I am Dr. Tun Min, a GP working in Northwest NHS UK. I’ve been trying to provide unique, actual useful content regarding probiotics and supplements.
In my extensive experience of using different probiotics for different health conditions, I have seen firsthand that histamine intolerance sufferers struggle a lot to find the best probiotic for their condition.
If you are one of them and don’t know where to start, then you are in the right place. Today, I’m here to help you understand histamine intolerance with clarity. Then I’ll help you pick the best probiotics for histamine intolerance.
What is histamine intolerance?
Histamine serves as a crucial cell signaling molecule that aids in allergic reactions, pathogen responses, and stomach acid secretion. It is also present in some foods, such as fermented foods, aged meats and cheeses, and red wine, which we consume.
Histamine does not possess negative connotations as it plays a vital role in the body. However, if one fails to break down histamine properly, an imbalance between histamine breakdown and buildup can lead to histamine intolerance. , potentially affecting various systems in the body.
Histamine intolerance affects around 1% of Americans, with women being more susceptible to it than men.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance
It can affect numerous organs in the body, but gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common.
- nausea, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain
- headaches or migraines, dizziness
- itchy, flushed skin
- congestion, running/itchy nose & eyes
- difficulty breathing
- Irregular heart rate, and blood pressure fluctuations
- Menstrual irregularities
What causes histamine intolerance?
Histamine intolerance happens when the body cannot break down enough of it in the intestines, causing histamine levels in the blood to rise. Diamine oxidase or DAO is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine, and a lack of it creates a histamine imbalance.
Due to a mutation in the gene that affects the DAO enzyme
Some medications can block DAO enzyme function e.g. antiemetics, antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, blood pressure medications, NSAIDs, and antidepressants.
Overconsumption of histamine-rich foods (e.g. processed meats, aged cheeses, eggplants, spinach, avocado, and fermented foods), or foods that block DAO enzymes such as alcohol, green tea, and black tea
Gut bacteria can produce histamine, so bacteria overgrowth can contribute to histamine load.
GI disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can impair DAO functionality.
The importance of probiotics for histamine intolerance
You might be wondering why we are talking about probiotics for histamine intolerance if bacteria can produce histamine and trigger histamine intolerance symptoms.
Bacteria are involved both in the production and degradation of histamine.
It is vital to understand that there are hundreds of different types of bacteria in your gut and that they all have different roles and properties. Although certain types of bacteria can produce histamine, some can degrade histamine, and some have no direct effect on histamine.
Imbalanced gut microflora is the likely cause of histamine intolerance.
A recent clinical study found an imbalance or dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in patients with histamine intolerance in comparison with healthy individuals. A greater abundance of histamine-secreting bacteria in the gut seems to favor the accumulation of histamine in the gut. Moreover, intestinal dysbiosis could also provoke mucosal inflammation, a condition that impairs DAO activity.
Unsurprisingly, 30-55% of people with digestive symptoms or conditions like IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s disease have histamine intolerance.
Restoring gut bacterial balance by probiotics
Research indicates that readjusting your gut flora with low-histamine probiotics can reduce inflammation, alleviate symptoms, and reduce the effects of seasonal allergies. Treatments that include a low-histamine diet combined with histamine intolerance probiotics work together to improve gut health in people diagnosed with histamine intolerance.
Which probiotics for histamine intolerance?
Certain bacteria strains, found in many probiotic supplements, can increase levels of histamine and worsen histamine intolerance symptoms. So, picking up any random probiotics may not work for you even if it is the best probiotic product in the market.
Here is my advice to choose the best probiotic for this condition.
- Start with choosing a low histamine probiotic strain. You may also need to avoid certain strains that can increase histamine production.
- Be sure to look at the inactive ingredients in the probiotic product. Fillers and additives in there may cause a reaction if you are dealing with histamine intolerance.
- Instead of going for a probiotic blend, starting with one probiotic species at a time is a wise choice. It will also be easier to know what you are reacting to if you develop intolerance symptoms.
Low Histamine Probiotic Strains to Look For
The following are the probiotics I recommend to my patients with histamine intolerance.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (especially GG strain) – helps by down-regulating histamine receptors while up-regulating anti-inflammatory cells.
- Lactobacillus plantarum (D-103 strain) – helps your body degrade histamine up to 100%.
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium longum – helps improve the gut barrier and assists in histamine degradation
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus salivarius
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
Probiotic strains to avoid
The following probiotics could potentially exacerbate histamine production, and so may need to be avoided.
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii
- Lactobacillus helveticus
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Bacillus licheniformis
Let’s wind up!
The growing body of research points out that probiotics are one effective strategy for resolving the underlying dysbiosis that may be increasing inflammation, damaging the small intestinal lining, and reducing DAO levels in histamine intolerance sufferers.
A low histamine diet, coupled with probiotics and gut health support will help you reduce your histamine burden.
So, why wait? End all your sufferings, and waste of time and money, and start to nurture a healthy gut with histamine-friendly probiotics!
My advice for low histamine probiotics
Symprove Daily Essential is one of the highest-quality products in the probiotics market. This particular product is mainly targeted for gut symptoms but the good amount of Lactobacillus strains works to stabilise mood as well.
Especially the L rhamnosus strain which is known to have an effect on GABA which helps relax and has prominent anxiolytic properties.
I favour this product because it is in liquid form which is quite rare in the market. The liquid form has 2 main properties – one is more live bacteria pass through the gastric barrier and two is less side effects such as bloating and burping.
Most of my patients noticed differences in the symptoms after a few weeks and even more after months and only a few reported mild side effects.
This is probably the most suitable for this particular indication as it has a fairly low CFU count with targeted strains of probiotics best for histamine intolerance.
Although this is formulated for digestive issues, the strains involved Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are also effective for people with histamine problems.
This is, even more, a targeted product with a single strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with a dose of 10 billion CFUs.
I particularly like this product because L rhamnosus is the most researched strain with the best evidence for the symptoms of histamine intolerance.
In addition, it is one of the products with the least digestive side effects which almost all of the patients I prescribed really liked.