The Therapeutic Use of Probiotics For Histamine Intolerance

December 15, 2014  |  Blog, Histamine Intolerance

Recently Chris Kresser did a podcast on histamine intolerance in which he discussed histamine degrading probiotics. I have great respect for Chris whom I have personally consulted on all things histamine. Unfortunately, in my opinion, his information was out of date.

I am writing this post to provide up to date information. I am also now selling my “Insider’s Guide to The Therapeutic Use of Probiotics For Histamine Intolerance ” which is normally only available to my clients.

Probiotics Histamine Intolerance

So what has changed? Well a lot. The issue is no longer whether a probiotic is histamine degrading but what is it’s therapeutic benefit. Did you know that some probiotics modulate H1 receptors, some H2 receptors, and some act as mast-cell stabilisers?

Well my guide will tell you which probiotic strain treats what type of histamine intolerance symptom. In the meantime here is my take on the importance of probiotics in treating the underlying cause of histamine intolerance.


There is strong evidence that probiotics exert a therapeutic effect by regulating the immune system. Histamine reducing probiotics appear to work on different histamine receptors to provide a quick fix to the immune system.


Most probiotics are transient. They do not repopulate the gut. Generally, prebiotics, or resistant starch, repopulates existing good bacteria.

For many people with histamine intolerance, probiotics are necessary to stabilise the immune system, prior to the introduction of resistant starch. This is because resistant starch can ferment in the gut producing histamines. Yet a repopulated gut can regulate the immune system in the long term.

Histamine Reducing Bacteria

Bacteria itself is a major source of histamine. Some bacteria is histamine reducing, some is histamine neutral, and some is histamine increasing. This is why the histamine action of the probiotic consumed is important when you have histamine intolerance.

Low Histamine Therapeutic Probiotics

It is no longer enough that the bacteria is histamine degrading. It now can be therapeutic.

In the same way that there are different types of histamine receptors, and histamine-mediated diseases, there are different types of probiotics. Each strain of probiotic has its own DNA or mechanism of action. It is why one probiotic works for one person and not another.

On this basis, the selection of probiotic strains needs to be formulated based on the actual histamine intolerance disease mechanism, and the prebiotic selected based on the missing composition of the gut.

It is the right strain of probiotic, for the right pathology, so it is a targeted therapeutic intervention. Once I understood this, and selected the right probiotic, and the right prebiotic, I personally experienced a profound difference.

How to Pick the Best Low Histamine Therapeutic Probiotic Supplement For You

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet and on the shelves. These simple steps will help you to separate the sheep from the goats and may explain some of the confusion surrounding probiotics.

1 The Probiotic Strain

It is the strain (not the genisus) of a probiotic that is important. Each probiotic strain can lead to a different benefit.

When reading a probiotic label, it should reveal the genisus, species, and strain of probiotic, that all needs to be identical to the human studies. For example, lactobacillus (Genisus) rhamnosus (Species) GG (Strain) has extensive studies, that show it to be a mast-cell stabliser. Lactobacillus rhamos 271, GR-1, HN001, Lr-32 are also commercially available and do not have the same benefits.

Personally, if it’s not clear on the packaging, then I would question the authenticity of the product, and reject it.

2. Therapeutic Benefits

Just because a probiotic is histamine degrading does not mean it is right for you. If you want to use probiotics to help with a specific health concern it’s vital to select the right probiotic for the right condition. My guide provides the strains that have a therapeutic benefit by each histamine related condition.

3. Proven Human Trials

There are lots of probiotics on the market that have no clinical evidence behind them. Others do not have human trials proving that the probiotic actually works on humans.

This is important because the probiotic needs to actually survive the acidic harsh conditions of the gut. For example, just because a strain degrades histamine in wine, like L. Plantarum, does not mean it will degrade histamine in the gut.

My guide only includes those strains with human trials that have been widely discussed in research literature. It is not necessary to go beyond proven strains to identify therapeutic options.

4. Fillers

There can be a lot of artificial additives and fillers in probiotics. Powders tend to have very few. Vegetable gel caps only a few. Most tablets and chews have too many. It is important to check the fillers (or arrange for compounding) if you are particularly sensitive as the reaction many not be to the probiotic.

5. Single Strains

With histamine intolerance, like fermented foods, complex strain diversity is often problematic. Whilst a healthy individual may look for a probiotic supplement that has 10 – 30 different strains, similar to fermented foods, it is my experience that single strains should be used and rotated, until at least hypersensitivity is dramatically reduced. This is also because we are using the probiotic to calm the immune system, whilst the prebiotics or resistant starch, are actually providing the good bacteria.

6. Dosage

It is also my experience that the dosage initially should be significantly reduced and increased with tolerance. With histamine intolerance a good place to start is around 1/10th of a recommended dosage or even less. From there it can be decreased or increased in line with personal tolerance. It is not necessary to experience “die off” for a probiotic to be effective.

7. Commercially Available

My guide includes only those strains that are commercially available. Whilst there is a trend of analysing the histamine status of every bacteria referred to in research this is not necessary. There is a range of therapeutic probiotics for histamine intolerance that are readily available so there is no need to research obscure probiotic strains.

If you want to know more about what probiotic strain to use then download my “Insider’s Guide to The Therapeutic Use of Probiotics For Histamine Intolerance ” using the link above.

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  • Philip Clax

    Do you know if goat colostrum would be suitable for histamine intolerance?

    • Philip from a histamine perspective it appears alright. I have tried the cow colostrum and it was fine for me.

  • Wende

    Hi Allison. I live in the US and have suffered with HIT for years. Thanks for this great article! I’ve investigated probiotic straiins to help my condition and and wondering how I can access your insiders guide? Thanks!

    • Hi Wende, nice to meet you. I am thinking of selling it for a modest price. It is a major piece of research. Hop onto my list please.

    • Hi Wende, the strains I discuss are available commercially in the USA. They are all common strains.

  • Kelly

    Hi Alison,

    I’m also in the US and interested in the ebook, but before I order, am wondering if the strains you discuss are available commercially in the US — or just Australia? Thank you. 🙂

  • Red Man

    Good informative article, thanks a lot, much appreciated.

  • Shelley

    Thank you so much for this info, Allison! Would a probiotic that reduces histamine also cause weight gain (like an antihistamine Rx)? While I am at it, does quercetin cause weight gain for the same reason?

    • Hi Shelley
      They should not as they work through a different mechanism. Not all anti-histamines do for this reason also. Hope that helps.

      • Shelley

        Thank you! The reason why I asked was because about 6 months ago I took Dr. Mercola’s probiotic for a month and gained 10 lbs (I was already overweight). It still has not come off. I am so concerned!

        • Do you have a CYP2E1 mutation? In my experience this can impact on weight.

          • Shelley

            No, thank goodness that is in the green zone. I am about 30-40 lbs overweight. I was only about 10 over until I started eating paleo (with a traditional diet slant) about 3 years ago and it slowly crept up, the more “healthy” I ate, even with a no grain trial. I am a Wheat Belly conundrum! I hope it is the histamine!

  • Inge85

    Hi Allison,

    I live in Belgium and suffer from HIT.
    I just bought your Guide of probiotics.
    I am now taking a probiotic with 8 strains (Gutpro). Is this too much? I am also combining this with a prebiotic as this was prescribed to me. I now understand I shouldn’t take them together??
    Thank you!

    • Hi Inge, it depends what you are trying to achieve and what you have been diagnosed with. The problem I have with GutPro is they do not list the strains they use all the names should have numbers after them. If you have high histamine then some of the strains are not histamine lowering. Hope that helps.

      • Inge85

        Thank you Alison!

        I emailed Gutpro and they told me it was a perfect probiotic for people with histamine intolerance…It was expensive. Sigh.

        What about the FOS/ inulin I am taking?

        Is there a brand of probiotics you recommend for histamine intolerance?

        Thank you so much for your reply!

        Kind regards

  • Sim

    Hi Alison, my son and I both have very high histamine levels which my dietitian believes is due to gut issues. We are working hard on dietary changes, parasite cleanses etc to repair the gut. We have been given a probiotic with the following strains: saccharomyces cerevisiae (bollardii) and Bifidobacterium lactus (Bi-07)

    I am not sure if what we have is classified as a histamine intolerance. We have very few symptoms. My son sneezes a few times a day. But that is it.

    Anyway my question is, will your probiotic book give me any clear guidance on other strains of probiotics that are suitable for us? Is having high histamine leves the same as having a histamine intolerance? Should we be limiting our probiotics to low histamine producing bacteria?


    • Hi Sim

      Yes my book does give clear guidance on which probiotic strains are histamine lowering, mast-cell stablizers, and used to treat common inflammatory conditions.

      In terms of your own situation I am a little confused as if you have no symptoms I am not sure what your naturopath is trying to achieve.

      You dont treat test results. You treat the person. But you need tests to work out the cause so you dont just manage symptoms.

      In terms of histamine intolerance (gut derived) the gold standard test is for DAO production not blood histamine.

      High blood histamine or urine methyl-histamine is usually linked to other underlying issues.

      I offer a one of service where I review your current treatment approach and provide advice but you are welcome to book an initial appointment.

  • Penny

    Hello Alison.
    I am confused about this part.
    “the prebiotics or resistant starch, are actually providing the good bacteria.”
    How does the prebiotic provide the bacteria?

    Regards, Penny.

    • Hi Penny. It feeds them. Hope that helps.

      • Penny

        Yes, thanks. 🙂

  • Shelley

    Do you have a favorite brand that we can just order on amazon? Thank you!

  • Andreia Franco

    Hi Allison, I’ve read all on Pubmed about all sorts of probiotics and, just out of curiosity, also bought your book. Nevertheless, I found some of your information confusing. None of the articles on Lactobacillus reuteri say it is a histamine lowering strain. Actually, it says it increases histamine production via L-histidine conversion. Its anti-inflammatory effect is due to the decrease in the production of TNF-alpha. Yes, it improves reflux and other GI issues in babies, but it is not necessarily because it has effects on the H2 receptor (the article never mentions that). Maybe it is because it actually increases stomach acid and thereby improves digestion of milk in infants (as you know, the H2 receptors produce acid when they bind to histamine.)