Do you love pizza, red wine, pastrami sandwiches or hot dogs? How about Gouda, parmesan, cheddar and Swiss cheese? Tuna, herring or mackerel? Even certain vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach, eggplant, avocado, mushrooms or commercially-prepared salads can cause food intolerance. Do you adore bananas and papayas, and count on your daily bread and pastries made with yeast? But do you hate the way you feel 30 minutes or perhaps a few hours after enjoying some of these foods?
Symptoms can range from common digestive complaints including abdominal pain, spasms, diarrhea, constipation and flatulence, to headaches, skin rashes, eczema and hives, all due to the body’s inability to deal with certain food ingredients.
The difficulty many people have had with properly managing their food intolerance is that they confuse it with a food allergy. This has led to faulty diagnosis and treatment for patients for decades. But, finally, scientists have successfully explained the difference between the two. A food allergy involves a direct immune reaction that produces certain substances called immunoglobulins and results in an almost immediate reaction. Food intolerance involves a buildup of an offending dietary substance such as histamine or lactose; and symptom onset can be delayed thirty minutes or longer.
But sorting out the difference between food allergies and intolerance hasn’t been easy. This was the issue that Dr. Albert Missbichler faced when he started developing a diagnostic system in 2002 for the renowned allergist Reinhart Jarisch, M.D., both from Austria. Dr. Jarisch was finding that certain reactions from eating food were not inciting an actual immune reaction in his patients. This meant they could not be classified as true allergies.
In general, there are eight foods that are considered to be allergenic and these account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. These include dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy and wheat. But, even eliminating these foods from his patients’ diet did not eliminate their problems. That’s what led Dr. Jarisch to decide that his patient’s symptoms could not be that of a true allergy. After all, their immune systems were essentially unaffected. He enlisted the help of Dr. Missbichler, an expert in food allergy and food intolerance diagnostic tests. Dr. Missbichler made an extraordinary discovery: these patients lacked adequate activity of an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), necessary to digest histamine. Could it be this simple?
Well, once these people began eliminating certain histamine-rich foods from their diets such as red wine, cured meats, and tomatoes, they began to improve greatly.
"In the general population, about 25 percent of people have highly reduced DAO activity," says Dr. Missbichler.
Yet, our systems are being exposed to higher amounts of histamine than ever, thanks to our consumption of yeast-based foods, preserved meats and more servings of processed foods. Some drugs for high blood pressure and nervous system disorders can also interfere with DAO activity. "Another important inhibitor is alcohol," he says, and, couple that with the fact that some alcoholic beverages like red wine are high in histamine already; it is a sure set up!
Histamine has a powerful vasodilating inflammatory effect that can be very challenging when levels are too high. Now here’s some good news: much like lactose intolerance greatly benefits from the lactase enzyme that breaks down this milk sugar, histamine intolerance benefits from and can be tamed by the enzyme, DAO. DAO specifically and effectively renders histamine harmless.
So how do you tell the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance? "The key question is: when do the symptoms occur," Dr. Missbichler says. "If it is within five minutes it is allergy. Half an hour or later, it is food intolerance.
"Also, an allergy does not depend on the amount of food you eat, as even small amounts can be highly problematic. But food intolerance symptoms can get even worse as you consume more and more of the triggering foods."
Food intolerance is on the rise. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and the National Institutes for Health, as many as 30 million people in the United States have food intolerance, which is four to five times the number with food allergies. Also known as enteral histaminosis, histamine-related food intolerance is now considered by a growing number of doctors and health experts to be a vastly more serious health problem than all food allergies put together! However, those with food intolerance still have a harder time knowing if their symptoms are related to food.
So where do you start when it comes to tracking down the cause of your own symptoms? First, learn to recognize them. Digestive problems, bloating, stomach pain, heartburn, tension headaches, migraines, heart palpitations, low blood pressure, urticaria (also known as hives, a kind of skin rash notable for dark red, raised, itchy bumps), hay fever and asthma can all be signs of food intolerance.
But then you have to connect these symptoms with certain foods. That usually requires keeping a diary and utilizing an elimination diet that rotates certain foods in and out of your meals to see when you feel better and when you feel worse. This is time consuming, and unfortunately is rarely fool proof.
"My idea was if there was an enzyme that was not working properly perhaps it could be provided exogenously," says Dr. Missbichler. "DAO had been studied in the past but ours was the first team to consider its clinical use. Eventually we were able to purify a very high potency enzyme product that would pass through the stomach and arrive intact in the small intestine, where its ability to breakdown histamine would be able to help."
Hundreds of thousands of Europeans have already been helped with Histame’s diamine oxidase. In 2008, DAO was acknowledged by the Food and Drug Administration as a new dietary ingredient to aid in histamine management. This breakthrough achievement offers the first real hope to the millions of Americans and people throughout the world who have suffered from this widely experienced, yet misunderstood condition. Now you know, now you can do something about it.
Q&A with Dr. Albert Missbichler
What does the diamine oxidase enzyme do?
Normally, histamine is broken down by the body’s own enzyme called diamine oxidase, or DAO. If you don’t have enough DAO, or something is preventing your DAO from working properly, you may experience an increased histamine exposure inside the body, which may result in the effects of histamine food intolerance.
What makes Histame unique?
The Histame formula is the first worldwide to decrease histamine levels that cause food intolerance by replenishing our DAO. This clinically proven dietary supplement can help regulate and balance histamine levels in the body.
How should people use Histame?
For optimal results, take 1 to 2 Histame capsules within 15 minutes of consuming histamine-rich food/drinks known to cause food intolerance.
Who should take Histame?
This product is for children (5 years and older), teenagers and adults consuming foods rich in histamine. Histame is not intended for those who have immune system-related food allergies. It may help their food intolerance symptoms, but it is not help for true food allergy.
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