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How your gut bacteria can create histamine hell

Have you ever experienced sudden headaches, skin rashes, or digestive issues and wondered why? It could be that imbalanced gut flora (dysbiosis) is creating a histamine overload.

Dysbiosis can cause a cascade of problems, including histamine intolerance. This can feel like a histamine hell, where everyday foods and environmental triggers create a host of uncomfortable symptoms.

When you already have gut issues, these can compound your symptoms. It is often quite confusing and hard to decipher whether you are suffering because of a gut disorder or histamine intolerance, or both. Histamine intolerance is also a common reason why you still have digestive issues, even after you have received treatment.

In this blog, we'll explore how your gut bacteria influence histamine levels and what you can do to regain control. When you address histamine intolerance, you can more clearly move forward towards full recovery, where you can enjoy eating anything you like without experiencing uncomfortable side effects.

You can fast forward to my guidelines on fixing bacterial imbalance and overcoming histamine intolerance by clicking here.

What is histamine intolerance?

Histamine intolerance occurs when your body's natural ability to break down histamine becomes overwhelmed. This can happen when you don't produce enough of the enzymes, for example, diamine oxidase (DAO), that degrade histamine, or if there is too much circulating histamine, or both.

We need histamine for healthy digestive and nervous systems and for good immunity. But certain triggers, such as stress, infections, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or immune system imbalances, cause our cells to release too much histamine. When you eat high-histamine foods on top of this, your body's enzymes cannot keep up with demand.

There is another major factor that often contributes to histamine intolerance and that is dysbiosis. Bacterial overgrowths can occur in the large intestine (LIBO) or the small intestine (SIBO).

What does gut bacteria do?

Here's how your gut bacteria can sabotage your body's ability to balance histamine levels:

1. Making their own histamine

Certain gut bacteria and yeasts naturally produce histamine as a metabolic byproduct.

2. Causing intestinal permeability (leaky gut)

Bacterial overgrowths create an unhealthy environment in the digestive system, leading to leaky gut. This allows histamine into the bloodstream as well as inflammatory molecules which trigger more histamine release from immune cells (such as mast cells).

3. Triggering inflammation and other immune responses

Dysbiosis can cause chronic inflammation in the gut, which again increases the body's own histamine release. Dysbiosis and gut inflammation are features of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease and colitis), and so histamine intolerance is a common problem among sufferers of these conditions.

An imbalanced gut microbiome can also independently disrupt the immune system's regulation, leading to an exaggerated histamine response.

4. Creating nutrient deficiencies

Bacterial overgrowths, especially SIBO, can interfere with the absorption of nutrients essential for DAO enzyme production and function, such as vitamin B6 and copper.

5. Altering gut motility

Gut dysbiosis can affect gut motility. Slow transit time can increase the fermentation of foods and the production of histamine by bacteria in the small intestine.

What to do

Please also see my earlier blog to learn more about histamine intolerance and tips for tackling it.

1. Reduce histamine foods First of all, eating fewer high-histamine foods can help to reduce the load on the body. You generally only need to do this temporarily, while you fix the underlying cause, whether it be stress, leaky gut, an infection or bacterial overgrowths, such as SIBO.

2. Supplement with DAO enzyme

You can help reduce histamine load and symptoms by supplementing with DAO. We recommend Intoleran DAO Plus. Click here to purchase.

3. Treat bacterial overgrowths

If you're not sure whether dysbiosis is your problem, we recommend you take a simple at-home test. We offer both breath tests to determine whether you have SIBO or not, and stool tests that can detect bacterial and yeast overgrowths in the large intestine, as well as parasitic, bacterial, or viral infections in the gut. The stool test can also detect parasitic, bacterial and viral infections in the gut, as well as help you rule out the possibility of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Click here to view our available tests.

If you have SIBO, it is important to treat this first, then start addressing imbalances in the large intestine. In my experience, dysbiosis in the large intestine always co-exists with SIBO.

We offer supplement stacks in store which are specifically designed to treat SIBO and restore the gut. If you would like guidance please book a free 15 minute chat with me, or you can book a 45-minute consultation, which includes a full diet and supplement plan, tailored to you.

4. Take probiotics

Probiotics that contain Lactobacillus plantarum (choose the LGG strain) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus help reduce histamine intolerance, calm down inflammation and heal the gut.

If you suspect you have histamine intolerance avoid supplements that contain Lactobacillus reuteri, as these are known to increase histamine levels.

Sufferers of histamine intolerance have been shown to have lower overall levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the main genera in the gut. We recommend Flordis Therbiotic IBS-Relief, which is easily tolerated by SIBO and IBS sufferers.

Supplementing wtih PHGG Plus provides fibre plus soil-based probiotics which both help to build these beneficial bacteria.

5. Heal the gut

L-glutamine is the go-to healing supplement, clinically proven to help overcome leaky gut and maintain healthy gut integrity.

6. Improve motility

Natural prokinetics improve motility, which helps to prevent bacterial overgrowths, boost digestion and alleviate chronic constipation. We recommend high concentration ginger (Henry Bloom's Ginger Calm capsules), globe artichoke and dandelion (Naturobest Detox and Liver Support).

Our Antibiotic Recovery stack provides the right ingredients to help overcome histamine intolerance, including L-Glutamine, Ginger, PHGG Plus and Detox and Liver support, all in one good value pack.

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