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Dr Marcus Laux
Making Your Meals More AgreeablePDFPrintE-mail

Would you say that as a kid, you could eat just about anything (and a lot of it), and digest it just fine? Would you also say that as an aging adult, you now have to avoid certain foods and/or beverages, or you’re more likely to react with a headache, or bloating and gas, or some other kind of inconvenient misery? You could easily have a food intolerance, and I want to tell you about a brand-new treatment that could help you in a way nothing else has been able to until now. This treatment goes way beyond avoiding the foods that turn you inside-out.

An estimated quarter of all Americans have a food intolerance, but the medical community has had a tough time figuring out reliable and practical ways to diagnose it—let alone give its sufferers real relief. Just about the only things scientists agree on about food intolerance are that 1) it’s different from a food allergy, and 2) it’s confusing.

The confusion is partly due to the fact that several conditions can appear to be a food intolerance, including low stomach acid and an ulcer. In addition, a food intolerance can look different, depending on a number of factors:

  • The food that creates symptoms—either specific foods, such as dairy products or wheat; or more foods with each passing year, leaving you more and more limited in what you can eat.
  • The timing of symptoms—you bloat up like a balloon within an hour after eating the culprit food, with gas, diarrhea, and/or abdominal cramps; or vague symptoms showing up three to seven days later.
  • The particular symptoms—itchy skin or hives, or fatigue, or respiratory allergies and congestion, or low blood pressure and heart palpitations; or headaches, maybe even migraines.

See why there’s confusion? Just getting diagnosed is an exhausting exercise in perseverance. But Austrian researchers are about 20 years ahead of us, and thank goodness for that.

A Major Breakthrough

Research showed that histamine (the natural compound that causes allergy symptoms) is a key factor in food intolerances. You have histamine inside your body right now, in little packets safely sealed inside immune mast cells throughout your tissues. This kind of histamine is called endogenous histamine, meaning that it comes from inside your body.

If you have, say, hay fever, pollen attaches to the mast cells in the tissues lining your upper respiratory tract, which triggers the mast cells to split open, releasing their histamine. Histamine burns like crazy, and it sets up an inflammatory reaction that creates predictable symptoms: runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, congestion, coughing, and itchy red eyes.

But I already said food intolerance isn’t an allergy. In fact, it’s called a pseudoallergy. However, histamine is also involved with food intolerances. The difference is, the histamine that starts the food intolerance reaction is exogenous (comes from outside your body). In fact, it comes from your food itself. Certain foods (which just happen among the foods most often linked with food intolerances) are high in histamine.

Normally, histamine is broken down by an enzyme called diamine oxidase, or DAO. If your body has a ready supply of DAO, and if it’s working properly, then you can eat food that’s high in histamine and be perfectly okay. But if you don’t have enough DAO, or if you have any of the several factors that can interfere with DAO’s ability to do its job, then you’ve got a problem. Eat the wrong foods and your particular brand of suffering could include any or all of those confusing symptoms that have already been linked to food intolerance, which now carries a new label: histamine intolerance.

High-Histamine Foods

Histamine is a direct byproduct of bacterial action on food. Because histamine is made from amino acids (the building blocks of protein), foods that are relatively high in protein are often high in histamine as well. That puts fresh or cooked meat, fish, and dairy products high on the list. Fermented foods are major candidates, because the fermentation process encourages the formation of histamine. That puts red wine, chianti, and beer; fermented meats such as cured ham, dry salami, and chorizo; organ meats; Thai fish sauce and soy sauce; aged cheese; and sauerkraut high on the list too. Chocolate is qnother histamine liberator, as are tomatoes. Food that’s dirty, or going bad, is also likely to be high in histamine thanks to increased bacterial action, even if the food isn’t spoiled enough to cause food poisoning.

Note that histamine isn’t necessarily an undesirable component in food. For one thing, it contributes to some characteristic tastes. Aged cheese, for example, wouldn’t taste right without its histamine. The expression, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” takes on a whole new meaning with this knowledge.

It’s Not Just the Food

Even if you have plenty of DAO, you could be histamine-intolerant thanks to other confounding issues. One is prescription and over-the-counter drugs. For example, the histamine-neutralizing action of DAO is blocked by one class of antidepressants, called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)—and the number of Americans taking antidepressants has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. Other drugs can do the same thing, or they can actually cause endogenous histamine release in your gut. Examples include certain muscle relaxants, narcotics, NSAIDs, blood pressure medicines, medicines to help loosen respiratory mucus, and stomach acid blockers like Zantac. What this means is that even if you don’t technically have an intolerance to any particular food, you can develop a dandy case of histamine intolerance while taking one or more of these medications, even if you’re eating food that has only a moderate amount of histamine in it. Foods with “only a moderate amount” of histamine, by the way, make a pretty long list, which means a lot of good food could now disagree with you.

Beer and wine (especially red wine) can be potent sources of histamine. And, all varieties of alcohol can inhibit DAO and/or enhance the inflammatory effect of histamine on the intestinal mucosa, stimulating its own mast cells to split open and release endogenous histamine. To make matters worse, alcohol also encourages gut histamine to cross the mucosal barrier and enter the bloodstream, where it can cause vascular headaches, including migraines. Studies of migraineurs show that many of them have reduced DAO activity and elevated levels of mast cells in the brain. That’s why consuming histamine-rich food, especially wine and cheese, can trigger a migraine.  Taking antihistamines, and/or avoiding the highhistamine foods, skirts the problem.

Another little complication is that just about every kind of living tissue contains the main ingredients necessary to make histamine: amino acids. All it takes to convert amino acids into histamine is partial digestion and bacterial action. So you could eat a perfectly innocent food that wouldn’t ordinarily cause a histamine reaction, but if your gut’s flora is out of balance, you could have bacteria inside your own intestines that can take that partially digested food and generate histamine right there on the spot, inside your own gut. In my experience, taking high-quality probiotics can be therapeutic for people who have histamine intolerance.

The kicker is, even if any of these outside factors cause you to have histamine intolerance symptoms, just reversing those outside factors may not be enough to resolve your intolerance. That’s because now you have an inflamed gut, which is more fragile than it was before. That’s why, for some people, just eating an orange can trigger a histamine reaction: The citrus is just irritating enough to cause endogenous histamine release in the gut. In other words, regardless of what got the fire going, many innocent things can become fuel. Now that you see the complexities of “food intolerance,” let’s talk about getting real relief, real fast.

The DAO of Relief

The classic treatment for food (histamine) intolerance has been to identify and avoid the foods that trigger the symptoms. This can still be an important part of your recovery. But now you know that if you’re DAO-deficient, even foods containing lesser amounts of histamine can cause just as much misery. Some health care providers prescribe antihistamines to block the effects of exogenous histamine, which does provide some relief, but it also guarantees antihistamine-related side effects. There is a better way.

Introducing the first ever DAO enzyme supplement available in the US. It’s called Histame, and studies show it can provide enough supplemental DAO to inactivate even an extreme dose of exogenous histamine, bringing 80 to 90 percent relief of symptoms within just one hour. It’s a purified enzyme from pig kidneys, so it’s totally natural, and it has no side effects. After reading all the research and trying the product on selected individuals, I see the results and I’m fully committed to its benefits.

Give your friendly bacteria some backup. As I mentioned, I’ve seen histamine intolerance made worse by intestinal dysbiosis (imbalanced bacterial populations in the gut flora), resulting in bacterial histamine production from the amino acids in partially digested food. To avoid this, it’s important to promote your friendly bacteria, so they defend and protect your health as nature designed. In fact, I believe a healthy gut flora is so vitally important for overall health that I recommend regular supplementation with top-quality probiotics.  The best news of all is that many cases of histamine intolerance are completely reversible. The trick is to address the intolerance from all available angles— not just avoiding the food triggers, but also boosting DAO levels. Remember to ask your pharmacist whether any of the drugs you’re taking are oxidase inhibitors.  Beyond that, avoid all forms of alcohol, give your bacterial flora a boost, and perhaps cut back on acidic foods when your gut is sensitive.

Without a comprehensive approach, your list of “culprit foods” (and your misery) is likely to grow.  But once you understand the complexity of histamine intolerance, you’ll see that the path to digestive comfort is really very simple: Digest completely with enzymes, protect with probiotics, and knock out your food intolerance with DAO. That is how you spell relief today!

References :

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85: 1185–1196.

Int J Food Microbiol. 2003;88:41–54.

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2009;7:70–77.

J Food Sci. 2007;72:M382–M390.

J Pharmacol Sci. 2008;107:159–166.


Reprinted with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC.


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