Histidine is called a semi-essential amino acid (protein building block) because adults generally produce adequate amounts but children may not. Histidine is also a precursor of histamine, a compound released by immune system cells during an allergic reaction.
Dairy, meat and poultry, and fish are good sources of histidine.
According to limited research, many people with rheumatoid arthritis have low levels of histidine. Taking histidine supplements might improve arthritis symptoms in some people.1
Most people do not need to supplement histidine. Optimal levels for others remain unknown. Human research has used between 1 gram and 8 grams per day.
No side effects have been reported with histidine. However, people with kidney or liver disease should not consume large amounts of amino acids without consulting a healthcare professional.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with histidine.
1. Gerber DA, Gerber MG. Specificity of a low free histidine concentration for rheumatoid arthritis. J Chronic Dis 1977;30:115–27.
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The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.