Gluten Free Guerrillas

Histamines and Histaminosis

Histamines and Histaminosis

Could you ongoing problems post strict GF diet be caused by something non CD? We've had a number of recent questions on histamines and sulphites on the question board and there's been lots on our facebook page about:

- painful joints

- fatigue

- rashes (after wine)

- bloating

- wheezing (tight chest) or ongoing asthma

- hayfever

So we've done some speedy online research on Allergy UK's site It seems that sulphites and histamine problems can mimic each other and both can occur in the same foods e.g. wines, processed foods, making them hard to pin down as the culprit.

However, we came across this link on Histaminosis and links showing that Coeliac Disease patients naturally produce higher gut and mast cell (body) histamines that other non-coeliacs. In addition B12 can cause higher histamines as can Thyroid problems. As we know that many Coeliacs often develop Pernicious Anemia and Thyroid problems we thought this was interesting.

'Cellular Histaminosis is also a possible cause of adverse reactions and/or dysfunction of the immune system, but is not well researched. Patients very often feel:

severe fatigued

flu-like symptoms

fibromyalgia/unidentified joint and muscle pain'

There is some debate that IBS or similar symptoms are actually severe histamine intolerance (aka Enteral Histaminosis and/or Cellular Histaminosis).

Has anyone discovered they have a histamine problem? Did they see a immunologist? Did your gastro or endocrinologist do tests for you?

These are some of the tests that can be done privately or via referrals on the NHS to an immunologist or via liaison with your Gastro consultant:

Diamine oxidase (DAO)

Monoamineoxidase (MAO-b)

N-methylhistamine (urine assay)

Tryptase Serum

Histamine plasma



Rheumatoid Factor

Quick test that many Immunologists do on patients to assess if their mast cells (body) are producing a lot of histamines:

1. Get a pen (ie a bic biro)

2. Using the lid (or any other non nib end) press down as if you are trying to write a big red cross on your inner forewarm

3. Do the same on a friend or Partner

4. Check both your arms in 5 - 10mins time....

5. Volia! Does your pal have nothing or just a white cross on their arm? Do you have a big red cross? Well the red indicates that the mast cells have produced histamines in response to the pressure. This can be indicative of someone who is sensitive to histamines - esp if you have the other symptoms.

We've yet to play this game with our GP though!


Pop across to our Q & As on Sulphites and Histamines as well and join in the comments.

6 Replies

I had skin prick allergy tests in September 2008.

Saline 0mm/, Birch pollen 0mm/, Grass pollen 0mm/, House dust mite 0mm/, Cat fur 0mm/, Dog hair 0mm/, Horse hair 0mm/, Aspergillus fumigatus 0mm/, Cladosporium 0mm/, Alternaria 0mm/, Bakers yeast 0mm/, Brewers yeast 0mm/, Mixed cereals 0mm/, Wheat 0mm/, Cheese 0mm/, Milk 0mm/, Egg 0mm/, Mugwort 0mm/, HISTAMINE 8mm.

My bloods 2009 IgA negative/IgG negative/ttg 0.9 (negative) and the same in 2010, awaiting 2 lots of results for September 2010 and December 2010.


Interesting Tony so the histamine was the only raised level. Did they say what that indicated?


Histamine was the only elevated level and no one has persued this point at all. Only advice was to watch my Gluten intake, which I did not do as I went on the "Gluten Free" diet not the Coeliac diet which worked the first time.

Something else of interest.


Very interesting Tony. Here's a handy blog outlining the Top 10 Histamine containing foods. As many Coeliacs know Rosacea like psoriasis and asthma often follow suit and seem to be a common problem for those of us who can't eat gluten.


Read more on this recent article in the Daily Mail....


Wines, especially red wines, are often blamed to contain much histamine. This is not necessarily correct. The content of histamine of wines rather depends on the quality and healthiness of the grapes and on their further processing in the cellars.

As a wine producer we do some elaborate work to be able to bottle wines containing less than 0.1 mg/l histamine:


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