Histamine Intolerance

Histamine sensitivity or intolerance (HI) may be considered a type of food intolerance. Because histamine is a primary mediator of an allergic response in the body, consumption of histamine can elicit a similar response. Histamine toxicity is most frequently associated with the consumption of spoiled fish, but has also been associated with aged cheeses and red wines. Elevated levels of histamine occur naturally in these foods. Histamine is also produced within the body.

Histamine is an important second messenger for a number of allergic and pseudoallergic reactions. Millions of humans suffer from disorders like gastrointestinal problems, circulation problems, migraine, asthma, skin diseases as well as other allergy-related symptoms. Too much histamine in the body has been found to be responsible for these diverse patterns of disease. Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance (HIT) appear if incorporated or endogenous histamine cannot be degraded readily by the body. Histamine-Intolerance affects at least 3% of the overall population.

DiAmine Oxidase (DAO) is present almost throughout the whole body, but the main site of action is in the gut. The activity of DAO determines the rate of histamine degradation. If the activity of DAO is inhibited, histamine will be accumulated and then triggers the symptoms of Histamine Intolerance.


The determination of DAO activity in serum shows, whether the patient could have problems with the catabolism of histamine. There is a connection between DAO activity and the appearance of symptoms.

The activity of DAO in serum correlates with the histamine degrading capacity of the organism. The measurement of DAO in serum therefore is the appropriate marker for the diagnostis of Histamine Intolerance and associated diseases. In plasma and serum samples of 34 persons with symptoms of Histamine Intolerance and 78 asymptomatic test persons the DAO activity was determined. All persons with symptoms of Histamine Intolerance showed an activity of DAO below 10 U/ml. These data have been published for the first time at EHRS Congress in May 2003 (Poster).

DAO activity may be inhibited by agents like alcohol or drugs (e.g. ACC, Ambroxol, Aminophyllin, Propafenon, Verapamil)

If a degraded DAO activity is determined a histamine free diet is indicated. SCIOTEC´s newly developed nutritional supplement daocur® improves histamine related food intolerance significantly and sustainably. Daocur, daosan® or PelLind® appear to be available only in Europe at this time.


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Histamine Intolerance

Symptoms - Respiratory  

Wheezing after exercise only or wheezing

Symptoms - Skin - General  

Itchy skin

Conditions that suggest Histamine Intolerance




Risk factors for Histamine Intolerance

Symptoms - Metabolic  

History of migraine headaches

Recommendations for Histamine Intolerance




Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Findings suggest that plasma diamine oxidase (DAO) activity is influenced by vitamin B-6 status. DAO is a vitamin B-6 dependent enzyme. [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1986 Vol 44, 907-913]


Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Likely to help
Highly recommended



A chemical in the body tissues, produced by the breakdown of histidine. It is released in allergic reactions and causes widening of capillaries, decreased blood pressure, increased release of gastric juice, fluid leakage forming itchy skin and hives, and tightening of smooth muscles of the bronchial tube and uterus.


Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.


Not just a headache, but a disorder affecting the whole body, characterized by clearly defined attacks lasting from about 4 to 72 hours, separated by headache-free periods; progresses through five distinct phases. Prodrome: experienced by about 50% of migraineurs and starting up to 24 hours before the headache - changes in mood, sensory perception, food craving, excessive yawning, or speech or memory problems. Aura: experienced by about 15% and starting within an hour before the headache - disruption of vision (flashing lights, shimmering zigzag lines, blind spot) or sensation (numbness or 'pins and needles' around the lips or hand), or difficulty speaking. Headache: usually pulsating and occurring on one side of the head, it may occur on both sides of the head and alternate from side to side. Muscles in the neck and scalp may be tender; there may be nausea and the desire not to eat, move, see or hear. Resolution: the headache disappears and the body returns to normal. Resolution may occur over several hours during sleep or rest; an intense emotional experience or vomiting may also end the headache. Postdrome: After the headache stops, the sufferer feels drained, fatigued and tired. Muscles ache, emotions are volatile and thinking is slow.


A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.


The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.


Not showing symptoms.

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