Research & News

Does having histamine intolerance mean you shouldn’t take probiotics?

2 Comments 08 October 2012

Fermented foods are so off the menu for me histamine-wise that I don’t recognise them as food anymore. My last attempt, store bought coconut yoghurt (lactose free), bought me a whole lotta face-down pillow time as it worked it’s magic on my digestive tract. I was told (by the person who diagnosed me – Dirk Budka) that fermented foods raise histamine. That has been confirmed not only by my personal experience, but also the recent histamine content in foods list of Barcelona-based nutritionist Adriana Duelo, and the Spanish Society for DAO Deficiency.

Ok, enough of the dirty talk.

So what’s a histamine-challened gal to do? I ♥ my beneficial bacteria big time but am in no way willing to risk that kind of down time again. Others might not be so sensitive, it’s one of the, um, perks, of not taking any anti-histamine/allergy meds.

It’s frustrating because beneficial bacteria does help lower histamine! But this study showed that the strains with the antihistaminic action are only found in human infant bowels. Not something I’d like for lunch really.

So I examined the alternatives…a little research on my day’s menu not only turned up that buckwheat is an anti-allergenic food, that it inhibits cancer spread (read more here), but also that it’s a pre-biotic.

Sorry, couldn’t resist sticking in a Little Rascal’s Picture of “Buckwheat”!

This buckwheat…

shows particular increases in Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium spp and Bifidobacterium lactis. 

A prebiotic was first defined as (1) “a nondigestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improves host health.” Read the full study here.

They then touch on my favourite topic, moderation with supplements, when the stress that quantity is not predictive of success…

The daily dose of the prebiotic is not a determinant of the prebiotic effect… The major factor that quantitatively controls the prebiotic effect is the number of bifidobacteria per gram of feces the volunteers have before supplementation of the diet with the prebiotic begins.The “dose argument” (often used for marketing some prebiotics) is thus not supported by the scientific data; it is misleading for the consumer.”

Here’s a chart of the top prebiotic foods – according to the US Dept of Agriculture.

From Wikipedia

Top 10 Foods Containing Prebiotics

FoodPrebiotic Fiber Content by Weight

Raw Chicory Root 64.6%

Raw Jerusalem Artichoke 31.5%

Raw Dandelion Greens24.3%

Raw Garlic17.5%

Raw Leek11.7%

Raw Onion8.6%

Cooked Onion 5%

Raw Asparagus 5%

Raw Wheat bran 5%

Whole Wheat flour, Cooked4.8%

Raw Banana1%


While there is no broad consensus on an ideal daily serving of prebiotics, recommendations typically range from 4 to 8 grams (0.14–0.28 oz) for general digestive health support, to 15 grams (0.53 oz) or more for those with active digestive disorders. Given an average 6 grams (0.21 oz) serving, below are the amounts of prebiotic foods required to achieve a daily serving of prebiotic fiber:

FoodAmount of food to achieve 6 g serving of prebiotics

Raw Chicory Root 9.3 g (0.33 oz)

Raw Jerusalem Artichoke19 g (0.67 oz)

Raw Dandelion Greens24.7 g (0.87 oz)

Raw Garlic34.3 g (1.21 oz)

Raw Leek51.3 g (1.81 oz)

Raw Onion69.8 g (2.46 oz)

Cooked Onion120 g (4.2 oz)

Raw Asparagus120 g (4.2 oz)

Raw Wheat Bran120 g (4.2 oz)

Whole Wheat Flour, Cooked125 g (4.4 oz)

Raw Banana600 g (1.3 lb)



The menus from the Low Histamine Chef have given me the support and guidelines to cook, grocery shop, eat at restaurants and basically get my life back with food reactions reduced to a minimum. Best of all the recipes are delicious. P.D.


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