histamine problem is much much worse!
    How long until I can expect to see improvements?

    Thanks!

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  4. So ifyif saying estrogen dominance causes histamine intolerance, then menapausal women shouldn’t have histamine intolerance. Not true, mine got worse as I went from perimenapause to the end.

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    • yes, definitely histamine intolerance can worsen both during the high estrogen time of perimenopause and the low estrogen time of menopause.
      Why it continues into menopause is, I think, due to the profound loss of progesterone and the general reorganisation of the immune system that occurs with menopause.

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  5. So much good info here, but I’m having trouble with a couple things. I understand that estrogen can cause increased histamine production by increasing the Th2 response, IgE, and mast cell degranulation. It can also decrease histamine degradation. That part checks out. However, the idea that histamine increases estrogen doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s tough to find backing for that other than the in vitro study cited. If histamine increased estrogen, wouldn’t we expect to see a lot more guys with allergies (who have high histamine production) showing signs of excess estrogen (ie. growing breasts)?

    Also, I’m having trouble seeing how all dairy is high in histamine. Fermented dairy like yogurt, cheese and kefir are, but milk has low levels of histamine as far as I can see in the research.

    In regards to avoiding dairy and alcohol, perhaps they benefit hormone balance in other ways? Alcohol can damage the gut microbiome, which is involved in estrogen clearance, for example.

    Reply
    • re: histamine increasing estrogen. I believe the mechanism is that histamine acts directly on the ovaries so would not cause the same effect in men.

      re: histamine response from dairy, it’s not so much that all dairy contains histamine, but that casein stimulates a mast cell reaction in some people.

      And definitely yes, alcohol has several other negative effects on hormones.

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  6. Hi, it all boils down to the fact that quercertin binds much more easily to COMT receptors than estrogen (it competes and wins). So, our bad estrogen doesn’t get methylated to “good estrogen”. This is especially bad if you have a COMT mutation, which is quite common.

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  7. Dietary Quercetin Exacerbates the Development of Estrogen-Induced Breast Tumors in Female ACI Rats
    Bhupendra Singh,1 Sarah M. Mense,3 Nimee K. Bhat,1 Sandeep Putty,2 William A. Guthiel,2 Fabrizio Remotti,4 and Hari K. Bhat1
    Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer
    The publisher’s final edited version of this article is available at Toxicol Appl Pharmacol
    See other articles in PMC that cite the published article.
    Go to:
    Abstract
    Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that structurally mimic the endogenous estrogen 17β-estradiol (E2). Despite intense investigation, the net effect of phytoestrogen exposure on the breast remains unclear. The objective of the current study was to examine the effects of quercetin on E2-induced breast cancer in vivo. Female ACI rats were given quercetin (2.5 g/kg food) for 8 months. Animals were monitored weekly for palpable tumors, and at the end of the experiment, rats were euthanized, breast tumor and different tissues excised so that they could be examined for histopathologic changes, estrogen metabolic activity and oxidant stress. Quercetin alone did not induce mammary tumors in female ACI rats. However, in rats implanted with E2 pellets, co-exposure to quercetin did not protect rats from E2-induced breast tumor development with 100% of the animals developing breast tumors within 8 months of treatment. No changes in serum quercetin levels were observed in quercetin and quercetin + E2-treated groups at the end of the experiment. Tumor latency was significantly decreased among rats from the quercetin + E2 group relative to those in the E2 group. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity was significantly downregulated in quercetin exposed mammary tissue. Analysis of 8-isoprostane F2α (8-iso-PGF2α) levels as a marker of oxidant stress showed that quercetin did not decrease E2-induced oxidant stress. These results indicate that quercetin (2.5 g/kg food) does not confer protection against breast cancer, does not inhibit E2-induced oxidant stress and may exacerbate breast carcinogenesis in E2-treated ACI rats. Inhibition of COMT activity by quercetin may expose breast cells chronically to E2 and catechol estrogens. This would permit longer exposure times to the carcinogenic metabolites of E2 and chronic exposure to oxidant stress as a result of metabolic redox cycling to estrogen metabolites, and thus quercetin may exacerbate E2-induced breast tumors in female ACI rats.

    Keywords: Breast Cancer, Quercetin, Phytoestrogen, Estrogen, ACI Rat

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  8. Dietary plant flavonoids have been proposed to contribute to cancer prevention, neuroprotection, and cardiovascular health through their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, and antiproliferative activities. As a consequence, flavonoid supplements are aggressively marketed by the nutraceutical industry for many purposes, including pediatric applications, despite inadequate understanding of their value and drawbacks. We show that two flavonoids, luteolin and quercetin, are promiscuous endocrine disruptors. These flavonoids display progesterone antagonist activity beneficial in a breast cancer model but deleterious in an endometrial cancer model. Concurrently, luteolin possesses potent estrogen agonist activity while quercetin is considerably less effective. These results highlight the promise and peril of flavonoid nutraceuticals and suggest caution in supplementation beyond levels attained in a healthy, plant-rich diet.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23836117

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  9. I’m a 76 year old woman. Had a hysterectomy years ago with cervix removed and ovaries intact. On Estrogen supplement 3X weekly. Had a bladder lift a few years ago but still experience the occasional leakage and so had been using over the counter bladder incontinence pads. Recently been experiencing reaction in my vulva (swelling and itching) so discontinnued the pads, which gave some relief. Am now using fully natural bladder control panties (washable, rewearable) by Speax and Thinx which work well, but am experiencing the same problem. My family doctor prescribed a strong topical anti-biotic as if it were like jock issue (male doctor) which didn’t do much at all. Since then, I’ve been suing pure soaps, extra rinses, etc., to reduce histamine reactions. Am considering stopping all estrogen as it appears to be a histamine enabler. This is recent but I’ve found the vulva condition is controllable using Aveeno with menthol to moisturize and to reduce the itch. I’m writing you because I would like to find information on histamine reactions in elderly women in particular that isn’t a treatise or medical periodical for professionals in the geriatric field. Someone like yourself but in that area of expertise. There are many women like myself out there suffering in silence because of embarrassment or because what the doctor prescribed was not the right information for a woman let alone an elderly woman. So we resort to hit and miss self-medicating. If you can help steer me toward a source similar to yours and on FB as well, it would be greatly appreciated…. thanks.

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  10. I really don’t think high estrogen = high histamine is the whole picture. My histamine reaction symptoms are actually worse during the estrogen dips (right after ovulation, and at menstruation). I haven’t verified ovulation by temperature yet, but my egg-white mucus tells me I’m at least getting estrogen spikes at the expected times (about two weeks before menstruation and then sometimes again to a lesser extent around mid-luteal). For context, I’ve been a “low estrogen” type my whole life: light periods, vaginal dryness, low libido. As I’ve aged I’ve also started getting flu-like symptoms right around my period. Exhaustion, body aches, chills, temperature sensitivity. At this time of month if I’m exposed to a normal allergy trigger that other times of month would give me a mild to moderate amount of sinus congestion and crud, I will feel like I got the flu or a sinus infection or something. This “period flu” lasts 12-48 hours. And last month it also happened right at my post-ovulation estrogen drop, too.

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  11. Hi Lara! I had my last period in Sept. 2018. I’ll be 53 in Jan. I’ve noticed a return of ovulation fluid but no period, as if my now menopausal body is trying to ovulate but can’t. At the same tine, I’ve been dealing with a mysterious outbreak of hives, which I have never had before. It seems correlated with the return of the ovulation fluid, which goes on for awhile, then goes away, then returns. Can you be estrogen dominant if you are already in menopause? I had also wondered if it was autoimmune progesterone dermatitis. In my 40s I had short luteal phases and I had to use progesterone suppositories to sustain my pregnancy. But the hives seem more correlated with the fluid, suggesting a phase of high estrogen, not high progesterone. Do you have any thoughts?

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  12. Mast cell probs are caused by toxins in my case…no doubt about it for me. The mold, Mercury & glyphosate are robbers of good bacteria & etc. I wish I’d known this when I was younger – baffling stuff this hormonal balancing act – & multiple causes for it!!! Good luck everyone who battles it – so not easy and many times not your fault! We just were not made to handle the load of toxins we do carry through no fault of our own!

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  13. Love your posts. I have just tried again with my practitioner to take compounded progesterone and pregnenolone and had terrible muscle aches and pains, melancholy and acute insomnia even taking these in the morning. I am working on eliminating high histamine foods but would love to figure out how to overcome sensitivity to progesterone!

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  14. Hello Lara, thank you for your blog. Shall I avoid the foods listed above al month, or could it be enough to just avoid them a week before ovulation and a week before starting my cycle?

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  15. Thank you for answering the question on another thread about insomnia at the time of ovulation. I have wondered for awhile if I have a histamine intolerance. I’m a chronic insomniac initially due to circadian disruption, but I’m sure I’ve developed sensitivities. And I went nuts over fermented foods for a few years.

    Whenever I eat charcuterie, I won’t sleep that night. It’s hard living in France, being tempted by jambon…

    I don’t have many other specific symptoms though (like nasal congestion, headaches, hives…)

    I have IBS but it’s linked to HPA axis disfunction.

    It is so difficult to heal and impossible to find an experienced doctor.

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  16. Dr. Briden,

    First off, thank you so much for all of the information you’ve provided through your book and this website. I finally have hope that I might have a normal, healthy cycle for the first time in my life by following the protocols you recommend in your book.

    My question is, would you recommend getting a food sensitivity test done? And if so, what type would you recommend? (I’ve been seeing ones that test 190 foods using my blood from a pin prick, and was wondering if those were accurate.)

    Thanks!
    Ashley

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  17. Dr. Briden,

    I have read conflicting studies on whether taking the supplement quercetin for histamine could potentially raise estrogen levels? I already have issues with too much estrogen vs low progesterone. I also strongly suspect I have histamine issues. I wanted to try quercetin, but I don’t know if this supplement does or does not impact estrogen? Could you please provide some clarification on whether it impacts estrogen and/or any other hormones? Thank you so much!

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  18. I started taking a DIM supplement — a week and a half later I broke out in horrible hives. Do you think it could be related?

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  19. Antihistamins can at best stop the expression of biochemical imbalances which go deeper. Make sure you adjust your diet – my best ever change was to start my day with a green smoothie or a blueberry spinach smoothie… it gives the body antioxidants cleansing material to calm and detox the body… after that it is an individual journey… sometimes hives can be due to candida or probiotic imbalances closely linked with hormones!!! That is why women experience this so differently before the period… however, Lara’s recommendation of daily zinc has as well made a world of difference to me. So don’t give up – just continue to educate yourself! Best of health to you.

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  20. I have hives daily but severely increase at the time of my period. What are guidelines for taking progesterone ? And why don’t antihistamines relive my hives? I’m desperate for help I hope to hear from you soon!

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  21. I think I just found the reason for my episodes of intense postpartum insomnia and anxiety. Thank you for this info! I cut dairy at 5 weeks postpartum with my youngest and my symptoms went away almost overnight. Now I know why! More recent trouble with my cycles led me on a search for answers that brought me here and it’s all starting to make sense. I’ll be purchasing your book. Thank you so much!!

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  22. I have all over itchy red skin that burn when I itch it.. rashes when I eat eggs and chicken. The holistic and d.o. doctirdnever mentioned histamine intolerance.

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  23. A little history. I have never in my life used any birth control except condoms and have never gotten pregnant until I had my first child one year ago 3/19/18, one month before I turned 46. I have been breast feeding since 10 seconds after he was born. He latched right on! The next day I had my tubes tied. I did not get my period until 7 months later in October, and it stopped last month, Feb 2019. So I assume menopause.
    Easy pregnancy, no unnessesary weight gain and no food cravings. Just some morning sickness first two months and horrible heartburn the last month. Bounced back to my normal weight within 2 months. I have never had an allergy, or ever been in the hospital until I had my son. I do not drink any alchohol, havent since my early 20s. Now all of a sudden I have gained 30lbs, have massive headaches, and have a crusty rash on the insides of my forarms. From my research and self trial and error of foods I have figured out it must be a histamine intolerance. If I eat any sort of pork I have the worst headaches the next day and that crusty rash appears. I have stopped eating pork and would like to know what else I should be doing to stop any headaces in the future and lose this horrible weight. I have never been sick and always super active. I dont ‘work out’ per se because my jobs and my lifestyle are just active in general. Yoga was recommended, but that is recommended for everything. Should I be taking an antihistamine enzyme to nip it in the bud? Or add a vitamin regimine? Im reading of all these people with much worse symptoms and underlying conditions, and I do not want to develope anything worse if I don’t act now. I have a son to raise now and I want to be healthy and feel as good as before, if possible! Thanks for any input. –Jen Pants

    Reply
    • Hello Jan Pants, I have commented on this before, but what made a world of difference for me are Green Smoothies in the morning. This is something extremely helpful for your body to detox. The crust you describe might be a toxic reaction for things contained in pork or meets (most of them are GMO fed beings and the GMOs will cause havoc in our bodies). When the liver is overburdened skin reactions are unavoidable. According to a nutritionist I love Natalia Rose – Weight is waste – any toxic accummulation in the body will be stored in fat to keep it away from vital organs… as soon as you detox the toxin related weight leave the body. The way you describe your weight gain I would not be surprised it the weight gain is related to toxins and as older as we get as women I think insulin resistance can set in. I found minerals important to counteract insulin resistance – there are some herbs and oils one can try as well black cumin seed oil etc. I hope this will help you as I know how important it is to feel at ease and good with oneself. Best wishes – hopefully Lara will give you an answer from her perspective as well.

      Reply
  24. My daughter has an overwhelming amount of sinus throbbing headaches before her menstrual. She has already been to an allergy specialist. Nothing helps. She started on DAO supplements, Can this help with this problem. Really need your help on this problem.

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  25. I am so glad to find this info. I am in my mid 40’s have always had horrible periods and in the last couple of years have developed asthma and my allergies are he’ll a couple of weeks before I start. This makes complete since and why a lot of allergy medicine don’t seem to help. I have autoimmune things going on and thyroid problems a doctors worse nightmare. I am going to get to an allergist because now my sense of smell has really diminished. I can see the connection and hope an allergist can really pin point what is going on. Once I start my allergies improve drastically for a few days then the madness starts all over again. Thats how I track my cycle cause my allergies are horrible two weeks before I start. Thank you for this information. Can’t wait to see what an allergist thinks about this.

    Reply
    • Hi Julie… just in case you are unaware of this – loss of smelll is a sign of ZINC deficency… sometimes as well Vitamin B – but mainly Zinc – Lara speaks about the importance of Zinc in her ebook and on her blog extensively. I would take a multivitamin every day and add Zinc to it. For me it made world of difference – as well with the Dr. Brownstein Iodine protocol. All the best…

      Reply
  26. My 20 month old daughter just started breaking out in hives after breastfeeding and nothing has changed with either of our diets. The only thing I can think of is it was at the same timeframe as I started my cycle again for the first time since before conceiving her and I was ovulating. Do you think the hormones in my body during my ovulation could be the cause or her hives? They appear about 15 minutes after she starts nursing and go away after about an hour.

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  27. Did you ever find that eating sauerkraut/fermented foods leads to an endo flare? My last cycle has been unexpectedtly rough (pain with ovulation, inflammed endo lesion, heavy cramping while period, digestive issues with diarrhea, still mild cramping although menstrual flow stopped). I have eaten lots of fermented sauerkraut throughout the month as part of a gut healing regime. Maybe the sauerkraut provoked the endo flare via the histamine-estrogen connection?

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  28. Hello,

    I just read your article on Histamine intolerance and it says one of the things to cut out to help reduce histamines in your body is red wine. I thought that red wine helps with PMS?

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  29. I was VERY glad to find your blog post about the histamine estrogen connection. My 15 year old daughter started her period earlier this year – heavy and long and spradic…
    BUT 2 days ago she started anoter period with hives and asthma and itchy eyes and runny nose. It was pretty scary because she’s never had asthma before.
    We’ve been having to keep her doped up on benedryl to keep it all at bay. What kind of doctor should I take her to? I would think her pediatrician wouldn’t know what to do…

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated,
    Carrie

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  30. I stumbled across your article searching for reasons that I itch like crazy in the week or two before my period. This is very interesting! It keeps me awake and drives me crazy.

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  31. I am fascinated! For many years I had a systemic allergic response right before menstruating. I’ve gone to allergists, and tried many things to understand what is happening. I think this is it!!

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    • I’ve been dealing with the same issue for years as well and have addressed them with both my primary and gynecologist, but they always say there’s not a link. I know my body… and there is a link to hives and my cycle. I’ve never had my estrogen nor progesterone check. I think it’s about time to check it.

      Reply
  32. Interesting article! I don’t have problems with my period, but my histamine is always high and i thought i have allergies. Now it became all year round. I live on antihistamine pills. I will try to follow your food list. thanks!

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  33. This is big for me! I stumbled upon this after recently being prescribed progesterone due to excessive bleeding after starting a new hormonal birth control. But recently i have been complaining also about my allergies acting up every night my eyes are very itchy and i even had a reaction to my dog which has never happened. I broke out in hives after bathing her and had an asthma attack. After reading this i see the connections adding up.

    Reply
    • Yes, onset with menopause is something I see with my patients quite a lot. I think it happens because of the profound loss of progesterone and it can respond to a combination of strategies including avoiding dairy (and histamine foods), vitamin B6, quercetin, histamine-degrading probiotic, and natural progesterone.

      Reply
        • Re probiotics, I take L-plantarum and it works very well for me.

          Also, I have started taking Coenzyme Q10 last September and it does a really great job, too.

          Another thing: Saturated fats are anti-histamine and they are not making fat etc. etc. They allow you to cut out starches which cause a lot of problems, like gluten e.g. is a histamine producer and so is oxalic acid.

          I started feeling way better end of 2016 when I first tried magnesium oil spray and/or Epsom salt baths. Things have improved a lot for me but it is all trial and error.

          And I do eat a lot of yoghurt as I can’t eat lots of meat or fish. Yogurt makes me feel good. Everyone is different.

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          • Thanks, Arthenning, for these great tipps! Totally agree as they helped me too. The only thing which is new to me is Coenzyme Q10. What did you think improved by taking it? Thanks in advance!

  34. Hello Lara, I started a keto lchf diet more than a year ago .I also have been taking k2 supplements with D3, & magnesium as well as Marine collagen. I’m 53 and seem to have passed through the menopause not too badly (bouts of nastiness). I started developing food allergies, which I put down to a too restrictive diet and changed my brand of k2. Currently, I’ve eased off the low carb diet.. although still eating some high fat ..love all the foods that must be causing my histamine intolerance!! Recently, I’ve developed issues with my knees which I’m suspecting is from uric acid…as it worsens after alcohol (which never happened before). So now I’ve discovered that joint pain can come from low estrogen, so I’m completely confused and feel panicky about my health & well being. I’ve joined the gym and am using weights & swimming. I could probably do with losing 10-14 lbs to be spot on, but think I’m relatively fit & healthy apart from new joint pain and histamine intolerance. Help? Thank you:-)

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  35. This is mind blowing! I have PCOS and food allergies. They become less severe during pregnancy (which I only became pregnant after taking biodenticle hormones, spirolactone, paleo diet, and worked out 7 days a week for 20 minutes.
    After pregnancy I started having hives , major inflammation with my throat, and cross contamination has been a lot worse. My progesterone is super low again. This is such good info.

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  36. Why when my Obgyn put me on natural progesterone I develped side effects of extreme swelling of stomach and pelvic pain fluid retention that I didnt have before only during luteal phase

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  37. Great article! Might this explain why I got so sick after two day trial on estradiol cream? I had hives my entire pregnancy & was using progesterone supplements first trimester. I’m worried I may also be allergic to progesterone …is there any alternate route during menopause for someone like me with slightly low thyroid, endometriosis & abnomal intense reactions to bioidebtical hormones?! Super stressed & feeling awful now 5 days after trial stopped!

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    • Progesterone cream actually will help lower your histamine bucket …but if you jsbe methylation issues MAO COMT gene may he the reason bio identical progesterone cream isnt working as well. Optimizing methylation is key.

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      • Hi! I hear about methylation all the time and I don’t know what it is, how to assess mine or what to do about it. Can you point me in the right direction please?

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        • YouTube Ben lynch and methylation. Optimizing vit and minerals and gut health is crucial. Getting balanced on a cellular level. If you have comt gene taking b vit can be an challenge I personally use bee pollen and royal jelly. Whole food supplementation works for me.

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  38. What do you think about Kombucha? I starting drinking it about a month ago and within 2 days of drinking it I had greatly reduced seasonal allergy symptoms. The only downsides I have had from drinking it were my period was really heavy (I hear kombucha thins the blood), and I have really bad back pain for a whole week before and shortly after I ovulate. Can kombucha cause inflammation in the body that would worsen my symptoms around ovulation?

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  39. Hi lara, How much do you address histamine in your period repair manual..my cycle is the same every month on the dot…and has been for years. Except I have horrific anxiety and depression,. I feel strongly this is due to histamine but diet only does so much for me. I want to get your book but just wanted to check first how much you go into this subject before I do. thanks so much.

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  40. It makes so much sense now!… I get allergies just before my period and I never knew why I had clear mucus during the luteal phase…or that sauerkraut was a high histamine food (I started to consume it as part of my gut repair trial).
    However, I did try to balance my excess estrogen (I have endo) with bio-identical hormones using a progesterone cream. Unfortunately, it makes my stomach upset and I just don’t feel well (emotionally). First cycle was ok but also increased my libido and made me go pee more often.
    I guess I just should try to make my own progesterone as I was using a very low dose (.2ml) once daily after day 7. Then I was supposed to increase to twice daily but I didn’t for the reasons already mentioned.

    Reply
    • So interesting Cristina! I also have tried using progesterone cream, and it makes me feel miserable. I know from tests that I am low in progesterone, but it just doesn’t work from me. I had similar symptoms of having to go pee more – which I believe was caused from dehydration. Its like my body can’t handle the progesterone cream, so I get dehydrated and have to drink tons of water and supplement with electrolytes. I also have histamine issues that I’m working on — if its helpful there is a Seeking Health/Ben Lynch product called Histamine Block that works for me, as well as a probiotic called Probiota HistaminX I believe. Both of these have moved the dial for me. If I have a histamine reaction, I take 3-4 Histamine block pills and I get relief. Thanks for sharing your story – so interesting to hear from someone who has similar issues with progesterone cream!!

      Reply
      • The reason you may not be handling the progesterone cream well is methylation issues …also the MAO and comt grnes play a role in sex hormone break down, so for the first few days or weeks the bio identical cream may feel ok and then back fire because the body csnt break it down. Working on methylation will help.

        Reply
  41. Thanks for this great article.
    3 years ago (right after my delivery) I developped a rare and invalidating syndrom: POTS: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrom.
    This syndrom mostly impact women and very often during or after a pregnancy.
    We all are conviced that hormones play a key role in this unknown syndrom.
    Our symptoms are brain fog, nausea, loss of consciousness, etc.and are worst during the ovulation and before the period.
    Most of us have also an high allergic profile, including histamine intolerance, anaphylactic chocs and mast cell disorders.
    Personnally I take antihistaminic pills everyday of the year because if I stop the syndrom block me in my bed.
    I feel better only 3 days per month between the ovulation and the pre-period phase.
    I’m not able to improve my quality life and can not enjoy the life with my baby.
    I hope one day I will find the way to better control my hormones.I don’t want to take the contraceptive pill.
    I had to take progesterone at the start of my pregnancy due to several loss of previous babies in a too early phase.
    Personally I’m sure that my body can not support my hormones as before even if my endocrinologist says my results are within the expected ranges.
    Do you have any advice?

    Thanks a lot.

    Delphine from Switzerland

    Reply
    • I would be interested to hear the response on this too. I have histamine intolerance. Oestrogen dominance. Vestibular Migraines and now suspected POTS… (!) It’s horrible!

      Reply
      • Hi Delphine and Elisbeth, I would like to hear more about this as well. I just recently started to add another little link. I think histamine response could have to do as well with a reduced ability to of the liver/body to detox. In my case I developed leaky gut through antibiotics given to me. Much later all sorts of allergies set in – since then I am on a mission to heal myself and with Lara and Dr. Brownstein’s Iodine protocoll I finally got some really amazing results. However, I was always puzzled why I still had histamine reactions especially before and on the onset of my period. So there could be a hormonal infuence and I strongly suspect some aspect is to do with a lowered ability to detox? Would be great to hear Lara’s insight. As I noticed when I make sure to support my liver the histamine reactions better.

        Reply
          • Hello Elisabeth, To be honest it has developed over time. One thing I absolutely swear by is Green Smoothies in the morning – espcially in the summer. In the winter I prefer warm lemon water with or without tumeric and some stevia for sweatness (but not necessary) both first thing in the morning. I found 1 lime or lemon with turmeric warm to hot water before my period very helpful (turmeric/kurkuma is known to desolve blood stagnation). This is my staple… All greens are good for the liver – so fresh salad is helpful. I try to have 1-2 fresh Beet Juices mixed with a bit of apple, carrot, ginger and/or cucumber – beet is extremly helpful for liver and gallbladder issues… or if I have time some more Pomegranate Juices per week. Start very concious – some have some detox symptoms – which is a good sign in the beginning that you body gets rid of toxins – during those phases I found saltbathing very helpful.
            Lately I experimented with liquid probiotics and kimchi (kimchi is one food that can even breakdown bpa from plastic bottles and other toxins). However, probiotics are tricky especially with histamine intolerance. I had to introduce this very slowly and always check that there was not a histamine reaction – however, now I find it now extremely helpful… before when I had extreme histamine reactions I had to do general cleansing first. Another option are salt bathing (helps the liver by detoxing more via the skin). Some swear by milk thistle, aloe or dandelion tea – something I tried but had no measurable results – however, I believe there is an individual part where we need to check what our body really needs to heal. Hope this gives you some pointers.

          • Danae,
            what’s the name of the liquid probiotic you take? What kind of salts do you use to bathe? only feet or the whole body in the bath tub? thank you for your advice, it’s extremely useful.
            Sara

        • Danae,
          what’s the name of the liquid probiotic you take? What kind of salts do you use to bathe? only feet or the whole body in the bath tub? thank you for your advice, it’s extremely useful.
          Sara

          Reply
          • Hello Sara, I found one called ‘Probiotic Power’ from Dutch Healthstore – a European Brand. It is important that they have Bifidus bacteria. I took extra Bifidus as well in a capsule. When I felt I had a histamine issue – I took a teaspoon of Moringa powder or 3-4 capsules. Moringa is a natural anti-histamine which worked for me. Now I stopped all this an use soley homemade Kefir (started with real kefir grains – check out Donna Schwenk’s website – cultured food). The kefir is better than any storebought probiotic and now I have no histamine reactions. According to Donna probiotic bacteria are of major importance when clearing out excess estrogen or xeno-estrogens – if we have not enough positive gut bacteria it can overload the liver with all the symptoms Lara Briden often describes. It worked for me so I am very happy – it is easy to make even in my extremely busy schedule and it is 100% natural. Bathing Salts – I use eveything Espom salt, dead sea salt, sometimes himalayan salt or simply sea salt with essential oils – or I mix everything together. Important – you start as hot as you can tolerate and do not add warm water once it cools down. The idea is that hot water opens the pores and alows the salt to draw out toxins. When the water cools down it the toxic waste is in the cooler water. If you heat the water up again it opens the pores again an potentially allows toxins to reenter – unsure how important it is but I keep to it since I read that somewhere. I had so many issues at some point that I really did not know where to turn and all this and the above has made a huge difference (Iodine protocol was major). I am so much clearer. Most symptoms are gone and since the kefir I feel I have a constant good mood – sounds strange – but I felt that this added a different dimension to my life. My period is not painfree – but managable with one painkiller. Before I had such extreme pain that I had to lie down and even with painkillers I was often debilitated – I became frightened of this time of the month. I love this place as Lara is so open and everyone is learing and sharing so hope some of this helps. And most of all have a wonderful day.

  42. I am confused as to why i only get hives on the second day of my period. Lasts til the end of menststration. Is it estrogen or progestorone ??? Then i itch bad for a week or more

    Reply
  43. Is there a specific type of probiotic those with histamine problems should take to help resolve gut issues? I’ve read recently that many probiotics contain strains that make histamine, which can exacerbate symptoms.

    Reply
    • I would be interested to know this too. I just took Optibac’s for women probiotic and it’s teally aggravated my histamine issues.

      Reply
    • I just tolerate one that works very well for me. It’s called Symprove, and I buy it at Amazon. It’s liquid, not solid, and it has lots of lactobacillus. I hope it works!

      Reply
    • Melissa this list may help you find the right probiotic –
      Histamine producing bacteria: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (Found in most yogurts and fermented foods).
      Neutral bacteria: Streptococcus thermophiles (also in yogurt) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (shown to down regulate histamine receptors and up-regulate anti-inflammatory agents)
      Histamine degrading bacteria: Bifidobacterium infantis (found in breast milk), Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and some soil-based organisms.

      For me and what works is custom probiotics with bifidus only strains in it ! It is the best probiotic I’ve found and I’ve wasted my money on many!

      Reply
  44. I have Multiple chemical sensitivities and have to take 6 antihistamines per day to feel even a little bit better. I react to amine, salicylates and glutamine sure as well as some additives preservatives and artificial colours and fragrances. I am worried that I am interfereing with stomach acid regulation and I also have heavy periods no libido and generally cannot consume or tolerate fermented foods to heal my gut because I react to them

    Reply
  45. Hi dr Lara. Thanks for your article. Im in the states and i believe you are in australia, correct…do you ever offer private pay services of phone consultation/treatment? I am in desparate need of a homeopath who knows what she is doing in this health area and can come along side me to help me heal. I am a complete mess.

    Ive suffered since i started my periods in middle school. Painful heavy clotting periods. High school crazy ongoing fatigue started (and never ended), tested for thyroid issues and anemia and fine over and over again (really then and still). About 10 yrs ago and since, diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic migraines (although ive had migraines ever since i was a kid as they run in my family), endometriosis and adenomyosis (supracervical hysterectomy last nov along with endo excision 2x), pmdd, svt, sinus tachycardia, eosonophillic esophagitis, gerd, dermatigraphism and chronic urticaria with no known cause and mast cell and allergies “ruled out”.

    About 6 or so yrs ago, pms along with endo pain hit me with a vengeance. Switched over to horrible horrible horrrrrrible pmdd and the endo pain was awful before excision. The fibro symptoms are also debilitating. Ive been to a gazillion specialists for potential autoimmune issues (but doesnt seem to be that per rheumatologist and extensive testing even though ive had 2 positive ana and other ana come back negative for who knows what reason…just the fibro diagnosis stands and everything else) and all kinds of other things, to include a naturopath. Naturopath seemed to do cookie cutter plan of treatment on all patients (i recommended my sis and mom go to him and their treatment plan for diff issues was virtually the same though we all looked so different diagnosis and symptom wise). He did say however that i had hypothyroid and adrenal insufficiency along with hormones out of wack but based off what im reading here, not sure how helpful those tests were. My thyroid tests are always fine but he used winslow and my bp and bodys reaction time (ie hitting my knee and how quick my leg reacted etc) along with symptoms to diagnose. Nature throid did seem to help some at the time though.

    That was yrs ago now though and everything kinda stopped working to help me. At this pt im at my wits end to be honest. Ive read so much about gut health, intolerances, hormone issues and the like. Your writing summarizes most of it. Right now im taking cal mag zinc, an excellent bioavailable multi vit, maca root, natural progesterone cream (the cream only 2 wks before my “period” which i dont get anymore since hyst. I just take it after i seem to be ovulating…though your article makes me wonder if im actually truly ovulating even though i get mettleshmertz pain and always have), mood support from now foods, vit d3 (as im chronically low…ive been low on iron reserves and copper as well. All of which leads me to believe that gut health is a definite issue). I plan to add in vitex to see if that helps get my body doing what it needs to do. Along with exercise, eating amazing to include dairy free and mostly grain free (especially gluten). Not to whine but there feels like there is so much i need to do to get healthy…but i guess we cant just pop a pill and hope it does the job.

    With the info you have laid out, it seems id only do vitex for maybe 6 months max. And also i assume i can still do maca and progesterone cream. But when in regard to the cream (again, im doing after “ovulation” and until i “start my period”)? Also maca works on the pituitary gland as well, but to help the body produce what it needs on its own from my understanding…not prolactin specifically like vitex….? So is it ok to take maca, particuarly with the vitex? Maybe im trying to do too many things at once? All i am doing rt now helps my pmdd mood issues a bit but truth be told, im still a disaster.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your time…i am a busy homeschooling mama who also foster parents and has kiddos with special needs. I am a social worker by trade and quit to stay home a few yrs ago…. mainly cause my kids needed me…but i also just couldnt work anymore. Clearly i was, and am, a mess. So any help you can give me would be amazing. I am soooo busy with the demands of life (can we say stress may be a factor? 🙂 that i just cant afford to be constantly held down by all this. It can be so depressing and overwhelming at times. Not to mention i have wasted soooo much time and money on the traditional american medical system, which has not helped me AT ALL big picture wise.

    Anyway, thanks so much again for listening, for any tips, and thanks for reading my long emotional post 😉 and again, if you are able to do private ND services by phone, id be VERY interested in that! Not sure how that works. Have a great day!

    Reply
    • KB I just wanted to offer you my sympathy. I was in the same boat and can now live a normal life – although will always have to be very cautious. Google Walton Centre Liverpool Chronic Migraine for the NHS fact sheet (lots of lifestyle changes), I also had a nuitritionalist (said avoid tyramines) and still see a holistic acupuncturist (we did an exclusion diet along with acupuncture). Lots of effort but I can drive, read, work. I hope you have the same success xx

      Reply
  46. Hi Laura, I’ve been trying to figure out the cause of what I think is PMDD. Every month for 2 weeks from before my period to right after ovulation I am a total mess. I become severely depressed and suicidal. I have a hard time functioning. When it ends I’m back to feeling hopeful and not suicidal, the world becomes bright again. The thing is my periods are normal and every 28 days exactly. They are always 5 days and nothing out of the ordinary. Could this still be estrogen dominance? I have tried so many diets and been gluten free and dairy free even paleo. Nothing really helps. I just recently cut out caffeine so I’m waiting to see if that’s it. Anyway just wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Have you tried reducing histamine as described in this article? The other treatments are magnesium, vitamin B6, and natural progesterone as described in my PMS post.

      Reply
  47. hi Lara thank you for a great article. Could you please tell me the dose of b6 you would take and also progesterone. Should you have a hormone test before you start progesterone?

    Reply
  48. Hello Dr Lara I’m so glad I came across your blog.It was until I got the results about my allergy test that the word histamine intolerance finally made sense to me. Other allergy doctors were unable to find the problem about my “allergic reactions” leaving their offices with the diagnosis : allergic reaction UNKNOWN.
    I finally found the cause. I’m going to start by avoiding the food that makes me sick and see what happens, but I feel much better now after reading your article.
    Eugenia

    Reply
  49. Thank you so much for this article! I just stumbled upon it while researching histamines…a couple months ago, I started eating a ketogenic diet and it was great at first, but then I started to experience a lot of indigestions/stomach pain and a VERY heavy, intense period. Then last week, I had a severe allergic reaction (hives, vomiting, low blood pressure) and the cause was completely unknown. Looking back, i had eaten ALL high histamine foods that day, and am thinking I could be histamine intolerant. Now that I’ve read this article, it starting to make sense because I have also had changes in more hormones, feeling like I’ve had an increase in estrogen (historically have been low in estrogen) potentially caused from upping my fat intake. More fat –> more estrogen –> histamine intolerance?

    Reply
  50. Hi Lara,
    I’ve come back to this post a few times. Histamine intolerance is a real problem for me. I wonder why it is that I cannot tolerate any amount or any form of B6. There are many things I cannot tolerate due to this onset of histamine intolerance 4 years ago stemming from exposure to pesticides. I had never had a histamine response until that day.
    I eat potatoes and tuna and other things I know have B6 but I cannot take the supplement. In fact of the Bs I can only take methylfolate (I have MTHFR). Otherwise I get severe inflammation in my scalp/ crown. That’s the usual response I get from foods and substances, including homeopathics! that I have a reaction to. Can you think how I might overcome it? I am about to try Dr Zach Bush’s ‘restore’ (I cannot touch probiotics) and I just hope I can tolerate that. But B6, DHEA, fermented products, tea and vanilla are probably my top 5 (of literally hundreds) most harmful substances. Any clues as to how to get around the B6 issue would be most welcome.

    Reply
    • I am really interested what Lara has to say about it. But just one pointer which I helped me – given that every body type is different. After I realised that Histamine intolerance played a role in my wellbeing or better a ‘stumbling block’ in regaining it I found Yasmina Ykelenstam and tried Mangosteen supplement she recommended and 21 Anti-histamine Foods by Alison Vickery. Alison mentioned Moringa Olifera and that works like a miracle for me – if I take histamine foods and immediately take before or after consuming them Moringa Olifera it seems balance my metabolism. So much so that I feel it is much more stable. Furthermore, I have taken Zach Bush’s Restore now for 3 weeks and it seems very slowly to make a change for the better. I tried 50 different pobiotics and despite of digestive trouble I did see very little to sometimes no or even negative results. Research it yourself – I went through Alisons Histamin lowering list and must say it has made a big positive impact on my health. Blessings to you your health jouyney. You will find a way to heal yourself if you follow you intuition. So many times I thought regaining my health was impossible, Eurikas and set-back seem to come hand in hand – and now I have learned so much. Most of all that every living being knows how to keep itself healthy – only humans gave that knowledge up to an ‘industry of pharmaceuticals’ and the result is well known. We all need to know what keeps us in balance and healthy – body mind and soul… This is why I love this blog and Lara Briden’s work. She keeps things simple and humane.

      Reply
      • Thanks Danae,
        You are really lucky with Moringa it did not agree with me at all. No probiotics agreed with me except Longum – I suspect I have SIBO as well and maybe that’s why Longum is ok as it affects the lower bowel. I know Mangosteen is ok for me as a dried fruit at least so worth checking out the therapeutic dose. I know I need copper and I react to zinc – so that also puts me in the minority. And I’ve started taking progesterone again but I have to mix it with Magnesium oil or it goes straight to adrenaline and gives me a burning crown along with insomnia. I know my case is too bizarre for this forum and no practitioner has been able to sort it out so far here in Australia, but I really believe it has to do with the pesticide exposure that has changed my digestion, hormones and neurotransmitters. In the meantime I’ll keep eating potatoes for my B6!!!

        Reply
        • First of all your case is not too bizarre for this forum – I think it very much puts into perspective what so many of us go through. This planet is suffering and so are its inhabitants… what we learn to keep in balance is valuable for us and our families. I think your intuition is good (considering pesticides as your kryptonnite) and I would definitely try Zach Bush’s Restore as you planned. Even though I am very briefly on it – I can see that some digestive issues are ‘calmer’. I will say on it for a year and make than my final judgement. It is not an overnight miracle and might not solve everything but I learned to take one stepping stone at a time. That you react to Zinc is interesting because that would be a histamine stabeliser and it did help me a lot (with extreme afternoon fatigue). However, I could not toerate it on an empty stomach only with food otherwise I felt ill. Lara actually rescued me with that little information which made all the difference. Which brings me to another issue to find the right kind of product e.g. Magnesium Glyconate is the only magnesium which made a difference to my system. I nearly gave up in until Lara explained that this type is easier absorbed. Sometimes it is in the fine tuning. Add high amounts of natural Vitamin C which is an anti-histmin as well which helped me before I took moringa. – Any kind of poison/pesticide is impacting liver and kidneys and it might be a strategy to support them. Liver with e.g. Schizandra, wheatgrass and kidneys with epsom bathing, himalayan salt bathing once a week or even sauna or hot yoga. Ultimately, what we are doing here is to take our health back. Learn the essentials. I believe women are natural healers – because we have the intution and love for our families – which is unbeatable if we use it. Yes, there are many times I made grave errors but now I am not depended on a ‘jugdement’ of a doctor who made even worse errors I had to suffer through. At least now I am learning feel so much better now. I wish I would have known all this in my teens! That is where normally mothers would initiate they children into how to keep healthy. Anyhow, the way you sound is that you are very informed already. Keep going eventually there will be a point of balance. All the best.

          Reply
          • Thanks again Danae. I think I react to zinc in a gastritis fashion, and because it counters copper, which I really need for some reason. I can eat oysters no problem, containing huge amounts of zinc and good amounts of copper. Anyway it’s rather eat ousters than take tablets! Not as easy for B6…

    • Is it a straight vitamin B6 (P5P or pyridoxal 5 phosphate)? Or combined with other B-vitamins?
      Also, have you been tested for the MTHFR gene?

      Reply
      • Hi Lara, I’ve tried both forms of B6, and a B multi as well. The P5P is not better, even at minute doses. Yes I have both mutations of MTHFR, but only from one parent….

        Reply
      • With the tea I’m certain it’s the EGCG in it as I reacted the same way to prune juice – and THEN I discovered the link. Essentially the EGCG just makes my hair fall out. The vanilla makes me feel that someone has hot me on the head with a hammer, and the hair falls. The B6 is the same. in fact a MAJORITY of supplements affect me in one or both of these ways, as well as fermented foods and banana, avodaco and other histamine and/or tyramine foods – loads of stuff. I’ll have to look into salicylates if that would cover this pattern, but I’ve noted that the tyramine issue seems relevant…

        Reply
      • Hi dr Lara I’ve finally worked out the B6 intolerance issue, I think… I believe I have a phenol intolerance which would explain my reaction to EGCG. Not all phenols of course or I’d starve to death. I think PST enzyme deficiencyd is at fault. I can take zinc glucorate, but not methionine (histamines! ) so the fine tuning is crucial, as Danae suggests. But PST deficiency and histamine intolerance I think it’s the problem. I read a great article outlining the B6 issue with PST deficiency. And vanilla was specifically mentioned as well as tea, coffee, chocolate, just some of the things I react to. So I guess just keep eating tuna and potatoes for the B6 in a holistic, integrated way!

        Reply
  51. Do you have a go to brand of probiotics when dealing with this? I’ve had this for years (include IBS), but can’t seem to find the right kind of probiotics.

    Reply
    • Sarah look at floramend by Thorne – or Maximus bifidus by the gut institut. You can also go through custom probiotics and put together histamine degrading and neutral strains and make your own. Histamine producing bacteria: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (Found in most yogurts and fermented foods).
      Neutral bacteria: Streptococcus thermophiles (also in yogurt) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (shown to down regulate histamine receptors and up-regulate anti-inflammatory agents)
      Histamine degrading bacteria: Bifidobacterium infantis (found in breast milk), Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and some soil-based organisms.

      Reply
  52. Hello Lara, You write in your aritcle: “Did you know? The placenta makes a huge amount of DAO, which is why histamine intolerance and food sensitivities often improve during pregnancy.”

    Have you ever had experience with pescribing ‘Placenta’ to your clients either their own, or homeopathically as a nosode or as a supplement from animal resources ( such as deer or sheep)? From what I learned this is a TCM tradition and can help women for post natal depression as well during peri-menopause/menopause years. I would love to hear your take on this. Many thanks.

    Reply
  53. Hello, interesting stuff, I’ll be giving some of the things you’ve mentioned a try. I am on a fairly limited diet due to multiple allergies. My diagnosed allergies are garlic, walnuts, peanuts, soy, corn, watermelon, mango, sunflower, pineapple. My oral allergies include lots of raw fruits and vegetables like banana, avocado, brocolli, carrots, cucumber, strawberries. I also suspect a lot of others. I cannot take multivitamins as I react to those too. I went through a stage of virtually not eating, but am now better at finding foods I can eat that seem to help. I get hives, headaches, swelling and mucus. My reactions are much more severe on my period. And also, seemed to almost completely disappear during both of my pregnancies. It is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I suspect it has something to do with histamine. I may try vitamin b6 and natural progesterone next. Thanks for the read.

    Reply
  54. My almost 17yr old daughter has had terrible problems with headaches and sickness (labelled “migraines”) since puberty kicked in. We have eventually worked out that she is very sensitive to histamines and has a very low and limited diet as a result. She suffered hugely around the time of her period until we sought help from a naturopath who has prescribed P-Lift, Phyto Pro (to help detox) and Hemagencis Iron with 5-MTHF (all by Metagenics). These work wonders but the moment she strays off her diet or forgets her pills it all crashes in on her. She suffers from anxieties which also cause the same symptoms because of the histamines released following an attack. I have always suspected her gut health as she was put on antibiotics at birth (resulting in thrush etc) and was fascinated to read your mention of it. I wonder if please you can advise how we can get this tested and what we could do to rectify it if necessary.
    many thanks
    Louise

    Reply
    • Hi Louise,
      Do you mean test for gut problems? or test for histamine intolerance? Unfortunately, neither can be tested very easily. But it does sound like you’re on the track with her current treatment

      Reply
  55. I’m 48 yrs old and a few days before my period I get prickly skin sensations all over my body, I think it’s called ‘formacation’? It drives me nuts, I can’t sleep at night. What causes this and are there any herbs or treatments that might help? What about accupunture?

    Reply
  56. I managed to have a baby despite trying two years and having irregular periods/ Pcos. I was vegan at the time and was really surprised that during the pregnancy I could tolerate gluten and dairy. When he was 1 1/2 he weaned and I wanted to fall pregnant so I went on a high protein diet and took herbs to regulate my cycle. My period became regular within a month but I started sneezing and having blocked sinus immediately. I have now had these symptoms for 1 1/2 years and the doctors haven’t been able to offer any ideas. I also fell pregnant immediately and have just recently had my 3rd miscarriage in a row. The most recent the baby was 11 weeks. I sneezed violently the whole three pregnancies and am worse at ovulation, period and pregnancy… I have recently cut out histamines/ gluten/ dairy completely but I hadn’t read about chocolate… It’s been my biggest comfort. How devastating!!! No health practitioner has believed me when I’ve said I feel like the sneezing is related to my hormones and miscarriages!!!
    Do you have any further information for me or ideas of where I can look for help? Thanks, Emma

    Reply
    • First trimester miscarriages can be caused by low progesterone levels. Your irregular periods might be a sign. They usually advise you to wait after a miscarriage before getting pregnant again, but I found it helped to get pregnant immediately after miscarriage (like you, I had no problem Getting pregnant, it’s staying so that was hard) as progesterone levels are still higher than normal. You can also buy progesterone cream (contains wild yam extract) which a friend of mine swears kept her from miscarrying twice.

      Reply
  57. Hi Lara
    I’ve subscribed to your page and have found it very interesting. I am a 46yo mother of 2 girls aged 28 & 21. I had postnatal depression after my youngest was born and have been on different medications since. I had 2 nervous breakdowns in 2013 and hospitalised due to it. I suffer extreme pms which i was diagnosed with years ago. I’ve had both my fallopian tubes removed and my uterus burnt due to heavy painful periods about 5yrs ago now. Lately i don’t know if i’m here or there due to IBS problems,sinus & hayfever,sleep disturbed & tiredness problems and pms/hormone problems. I had blood tests a mth ago to see if i’m lacking in anything or peri-menopause but all came back normal,which i thought something would show up ? I’ve been reading about P5P and was wondering if it would be any benefit for myself ? Would love any feedback from you on your thoughts. I’m currently taking 300mg Zoloft,1 Vitamin D,1 Nexium Tablet(for heartburn etc),Probiotic,1 Krill Oil Tablet all daily.
    Thanks (and sorry for so much info) look forward to hearing from you

    Reply
    • Hi Donna. I have a similar story. Postnatal depression. SSRIs. Elevated heart rate, breakdown and vertigo migraines coming off them. Low histamine diet and magnesium help but now diet v v v restricted. Think Oestrogen dominant due to nefarious breast changes and frequent heavy periods. Nutritionist ruled out SIBO and Candida but ruled in low stomach acid and h-pylori. Not sure what to do next…

      Reply
    • Hello Donna, I hope you are doing well. As Mrs. Tuft says I would check if you have Candida/Sibo issues and go for a months of a gentle detox (Natalia Rose, Karyn Calabrese or Anne Wigmore (book) have quite good ones). This is a wonderful reset for the body. Make sure that you take D3 with K2 and definitely, I agree with Mrs Tuft – take Magnesium Glycinate. I found my body was able to use the supplements more efficiently after my detox and totally changed my nutrional approach. “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Furthermore, check if you can integrate 10-15 mins HIIT training 4-5 x a week or any sportive activity – around peri-menopause this is so important (Hot Yoga – Infrared Sauna). Due to this blog and Lara’s work I added 3 x a week Zinc – and it made a change mainly took away my afternoon fatigue – but did not solve all levels. If you had 2 nervous breakdowns – make sure you support your endoctrine system (a good accupuncutrist can be of help) with the nutrion and supplements mentioned and find ways to align your mind. Good books and keep your vision during those changes. The other supplements you already take sound good Krill Oil – Omega 3’s are fantastic and herbs such St John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum and Passion Flower are antidepressant and relaxing. Wishing you all the best.

      Reply
      • PS: Donna and Mrs Tuft – One last thing which made a huge difference in my life – the Iodine Protocol by Dr. Brownstein – I read the book Iodine Crisis by Lynn Farrows as a friend pushed me into checking out Iodine – before I never could tolerate it and gave it up even though I suspected that it might be good for my hypothyroidism. Once I comebined the supplements as described in this protocol (all free available in the internet). Major symptoms dissappeard (tissue swelling), my mood changed (not too tearful anymore) – just back to a centered feeling, candida is finally at bay… that is definitely a factor I would look into if I were in your shoes… Blessings!

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  58. Hi Lara – such an interesting read. I wish I knew all of this 35 years ago! I think I have had this issue my whole life! I started getting headaches/migraines when my period started when I was 12. I also suffered with what I thought was hay fever for a long time (I seemed to grow out of it when I was about 25). My entire 20’s/30’s seemed to be a roller coaster of PMT and heavy horrible periods! I am now perimenopausal and was recently prescribed Progesterone for Oestrogen dominance (I have over the last 10 years experienced a lot of stress with both of my parents passing away with Mesothelioma) – but the progesterone was the best thing that has ever happened to me!! I was never able to take the pill in my 20’s & 30’s as it never seemed to agree with me. The only reason that i have recently read about histamine intolerance was that I had made my own Kombucha at home and had started drinking a small glass most days and found that it gave me terrible headaches! I did some reading and it all seemed to make so much sense – So i am now on the path of following a low histamine diet but really wonder what else is the best thing to do in the short term to get some more normality? Are DAO supplements and probiotics with histamine degrading cultures the way to go?? There seems to be a lot of advice around things to try – but which ones should I start with??

    Reply
  59. Hi Lara, thank you for the fabulous article. I’m currently 11weeks pregnant and very nervous as I was suffering from these issues beforehand. Whilst I’ve not noticed my hive episodes have decreased during pregnancy, I do still get them. Do you have any advice for things I can Be doing that will help with a healthy pregnancy.

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  60. I am a 58 year old female who has become histamine intolerant after withdrawing from the SSRI Zoloft. Almost immediately after stopping I started having digestive problems, stuffy nose, terrible sinus headaches, dizziness, blurry vision (to the point that I don’t trust myself driving on the freeway), and fatigue. Since I have tried cutting out histamine stimulating foods and histamine containing foods, I am doing better. But the diet is so restrictive, I still have bad symptoms at times. When I read on “anti-depressant withdrawal” blogs, I see that it can take a year and sometimes more for the body to make DAO at the normal levels again. I have been taking vit. B6, and will think about possibly using small amounts of natural progesterone cream. This has really been an ordeal. Thanks to everyone for their input.

    Reply
    • God bless you Kathy: this is the first time I see clearly in written that quitting antidepressants can lead to histaminosis. I’ve been suffering with the symptoms you describe after quitting Rexer (mirtazapine) , an antidepressant which is also antihistaminic, for more than 8 years. After following a low histamine diet I’m on the treatment called fecal transplant at Taymount Clinic with good results. Go at http://www.thepowerofpoop.com for more information.

      Reply
  61. I found this to be the case for me. Vitex worked well for me as a natural way to lower estrogen over time and played a role in my histamine healing process. Now when I feel a bad histamine reaction starting I find that taking vitex and quercetin seem to reduce or eliminate it, thank goodness, which further indicates to me that hormones definitely involved.

    Reply
  62. I’m post menopausal and have been on bio-identical HRT for 16 years and only rctantly use 10 to 20 mg of progesterone because my doctors all tell me I have to. I have histamine intolerance. Bio-identical progesterone does NOT & never has made me feel good. Can you offer any reasons why this may be the case?

    Reply
    • …(just a lay person commenting)—-because your progesterone is at such a low dose causing you to be in constant state of building new estrogen receptors which perpetuates the continuing the cycle. Up the progesterone dose and look into taking DIM to better metabolize the estrogen (and the newly being built with upping progesterone dose). Be patient as it can all get slightly worse before it gets better…2-3 months to get over the hump. FYI- research Linus Pauling one of the vitamin C giants – look into high dose vitamin c- that is what brings down histamine levels and builds back up DAO. Look for non gmo ‘Nutirbiotic’ sodium ascorbate. Understand bowl tolerance with dosing vitamin c to determine your baseline.

      Reply
  63. Hey Lara, thanks for your article. I have been looking for reasons why my heart rate is increasing (panic attacks) around my period, disrupting my ability to go out during the day and sleep. This helps to answer. Last night though – midway through my cycle, and otherwise doing quite well with a low-histamine diet, I took a lozenge containing herbs for reducing asthma symptoms so I could sleep. My heart-rate increased spasmodically, as if I had been drinking coffee, and I had 4-5 hours of a thumping heart beat, 12 hours later I still feel “nervous”. I noticed this morning the lozenges contain 5.8mg thyme oil, which is said (online) to stimulate eostrogen production. So would you say as well that Thyme Oil could possibly contribute to feelings of anxiety? Any known information on this?

    Reply
  64. So do histamine issues have any affect on egg quality? I cannot eat anything fermented or I break out in a rash and one glass of red and the heartburn is wicked. We are trying to get pregnant and egg quality seems to be our issue. I’m seeing a Chinese dr and taking a few herbal remedies including a multi vitamin as well as pregnancy probiotic tablets, amongst other things.

    Reply
    • Actually, some histamine is essential for healthy ovulation. Histamine intolerance would not be the reason for poor egg quality.

      Reply
  65. Is this why taking an antihistamine can help with PMS? If you suffer from PMS symptoms, are you basically allergic/having an inflammatory response to your (impending) period?

    Reply
  66. Thank you! This is this first article I’ve read that made me feel like I wasn’t losing my mind. I have been telling my Dr.s for years (though they clearly don’t believe me) – that I had horrible allergic reactions to red wine (to which I was told stomach upset from anything is not a histamine reaction). I’m also allergic to caffeine, diary intolerant and had huge food sensitivities when I was on BC pills – but not when I was pregnant or after I stopped taking the pill. This makes so much sense to me, and I finally feel like I’m not nuts and I’m also not the only one who has this problem. 🙂 Is there also a link between histamine intolerance and auto-immune issues? I have thyroid problems as well and am curious if these things are all linked. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
  67. I have been struggling with PCOS for years and I finally found your book. I struggle with many health issues that I feel are all related. Dermagraphism, PCOS and anxiety/depression. I’ve been reading about high histamine, followig a low histamine diet and treating for SIBO. I was pleasantly surprised to find you writing about histamine, and I wanted to thank you for all of your great work. Your book, ‘The Period Repair Manual’ has helped me more than anything else on my road to improved health.

    Reply
  68. This is Interesting, I have never in my life had allergies and now that my functional Dr has me on high doses of Progesterone to reduce my Estrogen ,I get horrible allergies for the week before my period. He said this is good as it means the progesterone is working to reduce my estrogen. what are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • I had a full hysterectomy 6 months ago. I have been taking Estradiol. My new functional dr prescribed progesterone, I took one pill and went anaphylactic! My eczema rashes exploded within ten mins. I swelled up EVERWHERE!

      Reply
      • The question would be: Did you react to progesterone or to the base it was in? For example, Prometrium is in a capsule of peanut oil. You could speak to your doctor about a compounded progesterone in a different base.

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  69. Thank you for this article! I’ve been dealing with chronic hives for over seven months. I had these for a year back in 2009 and both times have corresponded with my stopping birth control about three months prior. This time however, I also had a son about seven months before the onset. So, lots of hormones. I tried everything and was losing my mind! Come January I got pregnant and the hives subsided almost immediately. Unfortunately, I miscarried and the hives started to return. I brought this information to my naturopath who had been helping me and she immediately put me on natural progesterone oil (2 drops a day first half of cycle and 4 drops second half). The hives are drastically better, with more in the front half of my cycle and almost zero in the weeks leading to my period – really solidifying the progesterone link. My two concerns are… Will they ever just go away?! And second, my husband and I are trying to concieve our second child and I’m concerned about the progesterone use in the first half of my cycle. My ND says that low of a dose will not effect my fertility and I certainly want to trust her, but I am concerned. I don’t want to stop, however, because I do not want the hives to return full force! I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Any insight from you would be wonderful. Thank you!

    Reply
    • A few mg of progesterone should be okay in the follicular phase. As in, it shouldn’t interfere with ovulation. But of course track your ovulations to be sure.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply! A little update… the hives started to return (a little) my second cycle on progesterone. They got progressively worse the week I was ovulating, though still significantly better than they were. Two days after I ovulated my body erupted again – it was very depressing. I went back to my ND and she upped my dose of progesterone to 4 drops, twice a day (so 32 mg per day) – the hives responded after two days and backed off, though did not clear. Turns out, I was pregnant again and the hives erupted right at conception (or within a day or two). Unfortunately, this was a chemical at 4 weeks, 3 days, which of course was so disappointing having miscarried only two months prior. My question is; is it possible that my estrogen receptors were beginning to whack out during my ovulation and then when I got pregnant they exploded even more, causing this? Meaning, the progesterone was working? I’m leary to continue the progesterone but it was helping so much the month prior. I’m wondering if it’s just confirmation that I’m low on progesterone as I lost both pregnancies.I have ceased the progesterone in the meantime and the hives are so erratic. I’m visiting my ND next week but was curious if you had any thoughts. I’m definitely feeling a little hopeless.

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  70. This is really interesting. I just turned 50 and have had dairy sensitivity for a while, as well as silicone sensitivity which everybody says doesn’t exist but it does. 2 months ago I had something rupture, I felt it explode with liquid running into my gut, actually thought it was my appendix. I mean I thought I was going to die. It was unbelievably painful. I was lying on the bathroom floor in a cold sweat just praying I could crawl to a phone, but then the pain subsided. Went to ER and they couldn’t find anything. The (male) doc diagnosed “Abdominal pain” which is a classic considering that abdominal pain was the symptom. But the (female) nurse mentioned the possibility of a ruptured cyst. Which, once again, made sense, for reasons I won’t go into here. The thing was that I thought, Ok ruptured cyst, I should feel fine in a week. Instead I’ve had “pregnant belly” for the past two months and digestive problems. Also I’ve become more and more aware of what I’ve been thinking of as “allergic reactions” to certain foods and perfumes and skin products. I mean 90% of my beauty products cause a reaction which is annoying considering the money I’ve invested in them. But I also have intuitively been asking myself for solutions and I’ve literally seen images of onions and garlic and apples in my mind and I have noticed that these foods do stop the reactions, or at least muffle them, and then in looking that up I finally stumbled upon histamines. So what has really been bugging me is IF it was a ruptured cyst, why on Earth should I have digestive problems? Granted, in Chinese medicine the reproductive system is intimately connected to the liver and gallbladder, but as much as I love TCM, I also wanted a nuts and bolts explanation. Which you have provided. So I guess my question is, would the ruptured cyst have caused histamine release, and therefore increased sensitivities? I mean I know about mast cells and wound healing so that would seem to make sense. Or did my out of bounds estrogen levels lead to these cysts and their subsequent rupture? In other words, which came first, the chicken or the ovulum? It’s all very interesting. Thank you.

    Reply
    • The chicken or the ovulum! Ha! You are great at thinking this through! I had a bowel perforation. My bowel loops, ovary, tube, and a cyst on my ovary became fused together. My body was trying to contain the offender, (leaking bowel or abscessed cyst-we don’t know). My left ovary was affected so they assumed it was a bowel leak. Not to throw more at you but, I there is a lot going on in there. Scar tissue is a booger. It attaches to things.. I know that pain all to well. If you ever run a fever go to the er. I hope you find the answer to your question!

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  71. Hi Lara, I have been working with my doctor for the last year or so to address some of my estrogen dominance symptoms and menstrual difficulties. We are still tweaking my progesterone dosage (after being low my pg/e2 ratio is now on the high side) and some of my supplements but my other symptoms that have always been at their worst from the end of my period through ovulation (terrible and long lasting headaches, nasal swelling, allergy attacks, water retention) still remain. My doctor is in agreement that histamine intolerance might be what we are missing. However, I am completely overwhelmed by the low histamine diet. It is so incredibly restrictive and the lists about which foods to avoid often contradict. I’m wondering it you have had patients find success with avoiding just the very high histamine foods and while still including the others. I want to give the diet a real chance and for it to be an accurate test but also want to be sustainable. Any thoughts about what you have seen work would be most appreciated. Many thanks in advance!

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  72. Hello, your page is one of the most informative on the web. It has helped me to isolate my issues with histamine overload. My particular issue is with chronic pain meds and my hope is that by coming off them I can lower intake or prevent blockage of D.I.A. Thanks again. Mary

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  73. Hi Lara, and so great the link between menopause and histamine is highlighted. Having worked it out myself, as the doctor put me on strong antihistamine for my hives etc, I discovered a link between hypermobility too. As a Pilates teacher I see many hypermobile joints in my clients and when asked about histamine symptoms many responsed too that they suffer many of the symptoms too. More connective tissue and higher levels of mast cells but little research here it seems in the UK!
    I am soo much better following a low histamine diet and progesterone cream!!

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  74. Hi Lara, I was just wondering if histamine can cause vomiting and diarrhea at ovulation and period time, as well as intense pain. Also do you think DAO supplements can help?

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  75. hi dear, I am on micronized progesterone 100 mg and my new doc has had me taking it daily minus the cycle days. MY histamine issues are unbearable. do you think its ok to take it daily? I had super low progesterone

    Reply
    • Progesterone can be very helpful for histamine intolerance. I generally recommend to not take every day, but rather to take regular monthly breaks.

      Reply
      • Thanks so much.. My histamine issues are a million times better. I am taking it everyday now because my cycle and spotting are so out of whack. Hoping after a month or two it will even out and I can stop on my cycle days.

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  76. Finally a Dr who addresses my life! Birth control pills made me sick. My pregnancy was the healthiest time of my life. High histamine foods like broth make me feel bad. I will gladly buy your book if it offers more suggestions than just eat low histamine and use progesterone cream. I’m going tthrough menopause, but don’t see that topic as a section of your book. Will your book help me?

    Reply
  77. Dear Lara, I was wondering if you had a view on whether taking anti-histamines may have any knock-on effects on the body’s estrogen production, given the connection between histamine and estrogen which you discuss above? E.g. Telfast or other over-the-counters. Thanks!

    Reply
  78. I’m interested to ready that histamine increases at ovulation, as every month my face and neck is red, very dry and sore, and sometimes I wake up,with puffy eyelids, which looks like an awful allergy. My skin changes instantly when I start to ovulate until my period arrives. Is there anything I can take to help this, as it’s becoming very very uncomfortable?

    Reply
    • You can work on some of the histamine-reducing reducing strategies I discuss in the post. Treatment of histamine intolerance usually requires a combination of 1) improving gut health, 2) reducing histamine intake, and 3) supplementing B6, and maybe DAO.

      Reply
  79. Well…not always. Testing is important. Estrogen tends to retain copper and progesterone retains zinc. Both copper and zinc are involved in histamine regulation. Zinc helps to prevent mast cell degranulation but copper is another necessary nutritional cofactor of BOTH HNMT and DAO. Zinc deficiency is common, but mine was actually way too high and has a tendency to get that way even tbough I haven’t supplemented in years. Likewise, some gut bacteria overproduces B6 and oxalates and contrary to popular opinion, it IS stored in the body, and can cause nerve problems in excess. So it is important to test before supplementing either B6 or zinc.

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  80. Hi there, I am 43 yr old, had a hysterectomy 9 years ago due to adenomyosis but still have both ovaries. My current issue is weight gain that won’t budge and skin rashes and papules (similar to hives and dermatitis) that erupt on my face and come and go in a cyclic way…usually three weeks apart..I feel it is almost an allergic reaction to my hormones…is this possible??

    Reply
  81. Hi Laura,

    You mention that it can cause swelling. Do you think that it could cause swelling and soreness of the vulva. I get swollen and sore every month – starts about day 6 and lasts till a few days after ovulation. I get a couple of days relief then it starts again for a few days before my period. Docs have no clue….

    Reply
  82. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

    Years ago when I gave up grains and dairy my PMS and cramps were almost non-existent. I always thought this was because excess grains and sugar contribute to estrogen dominance, but hadn’t considered foods that promote histamines as you’ve listed.

    Also explains why I’ve been able to eat so much grain and dairy plus occasional gluten while I was pregnant. I still seem to be able to – baby born 4 weeks ago tomorrow – I wonder how hormones of breastfeeding influence histamine intolerance?

    Reply
    • Yes I’m curious of this as well. My histidine level was very low on my nutra-eval test, as were many other amino acids. I’m dealing with facial flushing/burning heat and very dry facial skin along with itchiness. Wondering if taking histidine would help…..?

      Reply
  83. Hi Lara,

    I’m trying to find a healthy balance between managing my allergies and my hormones. I am currently attempting for the third time in the past eight years to go off of birth control without getting painful, severe acne. The combination of supplements that you recommend + adequate sleep + decreasing consumption of “junk” food and alcohol has been working well for me, and I am now one month off of the Pill and remain acne free. However, I still take daily loratadine, which often makes me feel slow and foggy, to prevent my pretty overblown response to histamine. My system has been so sensitive to histamine in the past decade or so, which, interestingly enough, coincides with my course on the Pill. Whenever I try to go off of antihistamines I experience an uncomfortable, red rash on my face in addition to the common symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, and sore throat. I’ve had plenty of allergy panels done, and avoid the substances I am allergic to, but sometimes it seems like every month I develop a new sensitivity. Is it possible that as my body relearns how to make it’s own, healthy hormones, that my allergies will calm down?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  84. From age 14 to age 50, I suffered terribly from chronic urticaria (hives). After endless trips to dermatologists, allergists, naturopaths, homepathic treatments, etc. nothing helped other than large amounts of various types of antihistamines. During this time, I constantly told my doctors that my hives were worst before my period started each month. I was told there was no connection between hormones and hives. At age 50, my period stopped and so did my hives!! Voila!! I am living proof that hormones affect hives….Now, I am 60 years old and my hives are back!!! I do not currently take any hormone therapy. I thought i had breezed through menopause without any major side effects. I was wrong. My chronic hives returned about a month ago for no apparent reason. I have not changed my diet or my lifestyle. I have not contacted my family doctor yet because I suspect I will be put on some waiting list to see a dermatologist or allergist once again. This was a life-altering, `negative body image’ and `body scarring from incessant scratching’ burden that I carried with me for 36 years. I thought it was gone for good but it is back. CAN YOU HELP ME???

    Reply
    • Have you tried a histamine exclusion diet? I would start with excluding histamine. Get some coconut and olive oil in your diet, along with zinc, magnesium, C and B6. and iron. drink lots of water and get some non-processed salt, you know, the mineral one. If you see an improvement in a week, you are on the right track. other things to research… candida… salycilates… and amines. wheat, legumes and dairy contribute to all the allergy problems: probiotics and fermented foods can upset you if you have histamine allergy symptoms like hives, heyfever, asthma…

      Reply
  85. I have had really bad breast cysts for over 20 years and have had them drained at least 10 times at up to 2 cups of fluid at a time. I’ve just stumbled on to the fact that using nasal allergy spray this season has seriously reduced my breast cysts. Nothing else ever has.

    Reply
    • Hi, please email me with the mail icon under “connect with me”. That goes to my assistant Lisa. I generally cannot offer distance consults to anyone in the US.

      Reply
  86. I am 2 years menopausal. Histamine intolerance started during peri-menopause. I was clearly estrogen dominant then – multiple symptoms. Now there is only the HIT and low thyroid. I thought these would go into remission once I was in menopause, due to lower estrogen levels. I am wondering if they are estrogen related, why would they continue during menopause? I’ve tried two progesterone creams which made me super groggy. Is there a brand you would recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Tricia, Yes, histamine intolerance can be worse after menopause. I think it’s because of the permanent down-regulation of DAO with the cessation of ovulation and progesterone. It may also relate to the big drop in DHEA that many women experience with menopause.

      Reply
      • That makes sense. Would it follow then to take supplemental progesterone or wild yam? I tried a couple otc progesterone creams and they made me very groggy. Is there one you could suggest?

        I have not been able to eat low histamine enough to prevent my major symptom of soft tissue edema, despite having made many changes to my diet, herbs & supplements. I am concerned about the long term effects of HIT.

        I wonder if chinese herbs would help.

        Reply
        • Generally, I find low-dose progesterone to be very helpful in this situation. Most of the brands are low dose at 2%, but you may want to start with a tiny dose. Like 1/4 or 1/8 of what they recommend. And also think about vitamin B6 to up-regulate DAO.

          Please understand, this is not a recommendation or a prescription. Just some ideas that you can talk to your clinician about.

          Reply
          • Yes, this makes sense. Two years with no progesterone, I’d guess I have little DAO. Eating low histamine is not enough. I am going to shift focus to increasing DAO.

            Should one look at increasing DHEA as well? Does that impact histamine metabolism?

            Thanks so much for your input. I am going to look into these ideas!

  87. I’ve felt like a complete hyprochondriac for most of my life with a lot of the symptoms for Histamine Intolerance and I’m not looking forward to approaching my doctor about it. It’s taken me almost a year to have been able to identify the link between the run up to my period and my body actually crawling and breaking out feeling allergic to myself. I’m grateful to have found your site especially to tackle correcting dysbiosis and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which I feel may be at the route of my condition. This explains so much how I got worse when I made kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut and others thrive on it; I never saw benefits. The human body is truly a mystery!

    Reply
  88. Hi Dr. Lara,
    I’m so encouraged to have read your article. I saw it a couple weeks ago and identified with the symptoms of histamine intolerance listed as mine too. I’ve been having the symptoms for seven years, since the birth of my fourth child and have not figured out what the cause was. My regular doctor just prescribed pain medicine, which I rejected, knowing my body is trying to tell me something. Why would I cut the warning light to the problem?
    I immediately tried Benedryl after reading this to see if it would reduce my symptoms. After only a few days being on it I had definitely had a reduction in my symptoms. I could breathe out the right side of my head (which I hadn’t really noticed I couldn’t)! Even though my period was lighter with no clots and my emotions were much more in check and I had no head pain, I still had some major hormone swings with flu-like symptoms four days before my period started and during ovulation, but at least I wasn’t in bed for two days like before I started the anti-histamine!
    I have been supplementing magnesium citrate, B6 and 12, chelated iron, and a good multivitamin for the past couple years and have been eating a pretty clean diet. I haven’t noticed that I felt any effects with those things except for the magnesium, which helped not be as cloudy headed or cold.
    I’m not sure what really started this whole problem that I’m having; I did have the baby and started a low carb diet at the same time, so maybe I just shocked my body too much at one time.
    I also started eating anti-histamine diet two weeks ago, but haven’t noticed too much change. I don’t really like the idea of being on Benedryl for the rest of my life, or even for the next couple months, but I am so thankful not to have the pain.
    Anyway, although I would like to feel better immediately, I know this can be a long process to healing. But I thought I would ask you if you had any recommendations on what to try next. I would appreciate any help. 🙂

    Reply
    • Natalie, staying on Benadryl is NOT a good long-term solution! For one thing, antihistamines decrease libido, and who needs that! But much more importantly, a new study last month found that anticholinergic drugs (including Benadryl) are very strongly associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

      If you Google “low histamine foods” you’ll find a wealth of information about what to eat and not to eat. I like the Low Histamine Chef’s website for some good balance. I have genetic variants on 23 of the 29 genes that degrade histamine, so I have to eat this way for life. It helped me lose 20# (No more cheese except ricotta) and no more tachycardia in the middle of the night. SO worth it!

      Reply
      • Lynne, I second your advice to Natalie.

        Curious how you know about the genetic variants? I’d like to also get tested. Thank you!

        Reply
  89. My histamine intolerance became WAY worse during 1st and 2nd trimesters of pregnancies then better in 3rd trimester then WAY worse after babies were born (it was all a lot worse 2nd time round) Then suddenly improved after breastfeeding stopped/they started sleeping through the night (12-18 months). So confused about what’s up with my weird body! Have developed egg allergy and lots of other food intolerances. Wondered whether my placentas only produced loads DAO in 3rd trimester? And wondered if it was stress of new baby + lack of sleep that made it worse after baby born but I definitely know that hormones are involved too. I had severe insomnia when 1st child was 7-10months old which disappeared overnifht when I cut down breastfeeding to return to work.

    Reply
  90. If you’ve had a short luteal phase most or all of your life, does that mean you’ve never ovulated? If you can lengthen that time, would you ovulate, and is that a possible thing to change at any age while you are still menstruating? How does one lengthen their luteal phase over 40?

    Reply
    • If you have a luteal phase at all, it means you ovulated. A normal luteal phase is 11-14 days, and Yes, it can be lengthened at any age (although it is harder to do over 40). The treatment is to treat your underlying health including thyroid, gut, insulin etc (as I explain in my book)

      Reply
  91. Hello Lara, My husband and myself decided to start trying to get pregnant. After making this decision I stopped taking my birth control pill. Immediately after stopping the pill my allergy symptoms (runny nose/ sinus congestion) decreased dramatically. I was in process of seeing an allergist to receive immunotherapy shots due to the severity of symptoms but have not returned due to the lack of symptoms. I thought it was bizarre my symptoms decreased. Would this article explain why my allergy symptoms decreased?

    Reply
  92. that’s fascinating. I’ve never had the slightest bit of trouble with milk (did an elimination diet and reintroduced it, no changes, and I drink up to a gallon a week of raw, local, grass-fed milk). I have noticed, though, that when I occasionally drink a red wine I will get stuffed up. Nice to know why!

    Reply
  93. Lara are you able to advise the best way to treat to overcome histamine intolerance or food intolerances while pregnant? Meaning if you have sensitivities or food sensitivities prior to pregnancy, that then “clear up” during pregnancy maybe from the placental DAO, how can those sensitivities best be “treated to resolve” during the pregnancy phase so that post partum the issue isn’t around anymore – does that make sense?!

    Reply
    • That makes sense, but not that easy to do. My approach with patients is to avoid histamine-releasing foods such as dairy throughout the pregnancy, and also maintain a healthy intestinal bacteria. And then if histamine intolerance symptoms are really bad after delivery, I would consider using natural progesterone cream.

      Reply
  94. Amazing read! Would you have any idea why I suffered reactions (tachycardia, anxiety, insomia, trouble breathing, postural hypotension) after eating high histamine foods during pregnancy? I was hoping histamine clearance would have improved, but it worsened. It began happening around the 6th month. I do have the MTHFR mutation and am undermethylated. I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I will say it was an unpleasant experience and is a deterrent from wanting to go through another pregnancy. Thanks for your insight!

    Reply
    • Meeka, I had tachycardia, anxiety and insomnia consistently until I started on a low-histamine diet permanently. I have genetic variants that mean I have to be careful the rest of my life…but once you’re used to it, it’s not too bad. Beats feeling like you’re being engulfed in a panic attack. 🙂

      Reply
  95. I have interstitial cystitis and I believe it is a histamine related disease. It is very painful and there is no cure right now.
    It began for me 13 years after I stopped mensus. Do you have any thoughts on this? It is interesting that the foods to avoid are the same as you list plus many more such as onions tomatoes citrus. Anything acidic…I am really curious as
    the research seems to be going no where.

    Reply
  96. Hello again Lara! I would like to know your opinión about probiotics. Which do you think is more suitable for histaminosis? a soil-based one or the acidophilus strains? I write you from Spain.
    Sarah.

    Reply
  97. Hi Lara good and informative website
    I sent one comment in 28 Dec2015 .I am 48
    I used vitex for more than 9 monthes but suddenly my period was gone for two monthes
    Shall I proceed using vitex
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • From that information, it’s very difficult for me to say what caused the lack of your periods. You’re 48, so you’re approaching menopause. It’s pretty common to miss periods.

      Reply
  98. I was curious to your opinion on Magnesium oil sprays. Are they effective? I though I have read before that magnesium is best absorbed transdermally, but in your book you only mention oral forms.

    Reply
    • Hi Christie, for a long time, I was unconvinced about transdermal magnesium, but recently I have seen evidence that it can deliver a therapeutic dose. I discuss it in the comments of my Magnesium post. I suspect some products are better than others.

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  99. Hi Lara! As fermented foods, do raw miso paste and good yogurt fall into the category of high histamine foods? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’m not qualified to answer this but I have read in many places that miso oesn’t fall into the fermented food category. Not sure about yogurt

      Reply
  100. I started having reactions to cheese, avocados, bananas, chocolate, and various other foods after my second pregnancy. My face would turn red, I produced a lot of mucus, and I had terrible bloating. I took histame, but it didn’t always help. My sister had been having digestive issues and had found that taking caprylic acid helped her and suggested that I try it. I really didn’t think it would help, but after a few weeks of taking it I tried some cheese and did not have the usual bloating and red face. I continued to eat high histamine containing foods without the usual symptoms, however I believe casein was the issue all along. After adding cheese back to my diet, I began to have acne, I had very bad pain in my teeth and gums, and my blood tests showed I had high ANA levels. Once I eliminated cow dairy, my skin cleared up and my mouth stopped hurting. The caprylic acid did seem to help with my histamine reactions though and I’m not sure why.

    Reply
  101. Good morning Lara, I love your blog. How can I know I have dysbiosis or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)? Is there any test I could ask my doctor for?
    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • Great question Sarah. Some doctors are not familiar with SIBO, but many are willing to discuss it these days and may decide to order the breath test that needed to diagnose it. Here’s a write-up from MedicineNet.

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  102. Good story. I have had histamine intolerance (and various other intolerances) for several years. I now take Prescript Assist- a soil based probiotic, and Histame with high histamine foods, although I usually avoid these foods. The soil based probiotic has helped a lot. Many probiotics increase your histamine response, especially the acidophilus ones. One really needs to look into the foods and supplements that are either high in histamine, or promote histamine release (eg. green tea). I use bio-identical progesterone cream after ovulation (if I ovulate), and it helps a lot, as i do notice I react more to histamine rich foods close to my period.

    Reply
  103. Hello, long time sufferer of autoimmune diseases. Currently with the diagnosis of Multiple Connective Tissue Disease, which is hormone effected. I take Dhea(200mg/am, 50mg/pm), prednisone (5mg/am, 4mg/pm), vit.s D(70,000iu/day), E(750mg/d). Please suggest ways to minimize the hormonal effects, because when on the flux; my face and hands bleed, losing progress towards intact skin.

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  104. so very sad to hear of children with severe food allergies, like peanut allergies, dying from being exposed. Is there a link here …….. as I follow recent cases that have resulted in death……. teenage girls Cannot think of any situations where it has been a boy. Is this a result of the changes in their young bodies to the hormones of puberty?? Estrogen and DAO linked to the increased production of histamine. So very very sad

    Reply
  105. This makes so much sense! After 60 years of inflammation, and 3 stents to show for it, I can now see some simple practical solutions to this problem of inflammation. I would also add that anxiety and emotional stress is probably just as big a factor in creating inflammation in the system as anything dietary or physical.

    Reply
  106. Do you feel one taking bio identical progesterone cream is ideal to help estrogen dominance ? I have tried to raise progesterone naturally for 3 years with now luck. Just wondering if bio identical progesterone cream will help lower estrogen dominance and in turn lower histamine ?

    I also suffer sibo and have done anti microbials off and on for over a year with no luck – ferments work well for me to heal gut but leave me with major insomnia heart palps and heat face flushes due to histamine response – so hard to heal gut with histamine issues. Also I have been gluten free and casein free for over 10 years and my diet is only veggies and meat for this same amount of time and I still suffer histamine issues.

    I also Also the Mao and DAO gene mutation and comt and MTHFR – I feel trapped!

    Thoughts

    Reply
    • Short answer: Yes, I think bio-identical progesterone can be helpful. As for whether it’s suitable for you, I cannot of course say for sure. But it’s worth investigating further. Also, you might want to think about vitamin B6. And be careful not to go too low starch. Many women need starch for a healthy HPA axis. See my post Gentle Carbs for GABA, Cortisol, and Adrenal Health.

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  107. I have hypothyroid and Hashimoto diagnosed last year in March. I had hives before that for about 4 months and done alergy test, allergic to environmental, dust, pollen, dogs, etc. Have been prescribed NT for 10 months and supplement with vitaminsD3, magnesium, DHEA, cortif, zink, iodine, Nac . I also bought enzyme and CHI with betaine as I might have low stomak acid. Recently doktor take off NT and put my on Cytomel. I also have some nodules on thyroid. I am gluten free. My main problem is congestion 24/7, difficulty breathing at night. Also as per test dr. said I have asthma and prescribe ventolyn which I’m not using that often. I noticed that I react on high histamine food, fruit with c vitamins, cabbage, coffee. Lately it is almost everything. I am using nose spray a lot (Claritin) . Please advise. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  108. This is so helpful! Yes, every month, two times a month – at ovulation and right before my period – I get struck with killer migraines basically no matter what I eat. If I accidentally eat too much histamine, it takes me completely down for days. I’ve done “gut healing” diets for years, which actually caused my histamine issues, so I don’t even know what my next step is. I visited the doctor last week after a debilitating migraine and she told me to take Sumitriptan and drink a diet coke. Yikes! I guess I should get tested for SIBO and other possible gut infections, and possibly on some herbs/supplements to help the liver do its job. Should I just go back to my doctor and ask for a series of tests to check for gut issues? What tests would I request? She also referred me to an allergist because she didn’t know what to say about histamine. Should I see an endocrinologist instead? Many many many thanks for sharing the knowledge you have!

    Reply
  109. Very excellent. Thank you for your help. My doctors think I’m crazy, or basically are not interested in helping me. But I suffer everyday with histamine intolerance. Food, alcohol, you name it. I’m post-menopausal, pre-mature ovarian failure on hormone replacement therapy. Supposedly my blood levels are fine, but I don’t feel fine!

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  110. I have been wondering about the connection between progesterone and DAO. If the placenta makes a huge amount of progesterone, and makes a huge amount of DAO – does it follow that progesterone makes DAO? Do women get HIT during peri-menopause because ovulation stops? These are the conclusions I have been drawing from three years of HIT and tons of research, yet I never see it in the literature! I have begun to wonder if my solution (I am now menopausal) is to increase progesterone, thus increasing DAO. Very interested in your thoughts!

    Reply
  111. As soon as I started in a hormonal birth control method, my face went puffy, red and itchy. Followed by hives around my body that drive me insane.
    I went to the Dr and he was reluctant to believe it was related to birth control and its hormonal changes, as they do!
    (I knew it was that, as it got worse during some days of the month, but I didn’t understand it until now).
    He prescribed me some antihistamines and sent me home. As they do!
    When I couldn’t stand the symptoms anymore, I stopped the birth control and my body went back to normal straight away.
    Then I called the Dr and told him that he was wrong and he should alert patients about it. Probably he isn’t.

    Reply
    • ive had the same problem ,two years ago i had a coil then hives all of a sudden,after 8 months the hives went and so did coil,then last year i had the depo and bam hives again ,ive stopped depo but still having the hives as depo still in my system even though i stopped three months ago ,definately a hormone link ,i to was sent away from docs with anti histamines

      Reply
  112. I think histamine is real

    I get this when eating tuna….chocolates..dairy stuff

    im male but i can relate

    avoiding dairy it makes me ill for two weeeks or so

    Reply
  113. My histermine intolerance started recently when I hit menopause proper. I had a small break in the symptoms when I felt weirdly like I did when I used to have periods, like PMS. Those feelings have gone and back came the hot flushes, itching, hives, eczema , food allergy and asthma. I saw my doctor, you are right she ( a young woman) wasn’t interested and said she’d never heard on allergies being connected to hormones. I thought…just you wait.
    I read this post with great interest as I had thought oestrogen kept histermine under control but once it was low or gone the histermine can have a party in your body and cause all sort of allergy problems

    Reply
    • I’ve seen the onset of “menopause allergies” with many of my patients, so yes, there is definitely a shift of the immune system after periods stop. I suspect it might be because of a bigger, more permanent down-regulation of DAO with the cessation of ovulation and progesterone. It may also relate to the big drop in DHEA that many women experience with menopause.

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  114. I also think that severe stress can cause an allergic reaction/hives. I’m not sure if it’s because the body has lowered defence mechanism during times of deep stress or not. I just know,that the times I have had severe almost anaphylactic hives, the common denominator has been stress.

    Reply
  115. How do you heal your gut without bone broth and such? Most of the high histamine foods are good also suggested for fixing gut issues (sans processed meats of course). It really feels like an overwhelming vicious cycle!

    Reply
    • I don’t see bone broth or sauerkraut as indispensable for healing the gut, and I certainly don’t see them as something that needs to be consumed daily. I love stock and sauerkraut and have been making them regularly for many years, but I eat them as part of a larger meal, and usually only about 2 – 3 times per week.

      A quick summary of my usual strategy for healing the gut (although it does vary from patient to patient of course): 1) avoid inflammatory foods like gluten and casein, 2) 4-8 week course of herbal antimicrobial like berberine (which also heals tight junctions), 3) possibly temporary low-FODMAP diet, 4) possibly probiotics, 5) possibly glutamine supplement, 6) possibly zinc to heal tight junctions, and 7) eat as many vegetables as it is possible to eat (good bacteria love vegetables).

      And finally: Avoid future antibiotics.

      Reply
      • There are so many suggestions and theories for SIBO and gut repair, (sigh) it’s pretty overwhelming. Can you tell me what species of bacteria exactly make histamine. Or provide a link to some supporting information? Additionally, is there a way to test or measure DAO activity in the body? I have been working with SIBO (possibly SIFO) for the last 6 months and know that my gut is off balance as well. All very tricky. Thanks for this post, very insightful Lara.

        Reply
      • Thank you for your reply, I greatly appreciate te information. I stopped gluten and dairy two years ago ( I’ve had a few cheater days recently, and boy did I notice!) I only did it because my son was sensitive when he was born, but it has made a HUGE difference in my asthma and allergies, now I know why. I’ll look into your other suggestions for gut healing. It’s pleasantly hopeful sounding to hear that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing to heal your gut.

        Reply
  116. Great article!!
    Do you have an article on pre menopause, I’m 41 and am looking into advice/information before I start HTR. Thanks!! 😉

    Reply
    • Interesting. Suffered from bad hayfever and rhinitis all my life, 36 now. Been on progesterone only birth control for 3 years due to extremely painful periods and have had no hayfever since. I took hayfever meds for several years, since been on progesterone only birth control I’ve taken nothing and am completely symptom free. Im totally convinced there is a connection.

      Reply

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