An Introduction to HIT
Living with histamine intolerance.
Do you have unexplained anxiety? Do you often suffer from cramps and sore muscles? Do you sometimes get red cheeks when you drink alcohol? Have you suffered from constant fatigue? If so, you may have histamine intolerance. Doctors believe 1 in 3 people may suffer from the condition, but only a few have been diagnosed.
I am going to start documenting my journey through having HIT (Histamine Intolerance). After suffering from various health issues my whole life, I was diagnosed with HIT in August of 2016. Histamine Intolerance gave me migraines, water retention, unexplained weight gain, rashes, confusion, memory loss, chronic fatigue, bloating, mood swings, sore muscles, aching joints, bad periods and more. It was awful. Everyone would tell me I should be getting more sleep, even though I had slept for hours. I would always be exhausted and yawning, every movement felt like I had a big weight on my shoulders.
After struggling with my symptoms for years, I visited the doctors and was turned away with various excuses for my problems. None of the doctors knew what was wrong with me. I was finally diagnosed after a single blood test. I was told all my problems were linked to one condition. It sounds bad, but when I found out I had this condition I was over the moon. It may seem odd to wish you had a lifelong health issue but to me, it was finally a name and a solution to something I had been dealing with every day.
Histamine Intolerance is a condition caused by a deficiency in Diamine Oxidase (DAO). DAO breaks down Histamine when it is released into your system. You may recognize the word Histamine from “Anti-histamines”; when you have an allergic reaction your body will produce histamine to fight off the allergen. Unfortunately, if you have HIT then you are allergic to histamines... meaning, you are allergic to allergic reactions. This fits me perfectly as there is nothing that says drama queen quite like being allergic to allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, some foods contain histamine. This means by eating histamine you are encouraging your body to produce histamine. Sounds complicated, right? The way to start clearing your symptoms is to follow a histamine-free diet. Now this, for me, was a nightmare as I am a BIG foodie! At the bottom of this post is a list of foods that contain Histamine.
Not many doctors, or people in general, know about this issue but it is beginning to become better known. I wondered for years what was wrong with me and finding out and changing my diet has really changed my life. No matter how good something tastes, feeling well feels better. Doctors studying Histamine Intolerance believe that 1 in 3 people are living with the condition. As more people are being diagnosed, I am going to document and publish my journey living with the condition. I am going to write a series of blogs to help those who are new to HIT, whether in terms of their researching symptoms or having been recently diagnosed. There was nothing on the internet to help me a year ago, so I am hoping this will help others.
- Pickled or canned foods – sauerkrauts
- Matured cheeses
- Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages, etc.
- Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
- Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts
- Chocolates and other cocoa-based products
- Ready meals
- Salty snacks, sweets with preservatives and artificial colourings
- Most citrus fruits – kiwi, lemon, lime, pineapple, plums, etc.
- Cocoa and chocolate
- Beans and pulses
- Wheat germ
- Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyes
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
- Green tea
- Mate tea
- Debatable: Yoghurt – depends on the bacterial culture used