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  • Writer's picturefranceswalker@thefoodinto

Can you eat eggs on the low Histamine Diet?



A common thing I hear from people who appear to be histamine or amine sensitive is that they sometimes seem to react to eggs and sometimes tolerate egg without issue.


This is a VERY common scenario .


In fact, so common, that it is a red flag for amine sensitivity.


In unpacking this inconsistent connection, let's start with the histamine content of eggs.


Eggs and Histamine Levels


Some histamine lists categorize egg as being high in histamines, while other lists categorize eggs as low in histamines.


Some foods such as aged meats, slow cooked meats, tomato and tomato sauces (for example tomato based pasta sauce) are universally accepted in the different lists to be high in histamines but there is also a noticable disgreement on a number of foods and histamine level, and egg is an excellent example.


I like to use the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) lists for many reasons, one being that the amine lists line up well with what many amine sensitive people find thay can tolerate and can't tolerate.


The RPAH amine charts (which also look at salicylate and glutamate classification) list eggs as being low in amines, but that is not the end of the story- far from it!


Egg Allergies


When people identify eggs as being a potential trigger for their symptoms, I like to dig a bit deeper.


First of all, I need to know if the egg issue is more of an allergy. For example, if allergy IgE tests have been conducted, what the symptoms are, and the severity of the symptoms.


Allergies that involve the immune system (called IgE Allergies) can be tested for via blood tests which can be done by a General Practitioner and skin prick tests done by Allergists, which are more accurate than blood tests.


IgE allergies are the only allergies that can cause anaphylaxis, a life threatening situation, so it is good they can be tested for.


IgE allergies tend to occur very quickly after the allergen has been eaten: within 5-10 minutes to 30-60 minutes.


Non IgE allergies cannot be tested for, but are still classified as an allergy. These allergies are not associated with life threatening reactions (anaphylaxis).


Non IgE allergies tend to be more delayed, occuring more like hours or days after the allergen (in this case egg protein) is consumed.


It is useful to know how consistent the reactions are. An allergy will tend to cause issues each and every time they are eaten (unless maybe when eaten in very small amounts, or eaten without the protein componenet, if the allergy is not severe)


As IgE egg allergies can cause life threatening anaphylaxis, if you suspect an IgE allergy, discuss with your doctor and see if you need to see an Allergist for testing.


When Eggs Cause Histamine or Amine Issues


If eating egg only sometimes causes issues, and it looks like you have an underlying histamine or amine sensitivity, then the histamines in eggs may be the issue.


This is not due to the natural content of histamines in eggs, as eggs are naturally low in histamines.


This is due to the histamines in eggs increasing to levels that affect you as they get OLDER.


OLD EGGS.


Old eggs = eggs that are getting close to the expiry date. They are not OLD in the sence they of being off but HISTAMINE OLD in the sence that the histamine levels are just too high for your level of histamine intolerance.


Fresh Eggs are Lower in Histamines and other Amines


Keep your eggs low in histamine and other amines by avoiding eggs close to the expiry date.


Most people with histamine | Amine sensitivity are fine with eggs from the supermarket as long as they have a LONG EXPIRY DATE (usually at the back of the egg stack where they position the freshest eggs).


Avoid half price eggs as they will likely be close to their expiry date so will be OLD EGGS high in histamine/other amines.


A supermarket with a quick turnover will usually have a good amount of fresh eggs to choose from.


When You Are Extra Histamine Sensitive


If you are EXTRA SENSITIVE: you may find you need fresher eggs, but for most people supermarket fresh eggs are well tolerated.


If you are extra sensitive, You will likely notice that extra browning of eggs may affect you a bit more , for example well fried eggs or boiled eggs after a few days in the fridge. For many, though, this is fine.


Eggs and HISTAMINE Sensitivity


If you suspect eggs are sometimes an issue and sometimes ok, chances are you will be FINE with eggs in the diet as long as they are fresh.


Don't assume you are super sensitive to begin with, try always having supermarket fresh eggs a long way from the expiry date.


Only go to the next level of freshness if eggs are still causing issues occassionally, and problem solve with a FOOD INTOLERANCE DIETITIAN experienced in these matters as maybe it is another food that is sometimes causing these issues (for example vinegar in poaching which is high in amines or extra virgin olive oil in frying which is extra high in amines) .


Give eggs a go, unless your symtopms are serious and consistent. In this case, talk to your doctor to see if you should check for IgE allergies.



REFERENCES

Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) allergy information:


Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) egg allergy information (content updated 2020): https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/ascia-dietary-avoidance-for-food-allergy/egg


Swain, A. R. (Anne Ruth) & Loblay, R. H & Soutter, V. L. (Valencia L.) & Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Sydney, N.S.W.). Allergy Unit. (2019). Friendly food : the complete guide to avoiding allergies, additives and problem chemicals / A.R. Swain, V.L. Soutter and R.H. Loblay. Sydney : Murdoch Books








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