Histidine is a semi-essentiel amino acid since adults can make it from other chemicals in the body. For children, histidine is an essential amino acid, meaning it cannot be synthesized by the body and must be provided in sufficient quantity by the diet.
Histidine has many important roles in the body. A primary function of histidine is to regulate and help transform trace elements into energy, such as copper, iron, zinc, manganese and more. Histidine is able to make metallothionein which serves to protect brain cells. In the body, histidine is used to make specific hormones and organic substances and has several functions in the body including renal, nervous, digestive (secretions in the stomach) and immune system (inflammatory response due to an allergic reaction with histamine, which is manufactured by histidine).
In severe cases, low histidine levels may lead to kidney problems, pneumonia (in children) and psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, an excess of histidine may be associated with psychological or mood disorders but also headaches and nausea.
Histidine may improve fatigue during high intensity exercise. It plays an important role in the formation of carnosine, which is present at high concentrations in skeletal muscles and prevents muscular injuries and speeds up recovery times in sports. It should be noted that athletes’ intake of essential amino acids need to be adequate along with sufficient energy intake and exercise, to support muscle growth, maintenance and repair.
Histidine is found primarily in high-protein foods. Foods such as meat (e.g. game meat, beef, veal, lamb, pork), poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, quinoa, buckwheat, soybeans and sesame seeds.
In conclusion, our histidine levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your histidine levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind.