There is a rare condition known as Histamine Intolerance or HIT which gives sufferers a range of symptoms such as stomach complaints, rashes, puffiness, hives, sleep problems and “cottonwool head”. Any of these sound familiar?
Histamine is a chemical compound produced by our body that is an essential part of our immune response. We all know people who get bitten and hardly react and others who swell up like a balloon. The latter may produce more histamine (the body gets over excited and produces too much) or may not have enough of an enzyme that metabolises the histamine.
So far so good. What you may not be so familiar with though is that histamine is also found in foods. Bread, cheese (especially mature), wine, vinegar, bacon, smoked or canned fish, shellfish, most fermented and preserved foods and unfortunately chocolate! It gets more complicated though because other foods, such as tomatoes, spinach, nuts, citrus fruits and many spices don’t contain it but can release it. Trying to avoid these foods will leave you with a very restrictive diet so it is probably best to see a kinesiologist and get the worst culprits identified.
To help suppress the histamine response you can take Vitamin C preferably mixed with bioflavanoids especially Quercetin (which is even listed on the WebMD site as being a good blocker!), plant sterols (great at balancing the body) and Omega 3.
You can also take Stinging Nettle leaf extract which is apparently the best herb for this. You could try making a tea out of the leaves – I would use immerse them for a while and then take them out before drinking – I’m not sure how long a nettle leaf retains its sting! And obviously handle them with gloves on!
Let me know how you get on and if you want more help selecting the right supplement or foods to avoid then get in touch.