Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance: Which Probiotic is Right for You?

probiotics for histamine intolerance

If you've been looking for low histamine probiotics for histamine intolerance - your search is over. 

Probiotics are one of the most essential supplements for healing histamine intolerance - however, what many people don't know is that most probiotics actually produce histamine.

That's right. Even those healthy strains of bacteria you've been taking daily - well, your body isn't ready for those and, at least for now, you may only be worsening your histamine intolerance and your symptoms.

But, that's not to say that taking probiotics is a bad thing. In fact, rebalancing the gut through probiotics is a critical step in healing histamine intolerance.

You just have to know exactly which strains are safe to be used as probiotics for histamine intolerance.

And, today, I'll explain exactly which strains (and even brands) are the best probiotics for histamine intolerance.

Let's get started.

The Importance of Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

Our body houses over 100 trillion bacteria which are, in some way, involved in every single bodily function and feeling, ranging from immune health to daily mood and energy.

Disorders such as histamine intolerance, which are involved in multiple systems of the body, are no exception when considering the role of gut bacteria in your symptoms.

In fact, in my previous post about what causes histamine intolerance, I explain how gut bacteria can not only be a contributor to your histamine symptoms, but can actually be an underlying cause of histamine intolerance itself.

In either case, with the multitude of systems impacted by histamine intolerance and the multi-symptomatic nature of this disorder, there will always be some level of bacterial involvement.

This involvement is exactly why finding a reliable probiotic for histamine intolerance is always going to be important. 

Today, I'll discuss how bacteria are impacting your histamine intolerance and the most common mistake histamine intolerance sufferers make when selecting probiotics for histamine intolerance, that actually makes their symptoms worse.

Additionally, I'll explain exactly how you can improve your bacterial balance in order to enhance overall health and reduce unwanted symptoms of histamine intolerance.

How Bacteria Influence Histamine Intolerance

Bacteria are involved both in the production and degradation of histamine.

When we consume food containing the semi-essential amino acid, histidine, certain types of bacteria within the gut can convert this amino acid into histamine. This conversion increases internal histamine levels - even if the food itself was not considered high in histamine.

In most cases, the conversion of histidine to histamine is non-problematic.

However, in some individuals which experience overgrowths of histamine producing bacteria, the level of histamine production can become too high. This scenario results in chronically elevated internal histamine levels, thus producing histamine intolerance symptoms.

Additionally, many gut bacteria are also responsible for degrading histamine.

If the population of these histamine-degrading bacteria falls too low, this also creates a chronic elevation of internal histamine levels, thus producing on-going symptoms of histamine intolerance.

As you can see, there are several bacterial paths promoting histamine intolerance - but, when it comes to symptoms, all roads lead to Rome. 

But why the heck is your gut bacteria so out of whack?

There are several reasons these bacterial populations can go haywire, including illness, pathogenic invasion, dietary factors, antibiotic use, chronic stress and other environmental and lifestyle influences.

However, in each of these cases, it’s important to restore balance in order to improve your symptoms of histamine intolerance.

Factors such as nutrient deficiencies, symptoms and underlying causes will vary across histamine intolerant individuals. But, in nearly all cases, straightening out your diet and finding the right probiotic for histamine intolerance are essential.

Histamine Intolerance and Probiotics: Restoring Gut Bacterial Balance

In an attempt to restore gut bacterial balance, many people turn to probiotics for histamine intolerance.

Probiotics have shown in numerous studies to improve gut bacterial populations and improve overall health – however, histamine intolerance poses a particular conundrum.

As discussed above, the conversion of histidine to histamine by your gut bacteria is a natural process that’s actually performed by bacteria which are typically considered beneficial to the host.

In the case of histamine intolerance, specifically, these beneficial bacteria may have become so imbalanced that they are creating negative effects and symptoms of histamine intolerance1.

In fact, bacterial production of histamine is the very same reason why histamine intolerant individuals cannot tolerate fermented foods (bone broth, kefir, wine, cheese).

Because, while bacteria are busy digesting and fermenting to produce your wines and cheeses, they produce histamine and turn these into high histamine foods!

For this exact reason, grabbing any random bottle of probiotics for histamine intolerance off the shelf is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you’re histamine intolerant - even if you've heard it's the best probiotic on the market.

Almost all probiotics will contain strains of bacteria that produce histamine and, therefore, adding these into your body can further throw off your bacterial balance and worsen symptoms.

I have many, many clients who have experienced this and, as you can imagine, it’s not fun. It’s a waste of time, money, and a lot of extra suffering, only to worsen their condition.

To be clear, there is literally no upside to randomly taking probiotics for histamine intolerance, unless you know exactly which ones to take.

Otherwise, there's a solid chance you're making things worse.

Below is a list of all known probiotics for histamine intolerance that will help you to select the perfect probiotic avoid making this same mistake.

Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

The list below details exactly which probiotics should be avoided, which have shown to be beneficial probiotics for histamine intolerance and which probiotics are still in question or may benefit certain symptoms only.

Species that may need to be avoided:

  • Lactobacillus casei - this species increases both histamine and tyramine
  • Lactobacillus Bulgaricus 
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii
  • Lactobacillus helveticus

Species that may be beneficial

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (especially GG) – stabilizes mast cells, reduces sensitivity of histamine receptors and allergy-associated receptors while up-regulating anti-inflammatory cells2,3.
  • Bifidobacterium longum – assists in histamine degradation. Enhances the expression of genes that create tight junctions, which are molecules that hold intestinal cells together, in order to reduce post-meal inflammatory response and prevent or improve intestinal hyperpermeability (“leaky gut syndrome”) which is a contributor to symptoms of histamine intolerance4.
  • Bifidobacterium lactis – helps to break down both histamine and tyramine5.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – helps to break down several biogenic amines including histamine and tyramine6.

Additional Strains of Importance:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri – although many histamine intolerance lists place this bacterial strain in a histamine producing category, Lactobacillus reuteri is an interesting case because, in addition to raising histamine, it also increases levels of anti-inflammatory cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)7.
  • Saccharomyces-Boulardii – also helps to regulate digestive issues, especially diarrhea.
  • Lactobacillus lactis – debate exists over whether helpful, harmful or neutral for histamine intolerance8.
  • Lactococcus Lactis – used in producing some high-histamine foods but, other studies have suggested this strain to be histamine-neutral9,10.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – debate exists over whether helpful, harmful or neutral for histamine intolerance.

Buying Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

Although it's easy to put together a list of low histamine bacteria, finding an actual brand that carries a probiotic for histamine intolerance in stores is nearly impossible.

The difficulties in finding a probiotic for histamine intolerance are due to the fact that numerous high histamine species from the 'avoid' or 'questionable' lists, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Streptococcus thermophilus, tend to be some of the most commonly used ones.

In my extensive work of using probiotics for histamine intolerance sufferers, I’ve opted to use a probiotic called Kyo-Dophilus 9, as it contains only particular strains that have shown to be histamine-friendly.

My histamine intolerant clients have tolerated Kyo-Dophilus 9 without issues when using it both orally and rectally via enema. 

So, there you have it, a list of low histamine bacteria and and my recommendation for a particular probiotic brand that you can trust.

Now that you know exactly where to start, you can begin improving your gut bacterial balance with confidence. 

Life's too short to let symptoms control you.

Health begins in the gut,

Anita Tee, Nutritional Scientist

References:

  1. Tlaskalová-Hogenová H, Štěpánková R, Hudcovic T, Tučková L, Cukrowska B, Lodinová-Žádnı́ková R et al. Commensal bacteria (normal microflora), mucosal immunity and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Immunology Letters. 2004;93(2-3):97-108.
  2. Forsythe P, Wang B, Khambati I, Kunze W. Systemic Effects of Ingested Lactobacillus Rhamnosus: Inhibition of Mast Cell Membrane Potassium (IKCa) Current and Degranulation. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(7):e41234.
  3. Oksaharju A. Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus down regulates FCER1 and HRH4 expression in human mast cells. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;17(6):750.
  4. Takeda Y, Nakase H, Namba K, Inoue S, Ueno S, Uza N et al. Upregulation of T-bet and tight junction molecules by Bifidobacterium longum improves colonic inflammation of ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2009;15(11):1617-1618.
  5. Mokhtar S, Mostafa G, Taha R, Eldeep G. Effect of different starter cultures on the biogenic amines production as a critical control point in fresh fermented sausages. European Food Research and Technology. 2012;235(3):527-535.
  6. Capozzi V, Russo P, Ladero V, Fernández M, Fiocco D, Alvarez M et al. Biogenic Amines Degradation by Lactobacillus Plantarum: Toward a Potential Application in Wine. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2012;3.
  7. Thomas C, Hong T, van Pijkeren J, Hemarajata P, Trinh D, Hu W et al. Histamine Derived from Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Suppresses TNF via Modulation of PKA and ERK Signaling. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(2):e31951.
  8. Linares D, del Río B, Ladero V, Martínez N, Fernández M, Martín M et al. Factors Influencing Biogenic Amines Accumulation in Dairy Products. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2012;3.
  9. Delgado S, Mayo B. Phenotypic and genetic diversity of Lactococcus lactis and Enterococcus spp. strains isolated from Northern Spain starter-free farmhouse cheeses. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2004;90(3):309-319.
  10. Nieto-Arribas P, Seseña S, Poveda J, Palop L, Cabezas L. Genotypic and technological characterization of Lactococcus lactis isolates involved in the processing of artisanal Manchego cheese. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2009;107(5):1505-1517.

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Anita Tee, Msc

Anita Tee is a highly qualified and published nutritional scientist, carrying a Master of Science in Personalized Nutrition and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, specializing in Genetic & Molecular Biology.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Kumar - August 23, 2017 Reply

It took me 4 years to self diagnosis this condition as I was getting consused with food IGG/intolerence. All antibodies tests are negative.
does Kyo-Dophilus 9 supplemention cure disbiosis and histamine intolerance in your experience with clients.

regards
Kumar
San Francisco

    Anita Tee - October 9, 2017 Reply

    Hi Kumar,

    Each client would be different regarding a “cure” – as it would depend what the root cause is. Most people need to take multiple angles however, as far as the probiotic angle goes, Kyo-Dophilus 9 has been great for my histamine intolerance clients, as it balances bacteria without adding any strains that make histamine intolerance worse. I’ve had great success with my clients so far by using Kyo-Dophilus 9 as an addition to their regime.

Cheire - January 22, 2018 Reply

Hello, why do I continue to read on many websites, articles, even from holistic practitioners, etc. for a probiotic to be effective it needs to be at least 50 billion CFU’s? I noticed the one you are recommending contains only 3 billion.

    Anita Tee - January 23, 2018 Reply

    Hi Cheire,

    CFUs are actually irrelevant compared to viability – you can have a multi-billion probiotic where the majority of bacteria will die off in the harsh stomach environment before reaching their final destination and making any difference. In fact, one of the best probiotics I use (not safe for histamine intolerance) is a spore-based probiotic that only contains 4 billion CFUs! The spore-based nature allows bacteria to proliferate in the appropriate environment and it works much more effectively than other probiotics with a higher number of CFUs. It’s the same case with any vitamins/minerals – depending on the way they are created and the combination of ingredients, a lower dosage of a certain brand can be more effective than a higher dosage of a different brand. What I’m getting at is it’s all in the formulation so use something you trust 🙂

Jessica - February 7, 2018 Reply

I need many more billions (200+billion) while on antibiotics for aggressive tick-borne infections (probably my underlying cause which refuses to be eradicated). I react to dairy, soy, gluten, and CORN (glutamate issue?) so Kyo-9 is out for me. Do you have any recommendations for much higher CFU probiotic? Organic3 GutPro and Custom Probiotics D-Lactate Free look good to me, but they refuse to tell me what strains they use (it’s proprietary). Are strains of that much importance? I’ve also been recommended Primal Probiotics but that’s so low in CFU, it’d cost me $300 a month. I’m in over my head.

    Anita Tee - February 12, 2018 Reply

    Hi Jessica,

    I’ve mentioned before on my website that CFUs are actually irrelevant compared to viability – you can have a multi-billion probiotic where the majority of bacteria will die off in the harsh stomach environment before reaching their final destination and making any difference. In fact, one of the best probiotics I use (not safe for histamine intolerance) is a spore-based probiotic that only contains 4 billion CFUs! The spore-based nature allows bacteria to proliferate in the appropriate environment and it works much more effectively than other probiotics with a higher number of CFUs.

    Kyo-dophilus has had really great reviews from histamine intolerance sufferers and it’s a bit hard to find histamine intolerance probiotics. I have yet to come across one that I trust with a higher number of CFUs that I can rely on, but have had great results with my clients using Kyo-dophilus 9.

    Best of luck Jessica!

Patrice - April 13, 2018 Reply

Hello

Thank you for the article. Is there a probiotic blend with all of the histamine reducing benefits without the potato starch as in the kyo? ALSO IS THERE ON IN POWDER FORM FOR TODDLERS?

    Anita Tee, Msc - April 24, 2018 Reply

    Hi Patrice,

    Glad you enjoyed the article.

    If you can’t tolerate the potato starch you can open the capsule and sprinkle it onto yogurt or cold/warm food. Just ensure it’s not hot food which will threaten the viability of the bacteria.

    If you’re aiming for probiotics for toddlers I would recommend consulting with your paediatrician, naturopathic doctor, or someone who personally knows your toddlers case. The microbiome is heavily forming until the age of two years old and you want to ensure you’re giving the right bacteria to your child.

Kay Constable - May 18, 2018 Reply

Is the corn in the capsule or in the ingredients?

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