Why take the Histamine Intolerance Test?
Histamine intolerance causes complaints all over the body. Symptoms are often generic, ranging from stomach noises to headaches and skin rashes. The fact that histamine is found in many different foods – such as cheese, sausage, fish and red wine – makes avoiding histamine even more difficult.
A blood test for histamine intolerance is the first step you need to take for a diagnosis. If the test results indicate an intolerance, you can change your diet and reduce your intake of foods containing histamine. However, such a change in diet is not easy – there is a lot to consider if you want to avoid histamine as much as possible. That is why it is advisable to first take a test to confirm histamine intolerance.
Who should take the Histamine Intolerance Test?
People who suffer from allergy-like symptoms but have not been able to identify any allergies should take the Histamine Intolerance Test. Typical symptoms of histamine intolerance include gastrointestinal discomfort, skin rashes, runny nose and headaches.
You also belong to a risk group for histamine intolerance if you have chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or suffer from gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome or stomach ulcers.
Histamine intolerance is also more likely to affect people who regularly take medications such as painkillers, antidepressants and drugs for cardiac arrhythmias and other heart diseases.
How does the Histamine Intolerance Test work?
With a lancet, which is provided in the test kit, take a small amount of blood from your fingertip and collect the blood on the dried blood spot card provided. Then send the blood sample in the return envelope to our specialised laboratory.
In the two weeks before the test, you should eat a varied diet and, above all, not deliberately eat only low-histamine foods – otherwise, you will not get any useful results from the test.
Please note: You should do the test when you are healthy. Infections such as a cold or flu can affect the results, as can alcohol consumption. Certain medications also influence your values. You can find more information on how certain medicines can influence test results here in our FAQs.
What does the results report tell me?
The results report tells you the concentration of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) in your blood. This enzyme breaks down the histamine in your intestine. If your DAO value is too low, this can be an indication of histamine intolerance.
The report also tells you whether your DAO levels are healthy.
Which recommendations will I receive?
In your Histamine Intolerance Test results report, you will find a number of clear recommendations in addition to your test results.
You will learn, for example, how to avoid foods containing histamine, boost your gut health, optimise your vitamin and mineral levels and improve your symptoms through these measures.
Where does histamine intolerance come from?
Histamine is a messenger substance that is found in the human body and is involved in blood formation and wound healing, for example. Our immune system also needs histamine: the messenger substance triggers inflammatory reactions and thus fights pathogens.
We consume histamine through our diet. If our intestines and kidneys do not produce enough DAO, histamine cannot be broken down properly. This leads to histamine intolerance, where excess histamine can trigger inflammation and discomfort throughout the body.
There are a number of possible causes for the imbalance between enzymes and histamine:
– An unhealthy gut due to irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, Crohn’s disease or intestinal ulcers
– A deficiency in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6 and C and zinc
– Certain medicines and alcohol
What are the signs of histamine intolerance?
The signs of histamine intolerance are similar to allergic reactions – because histamine also plays an important role in allergies, when the body then releases too much histamine and thus experiences inflammation. This is why histamine intolerance is often confused with an allergy.
Typical signs of histamine intolerance include redness and itching and swelling of the skin; stomach and intestinal cramps, flatulence and diarrhoea; a runny nose, cough, asthma and difficulty swallowing ; a headache and dizziness ; palpitations, increased blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia.
If you suffer from these symptoms after eating, it is worthwhile taking a histamine intolerance test. A special three-phase diet can then confirm your suspicions.
How do I treat histamine intolerance?
With histamine intolerance, it is crucial that you eat a diet as low in histamine as possible. Histamine cannot be removed from food by heating, freezing or washing. Only a change in diet will help you: if your intestines only have to process a little histamine, this will alleviate any symptoms.
Other treatment methods include:
– Promoting gut health – probiotic foods, lots of fibre and little sugar help enzymes in your gut
– Vitamins and minerals – sufficient vitamin B6, vitamin C and zinc help your intestine process histamine
– Medication for acute symptoms – antihistamines can relieve inflammatory symptoms such as diarrhoea for a short time
Which foods contain histamine?
Histamine is found in many foods. People with histamine intolerance should avoid foods that contain large amounts of the substance, especially:
– Alcoholic drinks such as red wine, champagne, prosecco, wheat beer, aged spirits such as whisky and cognac
– Mature cheeses such as Parmesan, Emmental, Swiss cheese, Camembert
– Cured, smoked and dried meat and meat products
– Certain types of vegetables (spinach, tomato, avocado) and fruits (ripe banana, kiwi, strawberry, citrus fruits)
– Chocolate and cocoa
Which medications should I avoid if I’m intolerant to histamine?
Certain medicines are known for triggering or aggravating histamine intolerance symptoms, similar to histamine-containing foods. Such medicines often block the enzyme DAO or increase the release of histamine in the body.
These include, for example, painkillers with the active ingredients diclofenac, acetylcysteine and metamizole, and others, which are used to treat nausea and vomiting.
Please note: You should not stop taking medicines that you take regularly. Discuss this with your doctor first.
Which medications help with histamine intolerance?
Antihistamines are tablets that relieve the symptoms of an allergy in the short term and can also help with histamine intolerance. But these tablets do not work for all symptoms: according to studies, they work for diarrhoea but not for headaches.
There are also medicines on the market that contain DAO derived from animals. This is supposed to help your intestines break down histamine. So far, however, the effectiveness of these dietary supplements has not been confirmed in studies.
Who should NOT take the Histamine Intolerance Test?
The Histamine Test is not or only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not use the Histamine Intolerance Test.
People with haemophilia should not take the test.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the Histamine Intolerance Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
The Histamine Intolerance Test is not intended for children under 18 years of age.
The test is not intended for diagnosing illnesses or disease. For example, if you suffer from depression or experience physical pain, consult a doctor.