How would you feel if your Christmas started with this?
Headaches, diarrhoea, rashes and a sudden drop in blood pressure?
These are the typical symptoms of HIT (Histamine Intolerance).An Increasing proportion of the European population are being identified as Histamine
Intolerance (HIT) sufferers but there remains a dire lack of diagnosis and information in the UK. HIT can be brought on by a bad reaction to a little red wine
and as HIT symptoms mimic allergy symptoms it can be difficult to identify. Symptoms can include headaches, diarrhoea, rashes and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
What triggers Histamine Intolerance?
Stress, high histamine-level foods and alcohol trigger HIT symptoms. There are several high histamine foods around in abundance at Christmas time.
So some of us may not be so merry and bright spending part of the celebrations in bed or in the bathroom, especially after parties, even if we haven’t
over-indulged. Many will experience quite severe consequences from just one glass of red wine, not to mention the mince pies and the Stilton or eating up the leftovers.
The HIT symptoms are very uncomfortable and look intriguingly like an allergy reaction. Why? The answer is simple. The common culprit is
histamine. But the difference between allergy and HIT is significant. In allergies the immune system is involved whereas HIT is the lack of an enzyme called
diamine oxidase (DAO). Headaches, diarrhoea, rashes and a sudden drop in blood pressure are common symptoms to both HIT and allergic reactions.
HIT is complex but is mainly caused by problems digesting histamine-rich foods. In other words, if our DAO enzyme doesn’t do its job properly then histamine
levels rocket sky high and make us feel very ill. Some sufferers may have had this for a long time and those with predominant symptoms of diarrhoea are likely to
have been misdiagnosed with IBS.
Problem foods include matured cheeses, cured meats, processed/tinned foods, any fermented foods, tomatoes, spinach, aubergines, chocolate, nuts, citrus
fruits, wheat germ, some spices and alcohol, especially red wine and microbe-contaminated foods like tuna, mackerel and sausage. All foods that may abound at Christmas
Most people can enjoy histamine-rich foods and wine in reasonable quantities and feel perfectly fine the next
day. However, a few will feel incredibly miserable.
Don’t stress out
Christmas, although it is supposed to be a time to relax, means a lot of stress for many of us. Stress or emotional
upset is also known to be a trigger of HIT symptoms. So relax, enjoy, drink moderately and eat fresh foods.
Women major sufferers
Research shows that the majority of HIT sufferers are women in their 40s – thus the ones
who take the brunt of Christmas festivities and all the stress involved.
Those who believe they may have a degree of histamine intolerance should consult with their GP. If this brings no results because they are unaware of
the condition, call the Allergy UK Helpline. 01322 619898 they are fully trained on this condition and can tell you how to get help.
For further information contact Lindsey McManus – 01322 611648
Article published on behalf of Allergy UK