Food Allergy, Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Disease

These articles have been written for readers that want to learn more about histamine intolerance and food-dependent mast cell activation without getting caught up in the hoopla and misleading information on the internet. Sifting through conflicting, inaccurate information can be overwhelming and stressful. My goal is to save you time by providing interesting, concise, relevant information & common-sense tools in one place.

In the past, I provided private nutrition services for clients with histamine intolerance and mast cell disease. These articles were my private client resources. In the last few years, my focus has shifted to helping clients tame their food reactions by taking a step back, looking at the bigger picture and changing the patterns that contribute to their reactivity. I developed new private client resources (see Work with Wendy) and put my histamine intolerance articles on the public area of my website.

Food sensitivity is a complex topic. In the food sensitivity overview, I discuss how knowledge is like an iceberg. We review the “above the surface” information –the current knowledge and understanding about food sensitivity.  However, many food sensitivity conditions are “below the surface,” and we don’t yet know enough to explain them or have definitive diagnosis/treatment. As a result, there is a multitude of food sensitivity testing methods, but unfortunately, they all give different answers.  Luckily, even if you don’t know exactly what is causing your symptoms, you can still take action with puzzling food sensitivity symptoms.

IgE food allergy is one of the best understood food sensitivities. The immune system mistakes a food protein as a foreign threat and releases inflammatory chemicals. Food- dependent, mast cell activation (MCAD) and dietary histamine intolerance (HIT) can have similar inflammatory symptoms and are possible explanations why some people suffer from food allergy symptoms, even though they do not have a true food allergy. Comparing allergy, HIT and MCAD can help readers get a better sense of what may be causing their symptoms. However, these conditions are largely “below the surface,” so exact answers are difficult to provide.

The low histamine diet is becoming a popular treatment, and in some cases is being over prescribed. Very little is known about histamine in food (“below the surface” knowledge), so there is a lot of speculation and misinformation on the internet. We review five low histamine diet myths. A low histamine diet should be used as a short trial and only continued if it is beneficial. The practical guide to the low histamine diet describes how you can trial the diet in four steps – each step is a different part of the diet and will help you find which parts (if any) are most beneficial without over restricting. The practical guide includes tips to minimize histamine formation during food storage and sample meal plans. I’ve provided a few low histamine recipes to help make the diet more interesting.

A key point is that food tolerance is individual.  Diet plans can be helpful guidelines, but you need to adapt the guidelines to suit your individual needs.

Similarly, treatments are individual and successful protocols take experimentation. I’ve provided information on the most common medications and medicinal supplements, so the reader has more information to discuss these with their physician.  Diamine oxidase enzyme (DAO) supplements break histamine down in the digestive system. DAO may help some individuals that experience histamine-related symptoms when they eat.