No, it's not DAO or eliminating the trigger foods. We've heard all that before. In fact, that's all we know about Histamine Intolerance —until now.
(11 Minute Read)
[This post has been updated to include resources for practitioners that provide BIHRT, Dutch testing and where to find help if you are suffering with HIT or hormonal challenges. Find the Where To Get Help section below.]
Histamine Intolerance (HI) is a fairly new allergy disorder that is gaining popularity. On the interwebs, no one can explain it better than Dr. Axe so I suggest that if you are looking for information about what HI is all about, click to his website to gain some knowledge, but, when you’re done reading come back to this page and I will tell you something that not many doctors aren’t talking about.
What causes Histamine Intolerance? We’ve been told that it’s diamine oxidase or DAO but it’s actually behind the scenes of DAO that is creating the problems.
DAO deficiency is what I would like to say is the prelude or introduction of the actual symptoms, manifestations, or warning signs such as the hives, breathing problems, anxiety, itching, nausea and more. The foods we are eating that are high in histamine—or those being called a histamine producer—trigger the symptoms. But what’s causing the absence of DAO? What’s causing this excess of histamine in our systems and why is it gaining momentum in recent years—especially in middle-aged women and no one seems to be questioning this? What can we do about it besides taking DAO supplements (which may or may not help) or by putting more restrictions on our diets? Most of us that have HI already suffer from food allergies and/or digestive issues and taking more food off our plates is not the answer any of us want to hear.
The first time it happened I thought I burned my tongue on a bowl of hot soup.
We’ve all done it, you know, not being able to wait until our food cools before we take that first bite? I had the little white “burn” mark on my tongue—about the size of a pumpkin seed and I didn’t really give it a second thought. Until about a week later when it was still there. I thought it was unusual that it had lasted so long but a few days later it was gone and I completely forgot about it.
The second time it happened, I awoke one morning with my chin itching and the skin around my mouth red and swollen. The skin area on the bridge of my nose, next to my eye was also itchy and red. It looked a bit like hives and so I took some benadryl for a few days and it slowly faded back. My late husband, Klink, of course told me to go to the doctor but I felt it had to be a reaction to something I had eaten the day before. I’m Celiac and dairy intolerant and so I assumed it was related somehow. Plus, having gone through 20 years of trying to figure out what was wrong with my gut, I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in traditional medicine. I was diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer when I was 27 and put on Prilosec for 2 years, which only messed things up in my digestive system even more. Five colonoscopies, three endoscopies, and several ultrasounds before the age of 40 left me frustrated and confused. My last colonoscopy was painful and exhausting and the doctor—after telling me I had a “twisted and torturous” colon—simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “um, maybe just eat more flax?”
Oh. Okay. Thanks doc. I hadn’t thought of that…
The third time was the charm. I awoke to an itchy chin and my lips tingling and burning. When I looked in the bathroom mirror I didn’t recognize the person I saw. Talk about freaking.out. My right eye looked like someone had snuck in my bed in the middle of the night and punched me in the face. It was red, swollen, and distorted. The lower part of my face around my mouth was inflamed with incredibly itchy, red, blotchy hives, and my lips…oh my poor lips. They looked like I had just walked away from a botched Hollywood botox injection. Or six of them. In one day.
How was it even possible my face could deform like this?
Then I noticed a little white patch on my tongue which felt like a burn and looked exactly like the one I had before. Within 3 days, the skin around my mouth was full of painful, oozing, blisters (sorry, that’s gross to even write), and the inside of my mouth was entirely white and full of burns. I couldn’t eat anything and it was painful to drink liquids or to even speak. It would be 10 days before I was back to normal.
So that’s when I called my doctor and was referred to an allergist. After asking what I had for dinner the night before my incident (Grass fed burger with avocado and fermented pickles) he told me he believed I had an Histamine Intolerance (HI). I had never heard of this before and was incredibly curious. He explained to me that histamine is naturally occurring in certain foods (yep, including avocado, fermented foods, and beef) and by eliminating the foods it would alleviate my issue. Basically, my histamine cup was full and specific foods would trigger it to overproduce, or literally, my cup would runneth over. He did a scratch test for Avocado which came out positive (yes I cried), but believed the issue would resolve after eliminating the culprits and lowering my histamine levels. He sent me home with nothing else except a list of foods not to eat. Great.
So of course I dove in head first to research and since this is a fairly new disorder the information is basically the same on every site. Seems there’s not much info out there (even less when I first started a year ago) and just like how most everything works on the internet these days, everyone just keeps repeating the same thing
DON'T EAT THIS
- Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
- Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
- Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
- Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
- Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
- Most citrus fruits
- Aged cheese including goat cheese
- Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
- Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
- Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines
AND DON'T EAT THIS
- Cow’s Milk
- Wheat Germ
- Many artificial preservatives and dyes
- Leftovers of any kind
- The list on the left (or top on a mobile devise) are histamine producing foods.
- The list above are histamine releasing foods.
- The items not in bold have already been eliminated from my diet.
Add this to my already moderate diet of gluten and dairy free, my future of food looked pretty grim. The idea of restricting more foods made me feel incredibly hungry and deprived. I typically eat a healthy diet of sustainable (grass fed, ethically sourced) protein, organic veggies and fruits but started to live in fear every time I took a bite of food. I hated living like this and I knew it wasn’t serving me. I had worked so incredibly hard over the last 15 years to improve my diet, my health, and my gut and I was so distraught that more food was harming me. It just didn’t seem right to me.
I shouldn’t have to be afraid to eat.
To give you a time-frame on this, the first incident happened in the fall of 2015, about a six months after Klink’s third cancer diagnosis and the episodes were about 4-6 months apart with the third one happening in late summer of 2016, about 3 months before he died. That’s when I went to the allergist. I also understood that stress could be a contributing factor, however, at that time I believed it was a reaction to something I ate because it seemed to make the most sense.
I was doing alright with my new food restrictions until in March of 2017 when I had another “flare-up” as I now call them. I knew there was something deeper going on as I was keeping a food journal and I had had no trigger foods the night before. It had to be stress related or something else because I refused to believe that now any food, at any time could cause this horrible reaction. I refused to believe it was only about food and I refused to live my life like this. I was shocked, confused, and down-right furious that this continued to happen. I was hangry! There was obviously an underlying issue I needed to address. Was it because I was painting the night before? What the f*ck was my body trying to tell me??!! I’m intuitive, I listen to my body, I’m incredibly healthy and had been for many years, I pay attention to signs of distress and adjust, but I could not figure this out for the life of me.
Hey Universe, please send me a sign. I’m listening.
In an inspired moment I got my answer. I posted on Facebook for recommendations to a new allergist (still thinking that was the problem) and a former employee messaged me within 5 minutes saying she was at an allergists office RIGHT NOW for her young daughter who was struggling with food allergies. After several messages back and forth with her singing this doctors’ praise, I googled him up and then called to make an appointment. And dang if the Universe wasn’t on my side because I got an appointment the next day—and in the throws of a massive flare up for the doctor to see. When things happen with this much synchronicity it’s hard to deny that they won’t work out for the best.
Walking in the next day with a mouth full of blisters, a cockeyed face, and 7 pages of a requested health history documenting my entire life from childhood to present (have you ever had a doctor ask you for this?) I knew this was going to be my path to healing.
He seemed completely unimpressed by my face.
Dr. Tano and I talked for almost 2 hours that first appointment (again, have you ever experienced this with a doctor?) and by the time I left I had a clear understanding of what was happening inside my body and a plan to balance and heal. He was so confident and sure about this that I couldn’t help believe it myself. I left his office that day with a prescription for allergy meds, a hormone diagnostics test, request for blood work, and most importantly a feeling of hope that I hadn’t felt in 2 years. It was strange, but as I was there I kept trying to tell him of my symptoms and he would just grin, nod his head and say, “Don’t worry”, and then continue to ask about my health history. Of course he already knew the solution to my problem but he needed to know me—the whole me—and then he had to help the whole me understand what was happening to the rest of me.
He didn’t simply repeat the same old Histamine Intolerance story, he explained the true cause and it was unlike anything I had heard or read about before.
Turns out there’s a game of Domino’s happening inside my body (most of our bodies) and the HI is a actually a symptom of this game which triggers a release or manifestation either visual or sensory; I.g. hives, blisters, itchiness, breathing difficulties, etc. This release was my “flare-up”. I had believed so strongly that there was a bigger issue and I was right. The HI wasn’t the main culprit and food wasn’t the enemy, they were just the messengers.
It was hormones. Out of whack, discontent hormones that were affecting my entire endocrine system —including my GI track—go figure. My progesterone was basically non-existent, my good and bad estrogens were a mess which made my testosterone wonky and gave me a slight thyroid issue. The imbalanced estrogen was “pushing” my histamine levels to the overflow mark and it only made sense that any slight provoking would be like the last drop of water that triggers the overflow of the entire tub. It made SO much sense. I had started peri-menopause at 36—had a helluva a time with it—and by the time I was 40 I was in full-blown menopause and post menopausal at 44.
I never took synthetic HRT but did use natural progesterone cream (derived from yams) during peri-menopause. This is also when I found out I was celiac and made enormous strides in changing my diet and lifestyle. But a lifetime of being surrounded by phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens such as Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics took it’s toll. It only makes sense that HI affects middle-aged women the most!
Our hormones have been affected since we were little girls. We consume dairy that’s full of hormones, drink out of plastic bottles and eat out of plastic containers that contain BPA (it’s also lined in our canned goods). We may or may not have been on birth-control, we may or may not have been pregnant, we consume commercially raised beef that are raised on hormones, and we eat GMO foods.
And hey you guys, you are not exempt from this problem because estrogen is not just a girl thing. You’ve got it too and are affected by this as well. Ever hear of man-boobs? Men with breast cancer? If your having HI symptoms I’d pay attention here.
Ok. Let me circle back.
What I mostly love about Dr. Tano is that he’s an Integrative Immunoligist and takes a whole body approach to my wellbeing. The allergy meds were a temporary fix until I could get my hormones balanced which we did through bioidentical and compounded HRT a diet high in cruciferous veggies, elimination of phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens, along with some supplements to bring some vitamin and mineral levels up. I also needed to reduce stress which is a major factor in hormone imbalance. I felt confident this was easy for me to do since I had lost my husband six months prior and the stress of his illness no longer overshadowed me. There was no quick fix to this and I knew it would take time but boy was I up for it. It took me years—maybe my entire lifetime— to get to this state of hormonal imbalance and I knew I couldn’t expect it to change overnight. I had to slow down the momentum and turn the boat around.
In August at my first follow-up appointment, we rechecked my hormones and blood work and even though I still had a long way to go, we started to see some improvements. I was feeling better too having stopped the meds some 6 weeks prior when I no longer felt a constant tingling sensation in my lips.
And then in mid-september I had another flare-up.
I stared in the mirror in total disbelief. What did I eat? What did I do to trigger this? Hadn’t I been feeling better? Wasn’t I on the right path? Is it not really hormones after all? I believed that this was the underlying cause but why, why, why, when things were starting to improve, could I have gone backwards? That’s when I sat down and took a hard look at my life and saw clearly what I needed to do to eliminate my last big stressor and I took the necessary steps to do it. Because I wasn’t reducing my stress levels I was in a perpetual state of two-steps forward and one-step back momentum and this was preventing my body from getting into balance. I couldn’t rely on just the supplements and bio HRT to get me back on track, I had to make some important lifestyle changes to make this work.
The positive news about this last flare-up was that I could tell things were actually starting to change and the healing of my hormones was happening. This particular incident wasn’t as severe as they had been in the past and it didn’t last as long either. I felt confident I had turned a corner. Afterwards, and without taking anymore meds, I continued to pay close attention to what my body was telling me. If I noticed even the slightest hint of tingling lips, a faint itch around my mouth, difficulty catching my breath, a dry throat, eyes burning and/or a slight distortion in my right eye when I awoke I was acutely aware that they were signs that I was somewhat off course. I noticed these symptoms when I ate specific foods like tomatoes or if I was spending too much time working on my new business and not getting in my exercise or down-time. These modest symptoms were (and still are) keeping me present and I was really paying attention to my choices. I also found I didn’t have to eliminate trigger foods, just reduce them. I was really starting to listen to my body so I decided to test myself to see if I could tolerate Avocado and I could!
Although there is no quick fix to healing HI, it most definitely can be corrected with the help of a qualified Integrative Immunologist, along with our efforts to change our lifestyle. I also can’t help but think of all the future problems, diseases, and illnesses I just prevented because of this work. Click here to listen to the first video as Dr. Tano explains how hormones play a role in allergies and HI.
I cannot stress enough that what I’ve explained here cannot be done without the supervision of a qualified doctor.
I’ve had a series of hormone tests, blood work, and diagnostics in the past year and everything is analyzed by my doctor. We meet every six months and see where I’m at, how I’ve improved and the next steps to take. This is not as simple as going to the market and getting some natural progesterone cream and calling it good. You could do even more damage to your system!
Please DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE and try to fix this on your own. Hormones are an extremely complicated business and need a delicate tap dance of the correct dosages of the right hormones, to find the correct balance. We are all individual and what worked for me isn’t what will work for you. There is a reason I didn’t give you dosages or supplement names or types in this post because you’re body is unique and you need to speak to a professional to figure out your own game plane. And please note that DAO supplements will not fix HI, it will only mask it. Get to the root of the problem first.
Where to get help.
- Check out The Institute for Functional Medicine to locate a practitioner near you and request hormone testing either via blood, saliva, or both.
- Dutch testing is a comprehensive assessment of sex and adrenal hormones and their metabolites and is used by many practitioners now. The Dutch Testing website also has a practitioner locator so you can find someone in your area [or possibly telemedicine.]
- If you are challenged with peri-menopause, menopause, or post-menopausal symptoms, locate a doctor who specializes in Bioidentical Hormone Therapy (BHRT) on the Bioidentical Doctors Directory.
Best of luck to you!
Breathe Deep and Live Well,
**UPDATE 3/7/18: With the guidance of Dr. Tano, I continue to take my bio HRT and recommended supplements and I have been free of any issues since September 2017. As of this writing, I am currently doing a 7 day juice cleanse to detox my system and upping my cruciferous veggie intake. 02/19: Still doing well! I am happy to report I have not had ANY Histamine flare ups since Sept 2017!
**UPDATE 5/7/19: Last visit to Dr. Tano was the best so far. My hormones— progesterone, DHEA, estrogens, thyroid, etc, —have completely balanced along with my vitamin D levels. I am feeling really, really, good and have not had ANY histamine. reactions for over 18 months! I received a clean bill of health from the doc and just need to stay on my regiment of supplements and BI HRT and I should be good. I have been able to eat and drink without restrictions (except, of course, for gluten and dairy) — including all high histamine foods, wine, and kombucha— and have had NO issues whatsoever. Dr Tano said when I first met. him. that there is an underlying cause to HI and it lies within the endocrine system. It made total sense to me as that’s the foundation of our bodies and when our hormones are wonky—everything is wonky.
**UPDATE 3/9/21: Still free from any symptoms and flare-ups.
**UPDATE 2/16/22: Still free from any symptoms and flare-ups. Dr Tano is no longer taking new patients.
WOW is all I can think. I started having all of the same symptoms as you (minus the white spots in the mouth) last October after going to hard on a metal detox. I over did it, and entered one of the most miserable periods of my life. I had these symptoms to varying degrees from Oct 2021 to Mar 2022. I self diagnosed with HI. Lowering my histamine intake at the beginning of the year is what helped start to turn me around. This Sunday, I had another, shorter flare, but started having itching inside my mouth for the first time. For the last 2-3 days, it has itched/ burned every time I eat. This sent me back to the internet to see what else I can dig up. It brought me here.
My brother is a follower of Ray Peat, and, as a result, has been trying to convince me of the hormone connection. Finding your article is kinda the push I needed to take this approach more seriously and see it through. I HAVE started on some OTC hormone supplements, and think that contributed to the shorter, less severe flare. I’m also doing a lot of work on the mental/emotional part of me.. it HAS to be positively contributing this time around THANK YOU for talking about this little know/un talked about subject!!! It is good to know I’m not alone!!!
Question about the hormone testing: did the doctor request that you get your hormones tested at a SPECIFC TIME of the day? I’ve heard that hormones need to be tested at a precise time… like before 9:00 am… is this true? can you please tell me what you would recommend for hormone blood testing. I did get my hormones tested, but my doctor just said… ” yes you are in menopause…” That’s it 🙁 no help offered. I’m writing you from Canada, I cannot afford to contact your doctor, so I’m trying to figure this out on my own by googling it and reading posts like this good one you wrote. Thank you.
Hi Barb. I am tested via Genova Diagnostics for progesterone, sex hormone binding globulin, estrone sulfate, estrone, estradoil, estroil, DHEA, testosterone, hashimotos, hypothyroidism, reverse T3, free T3, free T4, iron, D, cholesterol and some others. Whew. I have heard the same as you about the time of day but he feels that it’s not necessary. Keep searching for answers and a doctor that is more thorough and concerned about your wellbeing.
Thank you so much for your courageous story. I am suffering right now with Histamine Intolerance and possibly MCAS. Just had to go to ER for my eyes they are irritated, red and swollen. Went and saw and Eye Doctor and was given. A steroid, Pataday for the itchy eyes, and Refresh. I was told I have an allergic reaction to something. I am pretty diligent with my diet as not to have Histamine causing foods, also take a DAO supplement amongst all the other herbs to help me. I am miserable now my eyes burn. For some reason when I get the blood work everything looks normal. Yikes I don’t think they are looking at my hormones. I will be looking for an Integrative Immunological Doctor. Some days I feel as though what the H..l is going on. Also have a lot of the symptoms of too much Estrogen.
So sorry you are suffering. UGh. Sounds like you should find an Integrative Immunologist and get your hormones checked out if you can. Dr. Tano is taking appointments (if you can’t find a local doc) at >> https://integrativeimmunity.org. He really is amazing and knows his stuff! Hope you find relief soon!!
Lorri, Do you know how to get a hold of Dr. Tano? Please feel free to PM me.
You can schedule an appointment here >> https://integrativeimmunity.org.
I’m 66, so well past menopause. No HRT, but have started eating low histamine for this month, as I diagnosed myself with Histamine Intolerance: extreme anxiety, IBS, sinus migraines, and fibromyalgia. My hormones are now being tested with a terrific functional medicine physician. But, in the meantime, waiting for the test results, I was impatient and I bought a bottle of Progesterone Cream (I have no uterus, just my ovaries), to help me with falling asleep at bedtime. So, the first time I used the Cream, I unintentionally squirted out about 3 dosages too much, and decided to rub most of it in. Felt fine for a couple of hours, then a sinus migraine started up ! Could that mean that even though I know I’m definitely low in Progesterone, that the fluctuation and surge of too much at one time could have triggered the HI symptom of the sinus migraine ? Or was the sinus migraine caused by my mold sensitivity when I was outside in high humidity for about 10 minutes (another symptom of HI, I believe, OR Mast Cell Activation symptom.)
Oh boy! I’m not qualified to answer this question at all but definitely tell your doctor about it!
Hi Lorri – Went into menopause at 42. Doctors didn’t believe me until I begged for a hormone test. Yes, non measurable estrogen and full blown osteoporosis, even though I was a healthy eater and frequent exerciser. No apparent reason either, and my doctor didn’t want to look for one. He said we could look forever and not find the reason. I tell you this piece of info first as this is where my decline in health begins. It’s been 20 years. These past 5 years have been my sickest. Weakness, stomach pain when I eat, constant brain fog, insomnia and felt like my inside was running a race for it’s life. All my symptoms appeared to start with food. I’d have allergic symptoms, consistent cough, running nose, ears felt full, numerous battles with bronchitis, occasional hives, but yet I didn’t test allergic to any food, only 2 environmental allergies. I constantly went to specialists for stomach pain, shortness of breath, swelling, etc. for 4 years and spent a ton of money, but these doctors only wanted to treat the organ system I was having a problem with. Nothing wrong with any of my organs, except for my lungs. My lung doctor told me my eosinophils were really high and caused lung damage. Neither this doctor, nor my allergist ever mentioned histamine intolerance. I stumbled across it and read more and more. The more I read, the more I was convinced it was my problem or at least a bid part of it. Unfortunately, all food caused symptoms, but dairy was a huge culprit. So, I ate the freshest meat and the freshest vegetables eliminating all high histamine food and histamine liberators. Guess what? I felt much, much better. Then re-introduced a couple of high histamine foods from the bad list, and here comes all the symptoms again. I took this info to a functional, internal doctor, and she said I was probably correct. Her only advice is to stay on a low histamine diet, and for the occasional, few times I want to cheat take the expensive histamine block supplements . Honestly, I believe it’s all hormone related. I’ve been to different doctors to try to balance my hormones, thrown more money at this, and didn’t improve “histamine wise” until I quit all the hormones myself (1 at a time, with estrogen making the biggest difference). But in doing so, all the menopausal symptoms returned with vengeance. I’m tired. I had always been an active, go-getter all my life. There was nothing I couldn’t do when I set my mind to it. I so what to be the person I was before all of this began. I need my energy to return so that I can work on my lung capacity (damage due to high eosinophils). Anything you can offer in the form of guidance would be extremely appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Hi Gappy. wow…quite a long journey you’ve been on. I am sorry that you are struggling and feeling so unwell. My advice is to find a integrative immunologist that will do bloodwork for you, as, based on your description above, it really seems hormone related. I’ve added a link to Dr Tano but you may also want to search in your own area as well. Might want to also have your adrenals checked too as that could be part of your exhaustion. I wish you luck and hope you are on the road to recovery very soon.
Awesome story. I also refused to run away from foods as a “solution.” Glad you found a doctor who actually knows how to doctor, as I personally never have!
And I’m on the guy side of things. I discovered having *brain* histamine intolerance accidentally, by taking diphenhydramine and then he resolved my main issue of insomnia (also had issues with diarrhea / rapid vowels; no normal histamine symptoms though). I’ve also studied my epigenetics with 23andMe and SelfDecode and allll 3 of my histamine pathways have a mutation. But HNMT (intracellular histamine, thus no external hives etc) seems to be causing me the biggest issue, and it’s the hardest to address. Can’t address it directly, only systemically.
I found your article while googling “vitamin D histamine intolerance.” You mention D only once, but I’ve just discovered my severe chronic insomnia has been from low D, and this may be the hormone inciting histamine issues in me too (TBD)! Plus I’ve got mutations in my D pathway, so I’m predisposed to being deficient.
My last super intense flare was incited by taking flaxseed oil, which also once gave me a thyroid-like hot flash. You know what flaxseed oil does? Mimic estrogen!
So HIT may really come down to the hormones. But maybe not just the big ones. I’d recommend everyone guaranteeing their vitamin D levels!!!
Thanks for sharing your story Timothy! Good info about the D. Also the lack of quality sleep could be a factor with the hormone disruption as well. And yes about the flaxseed oil! Not all foods that *should* be good for us are good for us! Good luck to you.
I came across your website when searching for answers to my own health issues. When I read that histamine intolerance could be due to hormones I went to get all my levels checked. To my dismay they were all normal except for my estradiol which was slightly under normal. I have been eating a lot of broccoli everyday and I wonder if it could be due to that? Also, all of my symptoms got better with a low histamine diet but not completely. I became sensitive to seemingly everything I was eating back in October of 2020. My lips are constantly swelling and burning, along with gastrointestinal symptoms and many more. Every test that the doctor has ordered (including inflammatory markers) has come back normal and I am not sure where to turn at this point. Could it still be due to hormones even though the tests came back normal? If you have any more info I would be interested to know. Thank you!
Oh goodness, your story is so familiar. Peri menopause in my late 30’s and menopause at 45. My doctor said I was too young for hormonal issues… During peri menopause my symptoms were just getting ramped up. At the same time though, I was exposed to mold in our home. Mold is a phytoestrogen. I’d been telling my doctor for years and years, since my early 30’s that I felt my hormones were out of balance. I suffered terrible PMS symptoms including depression. When my monthlies stopped completely is when the bottom fell out and I experience allergy symptoms, lymphedema, the itching chin and lips you describe, I have eczema under my nose and rosacea. I get heart palpitations and nausea along with high blood pressure and anxiety. I finally saw a functional practitioner who is following my mold exposure and taking a look at thyroid and female hormones. She suspects HI and told me to try DAO and the histamine avoidance diet to see if it relieved my symptoms at all. I’ve not had the courage to try the diet yet and DAO is so expensive to just try. I guess my question is, should I try the diet and the DAO for a relief of symptoms while we are looking closer at my hormones?
Sent you an email 🙂
Did you end up trying it? Did it help the lymphedema? I have lymphedema and my flare-ups seem to be linked with histamine.
I’m very interested in this story. I have been having issues for years and I think they are histamine related.
The thing is, my issues started when I was under 2 years old (maybe at birth?). Also my whole family seems to have some amount of this problem. Can that still be hormonal? Or is it more likely to be genetic at that point?
Hello Michelle – it’d really hard to say. My advice is to find a functional medicine doctor that can assess your health and family history.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have a very similar story to yours. I started having histamine issues during perimenopause. Progesterone helped. Now, at 42, I’m in full-blown menopause and my estrogen is super low. My doctor prescribed Oral Estrogen but every time I take it I have a histamine reaction. I’m stuck between no estrogen and high histamine and both are miserable. I broke two bones within a month of each other. The links to Dr. Tano no longer work so I assume he’s not taking more patients. I’m also in Colorado. I’ve spent months scouring the internet trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Yours is the first story I’ve heard of a doctor who understands the hormone/histamine connection and how to correct it. Do you have any tips or have you heard of any other Doctors who are treating this?
Hi Lauren. Thanks for sharing your journey. I hear ya sister… I started peri-menopause at 36 and full-blown menopause at 42 as well. Done at 44. Yes, you are correct — Dr Tano is no longer taking new patients unfortunately. I can only tell you that I just had my hormones tested last month and I am still balanced and still symptom free from HI. I cannot stress enough the importance of balancing your progesterone to control your estrogen. He prescribed a bio-identical progesterone cream (natural and compounded) along with chrysin — which is an estrogen blocker. I take it religiously. The only advice I can offer is to search out an integrative immunologist in your area, or at the very least, interview a few doctors that specialize in hormones and get tested every 6 months. Keep the faith! You will find your answers just as I did!
Actually, Dr. Tano moved to North Dakota and added in telehealth visits due to COVID. I don’t know if he’s taking new patients via Telehealth but you could try. I was able to transfer my care from his private practice in Minneapolis to his current clinic. He’s at the Mid Dakota Clinic https://www.middakotaclinic.com/ and you have to speak with one of his nurses in order to get a telehealth appointment. Their number is 701-712-4606.
Yes you are correct! And he is going to start taking new patients soon I believe and do online testing with Genova Diagnostics. I transferred as well (thank goodness). Thanks for posting the info!
Thank you for sharing your story. I definitely have significant hormonal imbalances after experiencing a surgically induced menopause at 39. I am also a chronic Lyme Disease sufferer who has had a lot of stress, along with methylation deficits and poor adrenal function (which seems to run in the family). This was very helpful and encouraging. My HI symptoms came on abruptly 5 weeks ago, after being very lax with my bioidential HRT and DHEA supplements. For the firsts time in my life, I am afraid to eat! I do have a wonderful functional practitioner who is familiar with lyme and specializes in hormones. Thank you again for sharing your journey.
Do you think having early (natural) menopause can be related to HI? I started menopause at 39 and stopped having a period several years later. I just self diagnosed myself with HI about 10 months ago. My main symptoms were rapid heartbeat, chills and exhaustion. I seem to do ok now if I don’t eat too may of my trigger foods too often, such as chocolate, avocado and tomatoes. . I really am curious about the premature menopause being a factor.
It certainly could. I was perimenopause at 36 and done at 44. Definitely worth getting your bloodwork done to see where you are at. Dr. Tano is taking appointments (if you can’t find a local doc) at >> https://integrativeimmunity.org.
This article is amazing thank you for sharing!! I am dealing with hormonal imbalances and hi , my problem is I cannot find a good doctor in my area, hopefully i will figure it out . 😄
I have had these histamine issues for quite some time 20 years now but saw dramatic improvement with diet changes and progesterone. Unfortunately this imbalance was a large contributor to my two sons being diagnosed with severe autism. Low histamine diet and b6 help but are far from enough. I have ordered DAO enzyme but I don’t know a single doctor integrative or mainstream that will give progesterone to 9 and 11 year old boys. The high histamine causes severe anxiety for them. I saw no real relief until progesterone. Feeling stuck.
Oh Melanie, I wish I had an answer for you. Have you worked on eliminating xenoestrogens from their diets and environment?
Melanie, I am sending you some info via email!
Progesterone is a neutral hormone and is not just for women. When my 3 year old is having histamine reaction I put a bit of progesterone cream (Ona’s brand) on and within 15 mins he calms right down (histamines give him rage only). The difference is incredible!
That’s really interesting to hear. And I do agree it’s need for both genders. I’m not sure I’d recommend hormones for such a young age though???
I realise that this is a few years ago but recently I have been reading about a Dr Michael Platt on Kitty Martone’s Estrogen Dominance Facebook group. He has a lot of info and regards progesterone treatment for ADHD/AUTISM and other conditions, both in adults and children. He has a website ‘Platt Wellness’. It’s quite interesting. Just thought I would pass this info to you. Best wishes x
Thanks for the info! I’ll check him out!
I am trying to navigate my own flaring histamine intolerance journey. I have just been skimming through information about the hormone connection.
Like you– I want to find a cure to this illness and your story inspires me to persevere in my effort to hopefully do just that! 🙂
The hormone connection is at the foundation of so much unwellness. Please keep searching!
Thank you so much for your post, my symptoms are similar, and I first started noticing the “itchies” at age 40that have developed into full blown mast cell activation syndrome now at age 47. Im a systems engineer, Im trained to find root cause, so I dug and researched my way to understanding I had a mast cell/histamine issue. My doctors looked at me like I was nuts. I kept on. I had a horrific reaction after a business trip to Chicago and some very authentic German food. I barely made it off the plane home to the ER. I was finally diagnosed by one of the handful of mast cell specialists here in the US. Unfortunately, as brilliant as he is, he also only treats symptoms. I use DAO, but again, its a mask. I was told by two seperate gynecologists that I am too young to be in menopause at 47. I had a partial hysterectomy and still have my ovaries due to severe endometriosis and uterine fibroids. It makes perfect sense that this is hormone related. Where is Dr. Tano? Is he the one listed in Minnesota? I would have to travel as I am in the southeast, but to find a doctor who could help would be worth it.
Hi Victoria ~ thanks for your comment! Sounds like our situations were quite similar. I started peri-menopause at the age of 36 and in full-blown menopause by 40. At 44 I was cycle free and post menopausal. You are smart to listen to your inner voice and challenge your doctors. I am always so surprised when a doctor says we are too young. I sent you an email with a more detailed response and info. Please let me know if you don’t receive it!
Thanks for the effort to post such a detail account of your symptoms and the path of healing proposed by Dr Tano.
I think there is valuable information here, and I think it may apply to many people, but my sixth sense tells me that it seems rather constrained to your particular situation, not for the unordinate mass of people who suffer from bioamines loading regularly. In fact, you yourself have not even healed completely yet.
Hi Andres. So sorry. for the delayed response! I’ve updated the post to reflect my last appointment May 2019. I actually have completely healed and have not had any HI symptoms in over 18 months. I’m not saying this is the “cure all” for HI, but I do believe many people could benefit from exploring the option. Integrative medicine takes the whole body approach instead of separating the issues, because in the end, everything is connected. Most of I read about HI treated the symptoms and not the underlying cause. It also restricted my diet so much that it became unhealthy for me. I didn’t want a bandaid – I wanted a cure. I believe I’ve found just that and hopefully my story can help another! It’s a long journey but well worth it in the end. I hope you are able to find the right answers for you and be on the path to healing soon. Take care.