Following a Carnivore Diet with Histamine Intolerance

The Carnivore Diet can be perfect for those with a confirmed histamine intolerance by a licensed practitioner.

The main foods eaten on an all-meat diet are naturally low in histamines and therefore, can help alleviate existing conditions and prevent complications from progressing.

Those with histamine intolerance following the Carnivore Diet can eat low-histamine foods like fresh meats, eggs, and non-fermented dairy products (milk, butter, etc.)

Foods to Consume

Those with histamine intolerance should eat:

  • Fresh or frozen meat
  • Fresh or frozen fish
  • Eggs
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Fresh milk products
    • NOT fermented dairy products

As long as the person does not also have food sensitivities to any of these foods as well.

Food to Avoid

Aside from the known foods not included on an all-meat diet, those with histamine intolerance should also refrain from consuming:

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  • Aged/processed/smoked meats
  • Aged cheeses
  • Any fermented dairy products (including yogurt and kefir)
  • Shellfish
  • Any canned meats, including sardines
  • Raw egg whites
  • Alcohol (surprise, this is the Carnivore Diet)

Histamine Intolerance

Histamine is a chemical responsible for various functions in the body. A histamine intolerance does not mean histamine is not tolerated in the body; it merely means there is likely too much of it present.

When histamine is present in too high of levels, various chemical processes in the body can be disrupted and affect normal body function.

Some chemical processes made possible by histamine include:

  • Signaling of stomach acid used in digestion
  • Communication of messages in the brain
  • Commands an immune response after allergic reactions or injuries

Histamine intolerance is quite rare, affecting an estimated 1% of the population. This is an estimate, but people are not often diagnosed with this intolerance.

Histamine intolerance is often mistaken for other conditions, like gastrointestinal diseases and food allergies.

Can Diet Affect Histamine Levels?

Yes, the diet has a strong connection to the development of histamine intolerances. In the body, histamine and the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) are naturally produces alongside one another. DAO breaks down the histamine present in the body, but when these levels become unbalanced, histamine can continue building in the system without a mechanism to dispose of it.

The other enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine is histamine-N-methyltransferase or HNMT.

DOA and HNMT deficiencies contribute to histamine intolerance as much as high histamine levels do by themselves.

There are numerous reasons a person may develop a histamine intolerance or DAO deficiency, but some common ones include:

  • Foods that block DAO enzymes or trigger the release of histamine in large amounts
  • Gastrointestinal maladies like inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut syndrome
  • Medications that block the production of DAO
  • Increase in histamine released by one’s digestion
  • A decrease in HNMT

Common Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

Many symptoms experiences are the same as can be seen through food intolerances or even food allergies. The magnitude of symptoms can, of course, vary between individuals, as diet can play a significant role in this issue.

Common symptoms include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Fatigue
  • Hives
  • Sneezing
  • Nausea
  • Congestion
  • Headaches

Other, more severe symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tissue swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Irregular heart rate

Speak to a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms as it could very well be severe.

Medications and Conditions Affecting DAO Levels

The list of prescribed drugs that can contribute to a DAO level is long, but many of the medicines listed are commonly used.

The list of DAO inhibiting prescription drugs includes:

  • Antibiotics
  • Heart medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain killers
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • GERD medication
  • Diuretics
  • Airway medications

Over-the-counter medicines include:

  • Asprin
  • Naproxen
  • Indocin
  • Voltaren

Other common factors include:

  • Alcohol
  • Intestinal conditions affecting the gut lining
  • Liver issues
  • Vitamin deficiencies (Vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, zinc)
  • Stress
  • Low Oxygen
  • Injury

Taking a basic multivitamin can prevent deficiencies of these vitamins.

Histamine Intolerance Diagnosis

There is no test capable of determining whether a histamine intolerance is present or not. An allergist or immunologist will often diagnosis this by ruling out all other possible allergies or intolerances, even if histamine intolerance is suspected.

These tests may include a skin prick test which is used to look for or rule out other allergies.

There are some draw-backs to a skin prick test, though. Just because a sensitivity does not appear on the skin with this test, does not mean the digestive tract will respond the same way. An allergy of the digestive system may not be an allergy of the skin, leaving some holes in this method of testing.

A food diary is also a beneficial way of tracking food eaten any symptoms experienced. This is not a high-tech or invasive method, but if monitored appropriately, can explain as much or more as medical testing can.

Another common issue with testing for histamine intolerances is the fact that they may not register as acutely as food allergies due in response to the foods being eaten.

With food allergies, every time that food is consumed, the immune system will respond. With histamine, intolerance can be more challenging to spot, because sometimes a response won’t occur, even if the foods eaten are high in histamine.

This has to do with the fluctuating levels of DAO and other factors affecting the reaction severity. Taking a break from these foods for a long time before introducing them back in will likely allow them to be eaten for a period before histamine levels begin to build back up again.

After the allergist has ruled out tests, a gastroenterologist may be needed to determine if there are digestive intolerances or diseases present.

Often they will need to test for:

  • Celiac disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)

Summary

The Carnivore Diet can be very beneficial to those with histamine intolerances, as many of the notorious foods are not allowed on this zero-carb diet to begin with. Avoiding processed meats and fermented dairy products will help ensure there is not excess histamine resulting from the foods being eaten.

Because the Carnivore Diet is anti-inflammatory, following this method can also help the body recover from havoc wreaked by any food intolerance.

Often, dietary changes can be all that is needed to correct a histamine intolerance. Keeping a food blog and tracking everything eaten in it can be the most beneficial step to take. Even when symptoms seem to improve, continue monitoring, this way, any patterns will appear quickly, and without having to guess what you ate two weeks ago.

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