Are mushrooms high in histamine? Mushrooms have a delightful, earthy flavor that works with many different types of foods. With so many varieties of mushrooms that it’s almost mind boggling, there’s lots to choose from. Mushrooms are a fungus that comes from the ground and are not only delicious but also have health benefits.
Most people can enjoy mushrooms without a problem, but if you have histamine intolerance, you might wonder whether mushrooms are high in histamine or histamine liberators. Let’s look more closely at whether mushrooms can be part of a low-histamine diet. First, we’ll look at their nutritional benefits, and then explore how they stack up in terms of histamine.
Most people have no trouble eating mushrooms. But if you have histamine intolerance, you must be aware of everything you eat to avoid overloading your histamine tank and triggering the familiar symptoms of histamine overload. Histamine sensitivity symptoms often fluctuate with the composition of your diet, and making smart dietary choices is the best way to control it.
Therefore, you might wonder whether mushrooms are histamine-rich or histamine-liberators. Let’s look at how mushrooms could affect your histamine level. First, we’ll look at their nutritional benefits, and then explore how mushrooms are likely to affect your histamine balance.
Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms
All mushrooms are low in calories, but still contain a variety of nutrients. A cup of mushrooms supplies 3 grams of plant-based protein and some B-vitamins, making them popular with people who eat a plant-based diet. (6) Mushrooms are also one of the better plant-based sources of a trace mineral called selenium that has antioxidant activity.
In addition, mushrooms contain other antioxidants that aren’t in many foods, including one called ergothioneine. Antioxidants help fight free radical damage and have anti-inflammatory activity, making them a possible component of an anti-inflammatory diet. They also contain beta-glucan, a polysaccharide with immune-enhancing activity. Plus, they’re low in calories. (5)
What few people know is that mushrooms are one of the best plant-based sources of vitamin D. When mushrooms soak up the sun’s rays, they produce vitamin D2, a form of vitamin D that helps raise your body’s vitamin D level. (4) Sun exposure or a vitamin D supplement is the best way to meet your body’s vitamin D requirements. Unfortunately, there are few foods that contain substantial quantities of vitamin D. Mushrooms are an exception.
The Histamine Content of Mushrooms
Like many, but not all, plant-based foods, mushrooms are low in histamine. However, even plant foods that are low in histamine, one type of biogenic amine, may contain other biogenic amines that can cause problems if you have histamine intolerance. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the role other biogenic amines may play in triggering histamine intolerance symptoms.
In one study, researchers measured the quantity of biogenic amines in a variety of plant-based foods. (1) The biogenic amines they measured were histamine, putrescine, cadaverine, tyramine, spermidine, and spermine. The good news is they detected no histamine in the mushrooms they tested, but that’s not the end of the story. They found significant amounts of putrescine and spermidine, two other biogenic amines. (1)
It’s More Than Just Histamine: Other Biogenic Amines in Mushrooms
These findings illustrate how just considering the histamine content of food can lead to poor food choices. If you have high levels of other biogenic amines in a food, even if it’s low in histamine, the other biogenic amines can histamine intolerance symptoms.
These other biogenic amines compete for and bind to sites that histamine binds to in the intestinal tract. Plus, diamine oxidase (DAO) also breaks these biogenic amines down, so they tie up more diamine oxidase, leaving less available to break down histamine from the other foods you eat.
In the case of mushrooms, the high putrescine content may be problematic if you have histamine sensitivity. Despite being a low-histamine food, people often say mushrooms trigger their histamine intolerance symptoms. It’s likely that they’re reacting to the putrescine, and to a less degree, spermidine in mushrooms. These biogenic amines are tying up the limited amount of diamine oxidase available.
Allergies to Mushrooms
Although not common, some people are sensitive to mushrooms, in a classic food allergy sense. (2) When they eat, inhale, or even touch mushrooms, immune cells release histamine. That’s not what you want if you have histamine intolerance. It’s not clear how common mushroom allergy is but it can sometimes show up even if you’ve been eating mushrooms for years without problems.
Avoiding Histamine Intolerance Symptoms When You Eat Plant-Based Foods and Mushrooms
Avoid plant-based foods that are high known to be high in histamine if you have histamine intolerance, but you also may need to limit foods that contain other biogenic amines, like mushrooms. If eat small amounts of these foods, choose only the freshest sources since biogenic amines, including histamine, may form during refrigeration. (1) In some cases, this may be due to bacterial contamination. On the plus side, refrigeration slows production of biogenic amines. (3)
The Bottom Line
Are mushrooms high in histamine? Mushrooms are low in histamine with studies finding no detectable histamine in this nutrient-dense fungi. However, mushrooms contain putrescine and spermidine in amounts high enough to cause histamine intolerance symptoms if you have a low level of diamine oxidase. (1)
As with other foods that contain biogenic amines, you may do fine with small quantities of mushrooms if you don’t have a severe deficiency of diamine oxidase and you don’t consume other high-histamine foods or foods that trigger histamine release. It’s about the totality of your diet rather than a single food.
If you experiment with mushrooms in your diet, make sure they’re fresh and don’t store them in your refrigerator for more than a day to ensure they don’t produce more biogenic amines during storage. Continue to keep a food journal so you can track whether your symptoms change if you eat a new food.
- Sánchez-Pérez, S., Comas-Basté, O., Rabell-González, J., Veciana-Nogués, M. T., Latorre-Moratalla, M. L., & Vidal-Carou, M. C. (2018). Biogenic Amines in Plant-Origin Foods: Are They Frequently Underestimated in Low-Histamine Diets?. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 7(12), 205. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods7120205.
- Koivikko A, Savolainen J. Mushroom allergy. Allergy. 1988 Jan;43(1):1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1988.tb02037.x. PMID: 3278649.
- Naila, A., Flint, S., Fletcher, G., Bremer, P., & Meerdink, G. (2010). Control of biogenic amines in food–existing and emerging approaches. Journal of food science, 75(7), R139–R150. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01774.x.
- Cardwell G, Bornman JF, James AP, Black LJ. A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 13;10(10):1498. doi: 10.3390/nu10101498. PMID: 30322118; PMCID: PMC6213178.
- Chen, S. N., Chang, C. S., Hung, M. H., Chen, S., Wang, W., Tai, C. J., & Lu, C. L. (2014). The Effect of Mushroom Beta-Glucans from Solid Culture of Ganoderma lucidum on Inhibition of the Primary Tumor Metastasis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 252171. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/252171.
- USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Mushrooms, White, Raw” https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169251/nutrients