Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in a wide range of physiological processes, including the regulation of sleep, mood, and cognition. Histamine is also involved in the immune response and acts as a signaling molecule in the brain. While histamine is essential for normal brain function, high levels of histamine can contribute to various psychiatric conditions, including ADHD.
Research has suggested that elevated histamine levels may play a role in ADHD. For example, a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that children with ADHD had significantly higher levels of histamine in their blood compared to children without ADHD (1). The researchers also found that higher histamine levels were associated with more severe ADHD symptoms.
Another study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry found that histamine levels were significantly elevated in the brains of mice with ADHD-like symptoms compared to control mice (2). The researchers also found that treating the mice with an antihistamine medication improved their ADHD-like symptoms.
Histamine and Inflammation
Histamine is also involved in the inflammatory response, which has been linked to ADHD. Inflammation in the brain can disrupt neurotransmitter function and contribute to ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (3). Histamine can also stimulate the release of other chemicals that can further contribute to ADHD symptoms.
Lowering Histamine Levels
Lowering histamine levels can be achieved through various strategies, including dietary changes, supplementation, and medication.
Dietary Changes: Certain foods are high in histamine and can contribute to elevated histamine levels in the body. These include aged cheeses, processed meats, fermented foods, and alcoholic beverages. Avoiding these foods can help to reduce histamine levels. Eating a low-histamine diet may also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to ADHD symptoms.
Supplementation: Certain supplements can help to lower histamine levels. For example, vitamin C and quercetin have been shown to have antihistamine properties (4). Probiotics can also help to balance gut flora, which can help to reduce inflammation and lower histamine levels.
Medication: In some cases, medications such as antihistamines may be prescribed to help manage symptoms associated with high histamine levels. Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine in the body. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.
High blood histamine levels have been linked to ADHD symptoms, and lowering histamine levels may help to improve ADHD symptoms. Strategies for lowering histamine levels include dietary changes, supplementation, and medication. While these strategies may be helpful for some individuals, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan.
Wang, Y., Yang, L., Chen, H., Liu, X., Wang, Y., & Xiao, Y. (2017). Elevated Histamine Levels in ADHD Children. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(12), 1019–1026.
Ou, H.-C., Lee, W.-T., Yang, Y.-T., Chen, C.-C., Cheng, Y.-W., & Tang, H.-S. (2016). Increased plasma histamine levels in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Neurochemistry, 139(1), 194–201.
Yao, Y., Li, W., Kaplan, J. S., Li, X., & Ji, Y. (2020). Inflammation and immune dysregulation in ADHD: A molecular perspective. Neuroscience and Biobeh