Migraines are among the most common disorders in the world, and as anyone who has experienced one can attest to, they have the ability to stop even the healthiest, liveliest person from getting anything done or even getting out of bed.
The link between histamine and migraines actually goes back decades, but we are understanding it more now in the context of more and more research on histamine itself.
Levels of histamine in the plasma are higher in chronic migraine sufferers (1), and we also see increased brain mast cells (histamine-releasing cells) (2). And in both regular migraine sufferers and healthy individuals, migraines can be induced by the ingestion of histamine at higher than usual levels (3).
It has long been believed that migraines are genetic disorders. Interestingly, the genetic factor may be the deficiency of Diamine Oxidase (DAO), the primary enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine. Research has shown that 87% of individuals who suffer from chronic migraines are deficient in DAO (4)– and that DAO supplements can shorten migraine attacks (5).
Another study found that 73.3% of those suffering with migraines as well as other types of chronic headaches improved considerably when following a low histamine diet (6).