We’re all familiar with histamine, especially as it relates to allergies.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, an estimated 50 million American’s suffer from all types of allergies, and it’s the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S.
But what if I told you there’s more to histamine than just allergies, asthma, and hives?
Histamine is a physiologically active amine that is found in plant and animal tissue and released from mast cells as part of an allergic reaction in humans. It stimulates gastric secretion, causes dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, decreased blood pressure, and also functions as a neurotransmitter.1
Yep, that’s right. A neurotransmitter.
As a neurotransmitter, histamine influences mood, appetite, sleep and thought.
When elevated (called undermethylation), histamine causes depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and perfectionism.2
We now know there’s a biochemical reason we read our emails 12 times in a row and get really irritated when the Christmas tree leans over a 16th of an inch.
When histamine is too low (called overmethylation), there is a tendency for high anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and food and chemical sensitivities.
Overmethylation is correlated with Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder (OCPD), while undermethylation is correlated with traditional OCD. The latter usually only has one or two obsessions, while the former is generally obsessive compulsive in most areas of their lives.
Like gluten intolerance, merely staying away from high histamine foods does not address the underlying problem. In both scenarios, there is an imbalance of Metallothionine (MT), which are cysteine-rich proteins with powerful antioxidant capabilities. MT proteins also perform a wide variety of vital functions including but not limited to:
- Detoxification of mercury and other toxic heavy metals
- Development and functioning of the immune system
- Delivery of zinc to cells throughout the body
- Prevention of yeast overgrowth (SIBO and dysbiosis are both linked to over and undermethylation)
- Regulation of stomach acid pH
- Taste discrimination by the tongue
- Protection of enzymes that break down casein and gluten
- Enhanced efficiency of the intestinal and blood-brain barriers
- Reduction of inflammation after injury or illness 3
This explains why I struggled for so many years with disordered eating and depression. With a blood histamine level of 130 (the functional range is 40-70), my biochemistry wouldn’t let me move forward until properly corrected.
Disordered eating typically has an undermethylated profile, and simple blood tests are all that’s required to determine methylation status.
Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or gambling. All addictions share a common theme: imbalanced biochemistry.
If you know of someone who struggles with addiction or depression, please share this post. If you struggle, please share your experience in the comments below. It is through sharing your story that we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.
 Walsh, William J. (2012). Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. (173).
New York, NY: Skyhorse.
 Mensah, Albert. Bowman, Judith. Retrieved from personal treatment protocol.
 Walsh, William J. (2012). Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. (190).
New York, NY: Skyhorse.