What is Histidine

Chemical Name: (S)-2-amino-3-(imidazol-4-yl)propanoic acid

Molecular Weight: 155.2

Structrual Formula:

Nitrogen Content: 27.08%

Histidine (13, 14)

  • Histidine is an essential amino acid, manufactured in sufficient quantities in adults
  • Children may at some time have a shortage of this important amino acid
  • It is one of the basic (reference to pH factor) amino acids due to its aromatic nitrogen-heterocyclic imidazole side chain
  • This amino acid is metabolized into the neurotransmitter histamine and the set of genes that produce the enzymes responsible for histidine synthesis
  • Histidine is also a precursor of histamine, a compound released by immune system cells during an allergic reaction
  • It is needed for growth and for the repair of tissue, as well as the maintenance of the myelin sheaths that act as protector for nerve cells
  • Required for the manufacture of both red and white blood cells, and helps to protect the body from damage caused by radiation and in removing heavy metals from the body
  • In the stomach, histidine is also helpful in producing gastric juices, and people with a shortage of gastric juices or suffering from indigestion, may also benefit from this nutrient

Histidine and diarrhea (140)

  • Histidine is a metalloprotein that can bind and transport several metals, including copper and iron
  • It also increases calcium absorption, reduces histamine levels, and in turn controls diarrhea. (Too much histidine will actually cause constipation, and this is overcome by taking zinc and GLA in the form of primrose, borage, or black current oil)
  • Since diarrhea causes dehydration and loss of electrolytes, histidine can greatly enhance performance by countering this effect
  • Histidine is also an important mechanism in clotting factors and can minimize internal bleeding from microtrauma

Histidine and Zinc absorption (150)

  • As the major component of zinc-binding proteins, histidine is essential for zinc absorption and transport to tissues
  • One study showed that histidine supplementation stimulated growth by increasing zinc absorption, which in turn thickened the growth plate in bone

Histidine and Arthritis (139, 151, 158, 159)

  • Low free histidine has been found in the serum of some rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • And last not least, Histidine is, like many other amino acids, important for growth and general tissue repair
  • As histidine is an excellent chelating agent for such metals as copper, iron and zinc. Copper and iron participate in a reaction (Fenton reaction) that generates potent reactive oxygen species that could be destructive to tissues, including joints
  • By chelating these metals, the efficiency of Fenton reaction is lowered. Resulting a lower level of potent reactive oxygen species
  • L-Histidine is the obligate precursor of histamine, which is produced via the decarboxylation of the amino acid
  • Histamine is known to possess immunomodulatory and antioxidant activity
  • Suppressor T cells have H2 receptors, and histamine activates them. Promotion of suppressor T cell activity could be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis
  • Histamine has been shown to down-regulate the production of reactive oxygen species in phagocytic cells, such as monocytes, by binding to the H2 receptors on these cells
  • Decreased reactive oxygen species production by phagocytes could play antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory roles in arthritis

Histidine and sexual functions (140,152)

  • Histamines play in sexual functions. By and large it is histamines that regulate ejaculations and orgasms
  • Men suffering from premature ejaculations often show increased histamine activity.
    They may be helped by an amino acid which counteracts the formation of histamine from histidine, or the activity of histamine, namely methionine
  • Contrarily, men and women having difficulties achieving orgasms may be helped by histidine supplementation, as this may result in increased histamine levels in the sexual tract, which in turn may make orgasms and ejaculations easier
  • Older men who experience a slow down in sexual response may also ask their doctors about histidine supplementation
  • An additional pro-sexual effect of histidine may lay in its vasodilating effect, thus making blood flow to the sex organs easier

Best used with Histidine

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake (153)

  • Too high levels of histidine may lead to stress and mental disorders such as anxiety
  • People with schizophrenia have been found to have high levels of histidine
  • People suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar (manic) depression should not take a histidine supplement without the approval of their medical professional


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