The Therapeutic Use of Probiotics For 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 Unfortunately, in my opinion, his information was out of date.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.
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.
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.
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.
Holly Hardy, Jennifer Harris, Eleanor Lyon, Jane Beal and Andrew D. Foey, Probiotics, Prebiotics and Immunomodulation of Gut Mucosal Defences: Homeostasis and Immunopathology, Nutrients 2013, 5, 1869-1912; doi:10.3390/nu5061869
Andreas Steneberg. “Biogenic Amines – Nutrition in histamine intolerance,” Environment & Health 2/2007