Tag Archives: testing histamine in food

Home Histamine Testing News!

As my regular readers will know, a dedicated team in Hong Kong are working on a small device which will allow members of the public to test food in their own home for histamine.   It’s the Holy Grail for us, as the only way to know how much histamine is in the food we eat is to test the food we eat!

The testing device is now in fairly advanced stages of research although isn’t on the market yet.  The team have promised to send me the device to test in the next month or so when the final prototype is ready.  I’m sooooo excited about that I can’t even tell you and am eager to start testing foods and sharing the results with you all.

I heard from Roy this morning with some fabulous news.   The team had submitted their sensor to the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva and I am thrilled to announce they have won gold 🙂  GOLD!  Isn’t that brilliant?!  The exhibition is regarded as the world’s most important event exclusively dedicated to inventions and involved more than 700 exhibitors from 45 countries.  Inventions are presented by companies, universities, private and State Institutes and organizations, and there are more than 30,000 visitors from five continents alongside 650 journalists from both the written and spoken press and television from throughout the world.   It’s a massive achievement.   Huge congratulations to all involved and I’m delighted the team have been awarded the recognition they deserve.

Home testing for histamine

Back in October I wrote in this post about some researchers from Hong Kong who were in the process of inventing a sensor which works with your mobile phone to test for histamine in foods.  There are a handful of other researchers around the world who are also working on ways to test for histamine in foods, but the Hong Kong group seemed to be the closest to development so I contacted them to find out more.

They had principally built the device for use in the food industry, so that supermarkets and food manufacturers could test their foods for spoilage, but when I told them about MCAS and HIT patients they were extremely interested in our plight – they didn’t know there was a patient population out there who were desperate for a way to test for histamine in foods and had never considered selling the device to the general public.

They were still working on a prototype but asked me if I’d like to test it and give them feedback.  Is the Pop Catholic?!  I said I’d love to, but by Christmas had heard nothing from them.  Last week I emailed the team again who replied straight away to apologise for not being in touch.  Apparently they had had some issues with the chip inside the sensor device, and one of the researchers was currently in Taiwan liaising with another company to produce the chip.  He did, however, send me a video of the device and asked for my comments.  I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say as obviously there is the competition to think about, but the device looks straight forward enough to use if a little fiddly.  It isn’t the case of sticking a probe into a food item and taking a reading which is what I’d kind’ve had in mind, but once I’d got my head around the fact it will be more complex than that I still think it’s going to be usable by the public, at least in a home environment if not in restaurants or on the run.  They are hoping to streamline some parts of the process before it becomes generally available.

One of the researchers is coming over to London in February and asked for a meeting with me, but unfortunately he’ll be in London and I’m not sure I feel up to travelling 600 miles just to have a half hour meeting :-/  I was hoping one of my good friends who lives nearer the capital would be able to attend instead, but unfortunately she’s really unwell at the moment and doesn’t feel up to it.  It feels like a hugely wasted opportunity 😦

Obviously I’ll keep you all informed of developments.  Any chance to test for histamine in foods would be a massive bonus in mine, and many of your, lives.  The first thing I’d look at is tomatoes………….how I miss them……..closely followed by tea!


Testing for Histamine – BIG news!

I was lying in bed this morning listening to BBC Breakfast news.  They were doing a review of the newspapers and my ears pricked up when they started talking about a mobile phone sensor which could test to see if a food is off or not.   I know enough to realize that food goes off because it produces biogenic amines, of which histamine is one, and I was suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed feeling very excited!

Unfortunately the news presenter didn’t say which paper the article was in, so I simply Googled ‘phone sensor histamine 2018’ and found the research the piece was based on, which is taking place at the City University of Hong Kong.  The researchers were looking mainly at ways to test for spoiled foods, but I wanted them to know there was a huge world-wide patient population desperate for a way to easily test for histamine in foods because they suffered from either HIT, MCAD or both so I emailed the lead researcher A. L. Roy Vellaisamy PhD to briefly explain about us all and tell him how vital his device could be for us.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when, just a few hours later and on a Sunday, Roy mailed me back to say he’d read my blog and learned loads about how big an issue histamine in foods is for us.  Not only that, but he asked if I’d be willing to test his mobile sensor as they were trying to fine tune the device.  Is The Pope Catholic?!  Of course I’d like to test the device!!  Being able to test for histamine in foods on a mobile phone would revolutionize not only my, but most of your, lives.

I’m now just waiting to hear back about the logistics and what I’d have to do – I’ll keep you posted 😀




New Test for Histamine Intolerance

A friend pointed me towards a link they’d seen in their Facebook news feed about a quick test being developed in Germany which anyone could use to measure the histamine content of their food. Can you imagine how absolutely brilliant that would be??!  To know that the food you are eating is actually low histamine, as against guessing its histamine content with nothing but your gut instinct to go on which is the situation at the moment.  It would be HUGE and totally revolutionize my, and thousands of other HIT sufferer’s, lives.

The FB link had come via Genny Masterman’s Histamine Intolerance website. I really like Genny’s site because we have views about HIT in common, for example this post about not believing all the crap online about histamine in foods and low histamine food lists, our distaste at the profiteering which goes on in the histamine world and the money that is being made from people’s suffering, and also that receiving a proper diagnosis (difficult as that may be) is crucial – you cannot diagnose yourself off the internet for heaven’s sake, not least because you could have some other disease which needs totally different treatment. Maybe it’s a  British thing but Genny just calls a spade a spade and there’s no psycho-babble airy-fairy bullshit to wade through.

Back to the article on the new histamine test, the link to which can be found here in German, but which I’ve Google translated below.  Bear in mind though that HIT and Mast Cell Disease are two totally different issues as outlined in my post here.  If you’re expecting a low histamine diet to significantly help your mast cell disease you’re going to be sorely disappointed, though it may play a role in helping some symptoms.  For anyone who is confused about the role of a low histamine diet in MCAD please read my post on the issue here.  For anyone with HIT though (and I have both MCAD and HIT) this test could potentially be fantastic and I’ll be keeping a very close eye on developments.


Testing instead of forgoing – Quick help with histamine intolerance

Article published 27/09/2017

In Germany, more than two million people suffer from a histamine intolerance. Heart palpitations, stomach pain or rash are the consequences. Tübingen researchers have developed a rapid test that determines the histamine content of food.

A glass of red wine, a long-ripened cheese, a few slices of Parma ham – these are culinary delights that do not pose a problem for most. However, people with histamine intolerance may respond to such foods with symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmia, gastrointestinal discomfort or skin rash. By means of a new rapid test, those affected can determine the histamine content of individual products before consumption. For them, this means a higher quality of life.

The danger can be almost everywhere. Almost all foods contain histamine in a lower or higher concentration. Products which are produced by long ripening or fermentation processes such as wine, fish, cheese or sauerkraut are particularly stressed. The histamine content varies greatly depending on the type and storage. Even one and the same cheese variety can have different histamine values. Histamine is involved as a messenger in the human body involved in the control of various processes such as sleep-wake rhythm, allergic reactions or inflammation. It is produced not only by the body itself, but also by many foods. The substance is usually degraded by enzymes in the intestine. In case of intolerance this degradation is disturbed, so that too much histamine accumulates in the body.

Very limited quality of life

Histamine intolerance can manifest itself in a variety of allergy-like symptoms. These include migraine, anxiety, swollen eyelids, eczema and gastrointestinal discomfort. A clear diagnosis is therefore difficult. The symptoms usually occur two hours after the meal and usually last for half a day. If they want to be safe, they must adhere to a strict diet. “The quality of life is severely limited and can lead to shortages, so it is important to help,” says Christoph Pfefferle, who is currently preparing the founding of ELEFA Bioscience GmbH, which has developed the rapid test for the determination of the histamine content of food ,

So far, it is only in the laboratory how much histamine contains a certain foodstuff. With the new rapid test, people with histamine intolerance can quickly and easily check a product on the spot. The test has the size of a ballpoint pen. With a punching device at the tip, the user can take small samples from the cheese. A special liquid dissolves the histamine from the sample. This is then given to an integrated test strip, which indicates whether the food contains no, little or much histamine. “The principle is similar to a pregnancy test. The result is within five minutes, “says Pfefferle.

However, the test can not give a binding recommendation as the tolerable histamine content is individual in each human being. “Those affected need to assess what they can and can not do on the basis of their experiences. And also take into account what else they have taken, “says Pfefferle.

Further application potentials

In higher doses, histamine leads to poisoning symptoms in all humans, so it can trigger a form of fish poisoning. An EU regulation therefore requires that traders are not allowed to sell fish products with an excessively high histamine content. With the existing technologies, a test can hardly be carried out on the spot, but the quick test could still inform the shopkeeper whether the fish is safe. The test could also be used in wine production. Wines with a high histamine content are considered to be inferior in quality and could thus be sorted out during the manufacturing process.

The rapid test was developed at the Institute of Natural Sciences and Medicine at the University of Tübingen. The idea was born at the “Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie” in 2010. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research ( BMBF ) invited funded researchers, experienced economists and creative cross-thinkers to develop new product and business ideas for this two-day creative event. The path from the idea to the finished product was then thought to be longer than initially at the Histamine rapid test. Without the EUR 650,000 funding from the BMBF for the necessary research and development work, there would be no prototype today. Now the new company ELEFA Bioscience is to lead the histamine test to market maturity. In the course of the coming year it is to be available in the trade. Then people with histamine intolerance could test their foodstuffs and then eat with a corresponding test result also thought-free.