Are eggs high in histamine? If you love eggs but suffer from histamine intolerance, you may wonder whether eggs are high in histamine.
Eggs are not considered a high-histamine food, but there are some things you should know about eggs and histamine intolerance before adding eggs to your plate.
If you have histamine intolerance, you know how important it is to mind what you eat and know what foods trigger histamine intolerance symptoms for you.
We’re all a little different, and the response you have when you eat a particular food depends on the totality of the histamine in your body.
You may not react to a food that contains moderate histamine if the rest of your diet is low histamine. So, your response to food can vary on a given day, depending on your diet.
Some Eggs May Contain Histamine-Producing Bacteria
Back to eggs. Eggs are a high-protein food and are one of the highest-quality sources of protein, and the “gold standard” by which scientists judge other protein sources. (5) The protein is in the white of the egg, while the yolk contains mostly fat. (6)
Eggs also contain cholesterol. However, studies find that most people can consume an egg a day without increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease. (7) Eggs themselves are not high in histamine.
Are eggs high in histamine? Fresh eggs do not contain high levels of histamine or other biogenic amines.
However, according to Mayo Clinic, egg allergies aren’t uncommon. If you’re allergic to eggs, your immune cells release histamine and trigger an allergic response. (1)
While not inherently high in histamine, fresh eggs can contain histamine-producing bacteria and bacteria that produce other biogenic amines, which can produce histamine in the egg if you don’t store them properly.
Histamine-producing bacteria are in many foods and can grow quickly if you don’t store them at the right temperature or for too long.
One study found that the level of five biogenic amines, including propylamine, cadaverine, putrescine, ethanolamine, and ethylamine, increased in farm and avian eggs with increased storage time. (2) For eggs, the level of biogenic amines is a marker of food quality and safety.
Another study found that storage triggered a sharp rise in one type of biogenic amine, phenylethylamine. They found that eggs from younger chickens and eggs stored in the refrigerator developed less of a rise in this biogenic amine. (3)
Therefore, if you have histamine intolerance, be mindful of how you store your eggs, because the level of some biogenic amines increases with storage. One way to avoid histamine-producing bacteria in eggs is to buy them fresh and cook them right away.
This means purchasing eggs that have been refrigerated and not stored at room temperature for too long. If you’re not going to use them right away, it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook them.
Cook Eggs Well
Another way to reduce histamine in eggs is to cook them thoroughly. Histamine-producing bacteria cannot survive high temperatures, so cooking your eggs well helps reduce the risk of histamine buildup from bacteria .
If you prefer your eggs cooked sunny-side-up or over-easy, consider cooking them for a longer period on lower heat to ensure they are fully cooked.
Soft-boiled or poached eggs may also contain higher levels of histamine, so it’s best to avoid them if you have histamine intolerance.
Are Egg Whites a Histamine Liberator?
You may have read on various sites that egg white is a histamine liberator. Back in the 1950s, some studies showed that injecting eggs, raw or cooked, into the blood vessels of animals boosted histamine levels in their bloodstream. (4)
Yet this is not necessarily applicable to humans, and injecting raw or cooked eggs into blood vessels isn’t the same as eating an egg.
The digestive tract is entirely different from the bloodstream. Once you eat an egg, it’s immediately exposed to stomach acid and digestive enzymes that alter its structure, so it’s unlikely blood levels of histamine rise significantly when you eat egg whites.
So, there’s no real basis for saying eggs is a histamine liberator in humans. However, it is an area that could benefit from more research.
Most people I’ve talked to in medical practice can tolerate eggs, including egg white, without problems. If you have an egg allergy, you should avoid even small quantities of eggs.
Are eggs high in histamine? Eggs are not naturally a high-histamine food and most people don’t have an issue when they eat them.
Despite what you may have read, there’s no evidence that eggs liberate histamine in humans after they ‘re broken down by your digestive tract.
However, storage and timing may be an issue for eggs. Here are some guidelines to follow for reducing the build-up of biogenic amines in eggs after buying them:
- Purchase fresh eggs: When buying eggs, choose those with the latest sell-by date. Fresh eggs have a lower risk of containing high levels of biogenic amines than older eggs.
- Store eggs in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below. This will help to slow down bacterial growth and prevent the formation of biogenic amines.
- Avoid storing eggs in the door. The temperature in the door of the refrigerator is often less consistent than in other parts of the fridge. Therefore, it’s best to store eggs on the shelves of the refrigerator, where the temperature is more stable.
- Don’t wash eggs before storing. Washing eggs before storing can remove the protective coating on the shell, which can make them more susceptible to bacterial growth. Instead, wash eggs just before using them.
- Use eggs promptly. Use eggs within 3 weeks of purchase. This will help to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and the formation of biogenic amines.
- Cook eggs thoroughly. Cooking eggs well can destroy any bacteria that may be present and prevent the formation of biogenic amines. Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs, which can be risky for people with histamine intolerance.
Are Eggs High in Histamine?
Eating the freshest of eggs will unlikely raise your body’s histamine level of trigger histamine intolerance symptoms. But keep a diary and note your symptoms when you make changes to your diet, including adding eggs. Also, find out more about dairy foods and histamine intolerance.
- “Egg allergy”. 2023. Www.Mayoclinic.Org. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/egg-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372115.
- “Changes of yolk biogenic amine concentrations during storage of shell ….” 01 Sept. 2009, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814609002015.
- Poultry Science. Volume 92, Issue 5, 1 May 2013, Pages 1376-1384.
- M. Schachter et al., The release of histamine by egg-white in non-sensitized animals, J. Physiol. 118 (1952), 258–263.
- Egg Protein as a Source of Power, Strength, and Energy : Nutrition Today (2023). Available at: https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2009/01000/Egg_Protein_as_a_Source_of_Power,_Strength,_and.13.aspx (Accessed: 24 March 2023). https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2009/01000/Egg_Protein_as_a_Source_of_Power,_Strength,_and.13.aspx
- “Eggs | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/eggs/.
- Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999;281:1387-94.