s3 e6: histamine intolerance 101

In this episode, I am breaking down a popular topic in the wellness world: histamines! I get a lot of questions about histamine intolerance and if people should cut out x, y, z foods. As usual, I don’t recommend going straight to cutting out foods. Can that help in the short term with symptoms? Yes, but it’s not getting to the root of the issue. This doesn’t mean you can’t cut out certain things that are causing you discomfort to get some relief, but hopefully this podcast episode will inspire you to work on other areas as well. 

• Free Training: Optimizing Hormone Health with Mineral Balance
Mineral Imbalance Quiz 
Iodine episode 
Period Pain episode
Stress episode
Endometriosis episode
Estrogen Waves While Healing episode
Free Thyroid Training 
How To Boost Progesterone Levels Naturally episode

Gut Health: 
Histamine Intolerance: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/85/5/1185/4633007?login=false
Low DAO enzyme: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28624934/ 
Estrogen and Histamines: https://www.larabriden.com/the-curious-link-between-estrogen-and-histamine-intolerance/ 
Copper and DAO: 

Amanda Montalvo 0:00
Hey, this is Amanda Women’s Health dietitian. And I’m Emily nutritional therapy practitioner. And this is the RU menstrual podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones in teach you how to have healthy periods. Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, female physiology and metabolic health. Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey. We hope you enjoy it.

Okay, we have our long awaited histamine episode. This is something that I tend to get a lot of questions on, especially when I talk about things like copper and iron, or gut issues. Or if I share certain foods that people with histamine intolerances tend to not tolerate very well like gelatin or orange juice or something like that. And typically, the question is around like, Should I cut out X, Y, and Z food? Should I take this supplement that can help lower histamines in the body? And there’s not much discussion on where it’s coming from? Right. So I think that histamine intolerance can be confusing if you don’t understand what histamines are, why we release them and then what can cause them to build up so that’s really what my goal this episode is to go through those things. Talk about the different there’s four root causes that I like to cover for histamine intolerance issues. But you know, at the end of the day, it’s it’s just like any other topic we cover, you know, all that’s really talked about for histamines are like take this supplement, cut out this food, that’ll fix your problems. And that could help with your symptoms. And I’m not saying not to do that. Because, you know, if you say you react terribly gelatin, you don’t want to torture yourself, and consume gelatin every day and have you know, really bad cramping or stomach pains or something. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that, you know, cut out the food, you know, if something makes you not feel good, don’t eat it. But how else could we approach this in a more holistic way? And that’s really going to be diving into all the different areas we’re going to cover today. So let’s start with what are histamines. Right, what, what is the histamine? What does it do in the body? So histamines are a protein, they are technically also considered like a local hormones since they, we store them in ourselves, and they act locally. So it is a protein. It’s an every tissue of the body. Typically, they’re being made by mast cells. We can also make them from basophils, platelets, some neurons and some other cells. But when we talk about what happens when histamines are released, today, we’ll talk about mast cells. They are stored in our cells and released based on some sort of stimulation from the body. So as our body recognizes a need for them, and typically we’re thinking of like an immune response, then we released them. And that’s really what they’re most known for, right is their role in our immune system and how they can help us react to different allergens, whether that’s in our environment, in our food, whatever it is. And I think that’s where like they get their bad rap is oh, we have we’re releasing histamines isn’t a good thing. But they’re not bad. They actually help us heal, which is really important. And they alert us to different dangers, like if we do have an allergy, so they help trigger this pro inflammatory response in the body. And this kicks off an immune system reaction. But it’s unnecessarily one typically, sometimes it’s happening. And we’ll talk about how we can have a response to different foods that are broken down well, and then it looks like we have a sensitivity or an allergy to those foods. Obviously, that’s not helpful, but just the action in and of itself. And how histamines are really trying to protect us, I think is an important thing to grasp. They are considered the hormone of alarm, right? So it’s creating this like stress response in the body so that it can react to whatever the stressor is in the environment typically related to an allergen. But we also need them to make things. It’s kind of like prostaglandins. Like we talked about prostaglandins in our period pain episode and how we have inflammatory ones, and then anti inflammatory ones. histamines are similar. We do have some histamines that actually help us make stomach acid and they can help with muscle contractions, and even our response to stress. So it’s not so much that the histamines in and of themselves are bad. It’s just can we break them down properly? Or are we making too many that it’s almost difficult to keep up with breaking them down? And I just say all this because I feel like we have this like negative view of histamines. Like we never want them but in reality, like we do want them we just we want it right

recognize why they’re happening if we’re getting symptoms from them, and where it’s coming from what we can do to help our bodies minimize that. So what happens when we release histamine, we release them from mast cells. And typically it’s in response to an antibody called immunoglobulin E or IGE. antibody. That’s how I’m gonna refer to it a lot easier to say. And this antibody is often released, if we have something in the gut that shouldn’t be there. So if we think of like maybe a virus, or a pathogenic bacteria, or parasite, or if we’re if we’re allergic to something like pollen, it could also be released though, if we have poorly broken down food. And this is what I was mentioning before how you know, histamines are great, and they’re important, and they help build up this immune response and keep us safe and have the appropriate immune reaction to things in our environment. But if we are having a histamine response to a food that’s actually good for us, and we like eating, then that’s not great, right? That’s not actually helpful. But if we have foods that were not breaking down properly, saying, we’re not making enough stomach acid, or maybe we’re really stressed out, or meals, or maybe we have other gut issues going on, that are leading to poor breakdown of our food, or, you know, maybe if we look even further back at, like, what causes us to not make enough stomach acid, digestive juices, stuff like that, usually, it’s a metabolism or a thyroid problem. So when we have these, you know, dysfunctions in the body, and then we are breaking down our food properly, we get these big food particles that our body doesn’t recognize our immune system doesn’t think they should be there. So it’s going to tag them with this IGE antibody. And histamine can be released in response to that, we can also release histamine outside of just like some invader in our gut, it can be released in response to an injury caused by a toxin, or even like chemicals in our environment, certain medications, certain foods. So that’s kind of the breakdown of when what our body actually released the histamine. What is it in response to, and again, it’s typically this immune response. And if we just think of it, like, what is your body trying to do is trying to keep us safe, trying to protect us. So in a healthy functioning body, we say we have, maybe we have a response to like, maybe there’s a pathogenic bacteria in our gut, that’s like starting to overgrowth, so we release these IGE antibodies, we release some histamine. And we have this like pro inflammatory response in the body to help get rid of it. That’s good. When we have other dysfunction going on, and we release, we continue to release that histamine. And this is like kind of scenario number one, like say, you have your you’re not breaking down food well, and your body’s responding to all of the large food particles. So you’re having more and more of these IGE antibodies, and we keep releasing more and more histamine, that’s going to be hard for your body to keep up with, right, that’s going to be really difficult. And that’s really what a histamine intolerance is, it’s when we fail to break down histamine, or we have so much that your body can’t keep up with it. Typically, it’s just this failure to break down. And the way that I like to think about it is like a garbage disposal analogy. If your garbage disposal is functioning properly, you’re putting like food, whatever it is down there, turning the water on turning the disposal on and it breaks it down might take a little bit, but it breaks it down, and it’s gone. When it’s not functioning properly, it’s not gonna break it down. And then you’re gonna see this backflow of water and food particles coming back into your sink, you have a moment of panic, I’ve definitely been there did this egg shells one store commend it? And you’re like, oh, no, how do I fix this? So that’s when we start to see symptoms with histamine when we get this, you know, backflow, this overflow of histamines that our body isn’t breaking down properly. And some of the different symptoms of that there’s a lot of them, we’re gonna put them up on the screen, and you’re gonna notice that they’re all over. It’s not just got symptoms. It’s not just skin or allergy type symptoms. It’s all over so you can get things like yes, you can have abdominal pain from like gut issues, but you can also have menstrual cramps, because histamine can bind to receptors on the uterus. Heart palpitations, brain fog memory issues are very common, difficulty breathing, diarrhea or loose stool, or you could go the other end of the spectrum and deal with constipation, lashing in the skin. Headaches and Migraines are very common. Probably the one of the most common I see low blood pressure, insomnia, itchy skin, like hives, that sort of thing. Nasal congestion, nausea or vomiting can also be a histamine symptom, puffy eyes, and then wheezing. Those are probably some of the most common the thing that I would keep in mind. I’m not that we want to listen to this podcast and try to like diagnose yourself that’s not what we’re here to do. But I think the important thing to grab

Ask with like, do I have a histamine thing? Is this possible histamine buildup or like that I’m not tolerating breaking down these histamines? Well, you don’t want to just think about one symptom because they can show up everywhere we have histamine receptors all over the body. So all that has to happen is that histamine has to bind to receptor in a different part of the body, like the next day. So you might have headaches one day, but then you’ve got some skin issues the next day, and the day after that you’re constipated, right? So when we have symptoms like that, it can be really confusing, like what is going on? I see this a lot. When people react, they feel like they’re reacting to every food that they eat. That’s a very common sign that, hey, you’re probably having some histamine issues, some histamine build up. And your immune system is probably in overdrive right now. So it’s important to recognize like, Okay, where are the different symptoms coming from and pay attention to them, mainly because you want to know how that progress is going as you start to dig into the root causes. So we can see them show up in the skin. That’s typically like itching, flushing or hives, they can also show up cardiovascularly, like I talked about low blood pressure, it can also be high blood pressure, vertigo, arrhythmia, that those types of things gi stuff could be constipation, gas cramps, stomach aches, any sort of like pain in that area, the respiratory system, those have different h1 and h2 receptors, our central nervous system has h3 receptors that they can bind to, that’s really more where we’re going to see like vertigo, headaches, panic, anxiety, depression, that sort of thing, you can start to see some changes in body temperature, which I know if I have a lot of longtime listeners, you know, we’ve talked about your basal body temperature and the importance of that. So if you notice changes in that are irregularities that can also be like a histamine thing, learning and memory, that’s all part of our nervous system as well. And so you it can be hard to like pinpoint the histamine thing if you aren’t aware of histamines and histamine intolerance, because you’re just kind of like, I feel like I have a million different things going on in my body and like nothing’s working, right. But in reality, it can all be coming back to a poor histamine response. They can also bind h4 receptors and bone marrow. So what this could look like is if you have low red blood cells and white blood cells, and there’s no other explanation, then you could consider that this is a histamine issue. So if you can relate to a lot of these different things, and you feel like it could possibly be a histamine thing for you pay attention because we’re going to talk about the next, like the four root causes next. The one thing I want everyone to remember, because when I didn’t make a podcast on histamines, even though I got a lot of questions about them first season one or two, because you really, you still can’t skip the foundations. And I feel like I talked about this all the time. But say you identify like, oh, I have XY and Z symptom. I also have maybe some gut issues. And you’re like, it’s definitely a histamine thing. People tend to hyper focus on the histamine problem. And it’s not that you shouldn’t address it. But if you are still really stressed, if you are not eating enough, if you’re not getting enough sleep, if you never get outside, if you haven’t really found a nutrition approach that works for you, then trying to focus in on histamines still doesn’t make sense, right? You, no matter what your health concern is, you have to build a solid foundation. I do that with minerals with people because minerals fuel our metabolism and every reaction in the body. And we’ll talk about minerals today with histamines and how it deficiencies can cause histamine buildup as well. But in general, we need to have a body that’s resilient to stress. And if you are trying to just focus in on the histamine thing you’re going to miss you know this bigger picture. Unless you’ve already addressed that then great, but I just like to bring that up. Because when we are having a histamine response and a buildup, say we are not breaking down the system as well. Or maybe we have an overabundance because of the different IGE responses that I went through before. We want to think about the fact that the body is actually in a stress state. So if we can’t, if we already can’t respond to stress, well, because we don’t have a solid foundation, it’s going to be really hard to then try to address the different root causes of your histamine issues. So no matter what we have to replenish, we want to support a healthy response to stress. And you know, just don’t don’t get too caught up in the sexiness of like, oh, I have a histamine intolerance. And so I’m going to take this supplement and cut out these foods. It’s usually a lot more than that. And if you haven’t addressed food first, it’s difficult to heal. So what are the different possible root causes? There are four main areas I like to talk about with this the first one nutrient deficiencies This is the one that everyone

needs to make sure they really pay attention to, it is easy to think you don’t have a nutrient deficiency. If you’ve done maybe some blood work and you’re told everything is fine, but you’d be surprised how many people actually have nutrient deficiencies still. So we’ll talk about the different nutrient deficiencies that can lead to an over kind of like abundance of histamine or difficulty breaking it down. Poor gut health, and how the different you know aspects of our digestive system, if not working properly, can lead to way too many histamine has been build up. And then another big one is hormones. This is probably one of the most common ones that I see. And honestly, I often see them all together, it’s usually not just one, right, just like everything else, thyroid issues, whatever it is we’re talking about. It is often not just one root cause. But so nutrient deficiencies, gut issues, hormone imbalances, and then medications. And I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the medications. I don’t think people should stop taking medications. It’s just another, you know, if we’re looking at the overall picture, and trying to zoom out and understand what are all the different things that could be contributing to this histamine intolerance that you’re dealing with, then you definitely want to at least understand how a certain medication can be doing that if you’re taking it. So let’s start with nutrient deficiencies. Copper and vitamin A. That’s definitely the most common one. I spend a lot of time talking about copper, and vitamin A. I know it could be annoying to hear. It’s like okay, how many times can we mentioned copper, it’s just such an important mineral, it fuels our metabolism. It also helps with iron regulation. And iron has a huge impact on estrogen. And we’ll talk about estrogen and how it has this like feedback loop with histamines. So there’s many reasons that copper is important, hormonally metabolism wise, but it’s also really important because of how it fuels the DAO enzyme. So that is the enzyme that helps us break down histamines. So we need bioavailable copper, which means we don’t just need copper by itself. We need vitamin A with that copper, that vitamin A turns copper into Cyrillic plasmon and I talked about this in the copper and iron episode, that I will link in the show notes so that you can kind of really dig deep into copper and iron in that whole relationship there. But just know that in order to use copper in the body, we need vitamin A to that’s why I would never just take a plain Copper supplement by itself, you’d always want to be making sure that you’re eating vitamin A rich foods or a food like beef liver that’s rich and copper and vitamin A. And I know a lot of people can’t do beef liver that have histamine issues. There are plenty of other copper rich foods, like cacao is a great one, certain types of fruits like avocado, citrus is a great one. And then things like liquid chlorophyll, another that’s got a lot of copper in it. And you would just want to pair that with vitamin A rich foods, which are things like egg yolks and dairy. Those are probably the top ones that egg yolks probably will be the one that wouldn’t set you off. If you have a histamine issues. Some people react to dairy. Some people don’t if they have histamine intolerance, but copper and vitamin A, we need that. Because that helps us to feel that Dao enzyme and that enzyme is what breaks down histamine. So that’s why some people will just take the DAO enzyme as a supplement. And it’s not that I don’t think that’s bad to do. If that you can experiment with that and see if it works for you. You just also want to think about well, why is it not working in the first place? Did I take supplements for a long time, or ascorbic acid like a synthetic form of vitamin C? Those things are iron supplements, all those things are going to really deplete your copper. And so that could be leading to a copper deficiency and causing you to build up those histamines having iron in the diet. A lot of us grew up eating iron fortified foods. This is one where people will be like, I don’t eat any iron fortified foods. And now, but if we look back, I mean, most people unless you had really health conscious parents that didn’t let you eat anything processed, even things that aren’t that process, like if you were eating like a whole grain bread, a lot of those are iron fortified flowers. So even parents that could have been thinking they’re doing something really healthy for you, you it’s really easy to get iron fortified foods into your diet. So basically what happens is the more iron the more hydrogen peroxide free radicals you’re going to have the more copper that’s going to get used up

and then of course the lack of copper and vitamin A in the diet so we can have supplements were taking that mess with copper iron in the diet or supplementation and then just not getting enough copper vitamin A in general and I mean, I didn’t grow up eating organ meats. So that was something that I really had to add in Oregon. I also took all the supplements that you know everyone goes through like the

Vitamin C, the zinc, the vitamin D, all those things I thankfully, I don’t think I ever took iron, I might have had it in a multivitamin for like a short period. But outside of that it’s like a lot of us go through these periods in our health journeys, and that’s okay. It’s just recognizing that, hey, that could be a contributor as to why I need more copper than I might realize. Other nutrients that that enzyme needs are B six, and vitamin C. And I mentioned things like citrus. Those foods that are also rich in vitamin C are also great for copper. So B six vitamin C, copper, vitamin A, your Dao enzyme needs all those things in order to break down histamines properly. If it’s not fueled, and you have deficiencies and the enzyme doesn’t break down, histamines and histamine start to build up. So we can think about that sink and garbage disposal analogy again, where the garbage disposal gets backed up. If it’s doesn’t have all the different parts, it needs to break down the food properly. The other nutrient that I see a lot with deficiencies, and histamine issues is Iodine. So iodine actually helps decrease histamine production, it’s basically keeping histidine, which is an amino acid for being converted to histamine. So it prevents that conversion from happening. It also works in like a feedback mechanism. So when our item levels are good, it helps keep histamine in check. When we become deficient, then we can get an excess of histamine. And it’s interesting because you also see it in other ways that work like a feedback loop with iodine. So if you listen to my iodine episode, which I’ll link in the show notes, I don’t is so important for making thyroid hormone. If we don’t have enough thyroid hormone that we have a sluggish thyroid, we don’t make enough digestive juices. And that can also lead to histamine issues and gut problems and hormone issues. So if we, if we really think about iodine and how it can impact histamines, it’s much more than just that amino acid, and making sure we’re not making too many histamine proteins. But in reality, you know, most people need more iodine. So listen to that episode, if you’re like, I thought iodine was not good for you. I’m not talking about just supplementation, you can also increase like iodine rich foods and stuff. But it is a really important one for hormones. It’s also really important for gut health, and for histamine issues. So that is nutrients, right? Copper, vitamin A, vitamin D six, which you can really find in most animal foods. And then hopefully vitamin C, and iodine, those are going to be your big ones that you want to look out for nutrients. Like I said, most people have to address that. Not many people that have histamine issues are not going to have some sort of deficiency, or I would honestly even say inadequacy, right. So it doesn’t have to be like deficient in terms of the conventional medicines phase. But it could be that it’s not at optimal levels. And so therefore, it’s impacting your thyroid function, digestive system, or your ability to break down histamine. So that’s like nutrition. The second big area is gut health. And this is definitely probably the one that I think is the most frustrating for people just like having gut issues for a really long time. That just tends to really drive people crazy, because you try so many different things. You might do lots of testing, you take a bunch of supplements, different gut protocols, you’re cutting out a million different types of foods. I mean, it is exhausting and various wrestle for people that struggle with gut issues. But one of the big things I think, is because a lot of those people are dealing with histamine problems, and some of them don’t even know it. Because they have symptoms all over the place. Like I mentioned, histamine can bind to so many different receptors in the body. So like they might have skin issues one day, a headache, the next digestive issues the day after that, and it can make you feel crazy, especially when you’re kind of like become slowly becoming aware of everything. You’re kind of like how do I address this? So what is it about our gut that leads to this like either difficulty breaking down histamine or like overproduction of them? I would say number one, it’s poor digestion. And that is really where gut issues start, is how we break down our food. So when I think about poor gut health, that’s the first thing I want to address with someone is how are they producing stomach acid? How are they making digestive enzymes and bile and all those juices that take that food, break it down into the components that our body can actually absorb? And typically, that’s where we run into this wall. So if we’re not making enough stomach acid and everything, then one we can absorb the nutrients. So if we think back to the root cause, number one nutrient deficiencies, that’s like that plays into that root cause as well just not absorbing them whilst we’re not breaking them down properly. And then to it’s also going to lead to more of an

immune response inside the body. So if we think about stomach acid, for example of stomach acid is like our first line of defense in the gut, right? It’s that like first layer of protection, it kills bacteria, viruses, it’s supposed to help us break down animal proteins so that we digest them properly. And we don’t have these big food particles floating around. It’s really, really important for so many different reasons. And so if we aren’t making enough stomach acid, we’re going to have this twofold issue of not breaking down our food well, so we can have nutrient deficiencies, and then big food particles. And then the other issue is possibly getting an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, parasites, things like that, because that stomach acid should be killing that if it’s coming, if we’re coming into contact with that through our food.

Hey, Amanda, here, just giving you a quick break, hopefully a break for your brain in the middle of this podcast episode, to remind you that if you haven’t gone through our free training, optimizing hormone health or mineral balance, we really do recommend starting there. And the main reason for that is because you’re going to hear us say things like mineral foundation, having a solid foundation, are you putting the foundations in place, especially what as we get deeper and deeper into different hormonal topics and specific imbalances in the body, the, the mineral foundation is always going to be so essential. So if you haven’t watched the free training, you can find it in our show notes. Or you can go to hormone healing rd.com. And it’s going to be right on that front page there. But we really recommend starting there so you can understand how is your current mineral status? How do you assess this, and how to get started with all that just so you can get as much as you possibly can out of the rest of the podcast episodes. But that’s it, I hope you enjoy the rest of this episode.

So stomach acid is huge. When we don’t have enough, we tend to get imbalances in the gut. If we want to go one step further back with stomach acid, we can even think about how really the production of that is going to be impacted by what’s going on in our brain. So if we are super stressed in the eating, which is very common, I’m a new mom, I definitely eat stressed out at least once a day. It’s something I’ve really, really tried to work on in the last probably like four weeks. And it’s made a really big difference in my digestion, but stress is going to impact have a negative impact on how many digestive juices you’re making and how well you break down your food. So that’s gonna play into all those things. And then of course, remember that histamine response is a stress response in the body, your body is definitely stressed if it’s releasing histamines.

So if that is one thing you could work on, and you have not addressed that and you have histamine issues, I would really think about how are you eating? How are you living and eating your food, it can feel impossible to address those things sometimes. But it’s so so important. And it is so worth your time and effort to experiment and find out what works. Like for me, for example, right now I’m just in this season, where I’m a new mom, I’m trying to like feed myself so that I can feed my daughter and also take care of myself and run a business. My husband is about to deploy again. I mean, there’s only so many things you could do to minimize stress, but I recognize that hey, if I can just sit down and eat even if it’s right next to Eliana playing on the floor, I’m gonna digest this food so much better. Or try to wait a little bit or, you know, when I think about my daily schedule, it’s really easy to just think about like, what how can I get stuff done during her naps? The first thing I do when she naps is eat, because I know I only have a certain amount of time. So that is definitely something to consider as well like what season of life are you in and try to do the best that you can with what you have. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be like sitting outside in the sun. Getting that vitamin D also eating a meal. I mean, I used to eat all my meals outside before, but it’s a little more complicated now. So just know, don’t I don’t want people not to try because they can’t do it perfectly. It’s basically what I’m trying to say. So that’s kind of that adaptive piece, and how that can impact things. bacterial overgrowth also plays a very big role with histamine. So it starts with digestion. But then if we think about okay, we’ve addressed the digestive piece. What about bacterial overgrowth? How does the bacteria in my gut impact histamines and how those are building up certain bacteria that they actually can cause mast cells to release histamines and cause other types of bacteria to overgrow and produce more of those histamines. Morganella species is one of those clubs. Cielos species is another one. Those can both lead to more histamine production. And then of course that’s going to the mortgage means you have if you have

have maybe some nutrient deficiencies and you’re not breaking them down? Well, because the enzymes not working, then boom, that’s like a very easy recipe for having over and over abundance of histamines then having symptoms. h4 is another one, it’s a pathogenic bacteria, some some of that is technically considered normal, I think it really just depends on the person honestly. But that can age flora, it can also cause mast cells to degranulation. And when those degranulation, then that will lead to more histamine being released into your immune system. And then parasites, parasites are going to be those are can cause an issue histamine increase because of how they impact our immune system. So a parasites present our immune systems like hey, this shouldn’t be here. So then it makes that IGE antibody, remember that alerts your body and lets us know that, hey, we have to get rid of this and kind of kickstart that immune system. And remember, when those IGE antibodies are made, we’re also going to make histamine because they’re going to help us with that immune response. So what how do we know if if you have these specific bacteria, or parasites or whatever, that’s overgrowing. I like the GI map stool test, you do have to get it through a practitioner, though. So that’s like the only tricky thing. I don’t have specific recommendations. But the lab that you would get it from is diagnostic solutions, lab DSL, and you could always reach out to them to find a practitioner as well. But so we’ve got diet, poor digestion, that can cause histamine issues, because the big food particles, we’ve got an overgrowth of bacteria that can cause histamine, because it causes an increase of release in them. But remember, the bacteria get there because of the digestive issues. So the third one is our immune system, and how issues or dysfunction our immune system can actually cause an increase of histamines are a poor breakdown of them. So I would say this is usually and this goes in order, right. So we first we have digestive issues, then we have bacterial overgrowth, and then we have a dysfunctional immune system. So when our immune system has been working really hard, for a really long time, it gets tired. And we actually have a low sick a or secretory IgA, so we’re making less of these immune antibodies, because we’ve already made so many for a very long time. This is really common with autoimmune conditions. It’s also really common if you just have had gut issues for a long time. And this is probably the most common thing I see on a GI map is a really low. So again, maybe you don’t have it doesn’t look like you have that much bacterial overgrowth or parasites or anything like that. But in reality, you’re just not really seeing it show up on your GI map because that CIG A is low. So this low Secretory IgA low immune system marker leads to your immune system going into overdrive. So even though it’s tired, right, the Meet the IGA is low, then your body your immune system kicks in and is like we have this low functioning immune system. So we need to be hyper vigilant. And it’s gonna make even more of those IGE antibodies remember, in response to the IGE antibodies, we make histamines, so low functioning immune system equals more IGE antibodies, so you’re gonna respond, you’re gonna have a response to more things. So this is this is where the food stuff comes in. If you’re someone that feels like you react to every food, or you take a food sensitivity test, and everything’s lit up, then this is typically what’s going on is your immune system is tired. So it’s in overdrive. And now you’re making all these IGE antibodies. And then this is leading to a buildup of histamines in the body. So remember, histamines are putting you in the alarm state. So if you’re reacting to everything, you feel like you’re getting these weird symptoms from different foods, and you’re so focused on eliminating the foods. Typically, that’s not going to get to the root cause, right? You want to think you want to kind of like work backwards and think, Okay, do I have overgrowth? Do I have? Do I have poor digestion? Most likely, if you’ve got gut issues, you’ve got poor digestion. So that’s one’s gonna apply to most people. But yeah, those are, that’s really how your poor gut health, those different components of digestion on your microbiome than your immune system are going to lead to excess histamine production. We also do make some of the DAO enzyme, that enzyme that breaks down histamine in our gut mucosa. So that kind of like intestinal lining that gets compromised when we have more inflammation, and that’s typically going to occur if we have overgrowth or an overactive immune system. So it’s multiple things. So the DAO enzyme isn’t only just nutrient related, it can also be gut health related as well. And then that’s just recipe for disaster, right? Because then you’re not making as much of the enzyme. So you’re not breaking out histamines, but you have this overabundance that are being made because of this immune reaction that your body is having. So that is it.

In the gut health portion, and that is often a very common root cause for people, what can we do to support it? I would say consider testing if you can, but not everyone has access to that, which I don’t think you have to have testing in order to start addressing this. But say you do testing or say you just kind of tick off all the boxes that I went through of like, okay, that’s I definitely don’t have great digestion. I think I have some overgrowth, I react to every food, that sort of thing, then supporting your immune system can be really helpful with things like colostrum. You could get colostrum from a local farm. If you’re someone that gets from milk, they will typically have colostrum as well. Or even if you get the non homogenized like low heat milk from a local farm, they will often sell colostrum. So that is an option. You could also take a supplement of colostrum like crucial for makes a really good colostrum. microbiome labs makes a really good immunoglobulin supplement. So say you can’t do dairy, so you don’t tolerate dairy, and you react to it. Mega IgG. 2000 is a supplement by microbiome labs. That’s honestly probably my favorite thing to do for histamine issues. Colostrum is great, but I just find that some people respond better to the mega IgG. What that does is it’s going to help support your immune system have a healthy immune response. It is also great if you have overgrowth in your gut that maybe your immune system is just not healthy enough to get rid of. I use it for my eczema that I had during pregnancy is probably one of the coolest supplements, it can also bind to things and help remove them from the gut. It’s really neat. So colostrum and REG IgG considered testing if you want, you don’t necessarily have to utilize those. And then there are certain probiotics that are really helpful. For histamine issues. Again, these will probably only help if you don’t have them, or you have an overgrowth in your gut. So we don’t just want to like add all these supplements to our cart. But the best types of bacteria to look for in the probiotic are Bifidobacterium infantis, brave bifidum, Longo, Galactus, and lactobacillus, those are going to be the ones you really want to focus on. So Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, those are two big ones that are going to be helpful for probiotics. I like histamine x by seeking health, that’s a great one. Flora symmetry by Vitanica is also another good one. But for those I would say like you probably want to do testing to know if you’re wasting your money or not. But the colostrum and the mega IgG is so helpful. If you have long standing like gut issues. If you feel like you don’t tolerate a lot of different foods, like you react to a lot of foods, probably like the best place to begin. And then of course, supporting your digestion, right because that’s really where all our gut issues begin as well how we break down our food. So we talked about nutrient deficiencies, different dysfunctions, and different areas in the gut and digestive system and immune system. The next big one root cause for histamine intolerance is going to be hormone imbalances. Estrogen is the big one. And estrogen is definitely the most tied to histamine levels. This is why it can be like this really vicious cycle. And Laura Bryden has a great quote, talking about the relationship between estrogen and histamine and we’ll put a little image up to kind of visualize this for you guys. But here’s Laura Brighton talking about estrogen histamine. Estrogen stimulates mast cells to release histamine and down regulates the DAO enzyme that clears histamine at the same time. Histamine stimulates the ovaries to make more estrogen. The net result can be a vicious cycle of estrogen, histamine, estrogen, histamine. So basically, the more estrogen we have, the more histamine your body’s going to create. And then the more histamine that is made, it’s going to trigger your ovaries to make more estrogen. So this is why it can be really frustrating if you have excess estrogen and gut issues because the estrogen can trigger has histamine response and lead to more gut issues. And just like a lot of different symptoms, so the thing the where I see histamine issues show up I would say definitely around ovulation, there’s even research that shows they did like a skin prick test, I make sure that women are more reactive to different foods and have more like allergies around cycle days 12 to 16 when estrogen is peaking, like leading up to ovulation, which is really interesting. And I also can explain why some people tend to be more symptomatic around ovulation or even leading up to their period a lot of women feel like they’re getting sick again and that has we have like a whole immune system and histamine reaction then and has estrogen does have another small peak then but we have a pretty big peak before ovulation. So I do tend to see a lot more symptoms around ovulation for people and then excess estrogen during our follicular phase. So one thing that I talked about, we have a whole episode on estrogen waves and like the ups and downs of the healing journey, what I often see as women start

to eat more supportive foods are supporting their metabolism. They’re working on mineral balance in their bodies. What they often notice is that their luteal phase gets so much better. And then they’re fully feeling follicular phase becomes more symptomatic. And it makes sense because your progesterone is getting better, right? You’re getting stronger ovulation making more progesterone, but you can have some estrogen dumping during that follicular phase. So that it really you can see histamine as you show up at different phases in your cycle. For most people, it’s not all of them, it’s usually one. So I would pay attention to that. Are you having more GI symptoms or skin symptoms? Or, you know, even like the mental stuff like the vertigo, the memory stuff, the learning issues? Are those popping out for you more at certain times in your cycle? If so, then that could definitely be a hint or a little sign. It’s not for sure, you’d have to do lab testing, but it could be a sign that you are actually maybe you have some excess estrogen and it’s causing your body to make more histamines. So how do we support estrogen so that we can help with histamine intolerance if that’s one of our root causes? Definitely supporting ovulation we have a whole episode on how to naturally lose progesterone levels. And that really starts with helping your body have a strong ovulation. Progesterone helps combat histamines. So we want to make sure we’re eating enough having breakfast and gradually throughout the day, balancing our meals of protein, fat and carb basically making our bodies feel safe and balancing our blood sugar all day that’s going to support your metabolism. And that’s going to support a strong ovulation. The nutrients that I talked about, and the nutrient deficiency section also very important for ovulation. And then that helps you make more progesterone to balance out your estrogen. So that’s definitely one piece of the puzzle. I also really like incorporating vitamin E. Not only does Vitamin E helped to oppose estrogen, but it also helps prevent the degranulation of mast cells. So remember, if we like rewind toward the beginning, that one of the things that can increase histamine release in the body is if mast cells D granulate. Because remember, mast cells release histamines, so Vitamin E can help prevent that. So it can help combat the excess estrogen also prevent that histamine release. And that is going to mean less histamine going into the system. So Vitamin E is great. And then fiber rich foods. Fiber is so helpful, especially certain ones like from carrots, raw carrots, I’ve talked about a lot repeats raw carrot salad, it’s just shred up carrots, mix it with a little bit of coconut oil and a little bit of apple cider vinegar, I like to add sea salt, or just eat carrots doesn’t have to be complicated. I also really like cooked greens, you’ll digest it much better, they shouldn’t be too stressful. If you have a lot of gut issues, I wouldn’t do the cooked greens, just see what you tolerate. And then beans properly prepared beans are really great for getting rid of excess estrogen, they also support our gallbladder. And we remove estrogen in our bile as well. So definitely consider upping your fiber intake. If you can tolerate it, it just really depends on the person. But that’s great for estrogen, and then understanding the root cause. So hormones are a symptom. Remember, I’ve always talked about how hormones are the last thing change. So if you have excess estrogen, and you’re like, I definitely noticed some histamine symptoms around different times in my cycle, I think is a hormone thing. We still want to work backwards and think Do you have the mineral or vitamin deficiencies that I talked about in the beginning like the copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, B six, are those an issue for you? Iodine? Is that Is there a deficiency there? And then of course, are you breaking down your food? Well, do you have gut issues that can also lead to excess estrogen? What is your stress? Like? Do you have a history of birth control us? That can also be a really big trigger for estrogen dominance. And then excess iron. If we have excess iron, we typically also have more inflammation and an excess estrogen. So those are the different ways you’d want to start looking at that. I do want to say I did I did for because endometriosis and histamines are a little different. You wouldn’t really address it any differently. You would still look at all these root causes, but I talked about this on my episode with Cindy. We did a whole episode on endometriosis. It was really informative. I cannot recommend listening to that it’s episode one of season two. I’ll put it in the show notes too. But one thing that I learned from hers that muscles are actually produced in higher quantities in endo like tissue so that means if you have endometriosis, you’re much more at risk for making more histamine. And if you do have a know or you know someone with Endo, they probably have gut issues. So a lot of my clients with endometriosis, they’ve done really well with that mega IgG 2000 supplement to help support their immune system and then all the things I mentioned for excess estrogen like the fiber, the vitamin E, working on making sure that

You’re supporting ovulation having a progesterone. Those are big. The other thing with endo though is that women with endometriosis are more likely to have gotten bounces to have that dysbiosis. So you do want to make sure that you are understanding like, Do you need a probiotic? How can you support more beneficial bacteria? All those I would say if you have endo don’t just claim to the estrogen thing also recognize these other areas. So basically, every root cause is definitely should be on your radar. So that’s the hormone piece. medications. So the last thing I’m going to wrap up with is medications and then we’ll talk about what should I do. So I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here. I’m just going to list out the medications. There are certain ones that can deplete the DAO enzyme, or they can lead to more histamine production. So one is painkillers, including aspirin, which I know is highly recommended for a lot of people but I do see some issues with long term use of it. Antihistamines, of course, antiarrhythmics, anti asthmatics is going to be a big one antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications, diuretics like Lasix, expectorants, certain antibiotics, not all. But remember, in depending on the type of bacteria that overgrow, they can release more histamines immune modulators, like HUMIRA. And then the last one is I put his birth control, but it doesn’t block the DAO enzyme like a lot of these do it really what the issue is that it contains synthetic estrogens, which can increase histamines. I know a lot of women that get migraines and headaches from taking birth control, it’s usually a histamine response. So the big thing to kind of keep in mind, we’ve gone through the four root causes, it is typically not just one, it’s typically a number of these things. They all overlap in some way or another. So for example, like if you have thyroid issues, that’s going to impact your gut and your hormone health, which could lead to a histamine intolerance. So you This is why we don’t just want to zero in on the histamine and just the gut stuff like yes, it’s important. But we still want to think about these other areas as well. So the kind of, you know, last thing I’m going to go through is what most people are probably wondering, and that’s what should I do? What should I do? Can I test for histamine, I get that a lot. You can do a histamine blood test. There is one through Dunwoody labs, it tests for histamine levels and Dao enzyme levels. I just I personally live clients, I have not seen this to be super helpful, because typically, sometimes people have a ton of histamine symptoms with the time of day that they’re testing. Their histamine levels are not high. So it’s just you. So take it with a grain of salt, if you want to do it, I say go for it. A lot of people like to trial the DAO enzyme, like they’ll ask, Oh, should I add that in? Again, like you want to look at your own health history and the four main areas and look at like, what could what are my root causes? What what boxes do I check off? So trialing the DAO might not help if you don’t have if you have deficiencies in like copper and iodine and things like that. But if you want to trial, the DAO enzyme to see like, if it helps, then that could be kind of like another version of a histamine test is taking the enzyme. And then if you add it to a meal, and your symptoms resolve, then you might not be making enough for that enzyme. Again, not perfect solution. I don’t really think that either. Those are the number one thing to do. It’s just we want to think about your own personal health history and then start digging into like, where did this start? How was I living? How was I eating? What am I doing now? And do I need to make some changes into how I’m living and eating now and then from there, from once you have that solid foundation, then you can consider looking deeper into like, maybe you do some mineral testing, which is what I always recommend, because you want to make sure that you can see like, what’s your copper, like? Do you have signs of iodine deficiency? How’s the thyroid look on your hair test? Are you super deficient in everything? Are you very stressed, you know, so many important things and insights that you can gain. So I really like the hair test, you can trial the DAO enzyme if you want. I can’t tell you how to do that. Because I can’t give specific recommendations like that in this podcast, you should always be talking to your provider if you want to dig more into certain areas. And then the other kind of big thing I get is should I eliminate foods right? I think of this in like a few different ways. So number one, if you’re not seeing a clear reaction to certain foods, and I would not eliminate high histamine foods, a lot of people go straight for that. But if you say you have a history and you’re like I think based on the supplements I’ve taken the foods me in the past I think this is probably more deficiency related. I would not start you know crossing off foods because you

But what typically happens is then you’re getting even less nutrients and and you’re adding stress, which is not going to help anything. So if deficiencies are a concern, I would just look at what are you eating now? And how can you add in more copper rich foods, vitamin A rich foods, vitamin C, B, six, iodine, all those things rather than stressing yourself out eliminating foods. If you find that a specific food, you’re like, oh, hypergamy, this, I have this clear reaction, maybe that’s the foods you avoid for a little bit. While you’re working on these other areas. Each person is going to be unique with what foods they have a histamine reaction to some people react to gelatin, some people don’t, but they still have histamine intolerance. So it’s really easy to look at like Google, like high histamine food list, and then eliminate everything and then be super stressed out and feel like you have no options. I would pay more attention to keeping a food journal and writing down. Like if you start to notice symptoms, like, look back, what did I eat in that meal, and then that can help you narrow down like if certain foods are really throwing you off. And then you could avoid them for a certain amount of time. While you’re working on gut health hormones, your metabolism, stuff like that. The one thing I would really try to keep in mind with all this is that less is more. A lot of times we’d make a million changes at once because we’re so desperate for healing, which I totally understand. But then you don’t know what’s helping what’s not helping what’s and what’s really necessary or not, and then you’re just kind of stressing yourself out for no reason. So I would really try to look at your own specific healing journey, what you’ve been through in the past your nutrition, your medication, supplement, use over the years, your stress, and think about, okay, what what’s going to be the most helpful for me, maybe I’m gonna focus on some of the gut health recommendations that I went through, maybe you’re gonna focus on adding in some of the estrogen like the fiber or vitamin E, stuff like that. Or maybe you’re gonna focus on some of the nutrient dense foods. It doesn’t have to be everything all at once, I would do start solely focused on food first, and try not to compare yourself to other people with histamine issues, because again, they can show up all over, right, we have all those different receptors, and that the root cause is going to be different for each person. So if you’re wondering like, Okay, how do I how do I look at iodine deficiencies, thyroid health, the copper stuff, you can find all that stuff inside my master minerals course, if you have not done anything, I wouldn’t just jump straight to the course because it’s a lot of information. And you don’t want to jump straight to testing if you haven’t worked on the foundation first. So listen to the first few episodes of this podcast. If you haven’t already, try to implement some of the things we talked about in this episode for the different root causes, and then see what helps. And if you still need more help, then I would definitely consider doing the hair testing inside the course and digging into everything. I also have the iodine podcasts that I will link and then the different episodes like I did that I’ll link the endometriosis, one that I did with Cindy, and anything that I feel like is going to help you and I have a thyroid training that I think if you’re someone that feels like, I think that one of my root causes could be a thyroid issue. I do have a really great free thyroid training that’s super comprehensive that I’ll include as well. So I hope this was helpful. Make sure you tag me on Instagram if you listen to the episode and enjoyed it. And I will see you in the next episode

thank you for listening to the RU menstrual podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider leaving us a review and sharing the podcast with someone you think it will help. If you are new here, we can’t recommend enough to start with our mineral imbalance quiz. This is going to give you an idea if you are at low, moderate or high risk for mineral imbalances. And then of course, make sure you follow us on Instagram at hormone healing rd. And consider signing up for our newsletter if you like nerding out and you’re just loving these podcasts but maybe you’re a little bit more visual and you want to see things too. We go into a ton of detail in our weekly newsletter. So we would love to have you join us there. All right, thank you and we will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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