Amine Allergy? What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of an amine allergy or amine intolerance usually depend on the amount of amine you eat – you are likely to tolerate smaller amounts than larger amounts — and occur when the enzymes responsible for breaking down histamine are saturated, or used up.   The most common symptoms experienced by those sensitive to amines are recurrent eczema and hives, headaches or migraines, sinus trouble, mouth ulcers, fatigue (frequently feeling rundown and tired for no apparent reason), nausea, stomach pains, joint pain that is undiagnosed and digestive issues.  Children can become irritable, restless and exhibit symptoms related to ADHD.  Breast fed babies can exhibit colic, diaper rash, loose stools, eczema through the milk if the mother is taking in excessive amounts of amines.

If you know that you have reactions to wines, aged cheeses or chocolate, there’s a good chance you may be reacting to other foods high in amines.  Take them out of your diet completely for a few weeks and see how you feel.  If you do have sensitivity to amines, you’ll want to limit the amount you eat every day, and determine what your own personal tolerance is to these highly reactive chemicals.


Heidi Turner, MS, RD, CD
FoodLogic, PLLC
@ The Seattle Arthritis Clinic
10330 Meridian Avenue North, Suite 250
Seattle, WA 98133

Published on August 19, 2011 at 9:58 am  Comments (32)  

32 CommentsLeave a comment

    • Thank you so much for helping to spread the word about amine allergies! I hope it finds someone that can be helped by it.

  1. how very nice to read of other people with similar amine issues.
    my daughter now 29, is still testing amine levels, having just recently begun the elimination/ reintroduction diet.
    amines are a big problem, seeming to have been the reason her arm regularly drops out of her shoulder socket, for no diagnosed reason (apparently i just imagine this happens as she pops it back in by the time we see a Dr) skin breaks out in exma type rash (each Dr has a different name) she has seizures. these symptoms have almost all cleared up after 95 days on the low amine diet. yes 95 days of boring food that i try very hard to brighten. i have done the diet with her as a support, and it gets tedious!

  2. So interesting to read this – I have just discovered that I probably have an amine intolerance and was astonished to read about your joint pain – I have had unexplained joint pain for over ten years along with frequent migraines – reading your story has really helped inspire me to take this very seriously – thank you for sharing your story!

  3. It was great Help.
    Thank you.

    • Glad I could be of service. Best to you!

  4. Thank you for putting this together and sharing your story. I know I have an amine problem – heart racing in the middle of the night, extreme fatigue, unexplained arthritis uncommon in someone my age etc. I’ve been diagnosed with the gamete from adrenal fatigue to depression and everyone is just sure a racing heart must be anxiety or thyroid. I’ve had saliva and allergy testing to no avail.

    I made a list of foods that bothered me about a year ago and wine/cheese/kefir, things I crave, were all on it. I finally realized they are a category of foods called amines but when I look for help online, I get lost and overwhelmed trying to identify if I also have other intolerances. I’ve contacted Heidi and am excited to have someone from the US to help me unwind all this. I feel better one day and worse the next and just give up since I can’t seem to figure it out on my own, I’m too exhausted most days to think clearly, and the elimination diet looks completely devoid of nutrients. I realize the ‘healthy’ juices and foods I am eating may be causing many more problems than a diet devoid of ‘nutrients’ for a few months so after reading about your joint problems and realized I’m doing real damage I’m ready to accept whatever she offers me.

    I feel like my life is not my own, my family is suffering with me, and sometimes I don’t know how I can go on another day with the fatigue and pain then I top it with a sleepless night and I’m unbearable the next day. I’m young, eat an organic diet, have dreams of living an active life, attempt to care for myself and feel like I’m falling apart despite my best intentions. Last night I was awake for my usual 4 hour heart racing episode and I clicked on the Dr. Oz show on fatigue and almost as an aside, he mentions soy sauce, aged meats, processed meats, and cheeses all contributing to insomnia. I figured if it hit the Dr. Oz show, there may be more than some obscure Australian resources available by now so I followed Google around and landed on your site and am very encouraged today for the first time in many months.

    Thank you, and I’ll keep you posted on my journey.
    Michelle (from the dry side of Washington)

    • You’ve got a sympathizer here, for sure. I wish you the best of luck in your journey. Remember, there is always hope. I’m very belated in a post I need to put up, but to put out a teaser…… My symptoms, due to changes I’ve made in my diet, have reduced by THREE QUARTERS. Thus, the lack of posts lately. I need to finish my post on what I changed, and how I changed it. I cannot guarantee it will work for everyone. But my God, if it does for even a few of you… <3

      Love and Light,

  5. If an amine intolerance is when the enzymes for breaking down histamine are used up, wouldn’t it make sense to take a supplement of these enzymes? I know there are digestive enzyme supplements that add enzymes that break down protein, vegetables, grains, etc to help your body digest. With amines its probably more complicated though…

    I’m allergic to soy, all nuts, peaches and peas and have eliminated these for nearly a year and still have yucky symptoms such as fatigue, joint aches and sinus pain so I’m trying a two week low amine trial just to see what happens.
    I’ve had a bit of a hard time thinking up meals to make that aren’t soo time consuming… but – I absolutely loved the mac and cheese recipe! Great job!
    Anyway, what do you think about the enzyme idea?

    • I take enzymes and probiotics, and it helps, but I’m not sure if that’s why it helps. However, I can’t see it hurting anything!

      Glad you liked the mac and cheese. Hopefully you can find some other easy-to-make recipes on here, too.

  6. Hi Gail Staggs – I was very interested to hear of your daughters issues (And saddend) involving her joints in her shoulder popping out, I also have an Amine and Salicylates intolerance – (that I have had to find myself as no one in the medical industry in Australia could correctly diagnose) and have been experiencing all the ‘normal’ joint pains in the last number of years BUT recently have had my LH should pop out? Please tell me more?

    Simon Bracic

  7. My symptoms are all localised to my mouth and digestive system. It took 15 years before I knew what caused the problem. I had severe and continual mouth ulcers that feel as if they go all the way down my throat. My mouth was agony, most food caused unbearable pain to have in my mouth. Swallowing was painful and I had the sensation of continuous reflux. It was such a relief to finally get an answer on what the problem was. I found out by doing the ‘failsafe diet’, that starts with a 2-3 week diet low in salisylates, amines, additives & flavour enhancers. I found out about my gluten issues 5 years ago but until doing this diet that tests for several intolerance foods, I had no idea it was amines. I highly recommend trying this diet if you have health issues that could be food related. For the entire diet I used the “failsafe cookbook” for everything I cooked. Now that I know its Amines I have more choices.


    • Thank you for sharing this, Kathy, and I’m so glad you found out what it was! Not knowing is the hardest part – you end up living in fear and miserable because you’re always accidentally eating things that hurt you. Kudos to you finding out about your amine problem!

  8. Thanks for sharing

  9. So far it’s all food talk. I have also discovered that I have a problem with amines in other things like cosmetics and personal care products. Read the label, there are a lot of “amines” in there, Look for anything produced by a fermentation process, Vit B, soy and EDTA.

    • What what? What’s this about makeup and personal care products? Please do share!!! I would love to know more!

      I have switched my personal care products as much as possible to all natural. As sensitive as my body is to many chemicals, I think it’s a safe bet that the toxin-heavy personal products and cleaning products out there should not be used by people like me.

  10. Does anyone experience depression after eating amine foods. I have Celiac disease and have been on that diet for some time. That helped but I still get depressed just minutes after eating and I think it is amine foods since a food allergy test show a high sensitiviy to these foods. I don’t see many posts that have the same reaction I do. I just need to know if this depression is due the amines.

    • When I eat high-amine foods, I do indeed feel depressed sometimes. Sometimes I go the other way and experience mania. But in the end, I feel like crap, and my body falls apart.

  11. He has had most of the symptoms. But they said his allergy are tomatoes , corn, wheat, soy, peanuts he has also been DX with HDAD so maybe we did get a answer would love some recipes

  12. Please help me fine a way to give my grandson pizza crust bread roll something he can have with allergies to corn, wheat, rice, soy, tomatoes. , and peanuts

    • I would check and see if there is a quinoa flour mix that might be a good base. Otherwise, I’m not sure. You could possibly make a pizza crust out of spaghetti squash (I’ve done it before), but it wouldn’t be a bread/dough crust like he’d be used to/expecting.

    • You can make pizza crust out of regular quinoa:

  13. Thank you for the info! Im suspecting amines might be the cause of 2 of my children’s recurrent eczema around their mouth and I am sick of using steroid creams!

    • Best of luck to you! Be patient with your trials – as a threshold allergy, it can be a pain to figure out sometimes. Well wishes to you and your children!

  14. I have a Neuroendocrine cancer call Carcinoid Syndrome. There is no cure for it. The doctors only treat the symptoms. I have daily attacks from it. it is not completely understood how and when the attacks will come, but it involves very high levels of Serotonin being dumped into my body. I have learnt that high levels of amines can cause the release of Serotonin into the body. I have been trying to remove high amine food from your grocery list and it does seem to reduce my attacks. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome, and good luck!

  15. I have a rare neuroendocrine cancer called Carcinoid Syndrome. There is no cure for it. The doctors just treat the symptoms. I get attacks from it daily. I take daily injections of Octreotide Subq plus a monthly Sandostatin Lar. The attacks come from high levels of hormones especially Serotonin. I have learnt that high amine foods produce higher Serotonin levels. So I have started keeping track of what I eat and by following your grocery list, my attacks seem to be a little less. I will continue to try to tweek my diet.
    Than you,

  16. Hi Janet 16th March 2013,
    I have been trying to diagnose my food intolerance problem and even though after keeping a very detailed food and symptom diary for 4 months I still am not sure, one thing i do know is that when I eat foods mod/high in amines i get very short on patience,headache depressed , fatigued and weak and restless in sleep .
    Sometimes I become manic with energy as if the food gives me a temporary high and then I crash. Sometimes I itch , feel dizzy.

    I am a Coeliac, lactose , fructose, dairy intolerant. am I also Salicylates
    Amine intolerant? Amines I think I am but not sure.

  17. THANK YOU!

    For years I have been developing worsening reactions to food, to start with just funny, but over 15 years a lot more serious. Does anyone else get goosebumps (and now sweating) from eating cheese with this allergy? I don’t actually need to eat it, smelling it is enough! Looking through the list of good and bad foods I can tick them all off and strongly suspect I have an amine allergy. Migraines explained, crazy body temperature explained, indigestion explained. I can’t drink wine, acidic fruits, vinegar (a chef’s best friend so I will be testing your recipes!) as these provoke an instant reaction, let alone just about everything else that leaves me feeling bloated and sick for days! Really not fun when favourite types of food include mexican and italian. Has anyone experienced this worsening with age?

    • I’d love to hear what others have to say about this! Also, you might check the Facebook community and repost this comment… perhaps more interaction there.

  18. Royal Prince Allbert Hospital (RPAH) in Sydney pioneered the elimination diet for eczema over 20 years ago based on PhD research and run an allergy unit. They sell a how to guide and recipe book over the Internet. It was found to work for migraines as well. I used it myself to trial if it would help rheumatoid arthritis. I rang the clinic to ask and was told they had no reports of that, but try it anyway. I did the restrictive version for 6 weeks, cutting out all amines, glutamates, salicylates preservatives and cosmetics and toothpaste, shampoo etc containing preservatives and perfume. Mint is high in salycalates. No improvement in arthritis, probably should have trialled longer, but energy! Never felt so good! And no body aches and pains either. I have had fatigue problem since childhood. Glutamates and more so, amines are my problem. When I reintroduced chocolate, which is done by eating a large amount, I was so tired I slept for four hours that afternoon. Reintroducing food is done by eating a large amount of each category, one by one. If a reaction occurs to say, salicylate group, return to diet til symptom free then eat from another group and so on. Some people react to all, some to only one or two. Website for RPAH allergy elimination diet is And has a short version of list of foods containing the culprits. For children with eczema, behaviour poblems etc put failsafe in your search engine, should take you to a very helpful site. Heather. Byron Bay Australia

    • Thank you for posting this. The RPAH is a great institution and they produce wonderful guides and books. Great share!

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