Histamine Intolerant? Read This Before You Take Probiotics

histamine intolerance and probiotics

By now, pretty much everyone knows about the health benefits of probiotics. Gut problems? Probiotics. Skin conditions? Probiotics. Vaginal itching and discomfort? Probiotics. And there’s a whole host of other perks of probiotics as well.

So many people have found relief from persistent health conditions simply by adding probiotics into their daily diet that it could be tempting to think that all probiotics are great for all people.

But this is just not true, especially if you’re histamine intolerant.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine itself isn’t a “bad” thing. It’s a biochemical that is normally produced by immune cells during specific immune responses. The effects it produces may be unpleasant, but they’re necessary.

When you get a congested nose with seasonable allergies, that’s histamine doing its thing. It is also, however, involved in hives, bronchoconstriction, vasodilation, altered blood pressure and immune responses to bug stings and bites.

Research shows that histamine promotes the secretion of a gastric acid and behaves like a neurotransmitter that is able to inhibit or increase your body’s releasing of other neurotransmitters. The only time histamine is a “bad” thing is when you make too much, or your body can’t break it down quickly enough.

You might be unable to break down histamine if you have:

  • A deficiency of Diamine Oxidase. Some intolerance of histamine may stem from your body simply not having enough diamine oxidase, which breaks down the histamine in your body. If you don’t have the proper amount of diamine oxidase, histamine can build up and cause problems.
  • Bad gut bacteria. Many gut bacteria degrade histamine. If you don’t have sufficient strains of histamine-degrading bacteria, your body won’t be able to degrade enough histamine, and this increases the histamine load on your body.
  • HNMT deficiency. Your body produces another enzyme that degrades histamine. This is histamine N-methyltransferase, also known as HNMT. A deficiency in this will affect the amount of histamines in your body.

When you’re healthy, your ingestion and production of histamines is kept in balance by a natural enzyme known as diamine oxidase (DAO). This is the enzyme that breaks down histamines. Some body processes will create histamine, while others will destroy it, so the overall system usually balances out. If you don’t have enough DAO, your histamines build up and cause symptoms.

Many symptoms of a histamine imbalance may be familiar to you. They include…

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Throat swelling
  • Runny nose
  • Hives

And a continued histamine overload, according to research, can lead to…

  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Migraines
  • Increases in inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain

So can probiotics help you…or will they make it worse?

How to Take Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

If you have histamine intolerance and you’ve tried probiotics before with adverse side effects, there’s a good chance that you might have been taking the wrong probiotic strains for you. 

The good news is that there probiotics out there that can help your histamine intolerance – it’s all about the ingredients found in the specific probiotic supplements.

Here’s our short guide to navigating the probiotics aisle with a histamine intolerance!

1. Avoid Histamine Producing Probiotic Strains

There hasn’t been too much study around the topic but based on the research available, scientists believe that the some probiotic strains actually produce histamine. When you’re taking probiotics with a histamine intolerance, you really want to avoid these strains.

So that’s the first step to getting the benefits of probiotics while avoiding adverse side effects when you’re histamine intolerant. Here are the probiotic strains you definitely don’t want to be taking…

Lactobacillus reuteri

This probiotic has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in fighting infections. It decreases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and can lower cholesterol. However, it produces histamine, so it is not a good choice if you have histamine intolerance.

Lactobacillus helveticus

L. helveticus has several positive probiotic effects. They include its ability to remain alive in the stomach, reaching the intestine while still alive. It also helps your natural defenses against disease, may help in reducing cholesterol, and prevent – or reduce duration of – diarrhea.

L. helveticus alleviates the symptoms of lactose intolerance and exerts activities against pathogens. These are valid benefits, but since it is a producer of histamine, you may want to wait until your histamine levels are balanced before you begin using it.

Lactobacillus casei

This probiotic is found in the intestine and mouth of humans. It inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes proper digestion. It can reduce some of the symptoms of IBS and fight pneumonia, along with preventing bronchitis and inhibiting infections of the respiratory tract.

L. casei also helps prevent ulcers by fighting the H. pylori bacteria and even aids in allergy relief. It reduces any intolerance to milk and supports the proper functioning of the liver. This probiotic also inhibits vaginosis and Candida. On the other hand, L. casei does produce histamine and can lead to histamine intolerance symptoms.

Lactobacillus bulgaricus

L. bulgaricus is a valuable probiotic, since it fights off viruses and boosts your overall immunity. It minimizes nausea and diarrhea and reduces the symptoms of leaky gut. This probiotic fights inflammation and allergies, improves digestion of dairy and helps to manage symptoms of HIV.

On the other side of the coin, L. bulgaricus produces histamine, which can result in side effects like acne, skin rashes and swelling.

2. Take Probiotics that are Histamine Degrading

If you have histamine intolerance, probiotics will be needed to stabilize your immune system, before you introduce resistant starch. This is due to the fact that resistant starch may ferment in your gut, which will produce histamine. A gut that is repopulated can regulate your immune system in the long term.

When choosing probiotics for histamine intolerance, keep in mind that’s the strain of probiotics that’s important, not the genus. Each strain may lead to different benefits even if they’re in the same species of probiotics.

So specifically which probiotic strains are helpful for histamine intolerance? Based on research into histamine intolerance and probiotics, the strains below downgrade histamine and are beneficial even if you have a histamine intolerance.

Bifidobacterium longum

B. longum is among the most important healthy bacteria types. It helps to maintain digestive tract normality and can prevent harmful bacteria growth. It also relieves abdominal discomfort and prevents diarrhea and constipation.

This probiotic aids in alleviating lactose intolerance, reducing cholesterol and stimulating the immune system. It fights inflammation and allergies. Since it does not produce histamine, it offers all these advantages without the risk of aggravating histamine intolerance.

Bifidobacterium infantis

B. infantis is especially helpful for babies. Mothers pass it to babies as one of their first good bacteria, so it is often prescribed for pregnant women. B. infantis improves digestion and safeguards the immune system against infection and illness. It aids in the prevention of kidney stones.

This helpful probiotic helps in eliminating acute diarrhea and in curtailing symptoms of IBS. It increases immunity for infants of a low birth weight. Since it degrades histamine, is it a good choice if you have histamine intolerance.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus gg

This probiotic is well-researched, and it adheres well to the intestinal wall. It’s a very safe probiotic, and stimulates the immune system.

L. rhamnosus gg can reduce inflammation and allergies, increase glucose control, and boost your general immunity. It aids in decreasing constipation and helps to repair leaky gut.

In infants and babies, L. rhamnosus fights rotavirus diarrhea, decreases colic and stimulates growth. It also does not cause an increase in histamines, so it will not aggravate your system, or that of your child, even if you or he happens to be histamine intolerant.

Lactobacillus salivarius

This probiotic improves the condition of your teeth and mouth and provides robust protection of your teeth and gums. It is also found in the colon, vagina and small intestine.

L. salivarius helps in the prevention of strep throat and reduces the symptoms of IBS. It inhibits the growth of Candida yeast and aids in preventing ulcerative colitis. It also prevents the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella and E. coli. Because it degrades histamine, it is a welcome addition to your probiotic plan, since it will not trigger any intolerance symptoms.

Lactobacillus plantarum

Present in your saliva and in fermented foods, this probiotic strain helps reduce infections and encourages valuable antioxidants that reduce respiratory disorders and inflammatory responses.

L. plantarum restores the healthy enzymes in your liver and maintains a healthy gut wall, which means that it fights leaky gut. This probiotic also alleviates fungal-type infections and reduces the symptoms of IBS. It lessens the seriousness of infections after surgery, while lessening your risk of pneumonia. It even helps to stimulate immunity in children with HIV.

Since L. plantarum degrades histamine, it gives you all these helpful benefits without the nuisance of histamine intolerance.

3. Watch for Fillers in Your Probiotics

Some probiotics contain many fillers and artificial additives which can aggravate histamine intolerance. Powdered forms of probiotics have fewer. Vegetable gel caps contain only a few fillers.

Most chews and tablets have many fillers. Check the fillers or have your probiotics custom compounded if you are sensitive to artificial additives, since you may have a negative reaction to the fillers and not to the probiotic strains themselves.

4. Consider Taking Single Strains of Probiotics

If you have intolerance to histamine, then complex, multi-strain probiotics may be more likely to cause problems. While healthy people can use supplements with 10-20 various strains, your sensitivity means that you may need to rotate strains until your hypersensitivity is reduced dramatically.

The best way to get started recovering your gut health with probiotics may be to start on a single strain of probiotics and then gradually incorporate different strains.

Best Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

There are so many probiotic strains and brands out there, it can get overwhelming when trying to decide between them. So we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you – here are the top 3 best picks for probiotics if you’re histamine intolerant!

Culturelle Health & Wellness Vegetarian

probiotics for histamine intolerance

Culturelle vegetarian capsules are perfect probiotics for histamine intolerance and other sensitivities because of its super simple yet beneficial formula. Each capsule contains 15 billion active cultures of Lactobacillus GG to restore gut flora and boost immunity.

Better yet, the capsules are free of gluten, dairy, synthetic colors, preservatives, yeast, soy or anything else that may irritate your system.


Align Probiotic Supplements

best probiotics for histamine intolerance

Another potent, single probiotic strain probiotic, Align’s probiotics have the distinction of being the brand most recommended by gastroenterologists for its positive results in studies.

Plus, it’s the only brand that contains B.infantis 35624.

Each capsule has 1 billion CFU’s of this unique strain and many users have reported dramatic relief from gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The downside is that Align’s probiotics are gluten free but are not dairy free.

The upside? Align’s probiotics are covered by a 60-day money back guarantee so in the off chance they don’t work for you, you can always get your money back.


LoveBug Colds Suck

best probiotics for histamine intolerance

Although it’s marketed as a immune booster, LoveBug’s Colds Suck probiotics blend does a lot more than that. It’s got a potent mix of histamine-degrading probiotic strains like L. plantarum, L. salivarius, L. rhamnosus gg and contains no probiotics known to produce histamine.

They also rely on a patented time release technology called BIO-tract® that’s been shown to be 15x more effective than probiotic capsules.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering – their products are non-GMO, gluten free, soy free and sugar free, although it may contain trace amounts of milk from the fermentation process.


Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Mark says September 30, 2017

The names may be different but Bulgaricus and helveticus are one and the same. Buyer beware, generic strains are not guaranteed to produce the same effect(s) as specific strains that are backed by sound scientific research.

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