The Histamine-Anxiety Connection
Itchiness, skin rashes, hives, hayfever, nasal congestion, blocked nose, diarrhea, tummy pain, headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure, fatigue. Do you struggle with any of these symptoms?
If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, you could have an intolerance to histamine. What's more, histamine intolerance could be driving your anxiety symptoms. Symptoms like heart palpitations, insomnia, overstimulation and panic attacks have all been linked to histamine excess. Keep reading to find out more about the histamine-anxiety connection AND what you can do about it.
What is Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine intolerance is a condition where the body has difficulty breaking down histamine, a chemical involved in the immune response and digestive processes. Trouble breaking down histamine can lead to a buildup in the body. This can cause irritation in different areas of the body and result in symptoms ranging from nasal congestion, to skin rashes and fatigue.
How is it linked to Anxiety?
One of the ways histamine can create havoc in the body is by affecting the brain and nervous system. That's right, histamine intolerance has also been linked to anxiety symptoms. Some research even suggests that high levels of histamine can contribute to panic attacks. One study also found that histamine intolerance is more common in people with anxiety disorders, and that treating it could improve anxiety symptoms.
The connection between histamine intolerance and anxiety could be due to the role that histamine plays in the nervous system. Histamine is involved i regulating the body's stress response, and high levels of histamine can lead to increased nervous system activity and heightened anxiety.
Histamine excess can also contribute to anxiety and panic by causing anxiety provoking symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and rapid heart rate. Digestive issues related to histamine intolerance can also contribute to anxiety as gut health is so closely connected to mental health.
How do we Treat it?
Treatment for histamine intolerance often involves following a low-histamine diet, avoiding trigger foods, and taking supplements to support the body's ability to break down histamine. This can help to reduce the symptoms of histamine intolerance and improve overall health and well-being.
If you think you may be suffering from histamine intolerance, here are 5 things you can do to help treat the condition:
- Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods are known to be high in histamine or can cause the body to release more histamine. This includes fermented foods, aged cheeses, processed meats, shellfish, and alcohol. Avoiding these foods can greatly help to reduce symptoms of histamine intolerance.
- Take antihistamine supplements: Over-the-counter antihistamine medications can help to block the effects of histamine and relieve symptoms in the short-term. If you see an improvement in your symptoms this is a strong sign that you have a histamine intolerance. In the long-term however natural anti-histamines such as vitamin C and quercetin are a better choice to help reduce histamine.
- Eat a low-histamine diet: Some people benefit from following a low-histamine diet, which involves avoiding both high histamine foods and histamine promoting foods.
- Support your digestive system: Histamine intolerance often results from damage to the gut lining. Maintaining a healthy digestive system is therefore important for breaking down and eliminating histamine from the body. Eating gut healing foods, taking low histamine probiotics, and avoiding food allergens can all help to support a healthy digestive system.
- Address underlying conditions: Histamine intolerance can be the result of underlying conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), hormonal imbalances or toxic exposures. Treating these conditions can help to improve symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Histamine intolerance and anxiety symptoms are closely connected, with high levels of histamine contributing to anxiety and panic attacks. Treating histamine intolerance can improve anxiety symptoms and overall health. Remember that this is a complex condition that often requires a personalized approach. So it is also important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment. By avoiding trigger foods, taking antihistamine supplements, eating a low-histamine diet, supporting your digestive system, and addressing underlying conditions, you can help to manage symptoms of histamine intolerance and improve your overall health.