Histamine is a chemical involved in the immune system, proper digestion, and the central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach.
A person might be most familiar with histamine as it relates to the immune system. If you suffer from seasonal allergies or food allergies, you may have noticed that certain over-the-counter antihistamine medications provide quick relief of the symptoms. This is because histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag in your immune system, notifying the body of any potential attackers.
Histamine causes the blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that the white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. The histamine build-up is what causes a headache and leaves you feeling flushed, itchy and miserable. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if the histamine is not properly broken down, you could easily develop histamine intolerance.
Because it travels throughout your bloodstream, histamine can affect the gut, lungs, skin, brain, and entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of problems often making it difficult to pinpoint and diagnose.
Many factors can cause high levels of histamine. These include:
In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine, or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine, diamine oxidase.
Fortunately, there are many low-histamine foods:
For more information go to: http://www.histamineintolerance.org.uk