Could drinking alcohol be contributing to your allergies or histamine intolerance?
When my allergies started going nuts in Greece this summer, I was drinking more alcohol. Alcohol impairs the clearance of histamine *and* competes with histamine to be cleared itself. So it could make your allergies worse or contribute to histamine intolerance if you have it.
Tune in to learn more!
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Read the Transcript
Could alcohol be contributing to your allergies or your histamine intolerance?
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com, and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!”
And today we’re going to talk about alcohol and histamine.
So, it’s known that at least in some cells like in the stomach, alcohol can cause the release of histamine. In the stomach, that’s primarily contributing to producing stomach acid, which is playing a digestive role. Now, what about in the rest of the body? Well, alcohol directly inhibits diamine oxidase, which is one of the key enzymes in neutralizing histamine and is the most important enzyme when you’re talking about in the gut, which is most relevant to histamine in the foods that you eat.
Alcohol also shares enzymes involved in metabolizing histamine. There are a number of enzymes that act sequentially to inactivate histamine, and some of the ones that we don’t talk about as often that come after the most important ones that we talk about often, such as diamine oxidase, are actually shared with alcohol such that if you’re drinking alcohol and you’re also exposed to histamine, the alcohol and histamine are going to compete with one another. And the more alcohol you have, the harder it will be for you to completely clear the histamine.
Now, one of the things that I noticed when I was in Greece this year—I made a previous episode. I’ll link to that in the description of this one. One of the things that I noticed was as my allergies kept getting worse and worse and worse, not only was the vitamin A concentration of my diet declining for a continuing period of time, but—and not only was I eating more grains and other things that maybe were playing—and cheese and other things that were maybe playing a role in releasing histamine, but also I was drinking more alcohol.
And I do think that the alcohol could have contributed to the development of my seasonal allergies. Because remember, you kind of have a histamine bucket, where histamine from different sources are going to fill up that bucket, and if you have histamine that you’re not clearing from your diet or that you are not clearing that’s being released in response to allergens in your diet, then even the pollen outside may be less effectively cleared and may be adding into that histamine bucket enough to push you over the threshold to cause symptoms. So if you drink alcohol a lot and you have seasonal allergies, you might want to try moderating, reducing, or eliminating the alcohol to see if that might improve your seasonal allergies, as well as moderating, cutting down, or eliminating alcohol to help with
In the next episode, I’ll talk about whether there might be some benefits to consuming small amounts of alcohol.