Histamine reactions are common in people who have a compromised microbiome. The worse the damage in the gut the more prevalent the issue.

The amino acid L-histidine responds into histamine with intestinal damage affecting those with severe imbalances the most. Illnesses such as FPIES, PANDAS, autism, schizophrenia, fibromyalgia, ME and chronic fatigue syndrome must step lightly, progressing slowly with healing non-inflammatory foods while rebuilding with proper probiotcs while walking out of the imbalance, rebuilding.

Histidine is a semi-essential amino acid which plays a part in the formation of proteins and influences metabolic

reactions. Stress, poor diet or improper absorption of nutrients can cause nutritional deficiencies. This can deplete your histidine levels, depleted levels can cause susceptibility to reactors. 

Histidine transforms into histamine, glutamate and haemoglobin according to the body’s need.

Allergies are the body’s normal response, the body is doing what it is designed to do – create an inflammatory response as protection from the offender. This inflammation is sourced from the mast cells and basophils (white blood cells) which both contain histamine. 

When a person is dehydrated the process is exasperated. This means if you are dehydrated you may experience worse histamine issues.

Water Cures says with dehydration, “Your histamine levels are elevated. This results in suppressed white blood cell production, the very things that help you eliminate allergy responses.” When the body is dehydrated it will release more histamine as a method of guarding the body to prevent further dehydration. 

DSC04385The histamine issue is not a simple process as it functions on different levels from different sources and can even enter your system on food that has been cooked too long or is not fresh. Eating food that has been in the refrigerator too long can cause what is referred to as a histamine reaction however this area is under debate among professionals. Some say it is not necessarily a histamine reaction but instead a response to the pathogens growing on the food when it is not fresh. The older food is, the less nutrition it contains. Cooked food grows pathogens the longer it stays around. This is not necessarily a histamine reaction but is a reaction to the pathogens growing on older food.

Dr. Amy Myers describes histamine as, “A chemical involved in your immune system, proper digestion, and your central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach.”

Myers is an MD who practices Functional Medicine. She says, “Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that your white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. If you don’t break down histamine properly, you could develop what we call histamine intolerance.”

In her book The Autoimmune Solution she explains the process further. 

Histamine is released by the body to ward off an offender, inflammation is there acting like bubble wrap protecting what’s underneath. The job of histamine is to inflame the system, waving a flag to the immune system, screaming Attackers are here! Fight! Fight to the death!

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Amino Acid Studies says, “Histidine regulates the immune defense in the body, allergic reactions and inflammatory processes, so a deficiency of L-histidine can lead to an increased tendency towards infection and the aggravation of symptoms of allergies.”

Histidine is known to be ambiguous. It prefers a comfortable secure location, like burrowed deep in a protein core. It also functions as a solvent out and about in the body. The body releases histamine to do exactly that, work as a solvent against offenders. When the solvent is released and the bubble wrap coating is in place the body is doing its job. However, when there is too much, and the body is in overdrive, more is released than the body can handle – this is an allergic reaction. This histamine response comes in the form of itchy eyes, runny nose, cold symptoms, flu symptoms, tightness in the chest, hives, rash, stomach upset, gas and bloating as well as others. 

Histamine reactions are the same type of responses a person gets from die off of pathogens. Determining which is happening to your body at that time can only be done by you. Histamine responses will follow food, die off will follow probiotics or probiotic foods. Some foods give die off responses but carry histamine causing confusion. Kraut juice and sauerkraut follow this pattern and are the biggest offenders for most people.

This is a good sign and is evidence that you need these strains of probiotics, not that you should drop them. If you experience this, follow the proper introductory stage for probiotics, beginning with kraut juice fermented for 12 days with the cabbage pieces fully submerged under the brine. The quantity you can handle is specific to your pathogen overload and no one can tell you what to start with, only your body can do that. 

DSC04303Most people begin with one teaspoon kraut juice and build up from there. Others with severe reactions, like the situation described above, need to start with one drop under their tongue. Still, others with the greatest gut damage which is usually accompanied with clogged detox pathways, have to put one drop in a glass of water and take one sip a day. Wherever your starting point is, it is vital to rebuild with kraut juice progressing to sauerkraut as tolerated. 

Stopping sauerkraut juice because it gives you a reaction will only prolong the pathogen overgrowth. Building slowly, with the guidance of a skilled practitioner in this area is important to healing. Histamine can be put in check with proper rebuilding.

Amino Acid Studies adds, “Once formed, histamine is either stored or broken down by an enzyme. Histamine in the central nervous system is broken down primarily by histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT), while histamine in the digestive tract is broken down primarily by diamine oxidase (DAO). Both enzymes play an important role in histamine break down.”

The American Society for Clinical Nutrition says the enzyme DAO breaks down histamine introduced through the mouth, in food. Eating foods that are not fresh will create a histamine response in those with great intestinal damage. For this reason, while healing the body of the histamine response it is vital to eat fresh food.

When histidine releases histamine it is known to throw off the zinc and cooper balance in the body making repair without support more difficult. If you find yourself in this situation a good method of checking your zinc levels are with this assay

The most beneficial protocol for healing histamine responses is the GAPS protocol. If you suffer from histamine issues make your healing meat stock and freeze what you will not use in two days time. Be sure you are using meat stock and not bone broth. Meat stock is high in amino acids proline and glycine, bioten, collagen, elastin, glucosamine and gelatin. These are the elements that feed the enterocytes, the building blocks of the gut lining.

Histidine can be replaced through protein rich foods and by building the microflora creating homeostasis. Kraut juice is the best way to begin building up the gut flora, as stated previously, which will help with any histamine reactions. Science tells us sauerkraut contains histamine, stay away from sauerkraut. Going back a step rebuilds the weakness. Those with the most severe damage start with kraut juice in whatever amount tolerable and build up to sauerkraut show consistent rebuilding creating a balanced system in the long run.

Allergies begin in the gut from a damaged micorbiome. Sealing and healing the gut with meat stock while building up the good bacteria prevents the reaction and cycle of histamine halting the allergen response at the source.

Using kraut juice that has fermented for 12 days minimum, longer if necessary, will diminish any adverse reactions from histamine responses. Those with the most aggressive situations find success with three to four month fermentation. When following this protocol the fermenting cabbage is fully submerged under the brine for the whole three to four months. 

Click here to see what to watch for in regards to die off symptoms which are often mistakenly confused to be a histamine response. 

The best way to walk out of histamine reactions is through the GAPS protocol. Click here to read what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says about histamine while on GAPS.

The homeopathy remedy histaminum is designed to stop a histamine reaction. Most importantly, there are no adverse effects known with homeopathy and it will not cause drowsiness like over-the-counter antihistamine products. Histaminum is recommended for any antihistamine needs, where histamines are an issue, including sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, itching, hives, food allergies and burning eyes or throat due to allergens.

This homeopathic antihistamine is reported safe for any age by homeopaths. Proper protocol for homeopathy is 4 tablet under the tongue. If symptoms remain 15 minutes later repeat the dosage. Repeat again 15 minutes later if needed, back off as needed. Click here to order histaminum.

Be cautious, some people experience wheezing if they take histaminum hydrochloricum with belladonna.  

PubMed published findings from a study on homeopathic histaminum and cat saliva with regards to cat allergies. They tested 30 individiuals who tested positive to a cat allergy on the skin prick test (SPT) through a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study.

PubMed reported, “Cat saliva 9cH and Histaminum 9cH produced a highly statistically significant reduction in the wheal diameter of the cat allergen SPT at the end of week 4. The placebo group showed no statistically significant change. The homeopathic medicine reduced the sensitivity reaction of cat allergic adults to cat allergen, according to the SPT.”

Rescue Remedy, a Bach Flower remedy, also stops histamine reactions naturally. Click here to order Rescue Remedy. Click here to learn more about Rescue Remedy and see other natural options for handling die off reactions.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by a mom whose son has been delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.



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17 Responses to Holistically Stopping A Histamine Reaction

  1. Karen Ross says:

    Awesome article! Very great information!

    At 12 days sauerkraut juice has just started to ferment, and no strain of anti-histamine probiotic bacteria are active at that high pH range (where sauerkraut starts). We recommend fermenting cabbage and cabbage family vegetables for a week at 68-72ºF and then a minimum of another 40 days at 55ºF, or 85 days at 38ºF (Refrigerator) and in an anaerobic vessel (zero oxygen), where anti-histamine strains are able to thrive, to reduce the histamines as much as possible, going through all four stages of fermentation.

    The probiotic bacteria double their numbers every 20-30 minutes they are in the jar, as long as they are unopposed by aerobic molds and yeasts, until they run out of carbohydrate to consume. Releasing the minerals, releasing enzymes and vitamins…living, powerful food. 🙂

    • nat says:

      I live in a hot country, so fermenting mine a week in a esky for stable temps, cool packs in the hot days, then putting in the fridge after a week. I however cannot put the large fermentor in the fridge with the air lock on as it just will not fit, can I transfer to another container and it will carry on fermenting, even though I will have disturbed it and it will have a normal bpa plastic lid on (weck system)

  2. Ellen says:

    Thank you so much for this helpful article packed with information. I have read a good number of articles about histamine issues but learned several new things from yours. I just bought the homeopathic remedy Histaminum Muriaticum 30 C (Boiron) about 5 days ago before seeing your article.
    I have 2 questions please. Is the form I purchased for the same purpose? When we are on the GAPS program no sugars are allowed so may I dissolve the pellets in distilled water and then succuss (sp?) it myself in a dropper bottle by tapping it against my hand, then re-dilute it one more time to reduce or eliminate the sugar? How many times would one shake or tap the mixture and how much of the water with dissolved pellets is put into the next dilution?

    Perhaps the tiny amount of sugar would not cause harm perhaps, but I am hesitant, not having cheated with even any tiny amounts in all my time on gaps. Well, once, with Cantharis remedy for a painful burn where I kept the pellets in my mouth and then spit out and rinsed several times. 😉

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Homeopathy is GAPS approved. Only a small number of people have issues with it and it’s usually a candida related issue to the pellets. Dr. Natasha discusses this in FAQS. You are correct, if there is a problem then dissolving them in water is her recommended solution. The shaking and tapping isn’t really important. I put mine in a cup of water and let it sit while I’m doing kitchen chores then just stir it up and drink. It’s probably not going to be a problem (even though she does say not a speck of sugar and this goes against it) but if you do want to dissolve it out and then redilute, you can. I did this while the candida was flaring. However if this is the case there is more going on that needs to be addressed – feel free to call my office to make an appointment if you would like to navigate that route: 706-944-3061. The standard protocol for making homeopathy is 7 drops from the stock bottle to 10 ml filtered water and shake aggressively 10 times. Continue dilution from there.

  3. deb says:

    Awesome article. I see from your menu you also have a couple posts on glyphosate, which messes up amino acid balance enormously along with other problems. If you’ve never visited Stephanie Seneff’s research link page, I recommend it as it links to some awesome published papers and I believe they are all available in full, not a link to an abstract only,

  4. Marcia says:

    Do you have any references that indicate sauerkraut will contain specific histamine degrading strains?

  5. You may want to reconsider your use of Autism as an example of an ‘illness’ in a list with schizophrenia, fibromyalgia, ME and chronic fatigue syndrome. This is not appropriate, nor accurate. It is a developmental disorder and not considered to be an illness in the medical profession. It is caused by a genetic brain abnormality. I also note that it is considered as offensive by people with Autism.

  6. Margot says:

    30C diluted histamine dihydrochloride (which is what you linked in your article) means a dilution on the order of 10^(-60). This means you are taking a sugar pill. To quote Wikipedia:

    “Dilution advocated by Hahnemann for most purposes: on average, this would require giving two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any patient.”

    There are actual natural remedies with scientific backing that are better suited for histamine related reactions. A very popular one is quercetin. I’ve done some other research in the literature and have found that grapeseed extract and chrysin are also good at mast stabilizing and the latter was found to prevent anaphylactic death in mice. Chrysin is found in blue passion flower (and possibly in the variety used to make passion flower tea). Also zeolite powder/capsules are helpful for absorbing histamine found in food.

    I was on GAPS for 6 months and while it helped me heal my gut and corrected all but one food allergy, it did not put an end to my dermatagraphia or all random hive reactions. If there is someone who has found complete remission through GAPS, I would love to meet them.

    I do not believe GAPS is a cure-all as some would suggest. I wanted to believe that, but it’s a hard diet to follow and I was often fatigued. I ate a lot of food to try and compensate with high amounts of good fat. I feel better when I can eat a few grains and starch.

    Paleo Mom has written that there is not a whole lot of evidence that completely eliminating starches will speed up the healing process, either. Her research suggests that getting a diet high in omega-3s will actually be most beneficial for gut healing. In particular, not through fish oil pills as much as through eating high amounts of fresh cold water fish.

    GAPS was good for me in the sense that it started me on a path toward healing, but it’s incomplete for me. Now I’m working through a low-histamine diet which has through trial and error shown to me that I am indeed dealing with excess histamine in my body. I completely agree that probiotic foods and fermenting grains are essential to healing an maintaining a happy gut, but if you are dealing with histamine intolerance, you need to be extra careful.

    • Dana Martin says:

      From what I’m studying about homeopathy what Margot shared in the post above is true–that often not a single molecule of the actual substance can be found in the homeopathic remedy. That is the point, though. You do NOT want to ingest a molecule of a remedy that is made out of, for example, Arsenic (such as in the remedy Arsenicum Album, which can be used to treat food poisoning). Nor, if you are having histamine issues would you want to ingest a molecule of extra Histamine. Homeopathic remedies work on the premise that something which would be toxic in whole form can have a curative action in a diluted and succussed form. Homeopathy’s basis is defined in the “Law of Similars,” which is that “any substance that can cause symptoms when given to a healthy individual can also heal those same symptoms in a person who is unwell.” (Gateway to Homeopathy course by Joette Calabrese).

      I originally bookmarked this Nourishing Plot article before I started studying homeopathy because at the time I had figured out that I most definitely had illness resulting from histamine issues, and was looking for ways to restore my health. In re-reading this Nourishing Plot article today, it struck me that kraut juice and meat stock are highly recommended, especially because these are the same suggestions that are repeatedly taught at I am lucky that I can still eat a little sauerkraut without a reaction even though other foods such as curry or chile powder (even the smell) can start a histamine reaction in me lately. I’ve just recently reincorporated fermented foods and can tell that sauerkraut and meat or bone stock will be game changers for me.

      My path to homeopathy started when I needed surgery for a broken bone (my first surgery ever and I was late-40s); I already knew that I could not use pain medications because I had experienced whole body convulsion-type responses (with consciousness intact) to a mild narcotic a doctor prescribed trying to get a bronchitis cough to calm down that was keeping me from sleeping for almost two weeks. If you do a quick online search, it will confirm that many prescription analgesics are histamine-releasing (though my doctors never put this together for me and just shrugged their shoulders when I explained my reactions). I chose Arnica Montana for after surgery and used Arnica plus ice packs to recover without issue.

      Later, I decided to purchase the remedy Rhus Tox to possibly give it a try for a very stiff muscle. At this point, I had maybe three homeopathic remedies in my medicine cabinet. Through a series of fortunate events, I found that Rhus Tox 30C stopped another convulsion attack I experienced after being pricked by weeds in yard cleanup. I can’t say this would be the remedy for everyone, but am passing this information along because it is worth exploring. ( So, my histamine issues seem to especially hit at my central nervous system. I also have microbiome issues from antibiotics that were overprescribed during that bronchitis bout and in other instances.

      It sounds like Margot and I have come to the same conclusion – that diet alone doesn’t always heal completely. In fact, that is another reason I continued searching for health solutions when I realized that as a person with a “histamine intolerance”, I would probably be advised to restrict my diet yet again to avoid foods such as sauerkraut or even avocados. I also didn’t think that using an antihistamine prescription medication would heal me, but would most likely make me worse as had others in the past.

      This Nourishing Plot article is one of the places that actually recognizes it is important to build our gut system up so we can process histamine, not just run away from foods with histamine. That is why I was so happy when I found the Practical Homeopathy site. It showed me that I wasn’t alone – that for many, diet helps. But, for a lot of other people, there is a “niggly” percent of the illness left that is just enough to make us feel trapped and unhealthy. I like Margot’s idea of Quercetin and other natural remedies, which is why I like even better the idea of using a gentle and natural method of healing such as homeopathy. I actually cried when I read about all of the excellent results people had attained with Quercetin, but then cried again when I had a reaction to it. Natural is the way to go. And there are many different solutions that we are all probably finding. For me, homeopathy, has already yielded so many successes without reactions in myself and my family (my son hasn’t needed any OTC allergy medicines this season, for example) that I intend to continue my study and am very hopeful of feeling better than ever.

    • Shreeram says:

      May i know how are you now?

  7. Kristen says:

    I’m sorry but you must be an idiot for suggesting sauerkraut (fermented) and the GAPS diet (worst diet for histamine reactions) for histamine intolerance.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      The GAPS Protocol was actually designed around histamine issues. I used to have histamine issues myself, which kept getting worse and worse until I realize I wasn’t doing what my body was asking for… I was doing bone broth not knowing that Meat Stock is proper for those with histamine issues. The intro section of the protocol begins with kraut juice, which will show die off and tell you when you continue to move forward. GAPS is all about reducing inflammation so that your body can speak to you, telling you what to do next. Not listening to those signs can cause greater issues. It was the only thing that worked for me with my histamine issues, done according to what the body asked for, but I was only tolerating three foods at the time and had no other choice – thank God.
      Histamine and die off are two totally different things. Too much probiotic for your body will cause great die off.
      This explains it further:

  8. TrueEasy says:

    Thank you for the great article,

    I am suffering from histamine issues and cannot tolerate milk kefir and eggs. A few questions regarding Introducing Saurkraut into the GAPS intro stage.
    If i begin drinking kraut juice for a week and no die off symptoms, when do i know when do i start eating the saurkraut?

    How do i Introduce animal fat (beef tallow) into diet as it also contains Histamine?

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