Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Low Histamine Diet

Wondering if it will help

The "old" name for cluster headache was histamine headache, because it was felt that histamine release had a causal relationship. I found lots of research that indicates a link between histamine release and nitrous oxide and headache pain, whether migraine headache, or other headaches, and other studies that seem to discredit this link. Who knows which is correct. Pubmed, while helpful in research, can be contradictory. No wonder busy physicians have trouble keeping up with the latest studies!

I found an abstract that describes why indomethacin works well for certain types of headache. It inhibits both the dilation of dural meningeal blood vessels and the neurogenic activation that causes this dilation. Sumatriptan showed the same qualities as indomethacin, which may be why I had limited success with a triptan for The Headache (never stopped it but would decrease the pain for about four hours) and indomethacin helped the most.

Since I know I have problems with histamine and mast cell activation (I am stuck in a cycle where I am allergic to my antibodies which then causes my body to release more antibodies which then aggravates my allergy and starts the whole circle again) I wonder if there are just too many histamines in my body and that could be aggravating The Headache. I am taking several types of histamine reducers (the combo of vistaryl or benedryl and phenergan which are all histamine blockers helps The Headache pain somewhat) and have found a Histamine Restricted Diet at the Internation Chronic Urticaria Society website that I'm going to try.

Many of the items on this diet are substances that were migraine triggers for me - chocolate, red wine, aged cheese, chemically preserved meats - that I quit trying to consume years ago. A lot of the others I already don't eat because they give me hives, but the hardest to restrict will be TOMATOES. But you know, the last few weeks was the peak of tomato season and my tomato consumption and The Headache was much worse. Maybe that's why its been especially bad in the middle/end of the summer???

One interesting fact is that leftover cooked meat has more histamine than freshly cooked meat, and the histamine levels increase with time. Explains that after Thanksgiviing migraine I always had the next week after eating left over turkey! I always blamed the stress of the holiday!

I'm going to try the four week elimination diet. The hardest for me will be tea, as I drink a couple of cups of white tea a day. We'll see if it works. Another diet on the site I may try also is the salicylate free diet, but only after I have tried histamine restriction first. In my self-experimentation I don't want to mix results!

I have hives behind my knees and in my ears and on my stomach this morning. I'm not ever going to poke on one of my brown spots like they did. The aftermath is not worth it! I'm going to give the histamine free diet a try, and see if there is any improvement. Today The Headache is already going strong - started acting up at about 5 AM....perhaps I have too much free histamine floating around due to the hives....??


  1. It's so amazing you posted about this because I've been trying to follow that very diet along with cutting out hidden MSGs.

    The toughest part about a restrictive diet is the preparation time. And when I'm ill there's no way I can consistently create a healthy meal day after day. I wish the hubby cooked more, but since he's the breadwinner I feel it's the least I can do. On those days I can't cook healthy he picks up fast food and it cancels out all the good I've been trying to do. Very frustrating!

  2. MSG is a hard one because it's often a hidden ingredient. I'm not a great cook, but thought if I concentrated on fruits and veggies and occassionally some fresh protein I might come out OK!

    Hopefully each good eating day more than makes up for the days when fast food and your headache wins and the healthy diet loses...