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Exercise and Histamine Intolerance: How to Make Working Out Safe For You

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Practical Tips and Strategies for Safe and Enjoyable Workouts with Histamine Intolerance

Picture this: You step into your gym, ready to conquer your workout. You hop onto a treadmill, excited to break a sweat, but you’re hit with a whirlwind of sensations before you even reach your normal walking pace. Lightheadedness washes over you, your fingers and toes tingle uncomfortably, and the alarming thought of blacking out starts creeping in.

Take a moment to pause and catch your breath because I’ve been right there with you!

I understand the frustration and disappointment when all you want to do is exercise, but histamine intolerance decides to rear its ugly head. The flushing, dizziness, itchy skin, and feeling faint. Trust me, I’ve experienced it firsthand, and it can be disheartening to realize that a mere five minutes of exercise can trigger a cascade of symptoms.

But let me assure you, you are not alone in the journey. Exercise can pose a challenge for many people struggling with histamine intolerance. The very activities that should invigorate and empower us become stumbling blocks on our fitness journey.

However, I want you to know that there is hope. I’ve had to discover alternative ways to exercise that would keep me safe and help me enjoy my workouts. It may feel daunting stepping back into the gym, considering the reactions we’ve experienced in the past, but trust me; it is possible to create a workout routine that accommodates your histamine intolerance.

I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned, the strategies I’ve implemented, and the tips that have helped me transform my exercise routine. Together, we’ll explore ways to make working out safe, enjoyable, and, yes, even fun again, despite histamine intolerance.


Exercise and Histamine Intolerance

In 1935, researchers stumbled upon a connection between exercise and histamine levels. In an animal study, they observed that histamine levels would rise in response to exercise, and the intensity and duration of the physical activity played a crucial role in this histamine surge.[1]

Fast forward to today, and the scientific community continues to uncover the complexities of this connection, reinforcing the notion that exercise can indeed impact histamine levels in our bodies.


What is exercise-induced histamine release?

Exercise-induced histamine release refers to the phenomenon where physical activity triggers the release of histamine (a chemical compound naturally present in our cells) into our bodies.[2]

When we work out, our bodies undergo changes like increased blood flow, elevated heart rate, and heightened metabolism. These changes can trigger histamine release from mast cells, leading to those frustrating symptoms of histamine intolerance. Here’s the tricky part: everyone’s different, so specific exercises or environmental factors might make your histamine response worse than others.


What’s the connection between exercise and histamine intolerance?

Now that we’ve covered what exercise-induced histamine release is, you may be wondering what’s causing your histamine reactions in the first place.

Let’s explore some of the most common ways histamine intolerance can impact your workout.


Excess Histamine Release

When we exercise, our bodies undergo various physiological changes that have the potential to stimulate mast cells, leading to the release of histamine. These mast cells, known for their involvement in immune responses, can be activated by factors like the physical stress placed on the body, increased blood flow, elevated heart rate, and temperature fluctuations we experience during exercise.[3]



Even at moderate intensity, exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fiber, which triggers a mast cell response that can lead to inflammation, a natural response to repair damaged tissues and promote healing. However, this inflammatory response can be heightened in people with histamine intolerance, potentially exacerbating symptoms.[4]


Exercise Intensity

The intensity of physical activity can impact the extent of histamine release and the symptoms you experience. Higher-intensity exercises, like HIIT workouts, tend to stimulate a more significant release of histamine, potentially leading to more pronounced symptoms. Moderate-intensity exercises, such as jogging, cycling, or brisk walking, can still elicit a histamine response, particularly in people with heightened sensitivity to histamine.


Temperature and Humidity

Environmental factors, such as high temperature or humidity levels during exercise, can stimulate histamine release and exacerbate symptoms in people with histamine intolerance. Sweating and dehydration caused by high temperatures can trigger histamine release, while high humidity impedes the body’s natural cooling mechanism and can lead to increased histamine release. In addition, changes in temperature and humidity can increase the presence of allergens in the environment, further stimulating your histamine release.


High-Histamine Workout Equipment

Some workout equipment, such as foam rollers or exercise mats made from certain materials, can potentially contain high levels of histamine-releasing substances. Coming into contact with such equipment during exercise can contribute to histamine intolerance symptom flare-ups.


Common Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance During Exercise 

Common Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance During Exercise

Histamine intolerance can manifest in various symptoms during exercise. While each person’s symptoms are unique, here are some common signs to be aware of: [5] [6]

  • Skin reactions: Itchy skin, hives, redness, flushing, or a rash are common symptoms of histamine intolerance during exercise. These reactions can occur on different body parts, such as the face, neck, chest, or limbs.
  • Respiratory symptoms: Histamine release can lead to respiratory issues during exercise, including nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or asthma-like symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Histamine intolerance can affect the digestive system, resulting in abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or even nausea and vomiting during or after exercise.
  • Headaches and migraines: Intense physical activity may trigger histamine-related headaches or migraines. These headaches can range from mild to severe and may persist for hours or even days.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness: Some people with histamine intolerance may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or a feeling of imbalance during exercise.
  • Fatigue and brain fog: Histamine intolerance may contribute to fatigue and mental fogginess, making it difficult to sustain energy and focus during exercise.

The onset and duration of histamine intolerance during exercise can vary. Some people may experience immediate reactions during exercise, while others may notice symptoms hours or even days later. The intensity of symptoms can also fluctuate, depending on your exercise intensity, duration, and sensitivity.


Why do I have exercise intolerance and others don’t?

The experience of exercise intolerance in people with histamine intolerance can occur for various reasons. One possible reason for the variation in exercise intolerance is the efficiency of histamine clearance mechanisms. Variations in the body’s ability to break down and eliminate histamine can affect how efficiently histamine is processed. Some people have compromised histamine clearance pathways, leading to an accumulation of histamine and an increased response exercise.

Underlying health conditions can also contribute to exercise intolerance. Coexisting conditions like allergies, asthma, or autoimmune disorders can enhance the body’s response to histamine, increasing the likelihood of exercise intolerance.

Lastly, each person has a different threshold for histamine intolerance, and those with a lower threshold may experience symptoms and exercise intolerance even with lower levels of histamine release. On the other hand, individuals with a higher threshold may tolerate exercise better without significant symptoms.


Exercise best for those with histamine intolerance

Will I be able to work out again with histamine intolerance?

Yes, it’s possible!

When it comes to histamine intolerance, it’s important to approach exercise with care and not push yourself to the absolute limit. Finding the right balance in terms of exercise intensity, duration, and frequency is crucial.

One of the best things you can do is control your environment until you get to a place where you can exercise without any symptoms. That means skipping the gym or yoga studio if you can and instead working out at home where you can control what you’re near, what smells are there, how hot it is, what surface you’re on, etc.

Still trying to figure out where to start? I find these exercises to be best for patients with histamine intolerance:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Bike riding
  • Resistance training (my personal favorite)

Keep in mind that ultimately, exercise may not directly address histamine intolerance, but it can indirectly benefit overall health, immune function, stress reduction, and weight management, improving the general management of your histamine intolerance symptoms. So we do not want to stop exercising!


4 Practical Tips and Strategies to Reduce a Histamine Response During Exercise

Here are four practical tips and strategies that you can implement to help reduce your histamine response during exercise:

  1. Take the Time to Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Before diving into your workout, give your body a proper warm-up. This can help minimize any sudden histamine release when you start exercising. Take a few minutes to stretch after your workout as well. This gradual transition can work wonders in reducing any post-workout histamine-related symptoms.[7]
  2. Choose Low-Histamine Foods: Pay attention to what you eat before and after your workout, as certain foods can trigger histamine release. Choose low-histamine options such as fresh fruits, veggies, and fresh animal (preferred) proteins.
  3. Hydrate: Staying properly hydrated is crucial for managing histamine intolerance.[8] Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially during workouts. Adequate hydration supports your body’s natural processes and can help reduce histamine-related symptoms.
  4. Focus on Gradual Progression and Listen to Your Body: Take a gradual approach to increasing exercise intensity and duration. Avoid sudden leaps in activity that can trigger a higher histamine response. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to different levels of exercise intensity to find a balance that allows for safe and enjoyable exercise.

These practical tips and strategies can help minimize histamine-related symptoms during workouts. However, histamine intolerance is as unique as you are, so it’s all about tuning in and listening to your body’s signals. Feel free to experiment, seek guidance, and tailor these strategies to fit your needs. With a little trial and error, you’ll find an exercise routine that supports your well-being while managing histamine intolerance effectively.


Find Relief from Histamine Intolerance

It’s possible to find relief from histamine intolerance!

I did!

And when I pieced together the puzzle of my histamine intolerance, it was life-changing. Today, I can eat most foods without problems and enjoy regular workouts. Plus, most of my symptoms are gone because I addressed the underlying causes of my inability to break histamine down properly!

You, too, can experience similar relief from the puzzling and debilitating symptoms of histamine intolerance, and I can teach you how!

Discover what is driving your histamine intolerance symptoms and how to support your body by scheduling a consultation today.

Not sure if you’re ready for a consultation? Try our Histamine Reset Online Program to begin healing your body on your time.



[1] “Appearance of histamine in the venous blood during muscular ….” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[2] “Sustained postexercise vasodilatation and histamine receptor ….” 29 Jul. 2012, Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[3] “what happens after we exercise? – PubMed.” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[4] “Elevation of histidine decarboxylase activity in skeletal muscles and ….” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[5] “The Intriguing Role of Histamine in Exercise Responses – PMC – NCBI.” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[6] “Sustained postexercise vasodilatation and histamine receptor ….” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[7] “A single dose of histamine-receptor antagonists before downhill ….” Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

[8] “Dehydration affects exercise-induced asthma and anaphylaxis – PMC.” 28 Oct. 2019, Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.



Hi, I am Dr. Becky Campbell. I work with men and women who’ve had a health set back and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach optimal health so they can perform their best in their careers and be fully present with their family again.