Perimenopause can worsen allergies due to the connection between oestrogen and histamine balance. Mast cells, which produce histamine, have oestrogen receptors that can become imbalanced as our estrogen levels fluctuate. Additionally, oestrogen can lower the activity of DAO, an enzyme in the gut that removes histamine from the body. Studies on asthma, which affects more women than men, suggest that high levels of oestrogen and xenoestrogens in our diet and environment can increase the likelihood of developing allergies.
If we experience oestrogen hyperstimulation (often occurring at the onset of perimenopause, causing heavy periods, breast tenderness, fibroids, breast cysts, and heightened PMS) or consume high levels of xenoestrogens or have poor oestrogen clearance from the body, it can skew us towards more histamine production.
If you are experiencing an increase in allergy symptoms or are susceptible to hay fever, incorporating natural antihistamines can be helpful. Quercetin, found in apples, onions, and grapes, is a potent antihistamine.
It’s essential to support gut health to ensure proper DAO enzyme function. Reducing the intake of high histamine foods, including alcohol (especially beer and wine), anchovies, eggplant, avocados, cheese (especially aged or fermented cheese), cider, dried fruits, fermented foods, figs, mackerel, MSG, mushrooms, processed meats, sardines, smoked fish, sour cream, yogurt, coffee, yeast, spinach, tomatoes, and vinegar, can also help to reduce the histamine bucket’s load.