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What is histidine?

Histidine is an essential amino acid that the body needs for a variety of functions. It plays a role in the production of proteins and enzymes, and is involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body's tissues. Histidine is also important for the normal function of the immune system and for the maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes.

Why we need histidine

Histidine is an essential amino acid, which means that the body cannot produce it on its own and must obtain it from the diet. It is important for a variety of functions in the body, including:

Production of proteins and enzymes: Histidine is a building block of proteins and is involved in the synthesis of many enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body.

Synthesis of hemoglobin: Histidine is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body's tissues.

Normal function of the immune system: Histidine plays a role in the function of immune cells, such as white blood cells and antibodies, which help to protect the body from infections and other threats.

Maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes: Histidine is important for the maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, which line the inside of the body's cavities and protect against infections and other external threats.

Overall, histidine is an important nutrient that is essential for maintaining good health and supporting the body's various functions.

Where is histidine found?

Histidine is found in a variety of foods, including both animal-based and plant-based sources. Some examples of animal-based sources of histidine include meats, such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish; dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; and eggs. Plant-based sources of histidine include beans, nuts, seeds, and grains, such as wheat and oats. In general, animal-based proteins tend to be higher in histidine than plant-based proteins. However, it is possible to get enough histidine from a varied plant-based diet that includes a variety of beans, nuts, seeds, and grains.

Daily requirements

The recommended daily intake of histidine varies depending on a person's age, sex, and life stage. The following are some general guidelines for histidine intake:

Adults: around 8-9 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 68 kilograms (150 pounds) would need approximately 550-620 milligrams of histidine per day.

Children: based on their age and size. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children consume around 10-15 milligrams of histidine per kilogram of body weight per day.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women: The recommended daily intake of histidine for pregnant and breastfeeding women is slightly higher than for non-pregnant women. The recommended daily intake during pregnancy is around 10-11 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, and the recommended intake during breastfeeding is around 9-10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

Most people get enough histidine in their diet from a variety of sources. However, people with certain medical conditions or those following a vegetarian or vegan diet may be at risk for histidine deficiency and may need to pay special attention to their intake of this amino acid. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate intake of histidine for your specific needs.

Histidine deficiency

Histidine deficiency is rare, as most people get enough of this amino acid from their diet. However, certain individuals may be at increased risk for histidine deficiency, including those with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, or those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Symptoms of histidine deficiency may include anemia, fatigue, irritability, and impaired immune function. In severe cases, histidine deficiency can lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, and growth problems in children.

Can you get too much histidine?

It is possible to get too much histidine, although this is rare. Consuming large amounts of histidine through supplements or by eating a diet that is very high in histidine-rich foods may lead to an excess intake of this amino acid.

However, there is little evidence to suggest that consuming high levels of histidine from dietary sources is harmful. Most people can consume histidine in the amounts found in a varied diet without any adverse effects.

Should I get histidine supplements?

In general, it is best to get nutrients, including histidine, from a varied diet rather than through supplements. A varied diet that includes a wide range of foods can help ensure that you get all of the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

However, there may be some cases in which histidine supplements may be recommended. For example, people with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, may be at risk for histidine deficiency and may benefit from histidine supplements. Similarly, people following a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to pay special attention to their histidine intake and may need to consider supplements or fortified foods to meet their needs.

Fun facts

Histidine was first isolated from the protein in hog's meat in 1896. It was later found to be an essential amino acid in humans.

Histidine is involved in the production of histamine, a chemical that plays a role in immune responses and in the regulation of stomach acid production. This is why histidine is sometimes referred to as a "histamine-releasing" amino acid.

In addition to its role in the body, histidine has also been used in a number of industrial and scientific applications, including the production of pigments and catalysts, and as a buffer in laboratory solutions.

Food high in Histidine

This list shows food that are top sources of Histidine and the quantity of Histidine in 100g of food

1.03 g
0.969 g
0.806 g
0.77 g
0.687 g
0.661 g
0.631 g
0.604 g
0.566 g
0.55 g
0.418 g
0.418 g
0.416 g
0.407 g

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Fruit Vegetables Meat Dairy Eggs Bread Superfood Legumes Cereals Nuts and Seeds Seafood Other Spices and Herbs
Macronutrients Carbohydrate Fat Protein Water Fiber
Vitamins Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine (B6) Folate (B9) Cobalamine (B12) Ascorbic Acid (C) Vitamin A Vitamin K Vitamin E Vitamin D
Minerals Calcium (Ca) Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn) Iodine (I) Selenium (Se) Fluoride (F)
Amino acids Arginine Histidine Lysine Aspartic Acid Glutamic Acid Serine Threonine Asparagine Glutamine Cysteine Selenocysteine Glycine Proline Alanine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylalanine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine