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Do you know the DAO deficit?

It is not a new discovery, but a great unknown. The Deficiency of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) it is a disorder linked to skin and gastrointestinal conditions, in addition to such common pathologies as migraine. However, it remains an open subject.

And it is estimated that around the 15% of the population has DAO Deficiency. And not only are they unaware that they suffer from it, they are also unaware of the pathology itself.

Given the situation, the emerging Spanish company DR Healthcare (DRH) dedicates its activity to the research, development and innovation of products based on diamino oxidase enzyme as a treatment.

EFEsalut has Juajo Duelthe founder of DR Healthcare, to delve into the disorder.

We present to histamine

To understand what diamine oxidase is and why its deficiency can be a big problem, we must first know the role of histaminea vital molecule for human life.

This is in charge of regulating physiological functions like the fluids in our body, in addition to acting as a neurotransmitter, regulating the balance between wakefulness and sleep, etc.

But, in this sense, we must differentiate between histamine endogenous (produced by our own cells) and the exogenous (obtained externally). And the fact is that this same molecule is found more or less in the foods of our daily diet. The difference is that when we get it like this, lack of function in our body.

This is where diamino oxidase comes into play: when histamine reaches the gut, this enzyme is responsible for metabolizing it, preventing it from being absorbed and passing into the blood.

DAO deficiency and histamine accumulation

The point is that when DAO functionality is insufficient, histamine is not metabolized, so it starts accumulate where it should not accumulate and deregulate the gastric fluids, being able to be absorbed by the intestine and pass into the blood.

Silently, it accumulates little by little and when it reaches a large concentration it begins to carry some danger. Because…

  • …as a vasodilatorproduces extraordinary vasodilatation of the temporal arteries that leave the temple, leading to migraines.
  • …as a neurotransmittersome children, with a diet rich in histamine, can cause the loss of attention in class due to the dysregulation that occurs.
  • …how it controls gastric fluidscauses indigestion, abdominal distention, bloating, diarrhea.
  • …when there is a lot of it histamine is deposited in the muscles, crystallizing and producing muscle contractions and pain that some label as fibromyalgia
  • …how it should be removedlacking DAO it becomes a demanding molecule in water, so it dehydrates, producing skin atopies, dermatitis, etc.
dry, atopic, skin
Image provided by DR Healthcare

What about the diet?

To avoid this excess of histamine (in the case of not being able to metabolize it correctly) two ways are established, the clinical effectiveness of which has been demonstrated: a diet low in histamine and/or DAO enzyme supplementation.

Avoid foods like…

When we talk about diet, we must know that histamine is present to a greater or lesser extent in all foods, whether of animal or plant origin. Histamine levels are especially high in:

  • foods fermentedlike the cheese
  • Drinks, like wine or the beer

In this sense, Juanjo Duelo insists on a conditioning factor: the normalized routine.

Because there are many who turn to orange juice and/or latte for breakfast every day. But both milk and citrus juice are high in histamine.

“If you take one a week, nothing happens, but if you do it continuously as a habit it becomes a risk,” he says.

It can also be consumed…

Taking milk and orange juice as a reference, the founder of DR Healthcare suggests substitutes, although always remember to consult with a specialist in endocrinology.

  • Instead of animal milk… plant-based drinks such as coconut, oat, soy milk are ideal
  • Instead of citrus juices… consume juice from other fruits, such as peach, pear or apple.
  • If our concern is the nutrients they have… the best option is to find them in other foods suitable for the condition in question. For example, if we are concerned about vitamin C, we find more in half a red pepper than in an orange.

How to know if you suffer from it

Given the common symptomatology and the fact that practically all of us consume large amounts of exogenous histamine on a daily basis, the question that arises is clear: How do I know if I have a DAO deficiency?

PCR as a genetic test

Juanjo Duelo talks about a successful genetic test that has been largely popularized by COVID-19: the famous PCR. Of course, in this case the stick is made of saliva.

“The advantage of the pandemic is that any neighborhood laboratory has a PCR team,” says Duelo.

It is clear that although it has been widely used, the most conventional is for doctors, when it comes to reviews, to resort to the typical blood analysis.

And the biomarker can be requested… but it is not very binding.

“The level of DAO in the blood is very small for everyone and, moreover, it fluctuates. For example, in the case of women, it happens during menstruation”, says the CEO of DR Healthcare.

This is why genetic testing is recommended. Because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and there’s no doubt about it.

The case of women with DAO deficiency

When we talk about this enzyme deficiency, there is a figure that draws attention: the proportion of women who suffer from it. And it is that 3 women suffer from it for every man. But the matter does not stop there.

  • Menstruation: During menstruation, there is a drop in DAO. Therefore, in this sense, it could be said that many of the symptoms attributed to premenstrual syndrome could be associated with it.
  • pregnancy: during pregnancy, the placenta accumulates DAO in excessive proportions (500 times more than normal), for the protection of the fetus and the mother.
pregnancy-gestation-deficit dao
EFE/Zayra Mo

Mostly genetic but…

One way or another, even if genetics prevails in the studies as the main cause of the disorder, the truth is that it has been proven that there are other factors that trigger it:

  • drugs. There are drugs in common use, such as anti-influenza, antibiotics or antidepressants, whose adverse effects include one that tends not to appear in the leaflet: DAO inhibition.
  • Intestinal pathologies. Gastrointestinal disorders can destroy DAO. But, in this case, the deficit would be a secondary effect of another pathology.

In the previously mentioned cases, the DAO deficit would be reversible.

Second International DAO Deficit Congress

The role of raising awareness and promotion around the Deficit is materialized in the holding of congresses, which bring together doctors, pharmacists, scientists and academics and sheds light on this great unknown.

Thus, on November 17, the second edition of the International DAO Deficiency Congress will be held, which will take as reference the etiology of the disorder, the regulatory framework, dietary management and innovation, among other topics.

Among the presentations this year, the one that stands out the most is the new genetic study to find out the DAO deficit in newborns.

Small steps that make a big difference

Juanjo Duelo is clear about the importance of the role of biomedical companies like his. Because it answers common problems.

“We’re talking about what, for me, is a paradigm shift because it involves approaching diseases based on an objective diagnosis,” he says.

Because it is the DNA of the individual that says it. And because, through this result, you can address migraine, fibromyalgia, or even ADHD in children through a dietary and preventive treatment.

“You simply have to think that TDHA is practically treated with amphetamines… In return, we suggest analyzing these children and their genetic origin and treating them with diet”, explains Duelo.

And it is that children’s diets are rich in histamine: chocolate, milk, oranges… foods that from generation to generation are assimilated as healthy during childhood may be causing the problem. And the solution would be none other than diet and/or supplementation.

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