Exercise is good for you, so why does it make you sick?

New studies show that aerobic exercise raises histamine levels. This isn’t news to me. When playing squash I have to take time outs to scratch myself silly and wait for the room to stop spinning. My man, now used to such bizarre-isms, plays against the wall for a while till it calms down again. I looked a lot crazier, to a much larger crowd, during our recent trapezing class! I’m sure I can thank adrenaline for that…What really interested me in this particular study is that they determined resistance training (weights/yoga) doesn’t raise histamine levels. They highlight how histamine released by aerobic exercise causes significant vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels in the body).This study ties in nicely with last week’s post about histamine being a vasoactive amine that can increase or decrease heart rate and induce anxiety-mimicking symptoms.


*Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, rubber exercise tubing, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/strength_training/article_em.htm

Interestingly, I meeting quite a few people who are being prescribed anti-histamines by their docs to deal with asthma/wheezing, abnormally high heart rate and passing out while exercising. Wouldn’t it be simpler to go on a low histamine diet? Probably not, but it would yield better (healthier) results!

What does this mean for your work out routine? 

Aerobic exercise, like my current favorites kickboxing and squash, can significantly raise histamine levels in the body. The upside (because in my world there always is one) is that people pay good money for pharmaceutical vasodilators to lower their blood pressure. The downside (other than the spike in histamine for those of us with histaminosis/histamine intolerance), is the migraines that accompany vasodilation. I often get migraine like headaches if it’s too hot in yoga class.

Does this mean I shouldn’t exercise?

I’m asked this a lot, usually by life long couch potatoes!

What I take from this study is that it might be a good idea, if you’re suffering from histaminosis/histamine intolerance, to explore “non dynamic” exercise like weight training, or my perennial favourite, yoga. Speaking of which, did you know that one of the many studies on yoga showed that females who practiced yoga regularly had 41% lower stress markers than non-yogis? And significantly lower inflammation! Given that inflammation (caused by high histamine) is a huge concern to those of us with histaminosis/histamine intolerance, it’s food for thought the next time you’re crashed out on the sofa telling yourself that exercise is bad (while contemplating another root around the fridge).

So what’s a histamine-challenged gal to do?

We’ve all been there, but there’s really no time like the present for a full body/mind make over. Try waking up tomorrow and investing in a yoga mat and a $15 subscription to Yogaglo online classes. I promise you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter for free recipes and a 10% discount on ebooks…and why not check out how I keep my histamine level in check and stay anti-histamine free with my low histamine DAO Support Recipe Book and The Low Histamine Desserts Book?


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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