In this post, learn about the best supplements for histamine intolerance, symptoms of histamine intolerance, foods to help manage it, and foods to avoid.
Histamine is a type of neurotransmitter that is naturally found in some foods.
However, the body also makes histamine within the body regularly and makes high amounts as a response to allergies.
Serving as a neurotransmitter, histamine has functions that are essential in our bodies. These functions include helping to keep you alert, focused, and sleeping normally.
However, too much histamine can result in a lot of symptoms and can result from diet factors too.
Evidenced-based with 24 research studies to back this post.
Contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure page for more information.
Table of Contents
Best Supplements for Histamine Intolerance Overview
The following histamine intolerance supplements help to reduce histamine levels in your body in a natural way.
They also happen to be great for your immune system too.
Here is a list of the top supplements for histamine intolerance:
- Vitamin C
- Bovine colostrum
- Omega 3s
- Vitamin D
- High-quality multivitamin with minerals
- Histamine-friendly probiotics
Let’s take a closer look at each of these and how they work.
Best DAO Supplement for Histamine Intolerance
As far as histamine intolerance supplements go, diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme supplements can be really helpful. This is because they are the enzymes that break down histamine in the body.
Basically, DAO supplements are histamine scavengers. DAO supplements allow your body to tolerate histamine foods better than if you didn’t have them.
If you have sluggish diamine oxidase activity in your body, DAO supplements can be really helpful.
So for these reasons, they are the best digestive enzymes for histamine intolerance. These supplements are also helpful for mast cell activation syndrome.
Companies that have GMP certification and great reviews are the best DAO supplement brands.
The best diamine oxidase supplement brands are:
- Ancestral Supplements Kidney (natural DAO and cofactors): this is an all-natural product made with grass-fed beef kidneys. If you want a product that is like-treat-like, this is the way to go. It’s best to take this supplement 20 minutes before eating.
- Seeking Health DAO Plus not only contains DAO, but it also contains nutrient cofactors that help the body make DAO. This includes zinc, copper, vitamin B6, and magnesium. It also contains antioxidants including SAMe, PQQ, and alpha-ketoglutaric acid which help make glutamine and collagen in the body.
- Amy Myers Histazyme contains the highest standardized dose of DAO of any brand and is very highly rated.
Quercetin for Histamine Intolerance
Quercetin is a natural antioxidant that acts as a histamine block in the body. It reduces histamine release from mast cells in your body, including your digestive cells.
Said another way, quercetin works to help reduce histamine intolerance because it helps stabilize mast cells.
When taking quercetin, histamine intolerance can get better. But, a higher amount works better than a small amount. It is also safe because it is extracted from foods like apples and onions.
The best quercetin for histamine intolerance is Histamine X by Seeking Health because it contains a high dose of quercetin. It also contains histamine-reducing ingredients including stinging nettle, bromelain, and rutin. Serving as antioxidants and digestive enzymes, these help to calm down histamine reactions.
For people with high amounts of histamine intolerance, it is best to combine quercetin with DAO supplements.
Related post: 35 Powerful Anti Histamine Foods
Best Vitamin C for Histamine Intolerance
When it comes to histamine intolerance, vitamin C helps to reduce histamine release from mast cells. This is especially true if taken in large enough doses.
A lot of various vitamin C products can help with histamine intolerance. But keep in mind that vitamin C works best when taken several times a day rather than just once a day.
Vitamin C for histamine intolerance also helps the most when combined with quercetin. You can find both in the highly-rated Solgar Quercetin Complex.
This supplement is helpful for people with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) too.
Bovine Colostrum for Histamine Intolerance
Of all supplements for histamine intolerance, my personal favorite is bovine colostrum. This compound is a powerful tool for healing the gut. It also helps promote a healthy immune system and helps reduce histamine in the body.
The top pick for bovine colostrum is Sovereign Laboratories Colostrum LD.
Learn more about bovine colostrum in my post about The Best Colostrum Supplement for Leaky Gut + Benefits and Testimonials.
In order to have healthy histamine levels, you need to have adequate vitamin D levels in your blood.
Research shows that vitamin D supplements reduce histamine symptoms in people with allergic rhinitis.
A good vitamin D supplement for histamine intolerance is Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 drops.
Vitamin D supplements should be tailored to your own body’s needs.
This means that you should also check your vitamin D levels at least twice a year with your doctor or you can buy vitamin D test kits online. As a rule, the vitamin D test cost is often better with at-home test kits and is just as accurate as the kind at medical offices.
Herbs for Histamine Intolerance
Stinging nettles are very effective as a natural antihistamine and are safe. They are one of the supplements to lower histamine that are very effective.
Using nettles may seem foreign, but in fact, many cultures eat stinging nettles as food once the sting is removed by cooking them.
An inexpensive and high-quality nettles supplement is Now Stinging Nettle Root Extract on Fullscript’s pharmaceutical-grade supplements site.
Butterbur is another great herb and is as effective as over-the-counter antihistamines without the negative side effects of drugstore antihistamines.
Omega-3 fats can be a good histamine supplement. This is because they work to dampen down inflammation and help support the body’s DAO production.
Cod liver oil is better absorbed than most fish oil supplements, so I recommend using cod liver oil as the best omega-3 source.
Make sure to choose a good quality cod liver oil and also eat omega-3-rich foods like wild sardines, wild salmon, trout, mackerel, and walnuts.
Magnesium Supplements for Histamine Intolerance
Most people are low in magnesium. Supplements of magnesium can both support a healthy gut and support your body’s own natural immunity.
So, when it comes to histamine, magnesium has an indirect effect because it helps the body make DAO.
Make sure to try a healthy kind of magnesium.
- Oxy-Powder is a natural form of magnesium and can be used if you are constipated.
- Magnesium glycinate is a good choice because it is relaxing, absorbs well, and is less likely to have laxative effects.
Best Supplements for Histamine Intolerance: Probiotics
Probiotics can be histamine-reducing supplements and are helpful for managing histamine intolerance. But it is important to choose the right ones.
When you take probiotics, you are supporting healthy intestinal cells and naturally make more DAO enzymes in your gut too.
Probiotics that are low in histamine can be helpful for the microbiome and support your body’s ability to reduce histamine.
You can find a good probiotic without histamine like Seeking Health Probiotia HistaminX.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
Histamine intolerance is recognized as a type of food intolerance that plagues people with various gut symptoms.
It also can cause many other issues.
In fact, over 20 percent of the Western world has some form of intolerance to foods.
Research shows that the following histamine intolerance symptoms are the most common symptoms of histamine intolerance.
People often have a combination of 3 or more total symptoms, including digestive symptoms along with respiratory, skin, or cardiovascular symptoms.
Digestive Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
The following are gut symptoms that result from histamine intolerance. All of these symptoms are very similar to non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other gastrointestinal diseases as well.
- Fullness after eating
- Abdominal pain
- Intestinal colic
Skin conditions occur in about 25-50% of people with histamine intolerance and include:
- Red eyelids
Heart and lung symptoms
Cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms are almost as common as digestive symptoms with histamine intolerance and include:
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
Hormonal symptoms of histamine intolerance include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Menstrual pain
- Excessive bleeding
What Causes Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine intolerance is different from a food allergy. But, they can have similar treatments.
A food allergy causes the body to mount an immune response after eating allergic foods.
With histamine intolerance, your body doesn’t have the ability to break down histamine in the body, which can result in a number of symptoms.
Our bodies normally break down histamine with DAO that is produced in the gut. DAO is also made in the uterine tissue as well. This enzyme prevents the buildup of histamine.
However, levels of DAO enzyme are often low in the blood of people who have histamine intolerance.
Levels of DAO in the blood, also known as serum diamine oxidase, may increase due to stress, so interpretation of lab values may be difficult.
Leaky gut and histamine intolerance
Many experts believe that the condition of histamine intolerance is related to a leaky gut. So focusing on healing the gut, including a gluten-free diet, may help improve histamine tolerance.
Genetic factors may also play a role.
Research shows that impaired intestinal permeability, known as leaky gut, does indeed contribute to food sensitivities like histamine intolerance.
By following a gut-healing diet and including supplements, symptoms of histamine intolerance may be reduced.
It is no surprise that stress is bad for you, but did you know that stress may make histamine tolerance worsen?
Our bodies also naturally make histamine in response to stressful situations and environmental allergies.
Natural antihistamine remedies are often helpful in this type of situation. Additionally, adapting stress-relieving habits like meditation, herbs like holy basil tinctures, and yoga may really help people who suffer from histamine intolerance.
Hormones like estrogen also play a role in histamine intolerance. Women are more likely to have histamine intolerance than men.
Research shows that estrogen production is closely linked to DAO production. This is probably why more women tend to suffer from histamine intolerance than men do.
Estrogen and DAO
Basically, the more estradiol you have, the more histamine your body likely has.
This is because estradiol breaks down DAO and another enzyme called monoamine oxidase, both of which break down histamine in the body.
Estrogen-dominant women may suffer from reduced DAO and therefore, more histamine intolerance.
Progesterone also causes a breakdown of DAO but to a lesser degree than estrogen. This all likely explains why women have many varying symptoms from histamine. And the symptoms vary throughout their menstrual cycle and even as they hit menopause.
High Histamine Foods
According to research, the histamine levels in foods are typically high only in a few select foods.
These histamine foods include:
- Soy sauce
- Fermented anchovies
A low histamine diet should reduce the intake of those foods. But, it is impossible to be on a histamine-free diet because there are probably trace amounts of histamine in many other foods that are not yet identified.
Foods also have less histamine and other biogenic amines when they are at their freshest.
Other Foods to Avoid
While some foods don’t actually contain histamine, they may make your body release more histamine. Some foods also block the ability of your body to make the DAO enzyme.
Foods that Use Up DAO
Another interesting fact is that other types of food compounds besides histamine foods also use up the DAO enzyme in the body. These include biogenic amines called spermidine and putrescine.
These compounds are found in aged foods, such as cheeses, fermented meats, fermented vegetables, and more.
This means that while histamine foods may be a trigger, spermidine-rich foods and putrescine-rich foods may also be a trigger for symptoms that are similar to histamine.
The bottom line is that while histamine may trigger symptoms, other foods like aged foods may trigger symptoms identical to histamine intolerance.
Beverages that Increase Histamine
There are a couple of beverages known to prevent histamine from being broken down. They inactivate DAO and so these foods worsen histamine intolerance.
For example, alcohol blocks the body’s ability to make DAO, so avoid alcohol if you have histamine intolerance or suspect you do.
Alcohol is a big issue for people with histamine intolerance because it actually encourages the body to make more histamine while blocking DAO.
The biggest alcohol culprits include:
- Red wine
- White wine
Logically, it is best to avoid all alcohol in general with histamine intolerance. This is because it alters estrogen levels, damages intestinal cells, and reduces our body’s ability to detoxify. Alcohol also reduces your body’s absorption of nutrients.
Are Fermented Foods High in Histamine?
Fermented foods typically get lumped into the high histamine food lists. But some of this is based on myths, not actual histamine content.
For example, fermented foods like sauerkraut, when analyzed for histamine amount, are measuring the amount of histamine content per 100 grams of food, which happens to be only around 0.6 mg per 100 grams.
That’s a lot of sauerkraut: about ¼ pound. Most people really wouldn’t eat more than 10 grams of sauerkraut at a time, which translates to about 0.06 mg of histamine.
This is a very small amount of histamine.
In other words, most people, even with histamine intolerance, can probably enjoy some sauerkraut. Histamine intolerance supplements can help if you can’t tolerate sauerkraut.
The same goes for fermented soy foods.
Histamine Intolerance Myths
You will notice that a lot of low-histamine food lists out there today conflict with one another. That is because some lists are based on the theoretical content of histamine and not a proven content of histamine.
A good example of this is vinegar. In research, the histamine content of vinegar is usually quite low. It contains around 16 mg per liter, yet it ends up on high histamine foods lists.
The average serving of histamine in vinegar would contain less than 1 mg of histamine.
Apple cider vinegar with the mother, or with its natural probiotics, has the bigger potential to heal a histamine intolerance than cause it. Still, if you notice you feel bad after eating apple cider vinegar, you should avoid it.
Spices like cinnamon end up on the foods to avoid lists too, which really shouldn’t be restricted on a low histamine diet either.
The reason is simple: cinnamon reduces the release of histamine from mast cells. Ultimately, this effect helps histamine intolerance, not hurts it.
The same is true of cloves, anise, nutmeg, and curry powder so need to avoid them. Enjoy them.
Black and green tea also inhibit histamine release-enjoy them. I couldn’t find any research to suggest that they reduce DAO activity.
Citrus also has anti-histamine effects. No reason to avoid them unless you are sensitive to these foods specifically according to research.
Nutrients that May Increase DAO
When it comes to histamine intolerance, increasing DAO is a good thing because it helps you break down histamine in your gut.
Certain nutrients may help your body make more DAO. They include:
- Omega-3 fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Saturated fats
- Vitamin B6
Fats, particularly the omega-3 fats from fish, may be especially helpful to increase the production of DAO according to research.
Foods to eat that are rich in healthy fats AND all of the minerals listed are foods like wild sardines, grass-finished beef liver or chicken liver, and hulled pumpkin seeds.
Most people need more magnesium, so try boosting your intake of leafy greens like Romaine, kale, collards, and mustard greens.
Essentially, by eating more whole foods that are nutrient-rich, you will support your body’s production of DAO.
This means that you may be able to enjoy histamine foods if you pay close attention to nourishing your body and healing your gut.
Foods that Help Reduce Histamine
This is because sprouts like these foods contain natural DAO in them.
Some people notice that sprouting other legumes and lentils also may help their symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Best Histamine Intolerance Supplement Summary
DAO supplements may allow you to enjoy histamine foods. My favorite histamine intolerance supplements are those that reduce the body’s histamine naturally. This includes quercetin, bovine colostrum, stinging nettles, and vitamin C.
Other beneficial supplements may help heal a leaky gut in people with histamine intolerance. These can include magnesium, bovine colostrum, vitamins, some probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
And by eating lots of nutrient-rich, whole foods, and skipping processed foods, you will naturally support your body’s ability to break down histamine.
If you have known histamine intolerance, it is best to avoid histamine foods and alcohol in the short term while healing your gut. Try to slowly reintroduce histamine foods as you begin to feel better.
Are there supplements to avoid with histamine intolerance?
You should avoid probiotics that contain Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus when you are healing from a histamine intolerance. These probiotic strains can increase histamine levels.
How does gut healing reduce histamine levels?
If your gut isn’t healthy, your body can’t make enough DAO enzymes to break down histamine. So, healing the gut helps to reduce histamine intolerance.
For example, a week or two of gut-healing L-glutamine powder with zinc in powder form like this one can be really helpful for people who suffer from digestive issues, including histamine intolerance.
Does turmeric help with histamine intolerance?
Does vitamin B12 help histamine intolerance?
When it comes to vitamin B12 and histamine intolerance, it is unknown if it helps. However, low levels of many nutrients can impair the body’s immune response. So, it’s best to have adequate levels of vitamin B12 in the body if you have histamine reactions. Additionally, many medications that block histamine can reduce vitamin B12 levels, such as famotidine and ranitidine.
How does NAC affect histamine levels?
A common way to help reduce histamine levels in the body is to reduce inflammation in the body. NAC (n-acetylcysteine) is an amino acid that is used as an antioxidant. It increases glutathione levels and helps reduce the release of histamine from mast cells.
However, it is too early to say that using NAC helps with histamine intolerance, but it’s worth a try because it is a safe supplement.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before adding supplements or making changes to your diet.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.