The Coronavirus has altered our lives. And it will also alter this Christmas, which will undoubtedly be different. Still, some things are not going to change compared to the Christmas holidays of other years: emotions increase, alcohol is exceeded, meals are exaggerated and, consequently, many people will have heavy digestion, flatulence, a feeling of bloating, contractures, hangover, headache and even migraine.
Histamine in Christmas foods
And it is not only COVID-19 alters Christmas. A molecule present in most “Christmas” foods is related with all these symptoms and also alters our lives. Is the histamine, a molecule necessary for life but that in excess becomes “perverse”. An amine that is especially present and abundant in the foods consumed at Christmas parties: by tradition, Christmas is accompanied by certain foods with a high concentration of histamine such as canapes, appetizers with sausages, smoked meats, assorted sauces such as the bechamel of the cannelloni or the tartar sauce of the fish; seafood, canned foods such as anchovies, spices such as curry or cinnamon, nougats, polvorones or roscón de reyes, cava, champagne and other alcoholic beverages.
DAO enzyme to avoid its effects
The Diamine Oxidase or DAO enzyme is responsible for metabolizing or degrading the histamine ingested through these foods. However, in these days of dietary excesses DAO activity is saturated or even inhibited by alcohol, so our best recommendation is to prevent the appearance of these symptoms by previously supplementing Christmas menus with DAO enzyme.
This measure is also advisable for those people who spend Christmas at home having tested positive for their last coronavirus test. Published studies indicate that SAR COV-2 infection causes a release of cytokines from mast cells, accompanied by a release of endogenous histamine, which may justify the triggering of some of the symptoms, so it is advisable to control the entry routes of dietary histamine or guarantee its degradation by taking DAO preventively to avoid further accumulation in plasma.
Our DAO products
DAOfood® and DAOfood® Plus are biological DAO enzyme supplements that increase the degradation capacity of dietary histamine. Its intake prevents the absorption and accumulation of circulating histamine and also counteracts the release of endogenous histamine as a reaction of the body when it comes into contact with the virus.
DR Healthcare wishes you a Happy Holidays!
Kritas, S. K., Ronconi, G., Caraffa, A., Gallenga, C. E., Ross, R., & Conti, P. (2020). Mast cells contribute to coronavirus-induced inflammation: new anti-inflammatory strategy. Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents, 34(1), 10.23812/20-Editorial-Kritas.
Diets low in histamine are currently used to reduce symptoms of intolerance to histamine, a disorder in the homeostasis of this molecule that increases its blood levels, due mainly to the reduction of the activity of the diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme.
In fact, these diets low in histamine exclude foods, many of them of plant origin, that patients associate with the appearance of the symptoms of this syndrome.
New data about DAO deficiency triggered by biogenic amines
Researchers at the University of Barcelona and of the Xarxa de Referència in Technology dels Aliments of the Generalitat de Catalunya (XaRTA) have recently published a scientific article in the magazine Foods in which provides new data. The objective of this study was to review existing data on the histamine and other biogenic amines in fermented foods of plant origin, as well as on its origin and evolution during storage or the process of cooking.
The results of the study have shown significant differences in which the only products of plant origin with significant levels of histamine were eggplant, spinach, tomato and avocado, each displaying a great variability in the content.
Saturation effect on Diamine Oxidase triggered by biogenic amines
Biogenic amines such as putrescine has been found in virtually all foods of plant origin, probably due to its physiological origin. The high content of putrescine in certain products may also be related to the activation of the symptomatology of DAO deficiency by enzymatic competition with the histamine.
This effect could be triggered by enzymatic competition of putrescine with histamine, kidnapping by this way the putrescine to the diamine oxidase (DAO), thus avoiding metabolice histamine and leading histamine to be absorved in intestine and spread throughout the body.
In addition, the high content of the molecule spermine, present in some foods, they must also be taken into account in these diets, it can also be metabolized by DAO, although with less affinity. Thus, spermine also can kidnap DAO avoiding that it metabolice histamine.
In this way, as a conclusion it is recommended to consume foods of plant origin boiled, or if they are from the maximum freshness, to reduce intake of biogenic amines and their symptomatological effects by enzymatic competition with histamine for DAO.
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Histamine accumulation in the
body due to excessive food and alcohol consumption causes gastrointestinal
disorders, headaches and migraine.
The International Society of DAO Deficiency recommends moderating the intake of food, especially those rich in histamine such as cured meat, smoked products, seafood and typical Christmas dessert, and supplement menu with DAO enzyme in order to promote histamine metabolism.
Christmas time implies, for many
people, an alteration of the consumption habits, especially dietary habits.
Copious meals and increased alcohol consumption cause difficult digestion,
flatulence, swollen feeling, headaches and even migraine in many cases.
These symptoms have a scientific
explanation based on histamine accumulation. Histamine is a molecule present in
most food, especially in “Christmas food”. Under normal circumstances and in
healthy people, the body produces this protein or amino acids chain called
DiamineOxidase (DAO) that is in charge of metabolizing histamine in the bowel,
so it can be eliminated through urine. Due to Christmas overeating, the
functional activity of this enzyme can be inhibited or blocked causing
gastrointestinal disorders and other symptoms.
These symptoms are exacerbated in
people with DAO deficiency, which is an alteration in the metabolism appearing
when, for some reason, there is an imbalance between the ingested histamine in
diet and the capacity to degrade it within the bowel. Therefore, the ingested
histamine builds up in the blood triggering multiple undesirable effects.
Following the conclusions of
Society of DAO Deficiency, one in every four people has a
deficiency in the activity of this amine, being more frequent in women than men
as women have a genetically lower DAO activity. The most common symptoms
arising from DAO Deficiency, that became acute at Christmas, are
gastrointestinal disorders and migraine, highly related with muscular pain,
atopic skin, fatigue, sleep disruption or even tinnitus.
While histamine is in fact
present in all food, to a greater or lesser extent, many of the typical
Christmas food contain higher histamine concentration; this is the case of
canapés, smoked products, seafood, and sauces like béchamel, cheese and
traditional sweets. Cava and alcoholic drinks in general have a double effect,
because in addition to the high-histamine content, alcohol also inhibits or
blocks DAO enzyme activity.
Society of DAO Deficiency recommends moderating the
intake of this kind of food, reduce or avoid alcoholic drinks, especially the
foaming ones, and if necessary, supplement menu with DAO in order to promote
the metabolism of the ingested histamine and its elimination without suffering
any symptom. As it is difficult to follow low-histamine diet during Christmas,
experts propose certain guidelines to avoid an excessive histamine
accumulation, which could have harmful effects on health.
|Food that should be avoided||Food that should be reduced|
Processed food such as
cured meat, milk and dairy products (cheese, cream, sauces like béchamel,
tartar…), precooked food and fermented vegetables (tofu, soy sauce,
sauerkraut…)Alcoholic drinks, since
alcohol inhibits DAO activity and has high histamine content. Especially,
foaming drinks like cava or champagne.
histamine-releasing food such as seafood (mussels, shrimps…), nougats (for
their chocolate, milk and nuts content), cakes (for the egg white, spices
such as cinnamon or the cream and fruits of the typical Three King’s cake)Preserved food like
anchovies or canned tuna.
of food whose consumption should be avoided or reduced during Christmas in case
of suffering from DAO Deficiency.
Estudio realizado en la Unidad de Cefalea del Hospital General de Cataluña con un total de 198 voluntarios, divididos en dos grupos: Un de 137 pacientes diagnosticados de migraña por la Unidad de Cefalea del Hospital de acuerdo con los criterios actuales de la IHS y un grupo control integrado por 61 voluntarios sin diagnóstico de migraña.
Las muestras de sangre se recogieron mediante punción venosa en un tubo con EDTA después de un periodo de ayuno de 8 horas. La actividad DAO se determinó mediante un test ELISA considerando valores inferiores a 80 HDU (Unidades degradantes de Histamina) eran indicadores de déficit de DAO.