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Name: Georgia Van W.
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: May 2003


Question:
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?



Replies:
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.

Vince Calder



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