Leaky Gut and Histamine Intolerance

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

leaky gut and histamine

A survey states that around 1% of the population suffers from histamine intolerance. And 80% of all affected people are middle-aged individuals. Most people neglect the existence of this intolerance and never treat its symptoms, which worsens their health over time.

The inability of the human body to digest and metabolize the ingested histamine causes this intolerance or triggers allergic behavior. There’s a medical connection between leaky gut and histamine intolerance, which is a common combination that’s worsening both of these health adversities.

So, you must get a clear understanding of how a leaky gut is contributing to worsening your histamine intolerance or vice versa. Read along until the end for guided information.

What is Histamine?

Histamines are chemicals that are made by our immune system. It’s one important element of the immune system that helps your body eliminate everything that bothers you.

Histamine drives the allergens out of your body or skin, which will result in making you itch, tear up or sneeze just to get the job done. It’s safe, as it’s a sign that the defense system of your body is working well.

When the body encounters allergens such as pet dander, dust, or pollen, histamines kick in and make you sneeze or itch, which is harmless to protect you from worse symptoms. The immune system counts such allergens as a threat and responds immediately to help you recover from them.

At times, histamine overreacts to such allergens, which makes your body sensitive enough to develop allergic symptoms. Doctors would recommend antihistamines to control such overreaction by your immune system.

Does Histamine Cause Gut Inflammation?

Gut inflammation or leaky gut and histamine intolerance are interconnected in many ways. Medical experts believe that the root cause of histamine intolerance often originates from an imbalance in gut health. Some of such health conditions that are possible causes of histamine intolerance are dysbiosis, SIBO, food sensitivity, leaky gut, and others.

Similarly, even histamine intolerance is also held responsible for worsening gut problems and most likely causing gut inflammation.

Many people have reported gastrointestinal problems after being diagnosed with histamine intolerance. Histamine-triggering gut inflammation leads to adverse symptoms such as constipation, stomach pain, abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and much more.

embossed belly

If these symptoms worsen, the doctors will consider treating your leaky gut or gut inflammation before dealing with histamine intolerance. Medical experts also state that most people have gastrointestinal symptoms, but that doesn’t cause any worrying trouble until histamine intolerance kicks in.

Even then, there’s a low chance that the symptoms will spike immediately. You might not even realize that you suffer from mild or moderate gut inflammation due to histamine intolerance until the symptoms worsen. But you shouldn’t wait for that to come and get an early diagnosis when the symptoms hit you with minimal intensity.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

Histamine intolerance isn’t a typical sensitivity to histamine but is your body’s indication that you have too much of it in your immune system. To add to the perks of histamine, apart from starting an immune response to allergic reactions or injuries, it also supports brain-body communication and seamless digestion.

But, when your body witnesses a very high level of histamine that doesn’t break down properly, it will deteriorate all of the usual body functions. A large number of people across the world have this problem, and here are a few mild and severe symptoms that people with histamine intolerance often experience:

Mild Symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Digestive issues
  • Disturbed menstrual cycle
  • Mild or migraine headache
  • Sinus problems or nasal congestion

Severe Symptoms:

  • Tissue swelling
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Frequent dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Fluctuating heart rate
  • Cramps in the abdomen region
  • Improper regulation of body temperature

Detecting Histamine Intolerance

If you’re experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, mild or severe, you must immediately get in touch with your doctors.


Before reaching the point of diagnosing the histamine intolerance condition, they’ll ensure that your body is free from all health disorders or allergies that contribute to causing similar symptoms.

Doctors detect histamine intolerance in two distinct ways. The first way of detecting histamine intolerance is by proposing an elimination diet. It means that when on an elimination diet, you have to stop consuming all food items that have histamine in them or trigger the body to produce more histamine.

The doctors recommend an elimination diet to continue for 15-30 days. After the specified period, the doctors will slowly reintroduce your body to histamine to observe new reactions. This way, they can be sure that your body has developed histamine intolerance.

The second way of detecting histamine intolerance is through a prick test. Doctors will prick your skin and apply 1% histamine solution. If your suspicion of histamine intolerance is right, your skin around the pricked area will develop an itchy bump and turn red.

The situation is considered mild if the reaction goes away in 50 minutes, and if not, then severe histamine intolerance is reported for the patient.

Histamine Intolerance and Your Digestive System

We already know that digestive health and histamine intolerance doesn’t go well in a pair. But, there are several ways our digestive system takes the blow when our body is dealing with histamine intolerance. They are:

SIBO and Dysbiosis

If you have ever experienced gut inflammation, irrespective of the cause, you might be aware of SIBO, and dysbiosis is one of the major causes that create it in your gut. SIBO and Dysbiosis are also responsible for lowering the DAO levels and supporting mast cell activation.

SIBO and Dysbiosis are responses caused by bacteria overgrowth, often found at the base of histamine intolerance. So, can gut bacteria cause histamine intolerance? Yes, it might!

Gut bacteria are responsible for producing histamine, and they might degrade it as well. An overgrowth of these bacteria can be responsible for triggering more symptoms of histamine intolerance.

DAO Enzyme Deficiency

There are two different types of histamines one is exogenous histamine which comes from dietary sources, and endogenous histamine, which is produced within the body. DAO enzyme deficiency becomes a problem due to the incapability of breaking down the exogenous histamine.

doctor in clinic talking to a patient

Histamine breaks down in your gut with the use of these DAO enzymes. The most common cause of histamine intolerance is a production deficiency of these enzymes. Gastrointestinal diseases and gut imbalances are a few reasons that result in lowering DAO levels.

Some of those imbalances are SIBO and dysbiosis, which causes gut inflammation. The inflammation in your gut wall adversely affects the cells responsible for producing DAO. Apart from these two disorders, food intolerances, leaky gut and gluten sensitivities, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and other such problems might also contribute to worsening the levels of DAO.

Fluctuations in Hormones

Histamine is also considered a natural hormone of our body which is produced by basophils, mast cells, and other such immune cells present in various tissues of our bodies. DAO and HNMT are common enzymes that contribute towards breaking down histamine and metabolizing it to maintain the balance in your body without causing intolerance.

The connection of histamine intolerance with hormones is quite well explained in biological terms. To keep it simple, you must know that mast cells that store and produce histamine also consist of estrogen and progesterone receptors.

The rise of estrogen in your body indicates that your body produces more histamine but excretes less. It deteriorates the production of DAO enzymes! As a result, this action contributes to triggering histamine intolerance. You can now conclude that estrogen contributes to producing histamine, whereas histamine also boosts the production of estrogen. It’s a vicious cycle!

Such hormonal fluctuation that causes histamine intolerance is also responsible for deteriorating gut health. Due to these fluctuations, the food that passes through the intestines speeds up more than usual. It results in stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea.

Consuming Too Many Histamine-Rich Foods or DAO Blockers

Consuming too much histamine-rich food that’s responsible for releasing more and more histamine and blocking the DAO enzymes will lead you to suffer from this intolerance.

As you consume histamine and block the DAOs from doing their job, the body will surrender to the intolerance, and you’ll start having symptoms such as headache, diarrhea, asthma, hypotension, and flushing.


What Foods Contain Histamine?

If you want to clear histamine from your body, the first thing your doctor would recommend is to change your diet. And the food items that consist of histamine and you must avoid are:

  • Alcohol
  • Spinach
  • Shellfish
  • Eggplant
  • Avocados
  • Dried fruits
  • Aged cheese
  • Dairy products
  • Fermented foods
  • Fermented beverages
  • Processed/smoked meats

The above food items contain exogenous histamine, which is released into your body when you consume it. But, apart from that, there are certain food items that trigger your body from within to produce more endogenous histamine.

In case you’re witnessing adverse symptoms due to the overproduction of histamine in your body, you should avoid the following foods as well:

  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Papaya
  • Bananas
  • Additives
  • Chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Food dyes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Wheat germ

If your doctors have already advised you that your body is unable to break down histamine, and is blocking the DAO production, then avoid consuming energy drinks, green tea, mate tea, or black tea. It’s because they’ll furthermore suppress the DAO production and make you vulnerable to histamine intolerance.

Histamine Intolerance Treatment

As per medical experts, there are a few ways using which you can expect to treat histamine intolerance and neutralize its symptoms. Here are those methods for your understanding:

1. Probiotics

Bifidobacterium longum is one of the popular probiotics used for degrading histamine intolerance symptoms. The purpose of it is to reduce the inflammatory response of your gut after meals and avoid leaky gut syndrome, preventing the condition from worsening.

man holding probiotic supplement in white bottle

Consuming Bifidobacterium lactis with the other probiotics will help break down histamine to improve the threat to your body due to the autoimmune response.

2. Foods Low in Histamine

If you’re suffering from histamine intolerance, then there are certain food items that you should preferably consume to reduce the symptoms. There’s no such histamine-free diet.

All you can do is consume low-histamine foods to neutralize the symptoms. Some of the foods that you can consider eating with this condition are:

  • Eggs
  • Cooking oils
  • Non-citrus fruits
  • Gluten-free grains
  • Fresh meat or fresh fish
  • Coconut or almond milk

Add these items to your diet in a limited amount and proper routine to improve your histamine intolerance symptoms.

3. L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine for leaky gut is widely popular for improving gut health and healing the mucosal barrier function. Hence, this impacts reducing the histamine levels and improves overall gut health.

The practical tests have proven that L-Glutamine can cure leaky gut conditions in just ten days and, at the same time, shows considerable improvement to your histamine intolerance.

4. Autoimmune Foods

As histamine intolerance is a form of autoimmune disease, medical experts have noted some specific autoimmune foods for you to help neutralize the symptoms along with other treatment procedures, which include:

  • Berries
  • Salmon
  • Turmeric
  • Sauerkraut
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower

5. Mast Cell Stabilizers

Histamine intolerance is an allergic disorder that can be neutralized with mast cell stabilizers. Consuming this medication with the prescribed dosage will ensure that the degranulation of the mast cells is blocked and stabilized to prevent the release of histamine. Talk to your doctors to get proper guidance on the dosage pattern based on your condition.

You can also check about colostrum to treat leaky gut.

Let’s Break the Bond Between Leaky Gut and Histamine Intolerance: FAQs

Can Leaky Gut Cause High Histamine Levels?

Yes, leaky gut or gut permeability can be one of the many causes of releasing high histamine in your body. SIBO, dysbiosis, food sensitivity, and other such gut problems also contribute to increasing histamine levels.

How Do You Cure a Histamine Intolerance Gut?

You can cure histamine intolerance by taking probiotics, avoiding histamine-rich foods, consuming a low-histamine diet, taking mast cell stabilizer medication, and consuming autoimmune foods. But, it’s still better to consult your doctor to determine other remedies to improve your condition.

man with stomach pain

Can Leaky Gut Cause Mast Cell Activation?

Yes, a leaky gut is responsible for causing mast cell activation, increasing histamine production. All gastrointestinal symptoms associated with gut disorders, such as SIBO, candida, and dysbiosis, are also responsible for activating mast cells.

Is Histamine Intolerance Related to Leaky Gut?

Yes, histamine intolerance and leaky gut are related to one another. Histamine intolerance condition is caused due to lack of DAO enzymes in the gut. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down histamine in our body. 


The best way to prevent histamine intolerance is to treat your gut health immediately. Along with that, if you’re already diagnosed with mild symptoms of high histamine levels in your body, then change your diet immediately, and consume foods that have low-histamine levels.

Following that, you can pair up your treatment remedies with Optima Healthy Gut Solution, a supplement that treats your leaky gut syndrome, reduces inflammation, improves digestive health, and helps the body break down nutrients. It will help you in the quest to heal your histamine intolerance symptoms! 

Also, check our post about Saccharomyces boulardii for leaky gut.

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