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WAO Medical Book Reviews

Posted: September 26, 2016

Histamine Intolerance
Edited by: Reinhart Jarisch
ISBN: 978-3-642-55446-9
eISBN: 978-3-642-55447-6
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-55447-6

$54.99 USD / €49.99 EUR (eBook)
$69.99 USD / € 64.19 EUR (Hardcover)
Available from: Springer

Andreea Popescu, MD
Life-Med Medical Centre
Bucharest, Romania

Histamine is a vasoactive amine involved in a multitude of physiological processes such as immune responses, neurotransmission, and regulation of gastrointestinal function. Histamine also has an important role in various pathological processes including allergy, pruritus, and inflammation. Histamine is produced endogenously mainly by mast cells, eosinophils, and basophils, but it is also ingested in many foods containing variable amounts of histamine. Histamine intolerance, as defined by the author, consists of excessive symptoms following histamine ingestion, due to a deficiency or dysfunction of the histamine degrading enzyme, diamine oxidase (DAO).

As the author states in the introduction, the book 'Histamine Intolerance' intends to fill a gap in traditional medicine that has been addressed by alternative medicine,  and it accomplishes that by offering a compelling introduction into the clinical characteristics and diagnostic methods of this newly described controversial condition, while also discussing the complex physiological roles of histamine.

Understanding histamine intolerance must begin with an understanding of histamine physiology. The authors review histamine metabolism, focusing on the normal pathways of histamine inactivation by the degradative enzymes, histamine-N-methyltransferase or diamine oxidase, the latter being identified as an important element in the pathophysiology of intolerance. The book deals at length with the various dietary sources of histamine, including alcoholic beverages, as well as with pharmaceuticals that can inhibit diamine oxidase and consequently contribute to the clinical symptoms of histamine intolerance. Subsequent chapters describe in detail the disease patterns of histamine intolerance, offering a guide to the clinical diagnosis of this highly non-specific, variable condition. Throughout the book, readers will also find short case reports that will facilitate a better understanding of the clinical characteristics of histamine intolerance by a more practical approach. Further chapters discuss the relation of histamine to a wide variety of conditions, including osteoporosis, surgical and dental procedures, and neurodermitis. The book also contains a compelling segment on the important role histamine plays in eliciting symptoms of seasickness.

Assessment and audience
This volume offers a fascinating read for allergists, dieticians, and general practitioners, but also for all clinicians with an interest in histamine metabolism and those looking to provide a more holistic approach to their patients. Given the more accessible style of writing and the valuable resources regarding dietary sources of histamine, the book will also appeal to patients looking for a better understanding and more effective management of this condition.