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What Is the ‘Histamine Bucket’ Theory?

The concept of a ‘histamine bucket’ pops up so often on this site that I figured it’s about time I write a post explaining it.

What is a histamine bucket?

Your histamine bucket is also colloquially called your histamine cup, inflammation bucket, or merely ‘your bucket,’ and it refers to your personal capacity to handle histamine (and other sources of inflammation). The concept is now widespread because it’s a useful tool for visualizing your own limits, whether they be food-related, environmental, or stress-based. It’s really only the point at which your bucket overflows that most of us even realize we have one; a full histamine bucket is the reason why most people start a low histamine diet.

What fills up your histamine bucket?

Certain foods, hormones, your environment, the weather, some medications, and even stress will fill up your histamine bucket. Any one of these factors alone could completely explain one person’s symptoms (ex. a medication which blocks diamine oxidase production), but often there is more than one factor at play. The key is to make sure your doctor takes a very thorough history, such as where you’ve travelled, if your current or previous dwellings have had mold, history of birth control, etc.

Unfortunately, the overall size of your bucket (your personal capacity for handling inflammation) is determined by genetics, and all these other factors are just restricting the remaining space in your bucket by causing baseline inflammation. Some researchers are looking into the epigenetic factors which may affect bodily pathways related to clearing inflammation, such as methylation.

Tomatoes; a notoriously high histamine food

How to lower the histamine in your bucket

The balancing act of lowering the histamine in your bucket comes down to reducing the sources of your inflammation as much as possible. If you have histamine intolerance, there is a root cause for it. You may have some form of it for life, as with MCAS or mastocytosis, but most people only have it for a period in their life.

It may take years for a person’s symptoms to get bad enough to seek help. Then, for the most part, no matter where they are it will be difficult to find a doctor who’s even familiar with histamine intolerance, much less well-versed in it. If you have histamine intolerance, learning how to clear histamine naturally will likely play a large role in your healing process, including narrowing down why you’re having the issues in the first place.

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