Diamine oxidase (DAO) is a digestive enzyme whose function is to break down excess histamine in the body.
DAO deficiency means that there is an alteration in the metabolism of histamine that appears when the DAO enzyme activity is low.
How does the histamine intolerance test work?
Our histamine test measures if you suffer from histamine intolerance. After you have placed your order, we will send you a test kit with everything you need to do the test at home. The test takes place via a so-called capillary blood test. This is then sent to our lab for analysis and you will receive the answer digitally as soon as the lab has analyzed your sample.
If you take our Histamine Intolerance Test, it is important that you have been exposed to foods containing histamine (i.e. not been on a low-histamine diet) within the last three months. If a longer time has elapsed, there is a risk that it will not have a possible effect on your test result.
Who should be tested for histamine intolerance?
Common symptoms of histamine intolerance are:
- Headache, migraine or dizziness
- Redness, itching and swelling
- Cramps, bleeding and diarrhea in the stomach and intestines
- Cough, asthma, runny nose and difficulty swallowing
- Changes in blood pressure and palpitations
Of course, one can have milder as well as more severe symptoms, such as “just” a recurring headache.
Histamine is a biogenic amine (natural substance in the body) and helps the immune system defend itself against foreign substances. The symptoms of histamine intolerance are often reminiscent of an allergic reaction, which makes it more difficult if there is histamine intolerance. Therefore, it may be a good idea to combine this test with our Allergy test. The symptoms usually occur immediately after eating foods rich in histamine, but it can sometimes take up to two hours before you get noticeable symptoms. Because histamine is found in cells throughout the body, the symptoms of histamine intolerance can also be experienced in many parts of the body and it can also manifest itself differently for different people, where for some the symptoms occur immediately while for others it takes time. Different foods also trigger different reactions in different individuals.
Is there anything to do if the test shows that you are histamine intolerant?
If you are histamine intolerant, you can take the enzyme DAO which will help to break down histamine in food. Another thing is to avoid foods rich in histamine (see below). Sometimes it may be that there is another cause behind that created histamine intolerance.
Histamine in food
Histamine is formed all the time, both at room temperature and in the refrigerator. Therefore, it is important to always freeze leftover foods immediately after cooking. Histamine levels in foods also vary with the degree of maturity and you should therefore avoid eating mature and fermented foods such as aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, products containing yeast and fish that are not completely fresh. Avoid or exclude eating canned foods and ready-made meals. Below is a list of foods with high levels of histamine:
- Red wine and sparkling wine (champagne)
- Fish, fish sauces and seafood – especially tuna, mackerel, sardines.
- Vinegar (also foods with vinegar such as dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard)
- Tofu and soy sauce
- Sausages, cold cuts and smoked meat products such as ham, salami, bacon and sausages
- Cheese and fondues
- Pickled or canned food including sauerkraut
- Night shade plants (ie potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and spinach and arugula)
- Various fruits such as strawberries, pineapple and bananas
- Beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts
- Mushrooms and quorn
- Dried fruits, nuts and seeds
- Yeast extract and yeast
- Salty snacks
- Candy with preservatives and artificial colors
- Chocolate and other cocoa-based products
Foods that promote the release of histamine are known as histamine liberators. Examples of such foods are alcohol (especially red wine and champagne), cheese, seafood, fish and fish sauces, raw and smoked sausages and fruit (especially kiwi, lime, pineapple, mango, plum, papaya, strawberry and citrus). Additives such as benzoate, sulphites, nitrite, glutamate, food dyes and wheat germ and nuts are also histamine release agents.
Histamine helps the body fight pathogens and toxins, but in some people the body is unable to break down histamine quickly enough, which causes the inflammation to take over and cause various symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems and itching. This is called histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is due either to too much histamine in the body that cannot be broken down, caused by either overproduction (due to other allergies, bacteria or bleeding in the stomach and intestines), or to an excessive intake of histamine from the diet. It can also be caused either by a deficiency of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) or because this enzyme function is impaired. Then the body cannot break down the high level of histamine that is present in the body. The enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), which breaks down and neutralizes the histamine of food, is found in the small intestine. Deficiency of the DAO enzyme may be congenital, due to poor intestinal flora or caused by excessive alcohol consumption. It can also be caused by medications such as painkillers, asthma medications, expectorants, blood pressure lowering medications or antibiotics.