September 08, 2018 10:00 pm


Estrogen dominance and histamine share an intrinsic connection.

Interestingly, a high incidence of histamine intolerance occurs predominantly in women, with estrogen acting as the shared link.

Namely, when ovaries produce an excess of estrogen or the body processes hormones ineffectively, both scenarios profoundly influence histamine levels.

Here is how estrogen dominance affects histamine levels.

The Role of Hormones

Hormones act as chemical messengers that regulate cells.

Consequently, we look and feel our best when our hormones are balanced; when not, as with estrogen dominance, we may experience widespread symptoms like histamine intolerance. 

Although we commonly associate hormones with steroidal hormones (such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), these represent just one class of hormones. 

That is, amines, including histamine, constitute another class of hormone.

estrogen, histamine intolerance, mast cell activation, alison vickery, health, Australia

Estrogen Stimulates Hormones

Hormones act on specific targeted tissues.

That is, the interaction between hormones and cells depends on whether the “key,” or hormone, fits the “lock,” or receptor on the cell. Receptors specifically interact with and bind to certain hormones.

Both histamine and estrogen attach to the H1 receptor.

Therefore, when excess estrogen attaches to the cell, it stimulates the H1 receptor, releasing histamine from the cell. Moreover, as more estrogen circulates, more histamine gets released.

That is, histamine stimulates estrogen production, which stimulates histamine, thereby creating a vicious circle.

Estrogen Dominance and Histamine Intolerance

Histamine intolerance occurs when there is an excess of histamine.

Consequently, this excess arises from too much histamine (due to estrogen dominance, for example) or a reduced ability to degrade histamine (due to diminished diamine oxidase activity).

Estrogen dominance not only leads to an excess of histamine but also alters intestinal permeability, which in turn reduces the activity of diamine oxidase, the enzyme responsible for histamine degradation.

Therefore, estrogen dominance not only stimulates the release of histamine but also can impair the ability to degrade it, further amplifying the vicious circle.

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Estrogen and Menstrual Cycle Phases

In pre-menopausal, non-pregnant women, the ovaries are the primary source of estrogen.

Estrogen levels vary throughout the menstrual cycle. A typical cycle lasts about 28 days and includes three phases:

Phase 1: Follicular Phase (Days 1 – 10)

Firstly, during the follicular phase, estrogen levels rise, potentially worsening histamine intolerance symptoms.

Phase 2: Mid-Cycle Phase (Days 11 – 14)

Secondly, in the mid-cycle phase, hormones trigger the release of eggs from the ovaries, preparing for potential conception.

Phase 3: Luteal Phase (Days 15 – 28)

Finally, during the luteal phase,  progesterone levels rise, which helps balance estrogen and acts as a regulatory “brake” on estrogen’s effects.

Therefore, estrogen levels and histamine symptoms fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle.

estrogen, estrogen dominance, histamine intolerance, Alison Vickery, Health, Australia

Assessing Estrogen Dominance: A Four-Step Approach

Estrogen goes through four distinct steps in our bodies, each with there own health consequences. Here are the four steps:


Step 1: Total Estrogen Level

Firstly, DHEA is necessary for making both testosterone and estrogen. Elevated estrogen levels can be caused by high levels of DHEA or testosterone, not just estrogen itself.


Step 2: Estrogen Balance

Secondly, hormones work together to maintain balance. Progesterone helps regulate estrogen. Estrogen dominance is when estrogen levels are too high compared to progesterone.


Step 3: Phase 1 Estrogen Clearance

Thirdly, understanding how estrogen is cleared from the body is crucial. 

Environmental factors, such as gut health, inflammation, toxins, and specific genes, determine how estrogen is processed. 

Step 4: Phase 2 Estrogen Clearance

Finally, the body can compensate if Phase 1 isn’t ideal, as long as Phase 2 works well. 

Phase 2 helps deactivate certain forms of estrogen using processes like methylation and glucuronidation. 

Importantly, certain gut bacteria have an enzyme that can alter glucuronidation. Therefore, gut health is a major driver of hormone health. 

Hormones, Estrogen, Histamine Intolerance

Other Factors

Other factors that might contribute to estrogen dominance include:

Bile Insufficiency – Estrogen is fat-soluble; hence, the amount of estrogen excreted depends on the bile availability. Typically, the steocrit marker on a gut test serves as a good indicator of insufficient bile.

Lack of Dietary Fiber – Fiber is necessary to eliminate fat-soluble hormones and toxins. Thus, its insufficiency can impact estrogen levels. Psyllium, for example, is extremely helpful for binding to estrogen.

Reduced Sex Hormone Binding Globulins – The liver produces these globulins, but their production can decrease due to conditions like hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS, obesity, and birth control pills.

Aromatase Upregulation – Factors such as inflammation, obesity (which stores estrogen), insulin resistance, viruses, or mycotoxins can increase aromatase activity, boosting estrogen production.

Endocrine Disruptors – These include phytoestrogens (derived from plants), xenoestrogens (chemical-derived), metalloestrogens (derived from heavy metals, particularly mercury, lead, and unbound copper), and mycoestrogens (mould-derived).factors

Importantly, these are all environmental factors, that are within our control.

Clinical Observations

The autonomic nervous system actively regulates the body’s health and disease processes. It also controls hormones, including estrogen.

That is, the autonomic nervous system interacts with the endocrine system via the hypothalamus to influence the release of hormones to specific organs to maintain homeostasis.

Consequently, it can be pointless trying to address hormone markers themselves. These levels result from environmental stressors the autonomic nervous system tries to address.

Therefore, the focus needs to be on treating toxins and infections and addressing unresolved stress and electrical stressors. Hormones, including estrogen, then balance.


Understanding the connection between estrogen dominance and histamine is crucial for managing histamine intolerance symptoms, particularly in women.

Estrogen can significantly increase histamine release, affecting everything from allergic reactions to immune function.

Balancing hormones involves modifying the environmental factors that influence estrogen levels.

We can balance our hormones by improving our diets, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing exposure to endocrine disruptors, and supporting gut and liver health.

Health happens in an environment, and taking these proactive steps not only helps balance our hormones but also enhances our overall health. 

To learn more about improving your gut health, which is vital to estrogen synthesis, check out my blog post Recent Advances in Understanding Gut Health

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to continue the conversation.


Additional Reading

Bodis, J., et al. “The effect of histamine on progesterone and estradiol secretion of human granulosa cells in serum-free culture.” Gynecological Endocrinology 7.4 (1993): 235-239.

Fogel, W. A. “Diamine oxidase (DAO) and female sex hormones.” Agents and actions 18.1-2 (1986): 44-45.

Maintz, Laura, et al. “Effects of histamine and diamine oxidase activities on pregnancy: a critical review.” Human reproduction update 14.5 (2008): 485-495.

Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. “Histamine and histamine intolerance–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.5 (2007): 1185-1196.

Hamada, Yasuhiro, et al. “Effect of the menstrual cycle on serum diamine oxidase levels in healthy women.” Clinical biochemistry 46.1-2 (2013): 99-102.

Kalogeromitros, D., et al. “Influence of the menstrual cycle on skin prick test reactions to histamine, morphine, and allergen.” Clinical & Experimental Allergy 25.5 (1995): 461-466.

Sabbah, A., et al. “Antihistaminic or anti-degranulating activity of pregnancy serum.” Allergie et immunologie 20.6 (1988): 236-240.

Morel, Françoise, Anny Surla, and Pierre V. Vignais. “Purification of human placenta diamine oxidase.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 187.1 (1992): 178-186.

Szelag, A., A. Merwid-Lad, and M. Trocha. “Histamine receptors in the female reproductive system. Part I. Role of the mast cells and histamine in female reproductive system.” Ginekologia Polska 73.7 (2002): 627-635.

Szelag, A., A. Merwid-Lad, and M. Trocha. “Histamine receptors in the female reproductive system. Part II. The role of histamine in the placenta, histamine receptors, and the uterus contractility.” Ginekologia Polska 73.7 (2002): 636-644.

Sessa, A., M. A. Desiderio, and A. Perin. “Estrogenic regulation of diamine oxidase activity in rat uterus.” Agents and actions 29.3-4 (1990): 162-166.

Zierau, Oliver, Ana Claudia Zenclussen, and Federico Jensen. “Role of female sex hormones, estradiol, and progesterone, in mast cell behavior.” Frontiers in Immunology 3 (2012): 169.

Jarisch, Reinhart. “Histamine intolerance in women.” Histamine Intolerance. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015. 109-115.