Is there a test for histamine intolerance?
If you believe you're histamine intolerant and are looking for a histamine intolerance test, we need to talk.
Histamine intolerance can be frustrating, as there is a lack of understanding and recognition among healthcare practitioners when it comes to this disorder.
Additionally, the nature of the disorder involves a wide rang of seemingly unrelated symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose and control.
However, as your histamine intolerance expert, I've got you covered.
I've done the digging and, today, I propose that a careful, evidence-based analysis of what is shown in the literature allows us to define a systematic approach to understand the physiological contributions to each individual’s experience. This understanding, under the guidance of an experienced practitioner, can lead to a diagnosis of histamine intolerance and control of symptoms.
Histamine Intolerance in Short
Histamine is a natural chemical that acts as a messenger in many body systems including but, not limited to the brain, the stomach, blood vessels and muscles. Historically, it was characterized as our first chemical of defence released by cells in response to foreign pathogens. It also mediates the allergic reaction and can act as a messenger within the nervous system.
Histamine is pre-formed and stored in granules in several different cell types. These cells are widely distributed throughout the body. Several mechanisms including both allergic and non-allergic pathways can stimulate these cells to release histamine. The histamine then binds to a number of receptors to exert its effects.
Due to the wide distribution of histamine producing cells and the equally wide distribution of histamine receptors, the effects of receptor binding involve many organ systems.
Resulting symptoms may therefore be spread across the body and include flushing and rashes (skin), arrhythmias, low blood pressure or dizziness (cardiovascular system) and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain (gastrointestinal system), to list a few (1). For a comprehensive list, see this post on histamine intolerance symptoms.
So, in summary, we have a chemical molecule produced in many cells and released following any of a multitude of stimuli and acting on any number of organs.
No wonder the effects are inconsistent from patient to patient and case to case. No wonder a test for histamine intolerance has yet to be created. And, no wonder you are confused by your symptoms.
The Complex Puzzle of a Histamine Intolerance Test
The added complexity of creating a test for histamine intolerance is one of context. Each individual will have a tolerance level beyond which they develop symptoms. We can, therefore, define histamine intolerance as a state where the physiological histamine level exceeds an individual’s tolerance level i.e. the level beyond which they begin to develop symptoms.
What contributes to this tolerance level? Again, this is determined by a multitude of factors. This level may be genetically predetermined. It may be a result of other chemical messengers such as hormone levels, individual variances in diet or the simultaneous use of certain medications. Each case can vary.
Furthermore, other physiological states such as inflammatory conditions of the GIT may contribute to histamine tolerance. So, not only are the effects of histamine widespread, the extent of the effect will vary from patient to patient and case to case.
In any case, the ultimate issue of intolerance is an elevation in histamine concentration. Such elevations in histamine result from an imbalance in histamine levels versus histamine breakdown or, what can be described as a dysfunctional histamine metabolism (2).
Histamine levels, from any source, may rise and, when the individuals ability to break down the histamine is compromised, the balance tips towards histamine excess and adverse events are triggered.
So, now that we know what histamine intolerance is, how do we know if that's the main issue causing or contributing to your symptoms?
Well, let's get to discussing an at-home test I created through my experience being histamine intolerant, working with histamine intolerant clients and doing plenty of scientific research to see what can and cannot help.
I call this test Tee's Histanalysis Method.
A Test for Histamine Intolerance: Tee's Histanalysis Method
By sifting through the relevant literature and identifying where there is sufficient evidence, I have defined an approach to an at-home histamine intolerance test called Tee's Histanalysis Method.
This test for histamine intolerance is focused on identifying contributions to an individual’s histamine excess. The order of testing should be informed by the individuals symptoms and the physiological environment. It is highly recommended that this histamine intolerance test is guided by a practitioner with the relevant experience in interpreting the results.
Histamine Intolerance Test Steps:
1. The first step of applying a test for histamine intolerance is to record all of your symptoms and suspected contributors, including food products and medications. Compare these suspects to known high histamine foods and medications. Remember, you may have additional intolerances, so not all suspected foods must be high in histamine. But, all high histamine foods should be a suspect when consumed in excess.
2. The second step of the histamine intolerance test is dietary elimination of suspected foods (12). This elimination includes applying a low histamine diet along with any additional suspected offenders. Use this histamine intolerance food list, as it contains high histamine foods along with foods that may not be high in histamine themselves but, can act as histamine releasers or encourage bacterial production of histamine.
3. The next thing you'll want to do when conducting a test for histamine intolerance is record all changes between your food and symptoms. Do this by keeping a food/symptom diary and include all necessary details including exercise, stress levels, supplements, etc. I've created a useful template for this that will ensure you're entering all of the necessary information. You should use this food diary template and fill it in after each meal.
4. After two weeks of following the specific diet above, take a loading dose of Natural D-Hist, which consists of taking 2 capsules three times per day for 7-10 days. Be sure to order this in advance, so that you have it on hand when it's time to start taking it.
5. Following the loading dose, drop the dosage of Natural D-Hist to a maintenance dose of between 1-3 capsules per day as needed to maintain improvements. Many are fine with one capsule per day but, if your improvements are not sustained, you may take one capsule before each main meal.
6. Review your food/symptom diary and begin replicating the days where your symptoms were rated to be at their mildest. Include the same foods, exercises, supplements and D-Hist dosage in this replication.
7. Once you've reached a stable state where your replicated days are consistently producing mild levels of symptoms, begin reintroducing foods at a rate of one food consumed for 2-3 days, with a 5 day break in between foods. Consuming the food for 2-3 days allows for enough to be consumed that a reaction will occur if you are sensitive. If you experience a reaction earlier, you can stop consuming the food immediately. Additionally, the break between introducing new foods allows you to identify delayed reactions, as food sensitivity symptoms can appear up to 5 days after consuming the suspected food.
8. All foods which caused symptoms during reintroduction should remain eliminated from the diet. You may attempt a second reintroduction of the offending food after 3 months of following a histamine intolerance protocol, if desired.
As you can see, this simple at-home test for histamine intolerance is way more cost-effective than any other test out there - and, it can be more definitive, informative and result in immediate symptom reduction.
The logic behind this histamine intolerance test is that it can either help to rule out or reveal histamine intolerance. Simply put, no change in symptoms likely means you can rule out histamine intolerance, whereas immediate symptom reduction is a pretty strong indicator towards the presence of histamine intolerance.
As this histamine intolerance test can be done at home and only requires the cost of a single supplement, I recommend it as a more logical and cost-effective choice compared to many alternative tests or Hail Mary supplements which may only leave you with slight clues at a higher cost.
Evaluate the probability that you have histamine intolerance and, depending on the results, either start fixing it or stop wasting your time on it.
Getting Started: What You'll Need
- Histamine intolerance food list
- Food diary template
- Natural D-Hist (1 bottle to start)
- Histamine intolerance protocol (upon confirmation of the probability of intolerance)
There is no reason you can't begin today by starting your food diary and following the first steps of the protocol.
Life's too short to let symptoms control you.
Your histamine intolerance expert,
Anita Tee, Nutritional Scientist
1. Maintz L, Novak N. Histamine and histamine intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(5):1185–96.
2. Schwelberger HG. Histamine intolerance: A metabolic disease? Inflamm Res. 2010;59(Suppl 2):S219-21.
3. Schwab D, Eg H, Raithel M. Histamine content and histamine secretion of the colonic mucosa in patients with collagenous colitis. Inflamm Res. 2002;51(1):33–4.
4. Reese I, Ballmer-Weber B, Beyer K, Fuchs T, Kleine-Tebbe J, Klimek L, et al. German guideline for the management of adverse reactions to ingested histamine Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the German Society for Pediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine (GPA), the German Association of Allergologists (AeDA), and the Swiss Society for Allergology and Immunology (SGAI). Allergo J Int. 2017;26:72–9.
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8. Maintz L, Benfadal S, Allam JP, Hagemann T, Fimmers R, Novak N. Evidence for a reduced histamine degradation capacity in a subgroup of patients with atopic eczema. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;
9. Pinzer TC, Tietz E, Waldmann E, Schink M, Neurath MF, Zopf Y. Circadian profiling reveals higher histamine plasma levels and lower diamine oxidase serum activities in 24% of patients with suspected histamine intolerance compared to food allergy and controls. Allergy. 2017;
10. Music E, Silar M, Korosec P, Kosnik M, Rijavec M. Serum diamine oxidase (DAO) activity as a diagnostic test for histamine intolerance. Clin Transl Allergy [Internet]. 2011;1:P115. Available from: www.biomedcentral.com/submit
11. Manzotti G, Breda D, Di Gioacchino M, Burastero SE. Serum diamine oxidase activity in patients with histamine intolerance. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2016;29(1):105–11.