Histamine Block, the diamine oxidase (DAO) supplement I told you about does NOT block histamine! After my fifth loved one asked about “that histamine blocker you’re taking,” I thought I should explain the difference explicitly.
DAO is a digestive enzyme that breaks down histamine in food and histamine that’s released as part of digestion. Not everyone produces sufficient amounts of DAO. Histamine Block contains that enzyme (from pigs). This is what all DAO supplements do — they do not block histamine, they temporarily give a person the enzyme that breaks down histamine in the digestive tract.
It’s easiest to explain in terms of a well-known enzyme deficiency, lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant have a deficiency in the enzyme called lactase. Without sufficient amounts of lactase, the digestive tract cannot properly break down lactose. Some lactose-intolerant people can take Lactaid, a lactase supplement, to eat products that contain lactose without symptoms.
Similarly, some people can take DAO and eat foods that contain or release histamine that they could not tolerate without supplementing the enzyme. Others, like me, can’t even effectively process the histamine that is always released as part of digestion, even if they eat low-histamine foods. (To complicate matters, insufficient DAO production is not the only reason a person could have trouble with dietary histamine.)
Why is the supplement called Histamine Block if it doesn’t block histamine? Marketing. A name like Histamine Block tells consumers before they look at the fine print that that the product is likely to reduce histamine-related issues. It also confuses people who want to understand how the product works and what it does.
- Being a Human Guinea Pig and Digging into Clinical Research: Food and Histamine, Mast Cells and Migraine (Jan. 9, 2014)
- The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write (Jan. 23, 2014)
- Histamine Intolerance & DAO: Answers to Your Questions (Jan. 25, 2014)
- Mast Cell Disorders, DAO & Food Trigger Testing (Mar. 11, 2014)
- Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is Why I’m Doing Better (May 6, 2014)
- Testing if Your DAO Level is Low (May 12, 2014)