Histamine Intolerance- Real Or Woo?

I just joined a group on Facebook that’s focused on autism, and there’s a conversation going on there about histamine intolerance. My son has many of the symptoms of it, including almost daily headaches and migraines. I don’t think that anyone is claiming that it’s a cause of autism, and I know for sure it’s not the cause of his, but I’m wondering if this is a real thing. I’m skeptical by nature, and a quick googling of this seems to produce mixed opinions.

Does anyone know… is histamine intolerance a real thing?

Histamine is produced by your body as part of the immune and inflammatory response. It’s NOT in foods. It’s not part of your diet.

Now, if you are allergic to a food yes, you will get a histamine response - hives, itching, rashes, in extreme cases fatal shock. (The first six symptoms listed in your link are all classic indicators of an allergy). Sometimes people are not allergic to a food but it still irritates them, that is, they have an intolerance to it and should also avoid it.

The link is “woo” because it attributes too much to histamine and makes claims as to where it is coming from that don’t conform to modern medical understanding.

Headaches and migraines can have many causes, and sometimes there isn’t a clear cause. If you can pinpoint a triggering food or foods then just don’t give them to him anymore, but eliminating the entire laundry list they give is foolish and overly restrictive. If you feel you must conduct an elimination diet it should be done after consulting a doctor like and allergist or someone with expertise/training in digestive issues, or with the help of a nutritionist.

Yeah, it does look very woo-like. On the surface, it seems like it could apply to him, as he actually does have many of the “symptoms” listed. But He had a blood allergy test (also woo?) that only showed an allergy to egg whites. I guess I’ll wait until his next appointment with his PCP and get his opinion on it.

It’s not that the blood allergy (RAST) test is woo, it’s that it’s not perfect. Which is true of all medical testing. It can give false positives or false negatives. For people with severe allergies it can be safer than the skin-testing (which is also still used and valuable).

But the blood testing for allergies only uncovers allergies - there are other sorts of intolerances out there it won’t find. Discovering them can be a combination of other testing and detailed medical history or food journal.

By the way - if you do suspect a problem with diet a food journal is a very valuable tool. Write down everything that goes in the mouth, as well any health symptoms experienced. Don’t try to link anything together, just write down facts and observations. 2-4 weeks of this is not unreasonable. You may or may not find a correlation, but it’s far better than trying to pull the information out of memory.

What Broomstick said; those posts were exactly what I’d post. Both as someone with allergies and daily headache.

Chronic daily/frequent headache and migraine are a neurological condition. Consider seeing a pediatric neurologist with some background in that specific issue. Many general neurologists are terrible at treating headache/migraine.

Oh yes, he sees a neuro that specializes in headaches, frequently. So far treatment has consisted of trying different medications with little success. Its more the combination of the headaches and the other symptoms such as GERD, tachycardia, swelling of the lips, and other things that led me to look into this histamine thing. On the surface it really does seem to cover his particular symptoms, but I don’t want to delve too deeply into some bullshit woo if that’s what it is. And that’s what it appears to be. But keeping a food journal does seem to be a good idea.

OK, has he seen a genuine allergist? Not just a regular doc who ordered a blood test, but an actual expert in allergies? Any competent one will ask you to keep a food journal, so there’s another reason to do one.

Second, there is a condition called angioedema which can have multiple causes. Yes, allergies is one cause, but there are others, including at least three genetic mutations (which might have arisen spontaneously in your son if neither you nor your spouse have it), drug side effects, and some people just seem to acquire it from unknown cause(s).

I believe in another thread of yours that I read that your sons Autism was related to a rare genetic disorder, as I stated in another thread of yours 25% of cases of Autism are caused by Maternal Auto-antibody related Autism and mothers with autoimmune disorders are more likely to have children with Autism so it makes sense to me that the children would be more likely to have autoimmune disorders and allergies as well.

I posted this in the other thread:

Its not necessarily the case for your son though, I recall you said that you don’t have any autoimmune issues. It might be completely unrelated to the Autism. I believe anyone can spontaneously become allergic to something even if you have been exposed to it multiple times in the past, possibly that is the case?