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Low Histamine Alcohol: Is there such a thing?

Yes, there are some types of alcohol that are lower in histamine. But alcohol and histamine are more complicated than just the number of milligrams per liter. Alcohol also affects how much histamine is produced in your body, and how quickly you can clear it out.

You are on a low histamine diet, but you like to drink, and alcohol is a part of your lifestyle. Is there a way to safely have your wine, beer or cocktail?

I’m glad you are here. In this blog I will give you all the details on alcohol and how it affects your histamine levels. Let’s get started.

Histamine Content of Alcoholic Beverages

There is quite a range of histamine in alcoholic beverages. This depends on things like which plants that are used to make the alcohol, how alcohol is fermented, and whether any other ingredients are added to the product. There is no definitive list that tells how much histamine is in each type of alcohol.

However, studies show there is a range for some products like wine, beer and champagne (1).

White wine can range from undetectable amounts of histamine up to 10 mg in a liter of wine. Red wine has a higher histamine content. A liter of red wine might have up to 30 mg of histamine. Champagne can give you a much higher dose of histamine with up to 670 mg in a liter.

Beer is somewhere in the middle, with up to 17 mg of histamine per liter.

The suggested limit for histamine in alcoholic drinks if you are histamine intolerant is 2 mg per liter (1). So as you can see, all wines, beer and champagne have the potential to overload your body with histamine.

The safest types of alcohol when it comes to histamine content are vodka, gin, tequila and rum. But there can even be a wide range of histamines in these spirits.

Here are some guidelines for choosing spirits with lower histamine content

  • Choose clear or lighter colored spirits.
  • Choose spirits with a lower alcohol content.
  • The longer an alcohol is aged, the more histamine it has.
  • Flavored and colored spirits will contain more histamine.

Even an alcohol that is very low in histamine might raise histamine levels in your body. Here are some of the reasons this can happen.

Histamine and Alcohol Compete for the Same Enzyme

Aldehyde dehydrogenase is an enzyme that metabolizes both histamine and alcohol. When you drink alcohol, your body recognizes it as a toxin and prioritizes clearing it out. This leaves less of the enzyme to break down histamine (2).

Learn more about the science and metabolism of histamine.

If you already have a challenge in getting rid of histamine, drinking alcohol will only make this situation worse.

Alcohol Stimulates Release of Histamine in the Gut

Alcohol can damage the lining of the digestive tract. This process creates inflammation, which causes your body to release histamine. Histamine is an important part of the immune system response to those damaged cells (3). 

The bottom line is that this process makes extra histamine, which your body needs to clear.

Alcohol Contains Other Biogenic Amines

There are other compounds that have a similar structure to histamine and can affect histamine levels in your body. They compete for the same enzymes to break them down, and can sometimes even inhibit the DAO enzyme that breaks down histamine. 

One of these biogenic amines is tyramine. Aged and fermented foods and processed meats are high in tyramine. Tyramine is also found in many alcoholic beverages.

Final Thoughts 

Alcoholic drinks have a wide range of histamine. This depends on how they are made, how long they are fermented and aged, and which ingredients are added. Some types of alcohol are relatively low in histamine. However, there are other ways that they can raise your histamine level.

The same enzyme breaks down both alcohol and histamine. These two substances compete for a limited amount of this enzyme in your body. Alcohol will have priority, because it is a toxin and your body wants to get rid of it. This means your body cannot get rid of as much histamine.

Alcohol damages your gut lining. Your body reacts by producing histamine, which is a part of the immune system. Now you have even more histamine to clear from your system.

There are other biogenic amines in alcohol that compete with histamine for metabolism, and sometimes even block the enzymes that break down histamine.

As you can see, it is not only the amount of histamine in alcoholic drinks, but the alcohol itself that is a problem.

Whether or not to drink alcohol on a low histamine diet is a very personalized decision. It is all about how much histamine you already have in your system, and how much you can tolerate.

Did you know that histamine intolerance can be the result of a damaged gut? The gut lining produces the DAO enzyme that breaks down histamine.

If you can heal your gut lining, there is a chance that you might be able to tolerate foods and drinks with histamine. 

I specialize in digestive health, and can help you with a personalized food plan and lifestyle changes. If you want to talk about your unique situation, schedule a free phone call by clicking on the button below.

Enroll in my online program, Simply Good Digestion.

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