Can Bone Broth Help My Histamine Intolerance?
A histamine intolerance has become quite common for people, although it is still considered rare with apparently 1% of the population suffering from it. Unfortunately, many doctors will not recognise this condition and are therefore unable to help you treat it. It’s not because they don’t want to help, but more because they don’t know how. Having been contacted recently by a few of my customers, I felt that it was really important to cover this as a topic, as it is related to poor digestive health, but can bone broth help my histamine intolerance? Despite belief, bone broth can help. Please read on…
First of all, I will cover a bit more about histamine intolerance.
What is a histamine intolerance?
A histamine intolerance can present symptoms that can be distressing for you. It is not a well-documented condition and is considered rare but is mostly common in people who have actually developed too much histamine in their body, as opposed to not enough.
Histamine is a nitrogenous compound (simple terms means that it is made of mostly nitrogen). Nitrogen is important in the life cycle and the human body needs it for protein synthesis, amino acids, the function of the immune system, the brain and also hormones . Drugs, medical conditions, the environment, nutritional deficiencies, and diet can lead to histamine intolerance . The body gets all the histamine it needs from its own cells, but histamine is also found in certain foods. 
What causes a histamine intolerance?
As with most conditions, it always relates back to the health of the digestive system. It is only through up to date science and research that we are understanding the importance of having a healthy gut. Let’s take a closer look at the link.
Having a histamine intolerance means that a digestive enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine found in food is not working efficiently as it should. This enzyme is called diamine oxidase, or DAO, and is the primary enzyme that breaks down ingested histamine. I believe that digestive enzymes become deficient because of gut inflammation. Inflammation of the gut raises the temperature and as a result, enzymes become denatured, meaning they are no longer efficient. Therefore, focusing your diet on anti-inflammatory food is really important.
It’s also important to mention that some conditions and some medication can prohibit the efficiency of DAO. Here is a list of other interferences :
Common factors that interfere with DAO and HMNT levels include many prescription drugs, for example:
- airway medications, such as theophylline
- heart medications
- muscle relaxants
- pain medications
- gastrointestinal medicines
- nausea and gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD
- malaria drugs
- tuberculosis medications
The list also includes over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and painkillers, such as:
- acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)
- indomethacin (Indocin)
- diclofenac (Voltaren)
Other influencing factors include:
- intestinal conditions or injuries that compromise the gut lining and affect digestion
- liver conditions
- vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, or zinc deficiencies
- extreme or chronic stress
- low oxygen states
- injury or trauma
- temperature extremes
A lot of food and drink contain histamine. Higher histamine levels are produced the longer you cook food, and this is why people may have reactions to some foods that are cooked or left to ferment for longer periods of time. This includes fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, cheese, alcohol, yoghurt and pickled foods . Junk food and refined foods can also cause digestive problems, but this could be associated with gut inflammation rather than histamine.
Bone broth causes histamine symptoms
This is very common with people who have a histamine intolerance and is always because bone broth is cooked over long periods of time. Bone broth has to be cooked for a long time, with apple cider vinegar and water, to extract the minerals from the bone marrow itself. There is no other way to make it.
Can bone broth help my histamine intolerance?
Yes absolutely. Contrary to belief including bone broth in your diet will help to reduce your gut inflammation and improve your digestion. However, it is very important to understand that you will not be able to consume normal amounts of bone broth in your diet daily, because of your histamine reaction. Therefore, your daily consumption of bone broth needs to be much smaller than any recommended dose. The best way to ensure you are getting bone broth into your diet is to do the following:
- Make sure you buy your bone broth from a reputable supplier such as Boil and Broth. This is because we do not add any additional ingredients or seasoning to our broth. Additional ingredients could potentially cause further digestive discomfort.
- Have smaller amounts of bone broth in your diet daily and see how you get on. When you buy a pouch of broth, defrost it in the fridge and then empty the contents out into small ice cube containers. Then refreeze (this is okay to do as long as your broth is defrosted in the fridge and you refreeze within a day or two of defrosting). Once refrozen in an ice cube tray, take out an ice cube daily, heat and then drink it on its own or add to water to dilute.
- Monitor your symptoms. If from having an ice cube of broth daily causes symptoms, then the following day have only half the ice cube. Keep on reducing until your symptoms do not show. Even if it means you are having 10g daily, it’s a start.
- Build up on your broth over time. It’s best to have broth daily over a long time to see the best results
How else can I improve the symptoms of my histamine intolerance?
I am a big believer in taking supplements for a short period of time. As the body is unable to produce enough of the DAO digestive enzyme, then taking a DAO supplement with your meals could help (except broth). Supplements should only be taken for a maximum of 12 weeks at a time.
Taking a B6 vitamin could also help, as well as taking milk thistle supplements for the same amount of time.
Also, follow an anti-inflammatory diet. You can read more here.