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Can Histamine Cause Anxiety? (How You Can Help Symptoms)

Can histamine cause anxiety? And if so, how do you know if it is a problem, and how do you get control over the symptoms? A histamine intolerance can cause anxiety as well as other problems. Getting control over a histamine problem is an important step to lowering anxiety levels. Find out if you are in this group of people and how anxiety may be related to your histamine problems. 

can histamine cause anxiety

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Many people are not aware of the problems that histamines cause.  Dealing with them can be a game changer.  I know this first hand because I have a histamine intolerance. Working on problem areas of my health, however, has allowed me to be less sensitive to them. I am still cautious and take care of myself accordingly.

My daughters both had problems with this as well. My oldest daughter is extremely sensitive to experiencing anxiety due to health issues and histamines, so she needs to make sure her body is in balance. I want you or your loved one to experience the same as well. 

Find out what histamine is, why and how it can cause anxiety, as well as solutions and ways to manage this antagonizing problem of histamine intolerance.

Find out all you need to know to fully answer the question Can Histamine Cause Anxiety?, and the important ways to handle this problem.

What is a Histamine?

Histamines are chemicals made by the body. They are stored in parts of the body such as lymph nodes and the thymus, but a large amount are made and stored in mast cells (immune cells).

A few of histamine's functions include gastric acid production in the stomach, creation of cytokines dealing with inflammation, helping the immune system clear out invaders, and heart rate regulation. It also acts as a neurotransmitter and promotes stress hormones to be released, causing anxiety. 

If there is too much of something that should not be in the body, a chemical is released. This occurs with an allergy too. An allergic reaction triggers histamines to be released from the mast cells. This begins the process of clearing invaders out of the body.

Therefore, histamines are not a bad thing. They are actually a normal, needed function of the body. However, histamines can become out of control leading to a histamine intolerance.

What is Histamine intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is when the body has an abundance of histamine in the body that cannot be broken down and dispersed. 

Histamine intolerance occurs for different reasons. One reason is that the body's enzymatic pathways are not able to properly break down histamines that the body takes in. Two main enzyme pathways that work to break down histamines are DOA, (diamine oxidase), and HNTN (Histamine N-Methyltransferase). If these pathways are not working properly, a histamine imbalance will occur.

Excess histamine may also be due to the body producing too much histamine, ingesting too much histamine, or both. Additionally, problems with methylation as well as enzymatic mutation may contribute to histamine imbalance. The list below shows the main causes.

what causes histamine intolerance?

Here are some of the reasons histamine intolerance occurs:

  • Gut issues and Digestive issues
  • Nutrient deficiency (which goes hand and hand with gut problems)
  • Environmental Factors such as toxicities from Heavy Metals, Mold, Pollutants, etc.
  • Chronic illness and infections
  • Constant stress, worry, pressure on body
  • Genetic Problems and Methylation Issues
  • Diet that is high in histamine foods
  • Enzymatic dysfunction
  • Interference from medications
  • Hormonal imbalance

Many times Mast Cell Activation Syndrome occurs alongside histamine intolerance, however, not always.  Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is common with people with autoimmune diseases, make this group of people more susceptible to histamine issues. The large majority of people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome have a histamine intolerance as well.

what does histamine feel like?

Histamines are not felt until there is a build-up of too many or when they are released to do their jobs. When this is the case, histamines can result in itching, watery eyes, skin irritations such as rashes or acne, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, and so on. Another problem that can occur, which we will focus on, is anxiety.

how does histamine affect anxiety?

Hormone Levels and Histamines

First of all, according to naturopath and methylation specialist Joanne Kennedy, anxiety can be triggered by oestrogen. Histamine increases oestrogen in the body. In turn the oestrogen increases histamine activity in the brain. Anxiety is a symptom of this cycle.

Histamine as a neurotransmitter

Also, studies suggest that histamine is included as one of the neurotransmitters affecting anxiety levels in people. Additional studies find acute and chronic stress aids in the release of increased histamine in different parts of the body leading to feelings of anxiety.

Histamine and Panic Attacks

A third way anxiety can be caused by histamines is through overregulation of blood pressure. Histamines open blood vessels to allow for blood flow. This is a normal reaction to inflammation in the body. However, this process becomes abnormal when an excess of histamines are released into the body causing a rise in heart rate and drop in blood pressure. In turn, panic  disorder and anxiety set in.

Heart Rate and Histamines

Histamines have been linked in studies to high heart rate responses in the body as well. A fast hear rate will occur due to histamines widening the blood vessels and trying to push blood flow throw with less pressure.  Symptoms of anxiety occur as a result of the increased heart rate.

Histamines and Sleep Regulation

The sleep-wake cycle is also effected by an overload of brain histamine. Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality can both cause anxiety symptoms to occur.

Other Symptoms of High histamine levels?

Histamine can trigger so much anxiety that anxiety turns to fearfulness. When the body is stressed, histamine is released.  The histamine triggers other neurotransmitters to not function accordingly, causing more stress and anxiety, leading to panic attacks and fear.

histamines and fear

Looking for other histamine intolerance symptoms will be helpful to determine if your anxiety is related to histamine triggers. Here are some additional symptoms of histamine intolerance:

  • Hormonal imbalances/ menstrual cycle issues
  • Hives, Rashes, and skin irritations
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Intense and frequent headaches
  • Food intolerance or Food allergies 
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feelings of Depression
  • Feelings of Fear

These symptoms are often related to other problems in the body which may be triggering a stress response and causing high levels of histamines. Getting to the root cause can help alleviate anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

How Stress relates to histamines and anxiety

Stress can cause mast cells to release mediator molecules into the body with histamine being one of them. In turn, histamine causes inflammation.  This inflammatory response affects so many other parts of the body. Gut and digestive disruption along with histamine release in the brain all can occur which leads to neurotransmitter disruption and anxiety.

Additionally, stress can deplete nutrient levels and interferes with nutrient absorption. Proper amounts of vitamins and minerals are needed in the body for mood disorders not to occur. Anxiety is one of these disorders that will occur if vitamins and minerals are not adequately met.

Thirdly, stress and histamine generate a cycle that creates more of one another.  For instance, stress affects sleep regulation and can stimulate insomnia symptoms. Lack of sleep creates stress on the body in turn promoting further release of histamines.  Both stress and histamines are documented by studies and findings to affect sleep as well as anxiety.

ways to manage Stress to lower histamines

Dealing with stress in the body will trigger less histamines. The following are some ways to best handle stress.  Begin with the easiest to implement. No reason to stress your body out further trying to reduce stress.  I have linked a post to read next on proven ways to reduce stress at the end of this post. It provides you with more detailed ideas on ways to best handle stress.

  • Set a sleep schedule that promotes high quality sleep for the amount of time your body needs.
  • Schedule a reasonable amount of things to do; Don't overschedule yourself.  This leads to frustration, rushing, and negative feelings which stresses the body out.
  • Do one thing enjoyable for yourself at least 15 minutes each day.
  • Journal to get out excess ideas and feelings of anxiousness.
  • Gentle exercise, stretching, walking outside, partaking in outside elements help the body to relax and get grounded.
  • Any time you can walk on the sand or near the ocean, do it.  
  • Read the Bible and pray for focus, prioritizing, and guidance. This is amazingly helpful.
  • Listen to relaxing music.
  • Acupressure massages- usually you can get these in smaller increments which are more affordable.

Supplements to help with histamines and anxiety

There are supplements that we take or have taken that have helped a lot with histamine control. Here is a list:

  • Histamine Block by Seeking Health- This is my favorite DAO supplement on the market.  This is an DAO containing enzyme formulated for helping to break down histamine.
  • Histamine-Friendly Probiotic- Probiotics can be problematic for people with histamines. This one we use.
  • MC Stabilizer- We have not used this one personally yet, but it is a highly-beneficial product from a trusted-source. Check this out for people with mast cell disorder and histamine problems.
  • SPM Active from Metagenics  (Fish Oil) 
    • Fatty acids play an important role in regards to body healing and histamine levels.  However, many fish oils are high-histamine, making it difficult for people with autoimmune disease or histamine intolerant to ingest the fish oil.
    • This Fish oil is made from smaller fish and tends to be more better tolerated by the histamine sensitive. 
  • Magnesium  - This is an important supplement for absorbing nutrients. Magnesium deficiency is related to histamine issues, body stress, sleep, and anxiety.
  • Minerals  - This is one of my favorite supplements for helping with anxiety and the other effects from histamine. 
  • Quercetin - We always have this on hand because it helps with histamine reactions. If you are out and about and need to eat something with a little more histamine, then taking one of these can benefit you.

What to avoid 

High Histamine Foods

High histamine foods should be avoided to prevent a histamine cascade. Also, less histamine-rich foods will help if DAO enzyme levels are low and cannot break down histamines. This is the list I refer to most when following a low-histamine diet.  Dairy products are usually a trigger and gluten intolerance usually a factor for people with histamine intolerance.

Exercise that Triggers Stress

It is best to do exercises that allow your body to be fit but without stressing it out too much. There is a difference between healthy stress and excessive stress. I used to push myself so hard that my body would feel wiped out and drained to weakness. This was not a healthy stress. I learned to listen to my body. You are able to exercise, feel good, and benefit your body.

Lack of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep with stress the body out creating additional histamines to be release into the body.  It is vital to implement a routine that will provide you with a healthy, high-quality night sleep.

Excess Alcohol and Coffee

Drinking too much alcohol and coffee will trigger a histamine effect. It is believed that histamines are triggered due to the toxins and pesticides present in the coffee, so quality matters.

What to do and Foods to Eat 

Elimination Diet of High histamine foods

Going on a low histamine diet to get rid of excess histamines is a great way to see if they are a problem for you and the anxiety you are experiencing. This will help if DAO activity cannot keep up with the dietary histamine being consumed.

Smaller portioned meals & eating slower

Eat smaller portions giving time for the digestive system to work. This is especially the case in people with digestive issues such as with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial growth).

Eat More Organic apples and Lemons

Apples are loaded with antioxidants and contains quercetin. These help with inflammation and have an antihistamine effect. lemons are great for detoxing the body.

Less exposure to Chemicals, Mold, allergy triggers

Eating an organic diet and limiting your intake of chemicals and toxin exposure should be considered. Toxicities will trigger reactions to histamines.

Get to the root or underlying cause

Finding a doctor to help you get your body to a healthy state will get histamine issues under control and relieve anxiety.

What other deficiencies cause anxiety?

Many of the deficiencies linked to anxiety are also linked to problems with histamines and mast cells disorders. This is not coincidence since many of the body's symptoms are related to these problems. The following is a list of nutritional deficiencies that promote anxiety:

  • Magnesium
  • Minerals- Zinc, Selenium, Copper, iron
  • Vitamin D
    • this vitamin is associated with many health problems. Seeking out natural sources is highly recommended. 
  • Vitamin B6
    • If you have a known problem with mold, then this is a B6 supplement to use that will not interfere with the mold problem.

Where to start to help histamines and anxiety?

In order to know if histamines are an issue, try a low-histamine diet. Taking foods out that may trigger histamines to be released is a great way to test and see if histamines are problematic for you. 

This post was all about answering the question- Can histamine cause anxiety?- we covered why and how anxiety is caused by histamine and solutions to implement for less histamine and anxiety symptoms. Look below for further informational links.

Low histamine Diet

Beth Ohara- a Functional Naturopath that Suffers from Histamine Intolerance

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