That’s the $60m question isn’t it – and that’s what most of the new histamine factsheet is all about. Obviously, I can’t cover 40-odd pages of info here for you in a blog post – you can get the £5 factsheet on the shop and on Amazon if you need chapter and verse.
Many people think it is all about DAO and, although some people’s issues with histamine excess may indeed be because they don’t have enough DAO, which helps to break it down in the gut mainly, I find it is problems with methylation that is the real problem clinically in many. And, even it it were DAO, just why do people not have enough anyway?
These two mechanisms are the main ways we break down histamine so it stands to reason if one or even both of these mechanisms are awry, then the histamine bucket is going to easily overflow, doesn’t it? The issue seems to me to be that people don’t have enough of the nutrient co-factors to keep these mechanisms working as effectively as they might. It’s the old ‘needing the right nutrient in the right place in the right amount at the right time scenario’ isn’t it?
So, for example, I see so many people on hair tests who come back with magnesium and B6 problems. I used to assume it was maybe an anomaly on the test but actually more often than not the symptom picture fits a deficiency of these. Both of those, for a start – and there are quite a few more – are crucial for both enzyme processes to work. I’ve included an enzyme-boosting sort of protocol and my reasoning for it in the factsheet for you to consider.
But those two are not the only way to go. Here’s a bit about genetics from the factsheet:
There are several gene ‘weaknesses’ we might have that can impact on how we deal with histamine and we’ve mentioned a few of them. Here are a few useful tips I picked up during my research in case they help.
MAO: this requires B2 as a co-factor and people who have migraines related to histamine will often benefit from boosting B2. MAO is often slower in men.
MTHFR: the methylation gene reduces intracellular histamine and also requires plenty of B2 to work effectively.
HNMT: also reduces intracellular histamine (ie. that which we make ourselves) and needs SAMe as above and optimal methylation.
DAO: reduces extracellular histamine (ie. from diet, environment and bacteria) and needs copper and B6 to work as we’ve seen above. Did you know pigs have loads of DAO so no wonder they can eat all that rotting food?!
PEMT: produces phosphatidyl choline which is crucial for cell membranes, more of why this is important below..
Are we slow acetylators…?
Acetylation, a phase 2 process in the liver, is mostly involved in breaking down toxic by-products of caffeine, flourine, smoked or roasted meats, some meds and antibiotics – but also excess histamine, both that we make ourselves and from foods.
This process involves N-acetyl transferases (NATs) and there are two main types: NAT1 and NAT2. When someone has a gene SNP (a weakness) on the NAT enzymes, we can become so-called ‘slow acetylators’ and this goes on to cause, amongst other things, multiple chemical sensitivity and histamine problems because we are not so efficient at clearing them through the body. The symptoms include migraine, headaches and allergies, especially sensitivity to chemicals/smells.
If we are a slow acetylator, that can then put pressure on those other two key pathways, especially the methyltransferase pathway; we need to use methylation processes a lot more to cope. What happens if your methylation and therefore the methyltransferase pathway is not working very well either? Oops. We then have a double whammy. Add a DAO weakness and we’ve got the triple – no wonder histamine would be an issue!
You can genetically test your NAT, HNMT and DAO SNPs to see if you have weaknesses there. I can’t find them all in one test sadly, but the DAO and HNMT and MAO genes are tested in the LGx Histamine Gene test. The NAT genes are measured in the LGx Detox test and MTHFR in the LGx Methylation Gene test. You can combine those tests, pay full for the Histamine one and then any other additional test is discounted. You can see the Gene Tests here. I found I had a weakness on the NAT2 gene when I did it – go figure!
Happily, again, there are co-factors you can use to boost your acetylation ability and I’ve included that protocol too for you in case it comes up positive for you too.
So, those are some key ways of thinking about histamine intolerance but there is much more in the book if you need it, with product-specific protocols as I go along.
I hope this mini-series has given you a flavour of how packed with info the 44 page new Histamine Intolerance factsheet is – I do try my best for you, you know 😉
Here’s to being much less histameanie in the future…let me know if it helps you, I do like to hear 🙂