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Can Dao Enzyme Help With Asthma?

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How DAO Enzyme Can Be a Potential Ally in Asthma Management

As we navigate through an ever-changing health landscape, the spotlight is now on an intriguing enzyme, Diamine Oxidase (DAO), for its potential role in managing asthma. In this article, we’ll unpack how DAO could change asthma treatment as we know it.

Understanding Asthma: Triggers, Symptoms, and Types

Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes inflammation and constriction of the airways, resulting in symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

The severity of these symptoms varies among individuals and could range from a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening situation. Understanding the types of asthma and the triggers that exacerbate them can be crucial for effective management.

Type of AsthmaTriggersImmune Response
Allergic (Extrinsic) AsthmaAllergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, or mold.Involves the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and release of histamine.
Non-Allergic (Intrinsic) AsthmaIrritants like smoke, pollution, cold air, exercise, or stress.Does not involve IgE antibodies but still results in airway inflammation.
Exercise-Induced AsthmaExercise, particularly in cold and dry air.Characterized by airway constriction during or after exercise.
Occupational AsthmaInhalation of fumes, gases, or dust in the workplace.Leads to airway inflammation due to the irritants.
Food and Additives-Induced AsthmaCertain food items, including those rich in histamine or histidine, such as aged cheese and fermented foods. Also, food additives like sulfites and salicylates are found in processed foods, wines, and dried fruits.Involves immune system reaction leading to airway inflammation. May involve IgE antibodies for certain allergenic foods.

Understanding your type of asthma can help you avoid triggers and manage symptoms more effectively.

The Role of Histamine in Asthma

doctor instructed his patient about medication dosage

Histamine, as part of the body’s defense system, plays a significant role in the inflammation and constriction seen in asthma. It is produced by mast cells in response to allergens or irritants.

Effects of Histamine on the Airways

BronchoconstrictionHistamine causes contraction of the smooth muscles in the bronchial tubes, leading to the narrowing of the airways.
Mucous ProductionHistamine promotes the production of mucous in the airways, contributing to obstruction and difficulty in breathing.
Vascular PermeabilityHistamine increases the permeability of blood vessels, leading to leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissues. This contributes to swelling and inflammation of the airways.

The Role of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) in Asthma

Diamine oxidase (DAO) is an enzyme that helps degrade and neutralize histamine in the body. It is primarily found in the gut, kidneys, and placenta. People with lower DAO activity may be more susceptible to histamine-induced symptoms due to slower histamine breakdown.

DAO Activity and Asthma Severity

Studies have found intriguing patterns linking DAO activity and asthma severity. For instance, plasma DAO activity was found to be higher in severely asthmatic children compared to those with mild asthma. Notably, DAO activity rose during acute asthmatic attacks and then decreased gradually over several days.

DAO activity levels have also shown a correlation with the severity of allergic rhinitis, a condition often co-existing with asthma.

DAO Deficiency and Asthma

Some studies suggest that a deficiency in DAO can cause asthma in people suffering from allergies, especially in conjunction with sulfite intolerance. The deficiency can become more pronounced when individuals consume alcoholic drinks like champagne, which can block the activity of the DAO, allowing more histamine to enter the bloodstream and causing inflammation and asthma.

Plasma DAO activity in asthmatic childrenHigher DAO activity in severely asthmatic childrenIndicates a possible role of DAO in asthma severity
DAO and allergic rhinitisCorrelation between DAO activity levels and nasal peak inspiratory flowDemonstrates the broader role of DAO in respiratory allergies
DAO deficiency, sulfite intolerance, and alcoholInduces asthma in affected individualsHighlights the impact of dietary and lifestyle factors on DAO function and asthma

This leads us to an interesting hypothesis: By managing DAO activity or levels in the body, we might be able to better control asthma symptoms.

Leveraging DAO for Asthma Management: Exploring Dietary Changes, Supplements, and Beyond

Understanding DAO’s role in metabolizing histamine opens up new possibilities for managing histamine intolerance and related disorders, including asthma.

Increasing DAO Activity

Increasing the activity of DAO in the body could potentially help to better manage histamine levels. However, research on this is still in the early stages, and it isn’t entirely clear how this could be achieved. A few potential methods have been suggested:

DAO Supplements

Some researchers are looking into the possibility of using DAO supplements to boost DAO activity in the body. These supplements are usually sourced from pig kidney, which is rich in enzymes. Studies on this are limited, and while some have shown promise, more research is needed to verify their effectiveness and safety.

Dietary Management

One of the simplest ways to manage DAO activity could be through dietary changes. By avoiding high-histamine foods and beverages (such as fermented foods, certain fish, and alcohol), individuals may be able to reduce the burden on their DAO enzymes and thus potentially reduce histamine-related asthma symptoms.

Additionally, consuming foods rich in vitamin B6, copper, and vitamin C, which are essential for DAO activity, could potentially boost enzyme levels.

Decreasing Histamine Release

Another potential strategy could be to decrease the release of histamine in the body. This can be achieved in several ways, such as avoiding known allergens or taking antihistamines, which block the effects of histamine.

Avoiding Known Allergens

One straightforward method to reduce histamine release is to avoid known allergens. These can include dust mites, pollen, certain foods, and pet dander.


Another common approach is to use antihistamines. These medications work by blocking the effects of histamine in the body and can be very effective in reducing symptoms of allergies, including those related to asthma.


Diamine Oxidase (DAO) may play a critical role in managing asthma through its regulation of histamine levels. Studies suggest that increasing DAO activity, potentially via supplements or dietary changes, could help control asthma symptoms.

Additionally, strategies to decrease histamine release, like avoiding allergens and using antihistamines, remain important. However, more research is needed to validate these methods and explore further implications of DAO in asthma management and other histamine-related disorders.


Q1. What is Histamine Intolerance, and How Does Diamine Oxidase Play a Role in It?

Histamine intolerance is a condition where the body cannot effectively break down excess histamine, a compound that triggers allergic reactions and inflammation. Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is a critical enzyme in histamine metabolism. A deficiency in DAO can lead to an accumulation of histamines, causing symptoms of histamine intolerance, including abdominal and migraine attacks.

Q2. How Can Dietary Changes Like a Low-Histamine Diet Aid in Managing Histamine Intolerance and Asthma?

A low-histamine or histamine-free diet can help manage symptoms for a subgroup of patients with histamine intolerance and potentially those with asthma. Histamine-rich foods can increase histamine levels in the body, exacerbating symptoms. Identifying and eliminating such food intolerances can reduce adverse reactions to histamine.

Q3. How is Histamine Intolerance Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of histamine intolerance involves an oral provocation test, monitoring of symptoms, and a medical examination. In some instances, the activity of diamine oxidase and histamine degradation capacity can also be tested.

Q4. What is the Correlation Between Diamine Oxidase and Asthma?

Research indicates a potential correlation between DAO activity and asthma severity. Plasma diamine oxidase activity may be higher in patients with severe asthma compared to those with mild symptoms. A DAO deficiency could exacerbate asthmatic reactions, particularly in patients with food allergies and intolerance to histamines.

Q5. What Role Does Histamine Play in Allergic Reactions and Asthma?

During an allergic reaction, mast cells release histamine, leading to inflammation and smooth muscle contraction. This results in swelling and mucus production, contributing to airway obstruction – a key characteristic of an asthma attack. Managing histamine levels, via pathways like the activity of diamine oxidase, is crucial in controlling asthma symptoms.

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