Histamine intolerant menopausal vegetarians?!

I’m about to dash off to bed, but something struck me just now and I wanted to just put it out there until I can gather more information.

A few women have reached out to me through this blog this week, and one of the things I have in common with them, other than the obvious histamine intolerance and menopause is that we are all vegans or vegetarians.

If you’ve kept up with my posts, one of the things I’ve discovered and am still convinced about is the relationship of omegas to my intolerance. My problems improved dramatically when I corrected my omega 3/omega 6 imbalance using a vegan algal supplement, eating a handful of walnuts, and adding a tablespoon of olive oil to my morning smoothie, in addition to eliminating a large amount of omega 6 from my diet.

I wonder how many of my many visitors who suffer from intolerance are also vegetarians who do not supplement with a vegan omega 3…

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Posted in histamine intolerance, menopause, Women's health
42 comments on “Histamine intolerant menopausal vegetarians?!
  1. Audrey says:

    This is really interesting as I’ve been a vegan for 20 years

    • Do you supplement with any omega 3?

      I swear if I were a scientist this is the link I’d be studying. I can only tell you that the gals that have written me have all been vegetarians, same as me. And omegas are the thing I connect strongly to my healing.


  2. dotslady says:

    I have tried many diets. Most of my life I was vegetarian, though I’d slip in ground beef or chicken breast once in a while. No eggs. Yes dairy. No omega 3s. Rarely fish. Then was dx w/celiac disease and was “SAD” gluten free with dairy. Then I went paleo with dairy (so “primal”), which incl meat (ground beef, chicken breast sans skin, wild salmon, ground buffalo, and I learned to eat eggs. I was perimeno when I was dx w/CD in 2006. I’m going through hot flashes now and I notice it’s exacerbated by stress .. which means my gut is probably inflamed. My histamine intolerance symptoms include fibromyalgia so I know when my gut’s inflamed and how much by my pain barometer. I feel much better when I graze and eat low histamine “autoimmune paleo” which means some meat and lots of greens, and yes, incl a tsp of omega 3/day (no legumes, sugar, nightshades, nuts, seeds).

    • That’s a lot to contend with.

      I will sometimes have a hot flash when I get stressed, mostly anger might bring one on, but I don’t think it’s gut. I don’t have an issue with leaky gut. I think it’s a spike in hormones. Stress raises cortisol levels. And since I think the connection is to my DHEA and cortisol levels, it makes sense to me that when I am stressed, my cortisol spikes and that triggers the flash.

      Have you given any thought to the cortisol level/inflammation theories I’ve presented here? I wonder if you think there’s any merit to them.

      • Audrey says:

        I’m very interested in the cortisol connection as I’ve was diagnosed with insuffiecient cortisol about a year ago and have had to supplement prescription cortisol since then. I didn’t have histamine intolerance before I suffered a complete endocrine system crash at that time.

      • Well I’ll tell you something else that’s interesting to me. Many of the foods that are high in histamine are also high in omega 6. Take pistachios for example. They are not good for histamine intolerance and they are super high in omega 6. I don’t remember if they’re high in histamine or histamine liberators but I am still fascinated by the correlation.

      • dotslady says:

        This is my first time reading your blog, so no, I haven’t read your theories; would you mind posting the entry? I’m stressed (lol) and don’t have time to peruse … I would be glad to read them and share my experience so we can mesh something that makes sense. Here’s what I’ve come to know: food affects your cortisol level, so eating something that doesn’t agree with your system will change your hormones. When I was eating “SAD” gluten-free diet with dairy my hsCRP was 11.5. With autoimmune paleo low histamine, I’ve gotten it down to 1.3. It took me years to figure out it was the food. I’ve also had leaky gut tests to know it was dairy (I was only eating butter, and my body reacted to butter FAT in particular according to the test) contributing to my leaky gut – as was buckwheat which is gluten-free (my body was creating antigens) and a few other foods (the blood test was via Cyrex Labs). My cortisol has been within normal range and I’ve still had symptoms. My cortisol is normal now, but my testosterone is high because I’m stressed (moving and personal stuff). I’m not a hormone know-it-all but that’s where I am right now personally. The gut control the mind controls the gut – neuroimmunology: http://bit.ly/neuroimmunity. How do you know it’s NOT leaky gut? You can’t feel a leaky gut so you’d need a test. Of course, too, everyone’s histamine experience may be different. I can’t find studies about my theories either.

  3. dotslady says:

    oh, and definitely NO dairy anymore.

  4. dotslady says:

    Re: nuts. Yes, I do believe we need a balance of fats that are low-inflammation. Omega 6 are inflammatory like you said, and most of us don’t eat fish 3x/wk so taking omega 3s are good to help promote balance. There’s a study out there that states that olive oil helps heal the gut lining for DAO production. If I come across it, I’ll try to share it if you haven’t seen it.

    • Take a look at this post of mine for my theory on why I’ve healed. http://wp.me/p2BCEw-mn

      I also have written extensively about olive oil helping my healing process, but please do share that if you find it. I actually drink the stuff! And as for leaky gut, my histamine intolerance started when I started menopause. I’ve always had a highly functioning “gut system” for lack of a better way to put it. I’ve eaten relatively clean for years and have had no problems.

      And I’ve healed a great deal by following my own regimen and eating low histamine. You can see my supplements regimen by clicking supplements at the top of the page.

      • dotslady says:

        Here’s the study re: olive oil and DAO: http://bit.ly/17QyQzB. I read your theory and can certainly agree that stress/cortisol is involved. I think it’s multifactorial. I haven’t read his stuff in a long while, but there’s a holistic doc from TN (forget his name – of course) who writes about fibro who also talks about the HPA axis re: fibro (I know that’s not your issue, but there’s the connection).

      • Oh great, thanks. I’m going to take a look at that link later today when I get a chance.

  5. dotslady says:

    Stress eats up your gut lining where DAO is produced .. stress makes it acidy wouldn’t you think? That’s why I try to eat mostly alkaline foods but with SOME protein. I likely don’t have strong or enough stomach acid to break down proteins (histidine=histamine) and that’s not good for leaky gut either.

  6. dotslady says:

    (sorry, I keep having thoughts … I wish there were an edit button).

    …or getting nutrients or making hormones with those nutrients. I also know that a healthy liver is important. I know that genetically I have methylation and detox issues that need addressing before using the correct supplements (for instance, I’ve come to know that I shouldn’t take B6 though that is often recommended for those with HIT). I also had another Cyrex test which showed I had a cytochrome P450 detox issue which only confirmed the DNA test (or vice versa). Your liver is your hormone hub and also your energy maker. It likes greens, healthy fats and protein. 🙂

    • Audrey says:

      Very interesting! I also have genetic methylation challenges. I have the double MTHFR mutation.

      • Is that the real abbreviation for that or what I think it is? Because that’s pretty funny! I mean the abbreviation, not that you have something terrible.

      • Audrey says:

        Ha! It stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase disorder and it is no fun. You can read the basics about it here: http://igreennutrition.com/topics/what-is-the-mthfr-mutation.html

      • No, I know it’s awful. But if you fill in the missing letters it looks like it should spell something…which would probably be an appropriate nickname for it considering how it makes you suffer.

        How do they test for that anyway? A blood test?

      • Audrey says:

        Yes, its a blood test any doctor can order, but you usually have to ask for it because most docs wont have heard about it yet.

      • That’s the problem with so much of what we’re talking about. Doctors are pretty clueless I think.

        I’ve thought about it and have always thought if I went to a dermatologist I’d probably have had scratch tests, and an internist would have maybe sent me to a derm, or an endocrinologist if he had half a brain. The endo would have sent me home because my adrenals wouldn’t probably show they were out of whack because it wouldn’t have been measurable. And a gynecologist would have put me on HRT. Not one of them would have seen the whole body. Just the part they specialize in. And this is a whole body problem.

      • dotslady says:

        And I DON’T have the MTHFR mutation! I would have thought otherwise, HOWEVER, I am pretty messed up with a bunch of the other ones like I mentioned, via methylation and detoxing. I went to a GI doc who specializes in mast cell disorders and he told me about neuroimmunology. He also believes that fibro is related to thyroid disorders (I have Hashimoto’s). There’s a blog out there where a woman figured out all her health issues (not what you’d have thought were thyroid related) … and it WAS thyroid related. Again, I can’t remember at the moment. I must need some carb or serotonin or need to go to sleep. lol

      • Audrey says:

        IT’s definitely endo related but its hard to put it all together

  7. Mill says:

    Hi, delighted to read you’re also a veggie. I worry so much I am not getting enough protein as I can no longer eat the likes of Soya (Quorn etc.,) – due to having breast calcifications which are oestrogen receptive and soya has plant oestrogens etc., so I try to eat as healthily as possible and juice every second day – should do it every day but cannot be bothered and don’t have the time it takes to clean the flippin’ juicer. Why is life so complicated. I eat lots of fresh veg, follow a wheat free, yeast free, gluten free and dairy free diet. Honestly I should be so healthy when I die they can use me for fertilizer.

    Can you suggest any protein based juices/food that are also low in histamine but are not oestrogen laden? I would like to add something extra to my diet rather than the boring usual suspects. I am only doing this since Christmas because the problem only came to a head then so I am still on my journey of discovery.

    You mention walnuts but I’ve been told walnuts are high in histamine and I can only tolerate almonds and then I need to steep them in water overnight to lower their histamine content. I add them to my morning porridge – gluten free which is really rice and millet – budgie food! I drink about two litres of water a day because water is a good way to rid your liver of toxins and a lot of histamine sufferers or MCAD sufferers are usually constipated due to being backed up with food etc., I steep organic linseeds overnight and in the morning drink the juice and pour the soaked linseeds over my porridge and add a teaspoon of natural honey – it is all costing me the annual debt of a third world country.

    Any hints would be greatly appreciated because I am starving 😦


    • I’m going to get back to this reply later to add to it, but the one thing that really caught my eye are linseeds. Are they referred to as flax seeds over in my neck of the woods. If they are, they are super high in phytoestrogen. The highest things ever!! I never touch them. Please check and see if we Americans call your linseeds flax.

      I’ve since looked it up and yes, these are the same things. If you stay away from soy, you’ll want to stay away from flax too. I can’t find the list I liked that had all of the foods listed in order of dominance, but flax was at the top and had like three times the amount of whatever to soy. Not scientific, but I need to find that list. I’ll look more tomorrow.

      • OK this is the chart I was looking for.

        Phytoestrogen food sources
        Phytoestrogen content (mcg/100g aprox. 4 ounces)

        Flax seed 379,380

        Soy beans 103,920

        Tofu 27,150.1

        Soy yogurt 10,275

        Sesame seed 8008.1
        Flax bread 7540
        Multigrain bread 4798.7
        Soy milk 2957.2
        Hummus from Garbanzo Beans-Chick Peas 993
        Garlic 603.6
        Mung bean sprouts 495.1
        Dried apricots 444.5
        Alfalfa sprouts 441.4
        Dried dates 329.5
        Sunflower seed 216

        You can see the entire list on this site: http://www.healthilluminationproducts.com/page/phytoestrogen

        And really take note, flax is three times the amount of phytoestrogen to soy beans, but who eats soy beans? If you eat soy yogurt, than it’s thirty times the amount!

      • Audrey says:

        Thats cool to see dates on the list as I could use some extra estrogen and I can eat those!

      • I can eat dates too! They’re my chocolate replacement snack.

  8. K.K. says:

    Wow, there is so much great information on here in the comments section alone. I’ll have to come back later to absorb it all. 😀

    For now, yes, I am also a vegetarian, and sometimes a vegan.

    In addition, I also do not eat soy, eggs, gluten, and several other foods I cannot recall at the moment, in addition to whatever is on my list for foods high in histamine.

    A lack of protein, and other nutrients, is a concern for me, too. I love Andean Dream quinoa pasta for these reasons, and more. (There are other brands of quinoa pasta, but not all of them are corn-free like this one.)

    Quinoa itself is a superfood. Check out their site, but I suggest buying it locally if possible due to the high shipping prices on Andean Dream dot com.

    I make the quinoa pasta a number of ways. On the stovetop, I add in fresh chopped veggies of all kinds such as carrots, peppers (red, yellow, and orange), red onions, green onions, white onions, and so on.

    If I’m feeling ambitious, I will then take the pasta after it’s cooked above, and while hot mix in some ricotta cheese. Then, I’ll bake it all in the oven for about an hour at around 350 degrees F. (If you want, you can add in some bread crumbs, or even some chopped walnuts.)

    At some point, I’m going to experiment with combining the pasta with some black beans, which are also a good protein source. I recently found an interesting recipe for quinoa black bean burgers, too.

    It helps that I like to cook, but it is time-consuming. Still, if I want to eat, and eat well, I have to make the effort.

    Thank goodness for the invention of the blender, because I can quickly make up a good smoothie. 🙂

    Among others, I also supplement my diet with chlorella.

    My apologies for such a long comment; I hope some of this information is helpful to the readers here.

    Wishing everyone here all the best. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you’ve found my site helpful. The more visitors I get the better it gets with all the additional viewpoints and issues.

      I used to eat quinoa every once in a while. I tried the quinoa pasta once but didn’t really like it. I thought it was a bit heavy and gritty. And the last time I made the grain I got nauseous so I’ve gave up on it. I’ve been trying different rice pastas, but I find they can be vey gummy.

      And I love smoothies too. I finally bought myself a Vitamix and use it every single day!

      It does fascinate me how many vegetarians are histamine intolerant…

      • K.K. says:


        The quinoa pasta can be heavy, which is why I add in all of the veggies. I tend to cook it very well for that reason, sometimes double cooking it with the baking of it.

        The grain is something I’ve not yet tried. I read that it must be kept in the fridge before cooking, as it is high in fat, and can quickly go rancid. I’m sorry to hear it made you ill, so probably best to skip it.

        I’ve tried various rice pastas, too, and found the same issues.

        It helps to cook them in a lot of water, rinse well, and add in some oil (I use coconut oil) while it is still hot. It helps, too, to add in some oil into the water while it is cooking. (The quinoa pasta is made using a rice pasta.)

        Yes, smoothies are great. 🙂 I’d have starved long ago without them. 😉

        I had not thought about any connection between low histamine, and being vegetarian. You’ve got me curious. 🙂 Time to do some more research.


      • I think all the veggie peeps on this board need to start doing some research and report back. The two things you need to supplement for when vegan are B12 and omega 3. I use nutritional yeast for B’s but only started to supplement with omega 3 after menopause started and I became intolerant. I maintain that one of the reasons I became intolerant was an inflamed body brought about by an omega 6/ 3 imbalance.

        I also think it had to due with adrenal fatigue. It’s not ever only one thing. But non vegans have that too.

        So what’s the vegetarian link? Why are there so many of us with this problem?

        Do you supplement with algal omega 3?

  9. Audrey says:

    I’ve been taking the algal omega 3 for a few days now and I think my sleep has improved and my brain feels a bit “better” in some way that is hard to describe.

    • I remember when I first started taking the omega 3 I felt better within the first few days. Then it leveled off for a while and I wasn’t sure it was doing anything. But after about a month, I saw a dramatic drop in my itching. But that’s when I also started to apply olive oil to my dry skin and supplement with it.

      I’m doing more research into the olive oil connection to my healing thanks to a post Dotslady shared, and I really encourage you to add olive oil into your diet if you can tolerate it. Or even apply it. But only if you don’t react to it.

      I am sure it’s the combination of those two things that made all the difference.

      But remember, I’m no doctor!

      • Audrey says:

        I have been putting olive oil on my skin every day. I’m afraid to try to eat it as I’ve always had a problem with all overt fats, particularly oils. I may get brave enough try it on a salad some day.

      • Ah, I understand. At least, when you apply it, it’s still probably getting into your body. Skin is the largest organ and we do absorb things through it and into our blood system.

  10. Audrey says:

    Connection between histamine and leg pain? I don’t get itchy unless I’m dealing with a TON of histamine and then I only itch on my ribs. My main histamine reaction is severe flushing and sweating. However I also notice that my thighs hurt a great deal when I’m dealing with a lot of histamine as well and I cant figure out what is causing it. It’s either muscle or bone pain. It feels deep and its a dull pain but its substantial enough to interfere with walking normally .Any ideas of what may be causing this?

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