Histidine

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Histidine plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissues and has also been shown to aid the functioning of the central nervous system—reducing anxious mental states. It is also used as a vasodilator.

Where to find Histidine

Histidine is found in dairy products, meat, poultry, and fish as well as in rice, wheat, and rye.

Popup: Foods highest in Histidine

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Histidine

While benefits are questionable, athletes who are currently in a growth or recovery phase or desire increased blood-vessel dilation may see advantages from consuming additional amounts of histidine. Histidine may also calm angry and aggressive states.

Ways that Histidine can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:
  • Aid tissue growth and recovery, including muscle tissue

Ways that Histidine can enhance Mental Functioning:
  • Reduce stress and aggression by stimulating the calming waves in our brains

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Histidine deficiency

Deficiency of Histidine has been linked to:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nerve damage
Potential uses for Histidine

Research indicates that Histidine may also be useful in the treatment of:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

DISCUSSION

More about Histidine

Histidine is known as a “semi-essential amino acid.” Uniquely, additional histidine is necessary for children but not always for adults. Basically, once you’re an adult, your body begins to produce histidine from other amino acids. However, a child’s body does not, and therefore, children need to consume histidine through food sources.

Histidine plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissues, and some experts suggest it is needed in higher amounts for athletes who are experiencing high rates of growth or are recovering from overtraining and/or injury. This amino acid is needed for the production of both red and white blood cells and to protect nerve cells. Some research indicates it may be useful for helping protect the body from radiation damage, aiding in removing heavy metals from the system, lowering blood pressure, and preventing AIDS.

Histidine and histamine

Histamine, an important immune system chemical, is also derived from histidine. Because of histamine’s effects in the body, some experts contend that by increasing levels of histamine, histidine may enhance both sexual pleasure and function. Due to histidine’s ability to increase levels of histamine, it has, in fact been shown in research to help manage the inflammation caused by arthritis and reduce indigestion.

Calming effects

By boosting the activity of the calming waves in our brains, histidine may make us more resistant to the effects of anxiety and stress. In cases of histidine deficiencies, researchers have noted high activity in the parts of the brain that lead to anger and tension. Thus, histidine is sometimes recommended for people who are quick to anger or have greater levels of stress and tension.

In truth

Histidine isn’t likely to set any performance-enhancement fires, but it may be advantageous for individuals trying to boost recovery, especially those who are in a growth phase, and for people who are fighting stress, anger, or tension.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

Between one and eight grams of histidine is the amount used in most research. Typically, no more than 1.5 grams are needed per day, and many athletes report they get their histidine from multi-amino-acid formulas.

Timing

Histidine is typically take in three divided dosages with meals.

Synergists of Histidine

Vitamins B3 and B6, supplemented with histidine, may help enhance sexual function and pleasure.

Safety of Histidine

People with bipolar disorder should not supplement with histidine.

Toxicity of Histidine

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Cho, E.S., et al., “Long-Term Effects of Low Histidine Intake on Men,” J Nutr 114.2 (1984) : 369.84.
  • Gerber, D.A., and Gerber, M.G., “Specificity of Low Free Histidine Concentration for Rheumatoid Arthritis,” J Chron Dis30.2 (1977) : 115-27.