Does Mould Cause Histamine Intolerance?

Does Mould Cause Histamine Intolerance?

Welcome to my blog post ‘Does Mould Cause Histamine Intolerance?’.

You may also be interested in the section of my blog dedicated to mycotoxins, click here, in particular:

What Is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance can be defined as a disorder arising from reduced histamine degradation capacity in the intestine due to impaired DAO activity, leading to its accumulation in plasma and the appearance of adverse effects.

During the last decade, histamine intolerance has gained social and scientific recognition, with a significant increase in the interest of researchers to investigate this disorder.

What Foods Are High In Histamine?

Several bacteria responsible for microbial spoilage or fermentative processes in food are able to produce histamine.

Specifically, the Enterobacteriaceae species Hafnai aluei, Morganella morganii and Klebsiella pneumonia have been identified as some of the most prolific histamine-forming bacteria in fish. On the other hand, in cheeses, fermented meat, vegetable derivatives and fermented beverages, various lactic acid bacteria have also been described as histamine-producing microorganisms (e.g., Lactobacillus hilgardii, Lactobacillus buchnerii, Lactobacillus curvatus and Oenococcus oeni) as well as certain strains of Enterobacteriaceae

Foods that potentially contain high levels of histamine are:

  • Those microbiologically altered, such as fish and meat, or derived products that may have been preserved or processed in unsuitably hygienic conditions
  • Fermented products.

So combining these thoughts together leaves us with a list that includes:

  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Fish and shell fish
  • Aged or cured meats
  • Fermented foods such as kombucha or kimchi
  • Eggs
  • Certain dairy products such as hard cheeses
  • Many canned foods

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Without disputing the clinical entity of histamine intoxication, the paradigm shift lies precisely in moving the focus from food to the human body, maintaining histamine as the causative agent, but focusing on how each person is able to respond to the intake of variable levels of histamine from food. (2)

What Are The Symptoms Of Histamine Intolerance?

Clinical manifestations of histamine intolerance consist of a wide range of nonspecific gastrointestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms, due to the ubiquitous distribution of the four histamine receptors in different organs and tissues of the body.

In a very recently published study, a team of Austrian researchers comprehensively analysed the symptoms experienced by 133 patients diagnosed with histamine intolerance. The most frequent and severe manifestations were gastrointestinal, with abdominal distension observed in 92% of patients and postprandial fullness, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation in 55–73%. Impairments of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, such as dizziness, headaches and palpitations, were recorded in second place, followed by respiratory and dermatological symptoms.

Highlighting the complexity of the clinical picture of histamine intolerance, combinations of three or more symptoms involving different organs were recorded in 97% of cases, with an average of 11 symptoms per patient.

Does Mould Cause Histamine Intolerance?

In short, yes!

Yeast stimulates mast cells to secrete IL-6 and TNF without degranulation (2).

Research has proposed mycotoxin as a mechanism for mast cell mediated disorders (2).

Mycotoxins have been discussed as triggers of mast cells without their degranulation. This is where it gets complex and where new definitions have been introduced. For example ‘mast cell mediator disorder’

“This ‘unstable’ status of mast cells may be affected by positive and negative signals, lower stimulation threshold, or even ‘normal’ secretion of mast cell mediators, but with an abnormal response of the surrounding tissues (e.g. deficiency of catabolic enzymes such as diamine oxidase and histamine N-methyltransferase). Moreover, unstable mast cells may retain a ‘metabolic memory’ of past triggers that prime mast cells to respond more rapidly and more severely to exposure of the same or different triggers even though the original trigger may no longer be present.”

Activation Threshold Of Mast Cells

There can be many reasons why mast cells can be stimulated to release their mediators. Combination of triggers is more important than individual ones as they can lower the stimulation threshold of mast cells and ‘prime’ them for additional triggers.

So once again we come back to viewing things as accumulative, rather than necessarily focusing in one thing that might have triggered the symptom or condition. I’ll be returning to this and editing, updating and simplylyign tis process over the next couple of days.

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How Do I Treat Histamine Intolerance?

  • Low histamine diet: The effectiveness of a low-histamine diet has been demonstrated in clinical studies, which report favorable results in terms of improvement or total remission of symptoms frequently associated with histamine intolerance and DAO deficiency.
  • Luteolin & Quercetin supplementation: Natural anti-histamines.
  • DAO supplementation, or/and eat kidneys!

But by far the most important thing is to treat the underlying cause. This indeed could be mould and mycotoxins, or it could be any of the following:

  • Lyme disease.
  • An alternative infection such as a virus.
  • SIBO.
  • Heavy metals such as mercury.
  • Leaky gut.
  • Imbalances in the large intestine microbiome.
  • Allergies.

And do not underestimate the role that stress plays in histamine intolerance and MCAS also!


The answer to the question does mould cause histamine intolerance is clearly yes!

  1. Histamine intolerance causes numerous symptoms in numerous systems in the body.
  2. Mycotoxins, and other chronic issues can cause histamine intolerance and MCAS.
  3. The underlying cause must be investigated to ensure you aren’t simply managing symptoms via a low histamine diet and supplementing anti-histamine compounds/enzymes.

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References For ‘Does Mould Cause Histamine Intolerance?’

  1. Histamine Intolerance: The Current State of the Art: click here.
  2. Recent advances in our understanding of mast cell activation – or should it be mast cell mediator disorders?: click here.
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