Prevent Miscarriage - Consider Histamine

You've probably heard of antihistamines. They're medicines that tame allergy symptoms. But what are histamines and how do they make it difficult for you to conceive?

Histamines are chemicals your immune system makes and they can become elevated in your luteal phase of your menstrual cycle. Histamines act like bouncers at a club. They help your body get rid of something that's bothering you - in this case, an allergy trigger, or "allergen."

Symptoms of elevated histamines or Histamine Intolerance (HT) include feeling itchy, allergy symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, palpitations, and difficulty sleeping during the luteal phase of your cycle. This normally starts around 6 days post ovulation. 

How Do Histamines Cause Miscarriage?

Mast cells, which produce histamine are important and increase in quantity during the implantation period. This release of histamine seems to be important in allowing the embryo to invade and grow in the uterine lining. Some people whose levels of histamine are already high, however, can experience the above symptoms as their histamine levels increase further as a result of mast cells.

What Causes Histamine Elevation Linked To Miscarriage?

Elevated histamine levels caused by decreased DAO  (enzyme) production can be caused by gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, celiac, and SIBO. DAO activity can also be inhibited by certain medications.

Many people with a histamine excess are on an anti-histamine diet which consists of avoiding foods high, or that cause a release of histamines. Then there are people who say that the reaction to histamine is an autoimmune problem and following an anti-inflammatory diet is enough and returns the inflammatory state of the body to normal so that healthy histamine foods like avocados and nuts can still be enjoyed.

If histamine-rich foods still give symptoms though, it's best to avoid them, at least initially.

What Can I Do To Decrease Histamine Levels?

Many women have found success using anti-histamines in the luteal phase to reduce the histamine release. In addition, prednisone can be prescribed by a medical professional to control the immune system response.

It is important though that only those women who really do have an excess of histamines take anti-histamines because otherwise, the implantation process may fail. Histamines are important, but not in excess.

There are other natural ways to help manage histamine levels and these include both dietary changes and botanical medicine. Getting to the cause by improving digestive health is also a great place to start.

Histamine-Rich Foods

  • Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne, and beer
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
  • Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
  • Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
  • Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
  • Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
  • Most citrus fruits
  • Aged cheese including goat cheese
  • Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
  • Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
  • Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines

Histamine-releasing Foods

  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat Germ
  • Many artificial preservatives and dyes

If the excess of histamine is because you can't remove these chemicals, due to a lack of DAO, (the enzyme that breaks down histamines) you should also avoid DAO blocking foods like:

  • Alcohol
  • Energy drinks
  • Black tea
  • Mate tea
  • Green tea

Histamine accumulates in the body, so the advice is to follow a low histamine diet strictly for 30 days and then slowly introduce the foods back. If there is no reaction, the histamine levels have likely lowered back to normal and/or DAO levels increased to normal.

Do any of you have these symptoms? My BUMP® package is developed to identify and reverse hidden underlying factors causing roadblocks to you getting pregnant. With access to clinical pathology testing and professional expertise, why wait when you can have a solution?

How can I confirm I have HIT?

One of the most reliable ways to determine whether HIT may be causing your symptoms is to try a low histamine diet for a period of one month then slowly reintroduce medium to high histamine foods. If symptoms disappear during the elimination period, you are very likely to be histamine intolerant.

In addition, several tests are available to help confirm a HIT diagnosis and include:

  • Diamine oxidase (DAO) levels – This is one of the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of histamine, and any issues with it can now be confirmed via a simple blood test. This will help to identify any deficiency that may be contributing to symptom onset
  • Hormone levels – In both blood and saliva to determine whether a hormonal imbalance is a contributing factor

Other detective work may include:

  • Stool analysis – Which will confirm whether the gut is functioning optimally and whether any pathogens may be present
  • Genetic testing – To help establish whether genetic defects (MTHFR) may be contributing

How can Narelle help?

Navigating HIT alone can be both isolating and confusing, particularly when undertaking an elimination diet. Working with a Naturopath can provide you with the necessary support to pinpoint the issue and work on correcting it.

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** research references available on request.

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