Why Olive Oil (And A Paleo Diet) Increases DAO
This blog post addresses why olive oil (and a paleo diet) increases diamine oxidase (DAO) and helps reduce the symptoms of histamine intolerance.
The intestinal mucosa is a protective layer in the gut that contains a wide range of enzymes used in digestion and nutrient absorption. One of these enzymes is DAO.
DAO protects the body against an excessive buildup of histamines by degrading both ingested and bacterial histamine.
The amount of DAO synthesised can be reduced due to a genetic mutation (DAO deficiency) but it is nutrients which make it bio-available. This means that what we eat will determine whether available DAO is transported into the gut and bloodstream.
This is not speculation. A study examined each of the key nutrients and here is what they found:
Protein is responsible for the release of DAO in the gut. Protein (unlike other nutrients) helps release DAO from the intestinal mucosa into the gut to deal with ingested and bacterial amines and histamines.
Oleic acid dramatically increases the release of DAO into the blood stream by up to 500%. Olive oil is one of the primary sources of oleic acid. Canola oil is too – but studies show it is also highly inflammatory, so I choose not to eat it.
Interestingly, protein such as poultry, and lamb is also another good source.
Oleic acid (unlike other nutrients) helps release DAO into the bloodstream, to degrade free amines and histamine throughout the whole body. Medium-chain fatty acids only cause a slight increase in DAO in the blood stream.
It is interesting to note that oleic acid is also a primary ingredient in lorenzo’s oil used to treat for ALP, for lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar, such that oelic acid’s reputation as a healthy fat is unsurprising.
A word of caution is also important. Olive oil is often poorly tolerated if you have salicylate intolerance. As the colour is generally a sign of the salicylate levels some people find they can tolerate light olive oil.
Carbohydrates cause no significant change in the release of DAO. From a DAO perspective carbohydrates are empty nutrients.
It is also my experience that this is also a “grey” area. Some people can digest grains and legumes. Others simply cannot. If you cannot digest grains and legumes then they will ferment in the gut and produce histamine. I am one of those people.
From a diet perspective, many people with histamine intolerance find a modified paleo diet helpful. I am one of those people.
Every time I mention that I am eating a modified paleo diet I get a slew of trolls baiting me.
I want to say that my style of eating is based on my own bio-individuality. Eating legumes and grains makes me chronically ill. It is not a question. It is a statement. My body is that sensitive.
I also respect everyone’s right to listen to their own body, not me, and decide what makes their body feel alive. I see one of my core roles as a health coach to be a loving observer of how your body responds to foods.
That said there is an obvious correlation between oleic acid, protein, and DAO in the study. Fat and protein is essential and should be prioritised in the diet including within the histamine tolerance threshold.
Twelve Foods I Prioritise In My Diet
A part of the treatment with histamine intolerance is finding your bio-individual histamine threshold. A lot of focus is put on removing high histamine foods and not enough on including DAO promoting, and anti-inflammatory foods. There are two sides to the equation.
Here are twelve food I eat regularly that have high levels of oleic acid and are high in other nutrients:
Fats: Olive Oil, and Macadamia Oil.
Nuts & Seeds: Raw Cashews, Raw Macadamias, Hemp Seeds. The key here is their freshness.
Fruit: Avocado (yes I know it is high in histamine – but I have found that once my histamine has subsided I have been able to introduce just ripe avocados back into my diet).
Protein: Lamb, Chicken, Veal, Duck and Duck Eggs
Transdermal: Rosehip Oil (which is bio-mimetic with the skin).
I eat organically, and local, shopping at farmers markets, so this is what is available to me. You may have other foods available to you.
Whilst it was not part of this study, it would also be interesting to experiment, and identify whether by upping olive oil during a histamine induced attack that it helps to dissipate the symptoms. If you try increasing your olive oil intake please leave a comment below.
Wollin, Armin, Xiaolin Wang, and Patrick Tso. “Nutrients regulate diamine oxidase release from intestinal mucosa.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 275.4 (1998): R969-R975.