Histamine & Caffeine Addiction

Did just looking at the above photo make your body quiver in anticipation?  Do you need coffee to make it through the day, but still react to it? Unfortunately, histamine may mess with your ability to tolerate caffeine, while brain fog and addictive tendencies make you constantly crave it. It’s not all in your head. Here’s the link between histamine, caffeine and 


As I’ve highlighted in many posts before, histamine has a strong impact on the brain:

Brain Fog




Psychiatric Disorders

In addiction? Yes, that too.

It’s common knowledge amongst researchers that the abuse of drugs or alcohol can raise brain dopamine levels, leading to long-term changes in brain chemistry. The feel-good dopamine makes the subject want to engage in behaviors that raise dopamine over and over again — leading to addiction.

Now it’s apparent that histamine has a complex interaction with dopamine and also plays a role in addiction.

If you want to read more about dopamine, how it’s linked to addictions, and how to raise it naturally without the addictive behaviors, check out my post: Histamine-Dopamine Interaction Linked To Addiction, Compulsive Behaviour.

A number of studies have shown rats that liked their alcohol had higher brain histamine levels compared to controls. Blocking the H3 receptor (in effect, lowering the histamine) caused the rats to reduce their alcohol consumption. Animal studies also tell us that both cocaine and methamphetamines significantly raised brain histamine levels, particularly in the amygdala –the emotional center of the brain.


In animal studies, histamine, via the histamine 1 receptor (H1) has been shown to make the effects of caffeine on the body more pronounced. This may be due to the fact that caffeine increases the release of glutamate in the hypothalamus, which then activates histamine neurons and enhances caffeine-induced alertness.

So, histamine already sets up the brain for a tendency toward addictions, which may include an addiction to caffeine. Then the high histamine levels enhance what caffeine does to the body –particularly the musculoskeletal system — and so may potentially act as a trigger for a histamine reaction.

And if that’s not enough, caffeine may also block diamine oxidase (DAO).


Caffeine is a methylxanthine, which is related to the asthma drugs, theophylline and aminophylline. Theophylline can block the effect of the histamine degrading enzyme, diamine oxidase (DAO), and that may also be the case for caffeine.

Because caffeine may block DAO, potentially limiting your ability to break down histamine, I would recommend cutting back, if not totally eliminating it from your diet until your histamine levels are back in check.

Look at this as an opportunity to mix things up and try something new. Some nice alternatives to look into are Tasty Antihistamine Hot Beverages, like Green/White tea, Guava Leaf tea, or Tulsi tea (otherwise known as Holy Basil tea).


If you want caffeine back in your life at some point, start out by lowering your histamine levels through a change in diet. You’ll want to not only avoid high histamine and histamine releasing foods, but also include plenty of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods to give your body the nutrients it needs to heal.

If you need some guidance in that area, you’ll find recipes full of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods in my books Anti-Recipes and


Beyond diet, there are also some brain training therapies and exercises that can be done to lessen the brain fog, anxiety, and addictive tendencies that accompany histamine –rather than reaching for the caffeine.

You really can use your brain to help heal your body. Taking your body out of the chronic fight-or-flight state and moving it into a state of rest and repair is critical for supporting your health. As long as your brain determines you are still in danger, little will be done to calm inflammation, repair tissues, or make new neural connections for a positive emotional state.

Meditation, hypnosis, yoga, and positivity, and amygdala retraining have gone a long way in helping me regain my health. Read the linked posts to learn how brain-based therapies can help you to quell the histamine storm and move your body back into a state of growth and repair.


Ellenbroek, B. A. (2013). “Histamine H3 receptors, the complex interaction with dopamine and its implications for addiction.” British Journal of Pharmacology 170.1 46-57. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764848/

Fritzsche, D.  GU Kompass Nahrungsmittel Intoleranzen, Laktose, Fruktose, Histamin, Gräfe und Unzer Verlag, 1. Auflage 2009.

“Histamine Affects Alcohol-related Behavior.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2009. Web. 16 June 2017.

Ito, C., Onodera, K. Sakurai, E. Sato, M. & Watanabe, T. (2002). “Effect of Cocaine on the Histaminergic Neuron System in the Rat Brain.” Journal of Neurochemistry, 69(2), 875-78. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9231750

John, J., Kodama, T., & Siegel, J. M. (2014). Caffeine promotes glutamate and histamine release in the posterior hypothalamus. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 307(6), R704–R710. http://doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00114.2014

Kumar, S., Verma, L., & Jain, N. S. (2018).

“Role of histamine H1 receptor in caffeine induced locomotor sensitization.” Neuroscience Letters, 668, 60-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2018.01.002

White, T. (1966). “Histamine in the Brain.” Histamine and Anti-Histaminics. 789-96. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-662-12016-3_30


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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