An Intro to Histamine Intolerance

When I first discovered histamine intolerance, I immediately wondered if it was the reason I was always congested. It definitely made me curious, but after years seeking help from doctors and therapists, and over a decade of my own research and trial & error, I was too tired of half-solutions & dead ends to take it that seriously. But recently as an answer to a plea to the universe for a solution to my declining wellness, it came to my attention again, and this time I started paying attention. 

According to, histamine intolerance is the intolerance towards “normal” levels of histamine in food caused by a decreased activity of the histamine-degrading enzymes diamine oxidase (DAO) or histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT).
The pioneering Doctor of histamine intolerance, Janice Joneja, explains it this way:

Under normal conditions, when histamine levels from any source rise above a certain level, these enzymes rapidly degrade the excess. However, when the rate of breakdown of excess histamine is insufficient to deal with the excess, the total level of histamine in the body rises.

When the total level of histamine rises above a person’s histamine threshold, histamine intolerance symptoms appear. I have had many of these symptoms, and after a serendipitous conversation with a friend dealing with angioedema, I traced many of these symptoms to family members on both my mother and father’s side, which further confirming my gut feeling that I’d finally found the root of my dis-ease. 

Review this symptom list to see if histamine intolerance could be at the root of your own mental & physical health struggles:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling, staying asleep)
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety, irritability, confusion, panic attack
  • Flushing
  • Nasal congestion, sneezing
  • Irritated, watery, reddened eyes (conjunctivitis) 
  • Hives
  • Pruritus (itching especially of the skin, eyes, ears, and nose)
  • Tissue swelling (angioedema) of face, mouth or throat
  • Anaphylaxis 
  • Heartburn, reflux
  • Nausea, vomiting, cramps
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Eczema, acne, itchiness
  • Chills and shivers 
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Hypotension
  • Fatigue, can be extreme 
  • Very occasionally short loss of consciousness
  • Arrhythmia, accelerated heart rate, hearing pulse when lying down at night

While it appears to be further complicated by the fact that each person has a different histamine threshold, and many people react differently to the same foods, the great news is, there is growing consensus about how to deal with histamine intolerance. 

For me, there were a few keys steps that set me on the right path to wellness, and I began to feel better within days. The amazing thing about addressing histamine intolerance, is that while it takes a bit of awareness, there are also some quick tools to accelerate the path to renewed energy, decrease fog, increased control over moods and a greater feeling of stability.

I will be blogging a lot about histamine intolerance, and allergies, in the coming days and weeks, as well as about my own experience healing from it, and I hope it’s the light at the end of the tunnel for many of you.