Name: Georgia Van W.
Date: May 2003
One of my students had allergy tests done and the
doctor told her she was allergic to histamines. I thought histamines was
something your own body produces. How is it possible to be allergic?
It is a both/and situation. Certainly, the body produces histamines as a
protective response to certain allergens, and sometimes it over-reacts
leading to well known symptoms. In addition, histamine occurs widely in
nature. It is produced by some bacteria and yeasts, it is one of the
products of the putrification of meat, it is found in some vegetables
such as spinach and egg plant, in some fish, cheeses, and red wine. So it
is possible to be "allergic" to histamine in the sense that in a "skin"
test the student presented an even greater allergic response than would
be expected by the low concentration of histamine in the challenge serum.
I do not know if it is so, but the presence of histamine may be
mistakenly attributed to other food allergens.
Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives
Update: June 2012