Decarboxylation of histidine generates histamine. A number of foods, especially those that are fermented, may be rich in histamine.


Food classes rich in histamine:

(1) cheese (see below)

(2) preserved meats (see below)

(3) wine or wine vinegar (see below)

(4) beer

(5) vegetables (see below)

(6) fish (see below)


Factors increasing the amount of histamine:

(1) fermentation using bacteria or yeast

(2) putrefaction


Cheese that may be rich in histamine:

(1) Camembert

(2) Cheddar, especially aged

(3) Emmental

(4) Gouda

(5) Parmesan

(6) Swiss


Preserved meats:

(1) fermented ham

(2) fermented sausage

(3) salami


Wine products

(1) red wine

(2) white wine

(3) champagne

(4) wine vinegar



(1) spinach

(2) egglant

(3) sauerkraut

(4) tomato ketchup


Fish (may be associated with scombroid fish poisoning):

(1) scombroid: tuna, mackerel, bonito

(2) nonscombroid: sardines, bluefish, anchovies, mahimahi, salmon, herring, amberjack


The amount of histamine in a food can be measured, confirming or excluding it as a source of histamine exposure.


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