What is Histamine?

Histamine is an organic compound involved in immune responses and physiological regulation of various biological functions. Histamine is produced within the body and is present in some foods and beverages.

Histamine plays many vital roles in the human body, most importantly in the natural defense system. It is released by specialized white blood cells called basophils and mast cells. Histamine acts as a neurotransmitter that sends warning signals throughout the body as part of the immune response. Histamine is also involved in allergic response, smooth muscle contraction, vasodilation, gastric acid secretion, wound healing, cell proliferation and a variety of neuronal functions. The following graphic demonstrates the versatility and importance of histamine in the human body.

Various functions mediated by histamine. www.nutridis.at/en/story/histamine-intolerance

Histamine was discovered in the early 1900s. It belongs to a group of chemicals called biogenic amines, which includes dopamine, tyramine and tryptamine. Biogenic amines are found in all living organisms, where they appear as catabolic products derived from the metabolism of amino acids. Thus, histamine and other biogenic amines are present in our food supply, found in everything from dairy products and meat to fruits, vegetables and grains. Processes that result in the microbial alteration of foods—such as aging (meat) and fermentation (wine, spirits, cheese)—can increase the levels of histamine and other biogenic amines in foods and beverages.

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Histamine in Foods
Histamine Intolerance
Histamine and Mast Cell Activation