Today we'll be touching on a fairly uncommon topic–low histamine probiotics. So what does that mean?
Probiotics are something that's commonly accepted as being something that is good for everyone. Gut health is crucial for overall health and probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to recolonize the gut to restore balance. So one would think that taking probiotics would always be a good thing. Right?
For some people, taking probiotics could be a completely bad idea.
That is, if they are taking the wrong kind of probiotic.
Histamine intolerance is something that we've talked about on the blog before. In this post we talked about what histamine intolerance is and in this post we talked about how to deal with a histamine intolerance, or histamine allergy.
One thing that wasn't mentioned, however, is the role that probiotics play in histamine intolerance treatment.
My Search for Low Histamine Probiotics
Around Christmas of this past year, I kind of “fell into” a detox. Just in case you were wondering, detox isn't the best idea during the Holiday Season and led to basically a bunch of things that almost stole Christmas, but the whole thing led to some very interesting information which I will now pass on to you.
It all started with my taking a heavy duty liquid fermented superfood probiotic. I had taken it years ago and it had clearly done some heavy duty work on my gut. This time I felt that I needed to get out of my current probiotic rut and wanted to give it another go. It went well for awhile, but then the reactions got a little intense. They subsided, but then came back in another area, and I was pretty scared. Scared that I was histamine intolerant.
So I plunged into researching histamine intolerance online and was determined to figure out what I could do about it.
One of the recommendations that I found was to get on a low histamine probiotic so as to recolonize the gut without inflaming the already problematic condition.
What Is Histamine?
We covered quite a bit about histamine in this post, but here's a quick review.
Histamine is a chemical produced by your body that is involved in your immune system, proper digestion, and central nervous system during immune responses. It sends messages from your body to your brain, and is a component of stomach acid (which helps you digest your food — I've talked about stomach acid and rosacea before). But the role of histamine that is central to our discussion today is how histamine is involved with the immune system.
You mostly like are familiar with the word “histamine” as it being a part of the word “anti-histamine” — those substances that one takes when allergies are being a bother. Histamines are alerting your body of a real (or mistaken) offender and cause an inflammatory response. And it causes this all over the body.
If your body can't break down the histamine well enough or fast enough, you end up with histamine intolerance.
That leads to the problems outlined in this post on histamine intolerance, but basically you can have all kinds of symptoms including things that one would typically associate with allergies.
Histamine and Probiotics
Basically, if you have a histamine intolerance issue, the last thing that you want is to be taking probiotics that make more histamine. If you do that, instead of getting healthier, you could be exacerbating an underlying health issue and well–your probiotics could be making you sick.
And if you are making your own Water Kefir, Homemade Sauerkraut, and more, that may or may not be a good idea depending on your issues with histamine.
Additionally, there are some probiotic strains that have been shown to be helpful in reducing the histamine response.
According to the research that I have done, the following are various probiotic strains and the effect that they have on histamine levels. Of course that research could change in the future.
Histamine Raising Probiotic Strains:
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus casei
- S. thermophilus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii
Histamine Lowering Strains:
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Lactobacillus salivarius
- Lactobacillus reuteri.
The final strain in this list, Lactobacillus reuteri, is kind of in a class by itself. Many place it in the “histamine producing” category, but interestingly enough, it doesn't belong there. Lactobacillus reuteri does, in fact, cause histidine to convert to histamine, but this histamine raises cAMP which actually reduces the inflammatory response. Fascinating! I therefore put it in the “histamine reducing” class due to this aspect. (3)
Lactobacillus plantarum does not appear to have an effect on histamine, but lowers/inhibits tyramine and putrescine.
Histamine Neutral Strains
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Lactis
- Lactococcus Lactis
Possible Histamine Aid:
There are a number of studies on its effectiveness in treating gastroenteritis (source). Some researchers have linked this condition to high histamine/mast cell issue (source 1 & source 2). So possibly this strain could be a good support.
Low Histamine Probiotics
Does this all make you feel like your head is going to burst?
I get it.
Basically, if you are looking to avoid probiotic strains that might make histamine issues (and inflammation) worse, you want to avoid the Histamine Raising Strains and get probiotics that have the Histamine Lowering Strains in them and if they have the Histamine Neutral Strains in them that's fine too.
So—In order to work on mine and my son's possible histamine issues, I went a hunt to find probiotics that had the strains that we wanted, but didn't have the problematic strains.
It was quite a job, trying to figure out what to buy with all of those “lacto this” and “bifido that” words popping out at me. I thought I would go a little cross-eyed trying to sort it all out, but I did find some products that were just perfect for what I was looking for.
By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.
My Low Histamine Probiotic Blends
Following are some blends of various strains that should not exacerbate histamine intolerance and might even help heal it.
These are the blends that I purchased after researching this topic and I am continuing to use them.
Low Histamine Probiotic Singles
The following are individual strains of bacteria that should be helpful for histamine intolerance.
Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Factor has only Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Custom Probiotics L. plantarum probiotic powder or
Jarrow Formula’s Ideal Bowel Support for Lactobacillus plantarum.
Most natural practitioners who recommend rotating between different kinds of probiotics so as to populate the gut with different strains. So purchasing several or all of the above varieties and rotating between them would achieve that goal.
Some of the above brands, like Metagenics, claim that their product is fine when not refrigerated during shipping, etc. If you are concerned about that please
What probiotics do you use?