Dr Joneja: How to boost your histamine-lowering DAO enzyme (naturally)

Pea Sprouts

Download Dr. Joneja’s guide to growing DAO rich sprouts here: Pea seedlings as a supplement

As I outline in my first book, a diet rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, copper and other nutrients is necessary in order for our body to produce the histamine-lowering enzyme DAO (diamine oxidase).

But, I neglected to mention another (delicious) source of natural DAO – mainly because I’m not a freaking scientist and I wasn’t sure what I’d found…

I digress.

Many of you write to me (oh so many) asking me if I take DAO supplements. I do not. Then I’m asked if I endorse them. I do not. I did, for a couple of years, take a natural DAO supplement made from a vegetarian source (many of the supps on the market use pork glands). Sadly that DAO supplement never made it to market.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t have continued taking them if they had hit the health food store shelves, but honestly, at that point I had become militantly anti-supplement and took absolutely nothing. I was determined not to mess with my body. I just wanted to give it some time to breathe, to remember how to heal itself:

“Our body is a machine for living. It is organised for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more for you than if you paralyse it by encumbering it with rememdies.” – Leo Tolstoy.

I’m a huge fan of this quote, but honestly, there came a time where I wondered if I could speed up the healing process by just adding one or two. And so I did…you’ll find a video on the best supplements I tried here and you can find all of those items in my amazon store.

I had all but forgotten this piece of surprising research I came across a few years ago (filed in my “find a doctor to comment on this” folder), when just a few days ago I was blessed with a wonderful email from the fabulous immunologist, nutritionist, author and histamine researcher Dr Janice Joneja. For those of you who haven’t yet, you MUST read this groundbreaking interview on histamine intolerance with Dr Joneja.

Says Dr Janice Joneja:

“I have a number of patients who cannot take these (DAO) supplements because they are allergic to pork, or cannot consume them for religious or cultural reasons.  The commercial sources of DAO are derived from pig kidney and those allergic to pork tend to develop quite severe allergic reactions to the products.

In my research, I have identified a plant source of DAO: pea seedlings.  A number of years ago I tried to interest several agencies, including University departments, in conducting research into extracting DAO from pea seedlings and concentrating it into a pill or powder as an alternative to the pork-based products.  Unfortunately, none of these considered the project to be worthwhile because they had to weigh the cost of the research against the projected profits from such a product.  Yesterday I had a long conversation with a patient who is allergic to pork and had a strong reaction to a DAO supplement. We discussed the possibility of sprouting green peas and consuming the sprouts regularly to determine whether this might help with her histamine intolerance symptoms.  I had the intention of cultivating the sprouts from fresh peas myself.  Rather fortuitously, I was shopping at my local market this morning and came across pea shoots.  I had never seen the product previously.  It is sold under the FarmFresh brand.  This is a Canadian product made by Nankia Sprouts Corp. In practical terms, of course, it would be much cheaper for a person to sprout the peas themselves, using the same method as used for sprouting mung beans or alfalfa. However, this product could be an alternative for those not interested in going to the extent of cultivating the seedlings themselves.

As you have a large number of histamine-sensitive people who follow your management strategies, I was wondering whether we could enlist their help in determining whether pea seedlings could aid in reducing their symptoms by increasing their DAO from this source.  It would be relatively inexpensive, would increase their dietary sources of many nutrients, and be safe as far as adverse reactions are concerned.  In addition, this would be the first time that a method of increasing DAO other than the commercial brands of supplements has been attempted.”

I don’t know about you, but eating my medicine has always been my top choice, so this email actually made me squeal with excitement (those of you who have met me know this is a literal description – I have the girliest squeal).

So, hista-sistas and mistas, what do you think? Should we guinea pig ourselves in the name of science?

You know my answer – I’ve been doing it for years!

Please join our Facebook group where we’re comparing our experiences and collecting data for Dr Joneja so she can get a medical study going.

Be well friends, don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know about upcoming histamine wellness retreats and workshops in Europe and the United States, to get great freebies like antihistamine and anti-inflammatory recipes and lifestyle tips. 

The Anti-cookbook, while it doesn’t treat any conditions, due to its high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients, has been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. It features a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods. It comes in regular and Paleo. 

The Low Oxalate Cookbook features antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich recipes. 

Don’t miss the Low Histamine Beauty Survival Guide for non-toxic beauty tips, the skinny on histamine releasing (mast cell degranulating) beauty ingredients, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory beauty alternatives and the top brands natural brands I’ve found.

Take a peek at my other low histamine and antihistamine cookbooks for more high nutrient recipes.

If you’ve found this information useful I’d appreciate your support (at no extra cost to you!) – please check out my online store for your health foods, supplements, kitchen items and beauty product purchases. Affiliate sales through my online store go towards maintaining the website, funding travel to interviews and purchasing all the lovely foods for my free online recipes. You’ll find these items in the “Shop with us” drop down menu on my homepage.  

Please don’t forget antihistamine, pain killing foods can still hurt us, so please always check with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. 



Check out these other Healing Histamine blog posts


Yasmina was an award-winning broadcast journalist with a decade of experience covering war zones for CNN and the BBC. She devoted her journalism skills to researching and writing about histamine. Click here to learn about her. Each post is carefully and fully referenced with the latest scientific research. Not sure where to start? Here’s a four week meal plan and overall Histamine Reset.

4 Week Histamine Reset

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