I have written previously on the blog about my battle with histamine intolerance and the protocols I used to “right the ship.” That post became quite unruly at 5,000+ words, so to make things a bit more manageable for our readers, I decided to transplant the supplement content to its own devoted page. The links listed here are affiliate links, if you click on any of the products, we earn a commission which helps us fund further research, podcasts and development of the custom nutrition plans.
For a podcast episode entirely devoted to histamine, take a look at The Histamine Leaky Gut Connection, episode #8.
Below is a list of the supplements I have found helpful as natural antihistamines.
I have tried each of these products myself, but cycle them. I don’t recommend taking multiple new supplements at one time. Better to take a small dose of one, journal for a few days, and then determine whether it works for you.
As of right now, the only ones I take with regularity are Vitamin C, Quercetin and some of the probiotic strains in a blended formula.
Top Natural Antihistamines on Amazon
|Type||Brand||What it does||Product link|
|B. Longum Moringa BB536 strain||Seeking Health||Aids in breaking down histamine and ammonia, increasing levels of butyrate||View on Amazon|
|L. Plantarum LP299v strain||Solgar||Probiotic that balances microflora||View on Amazon|
|Saccharomyces boulardii||Thorne||Effective binding agent to detoxify gliotoxin||View on Amazon|
|Diamine oxidase||Umbrellux||Breaks down extracellular histamine, including in the gut||View on Amazon|
|Vitamin C||Whole Foods||Diamine oxidase co-factor, calms and centers||View on Amazon|
|Vitamin B6||Solgar||Diamine oxidase co-factor||View on Amazon|
|Zinc||Solgar||Prevents the release of histamine from mast cells||View on Amazon|
|Quercetin||Ortho Molecular||Powerful antioxidant||View on Amazon|
|Curcumin||Thorne||NSAID replacement, restores gut health||View on Amazon|
|L-theanine||Jarrow Formulas||Prevents the release of histamine from mast cells||View on Amazon|
|Berberine||Thorne||May reset histidine metabolism||View on Amazon|
Bifidobacterium strains of probiotic
I wrote about a special Bifidobacterium strain in my post about probiotics and brain health. Lots of probiotic blends contain a strain of B. Longum, but few specify which strain. As I touched on in my brain health post, there is emerging evidence that B. Longum aids in breaking down histamine and ammonia, as well as increasing levels of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid responsible for protecting the gut wall.1
Some of you may also want to mix it up with the Bifidobacterium blend by Seeking Health Seeking Health (View on Amazon), as they have B. Longum (strain not specified) and B. breve.
This tandem was shown to slow tumor growth in mice, per Jennifer’s post a few weeks back. I do cycle on and off of this ProBiopure Morinaga BB536 Seeking Health (View on Amazon) product as well so as to introduce a greater diversity of strains.
L. Plantarum LP299v strain
Like B. Longum, L. Plantarum has frequently been mentioned as one of the best strains of probiotic bacteria for combating histamine issues, and there are some in vitro studies that back up these claims.2
The L. plantarum LP299v strain by Solgar (View on Amazon) is my go-to at the moment but before you go and buy the product realize that the studies on L. plantarum and histamine degradation are not conclusive. There is some evidence the strain can be beneficial but it hasn’t been extensively studied.
Note: not everyone agrees on S. boulardii and histamine and S. boulardii is contraindicated for pregnant women because the safety is unknown.
Some mold doctors, like Dr. Neil Nathan, M.D., who we had on the podcast, believe histamine issues are caused by mold toxicity. The good news is that we have lab tests available to either confirm or rule out these issues.
If you get the Great Plains or Real Time Labs testing done, and find that gliotoxins are elevated, Dr. Neil Nathan, in his book Mold and Mycotoxins, recommends S. boulardii as an effective binding agent to detoxify gliotoxin, which can be elevated due to mold, or some believe solely due to Candida overgrowth.
Diamine oxidase, or DAO, is the enzyme our bodies use to break down extracellular histamine, such as the histamine found in the gut.3
I’ve found that supplementing with DAO (View on Amazon) before a histamine-rich meal can be helpful.
Note: DAO capsules are not Vegan.
Well, it doesn’t get much more boring than this, right? But people struggling with histamine often have a hard time with citrus fruits, so adding Vitamin C to the mix as a natural antihistamine could make sense.
When I was having what felt like high histamine days, taking 1,000 – 1,500mg of Vitamin C calmed and centered me. Of course, as we document on our AOC1 gene page, Vitamin C is a diamine oxidase co-factor, so this makes sense.
Studies have also shown that Vitamin C helps to degrade histamine directly, but be careful, as I mention in a recent blog, not all Vitamin C is created equal. There are concerns about heavy metal toxicity in Vitamin C sourced from China
The Whole Foods Vitamin C brand (View on Amazon) listed here is organic, made from a food-based source, and I have looked at the supply chain to ensure there are no heavy metals.
Another co-factor for producing diamine oxidase production, vitamin B6 (View on Amazon) in small doses has been helpful, although just like zinc, which I will mention next, be very careful with B6 dose. Taking too much can cause nerve damage, and I noticed that I felt a tingling in my feet when I took 50mg a few days in a row.4
This is a supplement that requires conservative dosing.
Concentrations of zinc actually prevent the release of histamine from mast cells, a key component of any natural antihistamine.5
When I came across this research, intuitively it made sense since zinc regulates immune system activity and histamine intolerance is tightly linked to the immune system. My experience supplementing with zinc has been that low doses are better. When I have experimented with large 50mg doses, I’ve found tremendous benefit in the short term, but notice that I need to rapidly back off and move to a maintenance zone or I will start to experience unpleasant side effects.
In my case, I believe a transition to a more plant based diet left me zinc-deficient, and a large preliminary dose helped me put my levels back to normal. The 22mg Solgar zinc supplement (View on Amazon) offers a more conservative dose than some other supplements.
Note: Quercetin is another supplement that should be avoided during pregnancy.
As a proven mast cell stabilizer, quercetin is one of the usual suspects on the antihistamine supplement circuit, but it’s a powerful antioxidant that has shown efficacy in a number of contexts, so don’t pigeon hole this mighty flavonoid.6
In fact, my post on how apple consumption has been linked to decreased risk if cancer in a number of large epidemiological studies is largely about the health benefits of quercetin. I have cycled on and off with a 500mg quercetin and 150mg bromelain regimen in the mornings and have found that helpful.
For that experiment, I used a Whole Foods brand product, although I have also used a “natural antihistamine” called D-Hist by Ortho Molecular (View on Amazon) which I think could be a better product for some because of the addition of nettles, Vitamin C and NAC, all of which have been shown to help with histamine issues.
My current brand of quercetin is made by Pure (View on Amazon).
I use curcumin (View on Amazon) in place of NSAIDs, which are contraindicated for certain AOC1 genotypes and which won’t do wonders for anyone regardless of genetics.
Yes, I am aware of a rat study which showed that curcumin reduced DAO levels. Even if that applies to humans, NSAID use is much worse for DAO and curcumin has been shown to be helpful in restoring gut health in human studies. In addition, the studies are conflicting. This study in mice found that curcumin reduced histamine levels.
I also list Meriva’s phospholipid blend here as well, which is another good option, although as I detail in my post on curcumin formulas, may not be recommended for everyday use due to the phosphatidylcholine.
For more on the potential health implications of phosphatidylcholine, take a look at our TMAO posts.
As Aaron and I wrote about in our theanine post, theanine is another supplement that benefits the immune system and has been shown to inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells.78 Theanine is even more interesting in light of the fact that it is a glutamate antagonist, and histamine can reduce glutamate release, an especially important factor for people with GAD1 SNPs.
I found that the 100mg dose of Jarrow Formula’s theanine (View on Amazon) was plenty for me, though currently they only sell the 200mg dose. This is another supplement that I stagger — I don’t take it every day.
An interesting note on berberine
Note: Berberine should be avoided during pregnancy.
For more on berberine, metformin and histidine, see episode #4 of the podcast: Dissenting Opinions on Popular Supplements.
I’ve written about berberine twice so far on the blog: once as an anti-cancer supplement and once on a men’s health post I did on prostatitis. So, you may be asking, why am I bringing it up in this histamine post?
Good question, and it’s because of a few snippets of this prostatitis rat study. One of the pathways the authors of the study on nonbacterial prostatitis found to be disrupted in afflicted rats was histidine metabolism. Authors further found that berberine effectively reset histidine metabolism, which helped alleviate prostatitis:
Our findings also show that berberine exhibited preventive efficacy against NBP by adjusting these multiple metabolic pathways to their normal states. Particularly, berberine can effectively regulate the metabolism pathways of histidine, nicotinate and nicotinamide, phenylalanine, arginine and proline, and tyrosine, and can exert a good therapeutic effect on NBP.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, histidine is an amino-acid precursor to histamine, meaning histidine is part of what makes histamine. This small rat study suggests that berberine may help the body better metabolize histidine, which could have beneficial effects for people with histamine intolerance. Presumably, one of the reasons people with histamine issues do well on a more plant based diet is their inability to deal with all the histidine in meat. Is it possible berberine resets a disrupted metabolic pathway?
Maybe, although the answer is far from conclusive. If you decide to try berberine (we like Thorne’s berberine product (View on Amazon)), be very cautious with dosing! This is a strong supplement that will lower blood sugar.
Avoid Collagen and Bone Broth
Many of us who have had histamine issues have also suffered from periods with gut problems. Collagen and bone broth are marketed as “gut healing supplements.” But be forewarned, if histamine is the issue, collagen supplements are to be avoided. These products are rich in the amino acid histidine which converts to histamine in the body.
This is an issue we get deep into in our Dissenting Opinions on Popular Supplements Podcast.
First, always talk to your doctor before starting with any new supplement.
Next, realize that what works for one may not work for another, so some degree of experimentation, especially with small doses may be the best way to find whether plant compounds can be an effective natural antihistamine for you and your family.