Histamine is well recognized as a product of both mast cells and basophils. Its release from these sources in IgE-mediated reactions unquestionably contributes to the allergic response. It is often stated that ingestion of foods rich in histamine can result in absorption of sufficient histamine to provoke signs and symptoms reminiscent of an allergic reaction. A review of literature relevant to this issue suggests that certain foods do indeed contain histamine as measured by current methodology. Further, histamine ingestion in excess of 36 to 250 mg mayor may not result in a clinical response which includes abdominal complaints, feelings of warmth, flushing and headache. Taken together, this evidence supports the hypothesis that ingestion of large amounts of histamine-containing foods or foods which contain the histamine precursor, histidine, under some circumstances can result in adverse reactions.
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