histamine intolerance

Testing for histamine intolerance before starting the AIP diet

28 November 2023

Histamine intolerance is a condition that can significantly impact the quality of life. Understanding this condition is essential for those experiencing it or suspecting its presence. In this blog, learn more about histamine and histamine intolerance and see how this intolerance can influence starting the AIP diet.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) involved in various processes in our body. Produced by different cells in our body, histamine can be found in large quantities in various tissues such as the lungs, the skin, and the gastrointestinal tract.

Histamine intolerance

Histamine plays a crucial role in our body, ensuring stable stomach acid, participating in inflammatory reactions, and being a key factor in allergic reactions. When our immune system reacts to an allergen like pollen or dust mites, large amounts of histamine are released, causing symptoms such as itching or sneezing. While histamine is vital for different bodily functions, an excess can lead to side effects or food allergies. The same applies to our immune system; when it becomes overactive, it attacks our cells, leading to autoimmune diseases. Read more about these types of diseases here.

Symptoms of histamine intolerance

When someone with a sensitive immune system produces too much histamine, histamine intolerance can develop. Histamine intolerance is a condition where our body struggles to break down histamine. Histamine itself is present in many common foods. For people with histamine intolerance, consuming foods with high histamine levels can result in an accumulation of histamine in the body, causing symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, digestive problems, concentration issues, or fatigue.

Products with histamine

Before starting the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet, it's crucial to check for possible histamine sensitivity. In addition to online testing for histamine levels, you can also observe how your body reacts when avoiding foods with high histamine levels. Foods like alcohol, aged cheeses, smoked fish and meats, fermented foods, or citrus fruits have a high histamine content. If you experience the mentioned symptoms, it may be related to an excess of histamine. The first step you could take is to avoid histamine-containing products.

Get tested for histamine intolerance

It's important to note that histamine intolerance is a complex condition, and each individual's reaction to food may vary. The AIP diet is designed to reduce inflammation and support the immune system. Some foods allowed on the AIP diet may have a high histamine content. Check our Yes/No List, available on our website, for details. Therefore, it's essential to screen yourself for histamine and SIBO before starting the AIP diet. Read more about SIBO here. Once these doubts are cleared, you can begin the AIP diet, taking the first step toward optimal health. If you want to learn more about AIP-related nutrition or information, take a look at our knowledge base.