Every week on the blog until the end of the month, we are sharing short sections from our upcoming book.
To repair a leaky gut, you need key nutrients: glycine, proline, and glutamine. They are amino acids that nourish the cells of the intestinal lining. (1) Don’t worry about remembering these—the important thing is to eat foods that have them.
The sources with the highest amounts are meats, dairy and legumes, but as we’ve discussed (in previous sections of the book) dairy and legumes contain compounds that are problematic.
Meat sources are your best bet for these key amino acids when there is histamine or mast cell involvement.
Animal protein for the fat soluble vitamins
Vitamin A and zinc are important nutrients for the gut as well. There are two forms of vitamin A: beta-carotene from plant foods, and retinol from animal foods. Your body can only use vitamin A in the retinol form.
Some people carry genetic variations that affect their ability to convert beta-carotene into retinol (2). Inflammation can also inhibit the conversion. (3) High histamine levels contribute to inflammation, so the conversion will likely be affected even if you don’t have the genetic variations.
For this reason, it’s very important to get animal sources of vitamin A that are already converted! Good sources include egg yolks, butter or ghee, liver (sadly, higher histamine) and fish (potentially also high histamine, but we provide tips to help in the book). One interesting study reveals that the more plant sources of beta-carotene you eat, the lower your conversion rates to retinol will be. (4) Increasing your carrot intake might not cut it!
Animal protein for the minerals
Zinc is a mineral that is involved in tissue repair (think repairing leaky gut), and is particularly high in red meat. Other good sources include shellfish (though sadly these are very high in histamines) and legumes, though the zinc in legumes isn’t bioavailable due to high phytate content.
Meat, fish, eggs, and butter or ghee provide you with bioavailable versions of all these key nutrients needed to repair the gut.
For the love of your microbiome
Butyrate is yet another important nutrient for maintaining gut health. It is a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) made by beneficial bacteria in your gut that fuel intestinal cells and strengthen the gut barrier. You can increase your own production with a high fibre diet, but guess what food it’s found in?
Grass- fed butter and ghee! Another food from animals.
What about plant based foods?
What about plant foods? Which ones should you consume, and how do they support histamine and mast cells?
We share the answers to those questions in Histamine Haven: the essential guide and cookbook for histamine and mast cell activation. Plus, there are over 140 recipes featuring an abundance of foods from both the plant and animal kingdoms.