The connection between food sensitivities, histamine intolerance and mood

One of my clients is a mom desperately trying to figure out what is causing her young daughter’s allergy symptoms.  When I spoke with her last, we had already identified some basic support we could give her daughter’s body and they were well into doing some big work on balancing. 

(I say it that way because we each have a wise and amazing body that was built to maintain balance – we don’t teach it anything new.  We get roadblocks out of the way.  We put building blocks back in.  And we remind the body of what it knew before a major stressor like allergies threw things out of whack.)

I hope to never forget the sound of mom’s voice when she told me her daughter was silly again!  Her daughter’s mood and affect were so much better.  And…her allergy and sensitivity reactions seemed to be less frequent and less intense. 

We were going after her food sensitivities and environmental allergies, but her mood improved, too.  Maybe it was just a coincidence?  Nope!

Mood and food sensitivities and allergies are absolutely related!  Let’s briefly talk through two different mechanisms for why. 

The gut, food sensitivities and mood

First, gut inflammation is one of the leading causes of food sensitivities.  It can be caused by antibiotics, stress, oxalates, and food allergies, among so many other causes.  When your gut is inflamed, it doesn’t do any of its jobs as well as it could.  Just like any of us when we’re sick!  One of the big jobs of your gut is to make serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts mood, focus, gut motility and sleep (it gets turned into melatonin).

When your gut is dealing with food sensitivities and a lot of inflammation, serotonin production goes down.  It has to affect your mood – feeling more insecure, less hopeful, less focused.  Not to mention the quality and quantity of sleep, appetite and bowel movements decreased.  (And that’s enough to mess with your mood!)

Histamine intolerance, genetics and mood

Second, if we look at the genetics of histamine and histamine intolerance, one of the big genes/enzymes we focus on is monoamine oxidase A or MAOA.  This gene is one of a handful responsible for metabolizing histamine in the body.  Some of us (like me) have MAOA genes that are naturally coded to be slow meaning it the body doesn't produce as much enzyme as in those without that genetic polymorphism.  When there isn't enough enzyme, we get a buildup of histamine and may experience more allergy and sensitivity symptoms.  That’s not good or bad, it’s just something to know about how your body works. 

And while that would be enough to change up your mood, because histamine is a stimulating neurotransmitter, MAOA is also responsible for helping you get rid of extra serotonin (more impact) and dopamine (less impact).  Again, if the gene is coded to be slow or produce less enzyme, we end up with a backup of serotonin.  And while that might sound like a good thing, too much serotonin can cause just as much trouble as too little. 

Remember – the body is all about balance.  

Everything in your body is connected

Both of these mechanisms can theoretically appear individually, but it really is so much more common to see them together.  Your body is one big puzzle.  It’s not just a gut and not just random genetics. 

As you work through your own food sensitivity puzzle, don’t be surprised if your mood changes, either for the better or a bit for the worse.  It absolutely makes sense when you dig into the different causes and effects of food sensitivities. 

Be patient with yourself and take care of you.  You’re doing the best you can.

Sixty-second Self-care Tip…

If you’re really struggling with mood these days – and, if we’re honest, who isn’t?! – here is a quick little thing to try. 

Remember when you were in grade school?  Do you remember getting a blank piece of paper and then using crayons, markers, colored pencils or even finger paints to turn that blank white page into something magical? 

Go ahead and laugh.  Maybe even roll your eyes.  But then find whatever you have hidden in a drawer or cupboard that you can use to color a picture. 

There is no right or wrong.  In fact, the more you can let go of the concept of right and wrong, the more therapeutic (and FUN) coloring can be!

Grab the colors that speak to you the most and scribble!  Draw lines.  Draw a puppy.  Draw ornate and intricate patterns.  Draw whatever you want!  Spend a minute...or five or ten...playing with color and shapes.  

If a blank piece of paper is too intimidating, pick up a 99-cent coloring book the next time you go to the store or google “free coloring pages for adults”.  You may just find the perfect little gem for your personal tastes!  LOL – I found this adorable pig in a teacup to color from Nerdy Mamma dot com!  (I will be coloring it this afternoon! Heck, I might even post this happy little pig on my Facebook page!)

There are so many parts of the food sensitivity puzzle because there isn’t an aspect of your life they don’t affect. If you’re looking for more tips you can do at home to decrease food sensitivities and histamine intolerance, download my new Free Guide – 7 Steps to Minimize Histamine Intolerance and Feel Better Tomorrow!


60-second self-care, epigenetics, food sensitivities, histamine intolerance, serotonin

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