HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE: TAILORING YOUR DIET THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
THE ESTROGEN – HISTAMINE CONNECTION
Histamine intolerance is more common in women. This could be due to the fact that estrogen stimulates mast cells to produce histamine (R). Estrogen peaks just before ovulation and then again before menstruation.
A study preformed on 13 women showed that urinary histamine output, as well as estrogen output, increased at mid cycle. For one participant who exhibited allergenic tendencies, her symptoms were exacerbated premenstrually (R).
Many of the symptoms of histamine intolerance and mast cell disorders in women overlap with PMS (dysmenorrhea, headaches, heavy bleeding, and unstable moods). This being said, PMS could be greatly improved by managing histamine levels. And in turn, lowering overall histamine levels could greatly improve the flare of symptoms that are often experienced mid cycle and just before bleeding.
TAILORING YOUR DIET THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
I can definitely attest to an increase in histamine symptoms at mid-cycle and during the week before menstruation. If my overall histamine levels felt higher throughout the month, PMS in general is worsened.
Even after effectively managing my overall histamine load, I can still feel an increased sensitivity to high histamine foods both before ovulation and menstruation. Knowing this means that it is especially important to be on track with a low histamine diet preceding ovulation and menstruation.
So if you have a 28-day cycle (the exact days will vary by individual) you will want to prepare for a smooth ovulation phase by sticking to a low histamine, anti-inflammatory diet around days 7-15 and then again around days 21-28.
On the flip side, depending on where you are in your healing process, and what time of the month it is, you may be able to indulge in some high(er) histamine foods, like avocado or chocolate.
Timing when you have the high(er) histamine food could be critical to maximizing its benefits and minimizing its potential to increase inflammation. After all, many high histamine foods have incredibly high antioxidant profiles, among other health benefits.
Again, if your cycle is 28 days, the two windows that you would be less likely to react to chocolate, or other high(er) histamine foods, are roughly between days 1-7 and days 15-19.
I recommend sticking to a low histamine diet for a period of time before reintroducing high histamine foods. When you do decide to reintroduce these foods, be sure to start slowly and give yourself time to notice any symptoms before completely indulging.
For more information and guidance on how to eat a low histamine diet check out my cookbook, Food My Body Loves: Healing Recipes for Histamine Intolerance.
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