Histamine plays a vital role for several of our body functions. We need a certain amount to live and function, but too much of it can cause painful symptoms involving the skin, the brain, lungs and heart and digestive system.
The symptoms of histamine intolerance (HIT) are caused by the inability of the body to break down histamine sufficiently.
This is because of the reduced activity or presence of an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which is mainly responsible for breaking down histamine and other biogenic amines ingested through food. Foods that are known culprits include: red wine, ready meals, cured meats, older cheeses, tomatoes, aubergines, broth and leftovers.
DAO is mainly stored in cells of tissues that cover internal organs and other internal surfaces of the body. Any mention of histamine intolerance on this website always refers to the acute form (type DAO) of HIT, and not the chronic form of histamine intolerance (type HNMT), unless HNMT is specified as such.
The low-histamine diet aims to limit histamine levels within the body thus reducing or eliminating symptoms.