Is Your Probiotic Making You Sick?

The information provided in this post is for information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Could your probiotics really be making you sick? Learn crucial information about Low Histamine Probiotics before you buy.

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?

Wrong.

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.

Could your probiotics really be making you sick? Learn crucial information about Low Histamine Probiotics before you buy.

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.

itching
sneezing
rashes
nasal congestion
sinus pressure
headaches
fatigue
and more.

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:

  • Saccharomyces-Boulardii

    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.

Make sense?

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.

Kyodophilus 9

Metagenics Ultra-Flora Immune Booster

Metagenics Ultra-Flora Balance

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.

I buy my supplements in several places.  One of my favorite places to shop is Iherb.  They have fast service and very very good prices.  Another great option is Pure Formulas.

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?

Sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18544899

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042653/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22384111

4.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3316997/

 

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

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  1. What about Prescript Assist? Any thoughts on that one? Thanks!

    • I also have a Jarrow Formulas Saccharomyces Boulardii+MOS, which is a S. cerevisiae strain. Would you possibly have any info on that? Thank you for taking the time to tell us about this! I am pretty sure this is one of the issues I am dealing with and am trying to get as much info as I can.

    • Hi there. You should compare the ingredients with those in the post. It looks like they have a lot of strains that weren’t in the research that I did.

  2. Interesting….how does Dr. Ohhira’s original and professional products measure up? Think same ingredients but one is fermented longer.

  3. Where would you place Cuturelle Health & Wellness formula containing Lactobacillus GG? Thank you.

  4. Bethany Thompson says:

    Thank you for doing this research! I’ve also been suspecting histamine intolerance and was wondering if any of my supplements could be contributing to symptoms I get. I’ve had rashes that come and go for nearly ten years and thought it was all due to candidiasis and leaky gut. My allergies are mostly to food. For several months now I’ve been breaking out with severe itching, hives, and eczema like never before. I also get left side headaches, fast heart rate, anxiety, irritability, and can’t eat or sleep. Even when I stop eating for a day I still itch and can only get relief by using otc oral antihistamines in excess. I tried mega dosing with vit. c but it didn’t help. I’m going to start a food diary now and try some histamine suppressors like quercetin. Thank you for sharing your experience and info. to help others with these issues.

  5. What if you take a probiotic that has almost all the strains listed. I take iflora from sedona labs. I figured the more strains the better, but am now wondering. Would the low histamine outweigh the high histamine ones? I had taken this probiotic before and felt that it improved my mood and energy. I had to quit taking it due to finances, and recently started taking it again, but failed to notice a huge change like before, especially in the energy department. However, that could be due to something else, I have like 1,000 things wrong with me so that could be it. I can honestly say tho that probiotics have helped my battle with candida. My hands and ears would itch tremendously, as well as “other” areas. As long as I keep up with my probiotics the itching is gone.

    • I would think that the high strains might outweigh the low, but if one has histamine intolerance issues then it would be best to focus on the ones that will actually support your body and possibly help the condition. Do you know that you have histamine intolerance?

  6. Hi Adrienne,
    what’s your experience with Lactobacillus acidophilus? Since it’s neutral, wouldn’t it be easier to simply go for the neutrals? This info is news to me, and I still find it a bit confusing. I had recurring uti in the past and had to take different kinds of antibiotics. My doctor was afraid I might have some sort of gut imbalance, or candida, and prescribed acidophilus. Everytime I have to take antibiotics of any kind, I simply go for acidophilus to prevent damage, so when I decided to take probiotics, I simply assumed they would be great too. I like them because they are rather inexpensive where I live. Last time I went to the pharmacist’s to get it, she suggested I took a combo with 5 different kinds of probiotics, but I got a little scared of it. I was taking magnesium for migraines and felt it could upset my gut… I had to take half the recommended dose… do you have any thoughts on it? Do you find it strange that probiotics could interfere with electrolytes?

    • Hi there.

      I can’t say that I have personal experience. I am not sure that I have histamine intolerance but I wonder about it on and off b/c of my experience. However neutral would be fine to use the the histamine reducers would be something that would be thought to help the condition rather than to simply not affect it.

      Upsetting the gut isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it can mean that you are stirring things up for the better. I am sorry but I don’t understand the electrolyte question – could you explain more please?

  7. Sara Goegeline says:

    Would any readers wish to share their experiences using probiotics for vaginal itching — not just when taking an antibiotic but chronically? I’ve had moderate success but would appreciate advice and suggestions from others.

  8. Kristie Mobley says:

    I hope the probiotics help you a lot, and I can’t wait to hear an update on your progress. I have studied this topic quite a bit, and I also have looked for a probiotic with the right strains. One that I tried was Ultimate Flora RTS by Renew Life. I didn’t take it very much, but you may want to look into it. (My daughter is taking it, and it seems to be helping her tummy.)

    • Thanks, Kristie! I’m actually not sure if this is something I am dealing with or not….it was a strong suspicion, though. I’m going to try ferments again in awhile and see. Does your daughter have histamine intolerance?

      • Kristie Mobley says:

        Not that I know of, but I am not sure. I think I used to be sensitive to them, because of the SIBO that I had. I did a herbal protocol for SIBO along with a SIBO diet. Later, I worked on food sensitivities (including histamines) because I still had some lingering symptoms. Then I started researching probiotics, but they are tricky with SIBO. It can cause some people to relapse, but some are helped a lot! For me personally, I didn’t take them long. (I think I decided to work on something else.)
        As far as my daughter she has had migraine headaches and some stomach aches. I decided to let her try the probiotics. (I wanted to help her with immunity as well-this year there has been some things going around!)

  9. I don’t take a supplement, but I do eat Greek Yogurt and drink Kefir.

  10. Tammy (nutritionist) says:

    We have a product in Australia that we use that is low histamine too by Healthy Essentials. It’s one I usually recommend, and I also recommend to start at a low dose of they’ve been prone to reactions.

  11. Susan Gross says:

    i tired making water kefir but I found that I got mouth blisters! I assumed the sores and the kefir are related. I also get mouth blisters when i put raspberry vinaigrette on a salad. Is that connected?
    When my hubby had ulcerative colitis, the doctors had him take VLC super strength probiotic. Did you research VLC? What did you find?

  12. This is very disturbing to me. I’m sorry that it is actually about my dog, but this is the deal: my dog has a medical condition of his mouth, CUPS (chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitus), where he has severe allergies that result in painful ulcers along his gums. The only way we have been able to get control of the mouth ulcers is to keep him on a maintenance antibiotic. He has been on this antibiotic for about 3 years now, and whenever I try to wean him off it, his mouth gets really, really sore. Of course, after three years on a maintenance antibiotic, he has all sorts of issues with fungal infections, mostly on his skin and in his ears. We treat this mainly with ointments and medicated shampoo, but the dark pigmented spots all over his underbelly indicate that he has a systemic fungal problem that will not be cured topically. I’ve been trying to give him a probiotic in the morning to balance his antibiotic that he takes at bedtime, but now I read that the probiotic is probably aggravating his histamine system, which is the source of the allergies anyway. He’s already on a completely restricted diet of specially formulated allergy dog food. He gets no treats at all, ever. A few years ago, he was on constant prednisone, but I was able to wean him off that, and get a little life back into him, and allow him to grow some hair back. But this is such a discouraging situation. I hate seeing him listless and in pain, and itchy all the time. I give him ACV in his food in the morning. I’ve tried giving him coconut oil, but it gives him violent diarrhea, even in very small doses. This dog is allergic to basically all food. I just don’t know what to do. 🙁

    • Oh how terrible. Maybe try one of the probiotics that I mentioned? I would talk to a vet first but seems like a good place to start perhaps? I hope it helps!

    • Our dog spent a whole summer on antibiotics and steroids due to itchy skin issues. Then we changed his dog food to Taste of the Wild grain free and I also give him a bowl of milk kefir with some flax oil mixed in each day and he has no more problems. He is 11 years old and is acting young again.

  13. do you know of a brand that works well for young kids?

    • My personal thinking (this is not medical advice) is that you can give the same probiotics but at a lower does to a child. I personally reduced the amount depending on the weight of the child. I don’t know of a strain that would be a problem for a child. That being said, please do consult with your physician before giving probiotics to your child. 🙂

    • In our house we use some really potent probiotics that have at least 5 of the top strains. What’s cool is that it comes in kid-friendly flavors like strawberry (a chewable with Lactobacillus reuteri) and root beer (a sprinkle powder)! We love them! 🙂

  14. Do you know what effect kefir has on histamine?

  15. I have a probiotic yogurt almost every day. I find my tummy has a feeling of well being. Without it my gut seems somewhat sluggish. I think a probiotic yogurt improves feeling good.