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What happens when your body produces too much histamine?

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Quick Answer

Excess histamine in the body may cause symptoms including flushing, hives or wheezing; itching or burning of skin, eyes or mucous membranes; runny eyes or nose; and stomach cramps or diarrhea, according to Allergy & Immunology Associates of Michigan. Histamine is naturally produced, but too much histamine may result from allergic reactions or consumption of certain foods.

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Full Answer

Histamine is a substance that dilates blood vessels and makes blood vessel walls more permeable, according to MedicineNet. The body produces histamine as part of allergic reactions, which is why antihistamines that block histamine production are used to treat allergic reactions.

Too much histamine produces the symptoms associated with allergic reactions, reports Allergy & Immunology Associates of Michigan. The dilation of blood vessels can cause flushing, rashes or itching. Histamine stimulates mucus production, which can lead to runny eyes or nose, or to digestive upset as a result of changes to intestinal mucosa. It can also tighten airways, leading to coughing or wheezing.

Histamine is produced not only as a result of allergic reactions, says Allergy & Immunology Associates of Michigan, but may also be produced as a result of intolerance to foods such as bananas, eggs, milk, papayas, pineapple and shellfish. Some foods are also naturally rich in histamine, and may cause the symptoms associated with excess histamine. These foods include avocado, spinach, eggplant, dried fruit, processed meats, cheeses, yogurt, and mackerel or sardines.

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