Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered

Jackie asked...

I have histamine intolerance.

Tags: Allergy , Diet

I have histamine intolerance which I have recently been trying to combat with encouraging the bacteria that processes histamine and eating (mainly vegetables) that are low in histamine.

However I really need to expand my diet and should appreciate some advice. Thank you very much for your time.

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP quickly?


    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, offers a doctor appointment by video or phone at a time that suits you.

The answer

Histamine is one of the chemicals released by the body as part of an allergic reaction. It is also naturally found in some foods (and some foods trigger the body to release it). The majority of us safely break this histamine down and it causes no problems. But some people, possibly yourself, can’t do this properly, and if they eat too many histamine-rich foods, can have an ‘allergy like’ reaction e.g. sneezing, itching, rashes or digestive upsets (note histamine intolerance is not a true allergic reaction as it doesn’t involve the immune system).

If suspected, there are no reliable tests, apart from eliminating histamine-rich foods, as you seem to have done, for 3-4 weeks while keeping a food and symptom diary, to see if symptoms improve.

It is then important to gradually reintroduce foods one by one, and gauge tolerance to them so that diets don’t remain unnecessarily restricted (and people’s tolerance can vary). This can be a tricky and lengthy process, and to ensure the whole process (including the elimination period) is safe and effective it is best done with the help of a registered dietitian. It is also very important not to self-diagnose in the first place, but to see a doctor to ensure that symptoms aren’t due to another health problem.

Answered by Lyndel Costain.


You may also be interested in...

Know your allergy triggers

How to make your office an allergy free zone

Eating for good health

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, Better Health, to receive our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter