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Can Histamine Intolerance Cause Headaches and Migraines? Understanding the Link and Effective Strategies

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I'm Joanne
I’m a Naturopath, MTHFR & Methylation Specialist. I’m dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals so you can live a vibrant & fulfilling life

Can Histamine Intolerance Cause Headaches and Migraines? Understanding the Link and Effective Strategies

Introduction:

Various factors, including certain foods, can trigger headaches and migraines. Have you ever wondered why red wine, oranges, chocolate, and aged cheese often lead to migraines? The common factor among them is histamine. In this blog post, we’ll explore the connection between histamine intolerance and headaches/migraines, uncovering the mechanisms behind these symptoms and providing strategies for relief.

Histamine and Headaches/Migraines

Histamine, when elevated in the body, increases nitric oxide levels, leading to vasodilation or the expansion of blood vessels. This vasodilation causes increased blood flow to the brain, triggering symptoms such as pain, flashing lights, double vision, vertigo, heightened sensitivity to light, smells, and noise, as well as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Food Triggers and Histamine:

Common migraine triggers like red wine, oranges, chocolate, and aged cheese are high in histamine. However, histamine doesn’t solely originate from food sources. Other factors that increase histamine levels include gut dysbiosis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), DAO enzyme overload, estrogen fluctuations, and mold exposure.

Managing Histamine-Related Headaches & Migraines:

1. Address Gut Dysbiosis and SIBO:

Balancing the gut microbiome and treating SIBO can help reduce histamine release from certain bacteria in the gut.

2. Support DAO Enzyme Function: ​

The DAO enzyme, responsible for degrading histamine, can become overloaded. Enhancing DAO enzyme activity through dietary strategies, supplementation, and optimizing liver detoxification of estrogen can be beneficial.

3. Optimize Methylation:

When the DAO enzyme is overwhelmed, the HNMT enzyme assumes control over histamine degradation. Supporting optimal methylation, which provides methyl groups required by the HNMT enzyme, can help regulate histamine levels.

4. Reduce High Histamine Foods:

Minimizing the consumption of foods high in histamine can lessen the histamine load on the body and potentially alleviate symptoms.

5. Balance Hormones:

Fluctuations in estrogen levels can influence histamine release, exacerbating headaches and migraines. Balancing hormones, particularly progesterone, can support DAO enzyme activity and help break the histamine-estrogen cycle.

Conclusions:

Histamine intolerance can contribute to headaches and migraines due to its impact on blood vessel dilation and neurotransmitter activity. By addressing gut health, supporting enzyme function, optimizing methylation, and managing hormone balance, it’s possible to mitigate histamine-related symptoms. Remember, a healthcare professional must provide personalized guidance for creating an effective management plan tailored to your specific needs.

References:

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  6. Izquierdo-Casas J et al 2018, ‘Low serum diamine oxidase (DAO) activity levels in patients with migraine’, Journal of Physiology & Biochemistry’, vol 74, no 1 PMID: 28624934
  7. Garcia-Marin E 2015, ‘Diamine oxidase rs10156191 and rs2052129 variants are associated with the risk for migraine’, Headache, vol 55, no. 2, pp.276-8 PMID: 25612138
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Disclaimer:

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

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