Histamine, FODMAPS & Dopamine Dominance

High histamine has now become a centrally important topic in the health world. Previously I've reported that not only is histamine an inflammatory immune response mediator, its also a neurotransmitter that may effect your mood and behavior. It may be true that many people with high histamine or histamine intolerance have gastro-intestinal-related issues. This is probably due to the fact that histamine has specific roles in the gut, such as the triggering of gastric acid release. Additionally, histamine is degraded via the gut.

People with high histamine often have features and characteristics that set them apart. In blood chemistry, their percentage of basophils is always at least 1%. If someone has a basophils of 2% or greater, they typically have extremely elevated histamine. People with high histamine often react adversely to certain histamine-containing foods. Some of the big offenders include:

  • Cashews
  • Red wine
  • Cured meats
  • Aged cheese
  • Fermented foods
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados

High histamine types may or may not have homozygous gene mutations in DAO (d-amino oxidase) or HNMT (histamine-n-methyl transferase). If they do, they frequently have high histamine in their blood because either they produce histamine at a more rapid rate, or they don't break down histamine as quickly as other people.

High histamine release has also shown to involve increased levels of glutamate (1), an excitatory and problematic neurotransmitter. Glutamate is problematic because when there is too much of it, it tends to overload the NMDA receptor, leading to cell-programed death, especially of nerve cells. Here's a short list of high glutamate foods:

  • Cured meats
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Anything with MSG, or any of MSG's disguised names

Another significant finding is "dopamine dominance". People that are dopamine dominant are very interesting people. They are very analytical, are driven and motivated at succeeding, and they may inadvertently have reward orientations, due to dopamine hyperstimulation. They are driven by stress, and can get burned out by stress if they aren't careful. People that are dopamine dominant frequently have COMT homozygous (+/+) gene mutations. This is the enzyme that degrades dopamine. Sometimes dopamine dominant people can exhibit copper toxicity symptoms. This is because copper converts dopamine into nor-adrenaline.


The word FODMAPS stands for: Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols. Fodmaps are foods that contain various fermentable sugars that can result in undesirable GI-related symptoms. This may include:

  • Intestinal bloating & gas
  • IBS
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • SIBO

Interestingly there is an overlap between some high FODMAPS foods and high histamine foods. Fermented foods like saurkraut and vinegar contain both histamine as well as FODMAPS. So which are you reacting to: the histamine or the FODMAPS?

People who have FODMAPS sensitivities often have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). The elimination of FODMAPS often brings SIBO symptoms into check. If not, then look to issues with histamine and glutamate, as these triggers are very common. Sometimes people with SIBO have FUT2 gene mutations. This is a class of genes that may impact how much bifidobacterium is in your gut.