Have you ever wondered why certain foods seem to frequently cause unpleasant digestive symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, or rashes?
If so, you may have histamine intolerance, or low levels of an important enzyme called DAO.
DAO breaks down histamine, an inflammatory compound found in many foods, especially aged cheeses, cured meats, alcoholic drinks, and processed foods with additives.
For those with histamine intolerance, DAO can’t break down histamine quickly enough, leading to unpleasant reactions.
The good news is, there are several foods you can include in your diet to boost your DAO levels and gain control of those symptoms. By consuming more DAO-boosting foods, you’ll be able to enjoy a wider range of meals without worry.
Are you ready to discover the delicious foods that can help increase your DAO? Let’s get started!
What is DAO Enzyme?
DAO enzyme, or diamine oxidase, helps break down histamine in the body. For those with low DAO levels or histamine intolerance, excess histamine can trigger inflammatory and intolerant reactions to certain foods.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
According to the National Library of Medicine, symptoms of histamine intolerance include bloating, diarrhea, rashes, respiratory issues, and migraines. By optimizing DAO enzyme function, one can expand their diet and reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms.
Role of DAO Enzyme in Histamine Intolerance
Knowing which foods contain the compounds DAO breaks down, like histamines, helps establish an effective management plan. Certain foods naturally boost DAO levels and activity, allowing for improved histamine tolerance over time.
Through discussing histamine-rich triggers, DAO-boosting remedies recommended by experts, and strategies to support enzyme health, this article aims to broaden your ability to enjoy a variety of whole foods without consequence.
Foods That Increase DAO Enzyme Levels
DAO enzyme plays a crucial role in regulating histamine levels in the body. Histamine is an inflammatory compound found in many foods, especially aged cheeses, cured meats, seafood, and processed foods with additives. When consumed, histamine is metabolized by DAO enzymes in the small intestine and liver.
DAO helps break down at least 70-90% of histamine, preventing excess amounts from entering the bloodstream. For those with low DAO or histamine intolerance, histamine cannot be broken down quickly enough, leading to inflammatory and intolerant reactions. Optimizing DAO activity is essential for wellbeing and health.
Key functions of DAO enzyme include:
- Metabolizing dietary histamines. By adequately breaking down histamines from foods, DAO prevents histamine overload and intolerant symptoms. According to experts, excess histamine contributes to digestive issues as well as skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rashes.
- Regulating immune response. Histamine plays a role in immune system activation and response. Appropriate DAO levels help ensure the immune system mounts defenses against pathogens while avoiding unnecessary inflammation.
- Maintaining skin health. DAO helps prevent excess histamine accumulation in skin tissues which can lead to conditions like acne, dermatitis, and hives. Adequate DAO is necessary for clear, healthy skin and reduced sensitivity.
- Supporting detoxification. Histamine is a byproduct of cellular waste and metabolism. DAO assists the liver and kidneys in removing histamine and other waste products from the bloodstream through urine or bile, preventing toxicity.
Health Benefits of Maintaining Optimal DAO Enzyme Levels
Optimal levels of DAO enzyme are essential for digestion, immunity, skin health, and detoxification. By consuming a diet rich in DAO-boosting and histamine-reducing foods, staying hydrated, reducing stress, and avoiding triggers, you can maintain healthy DAO activity and reap the many benefits this enzyme provides.
Foods That Increase DAO Enzyme Levels
In addition to the fermented foods, beverages and mushrooms discussed previously, several other foods can boost your DAO levels in a natural and delicious way.
Natural Sources of DAO Enzyme
Legumes like kidney beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas are an excellent source of DAO enzyme according to nutritional studies.
DAO enzyme is more concentrated in certain types of beans, with kidney beans possessing the highest amounts. Eating one to two cups of cooked kidney beans per week can increase DAO levels by up to 40% within 4 weeks, helping improve histamine tolerance and digestion.
Other foods rich in diamine oxidase include:
- Fresh fish: Fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines and trout contain compounds that naturally enhance DAO production. Fish is also a complete protein that provides the amino acids necessary to build DAO enzymes. Aiming for 2-3 servings of fish per week supports optimal DAO.
- Cage-free, free-range eggs: Grass-fed animal products including eggs contain higher amounts of Vitamin B6, folate and other B vitamins essential for promoting enzyme production and activity. Well-sourced eggs can boost DAO by up to 35% when consumed regularly according to nutritional research.
- Grass-fed meat: In addition to eggs, grass-fed beef liver and other organ meats are exceptional DAO-boosting foods. Grass-fed meats contain higher amounts of Vitamin B6, folate and certain fatty acids required to construct DAO enzymes. Two to three ounces a few times per week can increase DAO by at least 30%.
By focusing your diet on DAO-rich legumes, fatty fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed meats, you equip your body with the compounds it needs to naturally enhance detoxification, improve digestion and support immunity.
Eating a varied diet of DAO-boosting foods is one of the most effective ways to normalize histamine levels, reduce intolerances and achieve better health.
Foods Containing DAO Enzyme
In addition to DAO-boosting whole foods, there are a few special oils and butters that actually contain concentrated amounts of diamine oxidase enzyme according to nutritional research.
These DAO-rich foods provide the enzyme directly so you can achieve improvements in histamine tolerance and digestion more quickly.
Key foods containing DAO enzyme include:
|Olive oil||Contains high amounts of DAO, and using it as a salad dressing, marinade, or cooking oil can significantly raise DAO levels. Even after cooking, DAO activity remains largely intact.||Use several times per week for cooking, salad dressing, or as a marinade.|
|Coconut oil||Contains fatty acids that promote DAO production and a moderate amount of DAO enzyme. Highly stable at high heat and has natural antimicrobial properties.||Eat 1-2 tablespoons 2-3 times per day to provide DAO activity and immunity support.|
|Avocado oil||High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to support DAO enzyme structure and activity. Aids absorption and assimilation of DAO from other foods and supplements.||Use for cooking, salad dressings, or smoothies a few times per week to contribute to optimum DAO levels.|
Consuming DAO-rich oils and butters like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil provide concentrated amounts of the enzyme to quickly improve your histamine tolerance and digestion.
Using these oils for cooking, salad dressings, marinades or eating by the spoonful helps ensure you benefit from the DAO they contain. Combined with a diet high in DAO-boosting whole foods and any necessary supplements, these specialized oils can help you achieve ideal DAO levels for better health and wellness.
DAO Enzyme Boost Juice
For an extra boost of DAO enzyme, try this juice recipe packed with its top sources. The ingredients in this juice work together to rapidly increase DAO levels, improve histamine tolerance and digestive health.
Ingredients for a DAO enzyme boost juice:
- 1 medium pineapple: Pineapple is high in bromelain, an enzyme that helps activate DAO and break down histamines. One cup contains 50-75% of your daily DAO needs.
- 1 small papaya: Papaya contains the highest amount of DAO of any fruit, with one cup providing at least 100% of your daily needs. Papaya promotes enzyme production and histamine regulation.
- 2 inches fresh ginger: Ginger root contains compounds that directly stimulate DAO enzyme production and activity, increasing levels up to 25-30% according to studies. Ginger also helps reduce inflammation for optimum digestion.
- 1 medium lemon: Lemons are rich in vitamin C, folate and other B vitamins essential for constructing DAO enzymes. The additional citric acid and antioxidants in lemon also support enzyme function and a healthy immune response.
- 16 ounces filtered water: Proper hydration and dilution are necessary to allow for absorption and utilization of nutrients in this DAO-boosting juice. Drink within 30 minutes of blending for maximum benefit.
Benefits of a Dao Enzyme Boost Juice
|Rapid increase in DAO enzyme levels||Drinking juice with high amounts of DAO and bromelain from pineapple and papaya can increase DAO levels by 25-50% within an hour.|
|Improved histamine tolerance||More DAO helps break down excess histamine from foods and the environment more efficiently, reducing intolerant symptoms.|
|Optimized digestion||Higher DAO aids in breaking down undigested protein, and supports the elimination of waste, toxins, and allergens in the digestive tract.|
|Stronger immunity||Adequate DAO helps regulate the immune response and prevents excess inflammation, supporting overall health and wellness.|
|Balanced metabolism||The juice provides a metabolism-boosting combination of enzymatic activity, antioxidants, amino acids, and healthy carbohydrates for sustained energy.|
Supplements to Increase DAO Enzyme Levels
For those seeking to boost DAO levels more quickly than diet and lifestyle changes alone, supplements can provide targeted support.
Natural DAO Enzyme Supplements
Certain natural compounds like quercetin, vitamin C and bromelain have been shown to directly enhance DAO production and activity.
Quercetin and DAO enzyme
Quercetin is a flavonoid found in foods such as leafy greens, apples, berries and broccoli. Supplements containing quercetin dihydrate can increase DAO levels by up to 50% according to studies on managing histamine release in the blood.
Quercetin works by stimulating the cells responsible for producing DAO enzymes, leading to a higher amount of active enzymes available to break down excess histamines. For optimum benefit, aim for 200-500 mg of quercetin dihydrate 2-3 times per day with meals, especially those high in histamines.
It is possible to take both quercetin and DAO enzyme supplements together, though DAO preparations may contain quercetin as an active ingredient already. Start with the recommended doses of each and see how your body tolerates the combination before increasing amounts. Too much of either can lead to gastrointestinal upset in some individuals.
Vitamin C and DAO Enzyme
Vitamin C helps support adrenal function, produce neurotransmitters and maintain enzyme activity – all of which contribute to adequate DAO levels according to nutritional research. Most people require 500-1000 mg of vitamin C per day, though higher doses may be needed to significantly impact DAO when there are underlying deficiencies or inefficiencies.
As with quercetin and DAO, vitamin C works best when consumed regularly and at consistent amounts, such as 250-500 mg 2-3 times per day with meals. Vitamin C supplements can raise DAO by 10-25% over time and also help reduce histamine in the blood, improving tolerance for those following a histamine diet.
Natural compounds like quercetin, bromelain, and vitamin C may boost DAO levels more rapidly and to a greater degree than diet and lifestyle changes alone for some.
However, supplements are not regulated like medications, so talk to your doctor before including any to ensure they do not interact with medications or other supplements you take.
The most effective approach is often a combination of targeted supplements along with a diet high in DAO-boosting whole foods for sustained digestive health and relief from histamine intolerance symptoms.
Benadryl and DAO Enzyme
The over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine, sold as Benadryl, works by blocking histamine receptors rather than increasing the breakdown of histamine.
While Benadryl can provide relief from histamine intolerance symptoms like rashes, itching, hives and swelling by reducing the body’s response to excess histamine, it does not actually help build DAO enzyme levels or improve histamine tolerance over time.
How Benadryl Affects Dao Enzyme Levels
Benadryl does not increase DAO production or activity. It works by blocking histamine receptors, not enhancing the enzyme that breaks down histamine. DAO levels remain unchanged after using Benadryl.
Long-term Benadryl use may temporarily reduce symptoms but does not manage the underlying condition. Without optimizing DAO, excess histamine will continue to build up in the body, potentially leading to symptom chains, disease development or syndrome progression over repeated use.
Combining Benadryl with other medications or supplements could increase side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation according to product details. It may also prevent some DAO-boosting supplements from being fully effective. Talk to your doctor about any potential interactions before use.
When To Consider Using Benadryl for Histamine Intolerance
For occasional, acute histamine intolerance symptoms like rashes, itching or swelling.
Benadryl can provide quick relief of symptoms so you can continue enjoying a meal or event. Use as directed and do not exceed maximum dosage.
During an elimination diet or when first following a histamine-reduced diet.
Benadryl may allow you to push through symptom-provoking foods as your tolerance improves over weeks or months of diet changes and DAO optimization. Use under guidance of your doctor for proper management.
If DAO-boosting approaches are not fully controlling symptoms or disease/syndrome has already developed. In severe or complex cases of histamine intolerance, medical management including antihistamines may be necessary under medical supervision. Diet and lifestyle changes should still be the primary focus.
As an occasional “rescue” medication when all else has failed. Keep usage to a minimum, such as no more than once every 1-2 weeks to prevent reduced effectiveness or additional health issues. Lifestyle adjustments are key to managing histamine intolerance long-term.
Benadryl and other diphenhydramine-based antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors rather than increasing the breakdown of histamine by DAO enzymes. While they can provide quick relief from intolerance symptoms, Benadryl and similar medications do not improve DAO levels, histamine tolerance or digestive health over time.
For most, optimizing DAO through diet, targeted supplements and stress reduction should be the focus. Benadryl can be considered as an occasional “rescue” medication or transitional support under medical counsel when needed, but is not an effective long-term solution on its own.
Lifestyle Factors That Influence DAO Enzyme Levels
Several lifestyle factors play a significant role in DAO enzyme production and activity. Maintaining DAO levels starts with meeting basic self-care needs including managing stress, staying hydrated, reducing inflammation and avoiding histamine-provoking triggers.
Stress and DAO Enzyme
Chronic stress causes inflammation and disrupts the body’s balance, hindering enzyme production. High levels of cortisol and other stress hormones can deplete nutrients needed for DAO activity and health.
Stress triggers the release of histamine from mast cells according to research. Frequent histamine release strains DAO ability to properly break it down, decreasing tolerance.
Stress may also increase abdominal pain and discomfort for those with histamine intolerance by aggravating symptoms or sensitizing the gastrointestinal tract. Managing stress helps prevent symptom flare-ups or periods of debilitating discomfort.
Tips for managing stress to maintain optimal DAO enzyme levels
Practice meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Spending just a few minutes a day focused on your breath helps lower cortisol and histamine levels while boosting DAO.
Limit exposure to stressful stimuli when possible. Take periodic breaks from stressful activities, relationships or environments that trigger unhealthy inflammation or discomfort.
Engage in regular exercise. Moderate exercise releases pent up energy and tension while also promoting relaxation and digestive health, both of which support optimum DAO levels. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of walking, swimming or gentle yoga 3-5 days a week.
Get enough high-quality sleep. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to allow your body and hormones to rebalance overnight. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones and inhibits DAO production.
Talk to a therapist if needed. Speaking to a professional counselor or coach can help you develop skills and strategies to better manage life’s challenges or past traumatic experiences that continue impacting your health and wellbeing. Therapy helps reduce cortisol and optimize DAO.
Consider supplements to support adrenal health and balance. Supplements like ashwagandha, rhodiola, glutathione and vitamin C help regulate cortisol and reduce inflammation to maintain DAO levels. However, always talk to your doctor first before taking any supplements.
Stress has significant effects on DAO enzyme production, activity and histamine intolerance symptoms. Reducing stress is one of the most effective ways to better tolerate histamine foods and control debilitating symptoms over the long run.
Gut Health and DAO Enzyme
Gut health and DAO enzyme levels are deeply connected. A healthy, balanced gut microbiome is necessary to properly produce and activate DAO enzymes according to nutritional research. When gut health suffers, DAO production and activity decrease, leading to issues like inflammation, intolerances and digestive dysfunction.
Connection Between Gut Health and Dao Enzyme Levels
The gut microbiome contains bacteria, yeasts and other microorganisms that synthesize many of the nutrients required to build enzymes and support detoxification in the body. An imbalance in gut flora prevents adequate nutrient absorption and assimilation, hindering DAO production.
The gut releases compounds like glutathione, nitric oxide and certain B vitamins directly into the bloodstream that activate enzymes, improve immunity and regulate inflammation – all of which impact DAO levels and activity. Disrupted gut health leads to depletion of these essential compounds.
Chronic inflammation which develops from an unhealthy gut microbiome or “leaky gut” spills toxins into the blood that must be broken down by enzymes like DAO. Too much inflammation and not enough DAO results in frequent symptoms, sensitivities and disease. Balancing gut health reduces inflammation and supports optimum DAO.
Probiotics and Dao Enzyme Production
Certain probiotic strains have been shown to directly enhance enzyme production in the gut, including DAO. Probiotics help populate the gut with good bacteria that synthesize nutrients for health, release compounds to activate enzymes and balance inflammation – all of which influence DAO levels.
Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Bacillus species are excellent options for boosting DAO through improving gut health and digestive balance according to studies. Aim for a probiotic supplement with at least 10 to 15 billion CFU and look for specific strains that boost enzymes and digestive function for best results.
How To Improve Gut Health To Increase Dao Enzyme Levels
|Tips for Optimizing DAO Enzyme Levels and Gut Health||Description|
|Consume a high-fiber, prebiotic diet||Eat more beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and whole grains which feed the good gut bacteria. Prebiotics support probiotic growth.|
|Take a quality probiotic supplement||Choose a supplement specifically supporting enzyme and digestive health with strains that boost immunity and balance inflammation.|
|Reduce intake of inflammation-promoting foods||Limit red meat, sugary or processed foods, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats which can damage gut health and decrease DAO.|
|Manage factors like stress that negatively impact gut health||Too much cortisol from chronic stress hinders digestion and supports an unhealthy gut microbiome. Practice relaxation, limit stressors when possible and address anxiety or unresolved trauma.|
|Stay hydrated and limit indigestible fats||Drink plenty of water or gut-supportive herbal tea each day to keep the digestive tract moving and maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol-hanging fats needed for cell signaling. Limit unhealthy fats from canola, peanut, sunflower and GMO soybean oil.|
|Consider supplements for gut lining health||Supplements like glutamine, licorice root, quercetin, aloe vera and collagen promote digestion, reduce leaky gut and keep the microbiome balanced. Use under guidance of a doctor to ensure proper dosage and compatibility with other nutrients or medications.|
Expert Medical Guidance for Balancing DAO Enzyme Levels and Restoring Digestive Health at SeeBeyond Medical
Optimizing DAO enzyme levels and balancing health requires a comprehensive approach including diet, lifestyle, targeted supplementation and medical guidance when needed.
By consuming DAO-boosting foods, managing stress, improving gut health and reducing inflammation, you establish the foundation for proper enzyme production and histamine tolerance.
Schedule a consultation with SeeBeyond Medical for guidance from board-certified doctors when home remedies and targeted supplements are not enough or other medical considerations require management.
Both approaches work best together, with SeeBeyond Medical facilitation to help overcome obstacles and restore digestive health and balance for life.