Your body needs histidine foods because it is one of the 20 aminos that facilitate metabolic processes in your body. Your body needs histidine to make many vital biochemical products. Talk about histamine, carnosine, and even red blood cells, among others.
Histidine plays a vital role in your heart health, immunity, and many more. As such, you can’t afford to be deficient in this important amino.
Most foods have at least a few necessary aminos. But protein-rich foods (especially animal foods) contain an abundance of aminos. Complete proteins are such foods that can give your body all essential aminos.
Plant foods are usually incomplete proteins with just some essential aminos. But there are a few options, such as quinoa with complete proteins. The bottom line is that you can get histidine, alongside other aminos, from almost all protein-rich foods.
Your body primarily uses histidine, with other aminos, as building blocks to make protein. There are many aminos but 20 of them are vital for human health. 11 of these are non-essential while the remaining 9 are essential.
Essential aminos must come from food because your body can’t produce them naturally. If you don’t get enough from your meals, you would become deficient. And this may have serious health consequences.
Histidine belongs to the class of essential aminos. That’s why it is important to ensure that you get adequate amounts from your diet. If not, you wouldn’t be able to meet your daily nutritional requirements.
Histidine is very crucial for children during development. At that stage of life, if a child doesn’t get enough histidine to meet the body’s needs, the deficiency might cause permanent defects. A deficiency in adults can also pose various health problems.
An Overview of Histidine Functions
Your body mainly uses histidine to develop healthy tissues and maintain them. It is very vital for the myelin sheath. These are the tissues that coat your nerve cells. They ensure the proper transmission of impulses from the brain to all body organs.
As such, adequate levels of histidine are vital for good mental health. But beyond that, they are vital for good physical health too.
Low levels of histidine can also lead to deafness and rheumatoid arthritis as a result of nerve damage. It could also cause sexual dysfunction and some form of mental disorder.
Some experts even say they have proof that histidine might help prevent radiation damage. It can also slow the development of AIDS from HIV infection. This is because histidine can naturally detoxify your body and help produce blood cells (both white and red).
Now, as much as histidine deficiencies have health consequences, elevated levels of histidine can also cause problems. These include physiological disorders, such as schizophrenia and anxiety.
All things being equal, adults should be able to make enough histidine in their liver using other aminos. However, children can’t so they must obtain histidine from their foods.
As such, dietary histidine is very important during infancy. It is essential for proper development and growth. And while adults should be able to produce it, they need it in their diet too. That’s why some people prefer to call histidine a semi-essential amino.
Top 10 Rich in Histidine Foods
Just as we mentioned, essential aminos are vital for lots of vital processes in your body. Your body depends on histidine, and other aminos, for many biochemical processes. That’s why its deficiency can impact multiple systems in your body negatively.
The effects of histidine cut across the nervous, immune, digestive, and reproductive systems. If these systems will function properly, you must get 8-10mg of histidine per kg of your body weight as an adult. Infants need 33mg of histidine per kg body weight for these systems to develop properly.
So which foods can give you histidine in adequate amounts? Generally, protein-rich foods will provide adequate histidine for your body’s daily needs. The top 10 rich in histidine foods are as follows:
- Poultry foods, such as turkey and chicken
- Grass-fed beef, as well as meats
- Seafood and fish
- Protein powders
- Soybean products, including organic edamame and tempeh, among others.
- Beans and legumes
- Whole-grain foods like quinoa, oats, rice, buckwheat, etc.
If you eat meat and other animal foods regularly in your diet, you are not likely to be deficient in histidine. However, you may become deficient if you eat processed or less-quality meat, poultry, and/or fish and poultry.
Folate deficiency, old age, and high-stress levels can also increase your risk for histidine deficiency. Other risk factors include serious injuries and chronic health conditions. In all of these situations, your body’s demand for histidine would increase and except you increase your intake, you would become deficient.
Some common symptoms and signs that you may notice if you have a deficiency of histidine include the following:
- Reduced hemoglobin
- Joint pain
- Anxiety and/or depression symptoms
- Brain fog and fatigue
- Growth problems in infants
- Skin inflammation
- Poor liver and kidney function
- Scaly or dry skin lesions
- Changes in appetite and weight
Can You Use Histidine Supplements?
Yes, aside from dietary supply, you can obtain histidine from supplements too. These include powders, capsules, and fluids. Usually, these supplements are not to be taken routinely if you are not deficient or treating any health condition.
They are often used to treat or reverse histidine deficiency. Sometimes also, histidine supplements are used to treat anemia and poor kidney functions.
Some people also use histidine supplements to support their immunity and heart health, as well as manage the symptoms of arthritis. In children, these supplements can help treat eczema.
But then, while you are not likely to consume toxic histidine levels from food, this can happen if you are taking supplements. Anything above 32g histidine supplements in a day can cause serious side effects. These include muscle weakness, headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, and various digestive issues.
As such, the best and safest way to get your body’s daily histidine needs is to eat histidine foods. These include a vast array of protein-rich foods. We have listed the top 10 options above for your reference.