Do you feel sick or experience allergy symptoms around ovulation? If so, research suggests histamine intolerance could be one cause. This article explores the histamine connection to ovulation and your best options to address it.
Histamine & Ovulation- The Connection
While most of us associate histamine production with allergic reactions, it’s critical to many body functions. This chemical, histamine, acts like a neurotransmitter and is involved in the inflammatory process throughout the body. Histamine assists with stomach acid production, thyroid hormone action, libido stimulation, healthy brain activity and more. It is also connected to female reproduction and increases around ovulation time.
Here’s how: Estrogen both stimulates histamine production and decreases the enzymes used to clear it from the system. As estrogen levels increase in relation to progesterone at ovulation time, histamine production increases. It is theorized that some women feel sick or increased allergy symptoms around ovulation because of an intolerance to this increase.
Signs of Histamine Intolerance to Watch For
Histamine intolerance symptoms to look for around ovulation include: nasal congestion, insomnia, digestive problems, flushing, sweating, or mood swings. Some women also experience skin issues like acne or rosacea.
Suspected Causes of Histamine Intolerance
- Overuse of antihistamine drugs. Using antihistamines temporarily relieves symptoms, but doesn’t lessen the amount of circulating histamine. Over time, the body becomes dependent on medication for relief and is less able to deal with the imbalance on its own.
- Poor digestion. If digestive enzyme activity is weak, histamine may be overproduced or metabolized poorly. DAO (diamine oxidase) is the enzyme in the body responsible for breaking down histamine from foods. If you have leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease or SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), diamine oxidase levels could be reduced.
- Estrogen dominance plays a role by imbalancing histamine production and metabolism.
- Genetic factors. Some people are born with a genetic variation affecting the ability to produce and use the DAO enzyme.
- Consuming high histamine foods (see the following food list) increases symptoms, too.
Natural Therapies To Support Healthy Histamine Response
1. Eliminate or reduce high histamine foods.
Many women experience improvement through this change alone.
2. Promote better digestive health.
- Heal the gut. As your digestive health improves, histamine intolerance improves. If you have leaky gut, the supplement L-glutamine can help promote the regeneration and repair of cells in the intestinal lining. Suggested dosage is 2 to 5 grams daily.
- Support balanced microbiome. Include more prebiotic foods like Jerusalem artichoke, raw onions and garlic, endive, radiocchio and jicama to promote healthy GI flora. As symptoms normalize (usually after 1-3 months), add small amounts of organic coconut kefir for continued recovery. For those with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), that aggravates histamine intolerance, supplemental garlic and onion may be best. See our recipe here: Fertility Health Tip: Probiotics and Prebiotics.
3. Cleanse the liver.
Liver cleansing/supportive herbs help metabolize excess estrogen and histamine. Include a liver cleansing tea like Burdock root (Arctium lappa), roasted Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) or Liver Cleanse Flushing Tea a few times a week.
4. Try natural antihistamines.
Herbs like Nettles (Urtica dioica), Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) and Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) have natural antihistamine action, yet the body does not become dependent on them. Try elderberry syrup or a green tea/nettles blend for gentle symptom relief.
If you’re bothered by allergy symptoms around ovulation, histamine intolerance could be involved. Review your diet for areas to improve. Try natural therapies to encourage normal histamine production and metabolism. Most natural health practitioners find focusing on digestive support is a key to stopping the cycle.
If you continue to struggle, work with a naturopath or Fertility Herbalist in a Fertility Consultation to develop a program specialized for you. While we expect some symptoms like mild cramping and hormone fluctuations at ovulation, histamine intolerance symptoms are different and respond to a targeted natural approach.
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