Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance: Which Probiotic is Right for You?
Our body houses over 100 trillion bacteria which are in some way involved in every single bodily function and feeling ranging from chronic inflammation 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 clearly explain how gut bacteria can not only be a contributor to your alarming 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.
Today I’m going to discuss how bacteria are impacting your histamine intolerance and the most common mistake histamine intolerance sufferers make when selecting probiotics, that actually makes their histamine intolerance worse.
Additionally, explain exactly how you can improve your bacterial balance in order to improve 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 are able to convert this amino acid into histamine, therefore increasing internal histamine levels.
In most cases, this 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, therefore causing a chronic elevation of internal histamine levels and resulting in the on-going symptoms you are experiencing.
Additionally, many gut bacteria are also responsible for degrading histamine. If the population of these histamine-degrading bacteria has fallen too low, creating a chronic elevation of internal histamine levels and producing on-going symptoms of histamine intolerance.
There are many reasons these bacterial populations can go haywire, including illness or 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.
Histamine Intolerance and Probiotics: Restoring Gut Bacterial Balance
In an attempt to restore gut bacterial balance, many people try to use 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 bacterial which are typically considered beneficial to the host. In the case of histamine intolerance specifically, these beneficial bacteria have become so imbalanced that they are creating pathologic effects and symptoms of histamine intolerance1.
For this 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, as you will often end up consuming strains of bacteria that can actually increase histamine production further, and making your symptoms worse.
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.
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 are still in question and may benefit certain symptoms only.
Species that may need to be avoided:
- Lactobacillus casei – this species increases both histamine and tyramine
- Lactobacillus Bulgaricus – this species increases histamine levels only
- S. thermophilus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii
- Lactobacillus helveticus
Species that may be beneficial
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Bifidobacterium breve
- 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 locum – 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 there is a decent selection of histamine-safe bacteria, finding probiotic for histamine intolerance in stores can be a really difficult process, as the species that are necessary to avoid tend to, unfortunately, be some of the most common ones.
In my extensive work of using probiotics with histamine intolerance sufferers, I’ve opted to use Kyo-Dophilus 9 as it contains very particular strains that have shown to be histamine-friendly. So far, I have never experienced an issue with client tolerance of Kyo-Dophilus 9, and have had great successes from recommending it both orally and rectally via enema to histamine intolerant clients.
Now that you’ve read this article you should have a clear picture of what probiotics will and won’t benefit your histamine intolerance, and my recommendation for a particular probiotic brand that you can trust.
Try it out, let me know how it goes in the comments below, and be well always.
Health begins in the gut
Anita Tee, MSc
- 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.
- 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.
- Oksaharju A. ProbioticLactobacillus rhamnos us down regulates FCER1 and HRH4 expression in human mast cells. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;17(6):750.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nieto-Arribas P, Seseña S, Poveda J, Palop L, Cabezas L. Genotypic and technological characterization of Lactococcus lactisisolates involved in the processing of artisanal Manchego cheese. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2009;107(5):1505-1517.