Foods that are riper or have been longer standing tend to have higher tyramine content than fresh or freshly-prepared foods. Thus a piece of fruit that is fresh and firm may be well tolerated, but a ripe or especially over-ripe piece of the same food may provoke a serious reaction. Furthermore, bacterial action on protein sources such as meat and soy products can cause an increase in the food’s tyramine levels. In summary, the caution regarding foods high in tyramine is that firm and fresh is more likely to be safe than over-ripe or over-exposed to potential bacterial overgrowth.
High tyramine-containing foods
Items in the list below that are bolded contain high to very high amounts of tyramine.
- Aged cheese: american, processed, blue, boursault, brick (natural), brie, camembert, cheddar, emmenthaler, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, sour cream, roquefort, stilton and swiss.
- Aged, cured or spoiled meats: beef or chicken liver, other meats, fish (unrefrigerated, fermented), fermented sausages (bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage), game meat, meat tenderizer, meat extracts, caviar, salted herring and other dried fish, pickled herring (spoiled) and shrimp paste.
- Alcohol: ale, beer (including some non-alcoholic beers), red wine (especially chianti), port, reisling, sauternes, sherry, vermouth and distilled spirits.
- Fruits/vegetables: avocados (especially overripe), bananas, bean curd, (fava) bean pods, canned figs (overripe), miso soup, red plums, raisins, sauerkraut, soy sauce, soy bean condiments, spinach, teriyaki, tofu, tomatoes and yeast and yeast extracts (marmite, brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast.
- Other items with similar actions: chocolate (cocoa) and caffeine (coffee, tea, colas).
Analysis of pizzas from large chain commercial outlets found no significant tyramine levels in any of the pizzas tested, including those with double pepperoni and double cheese. Marked variability was found with soy products, including significant amounts of tyramine found in tofu when stored for a week, and high tyramine content of some soy sauces. The
authors of this study concluded that pizzas from large chain commercial outlets are safe for consumption with MAO inhibitors. However, they recommended caution when ordering from smaller outlets or with gourmet pizzas that may use aged cheeses. All soybean products should be avoided.
Tyramine-containing Foods Avoidance can help with the following
Tyramine-containing foods are responsible for migraines in 15% of sufferers. If you have observed a sensitivity to such foods, you should try a tyramine-free diet for a short time. If headaches resolve, reintroduce foods high in tyramine. If headaches recur, you may be able to control your headaches by avoiding these foods; if not, you may be allergic to other foods.
|May do some good|
An amino acid synthesized in the body from the essential amino acid tyrosine that has a sympathomimetic action and is derived from tyrosine.
Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.
A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.
Abbreviation for a breakdown enzyme monoamine oxidase. A MAO inhibitor blocks the action of monoamine oxidase, thus raising the levels of the monoamine neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin - which have significant effects on mood and behavior. Epinephrine, norepinephrine and serotonin are normally deactivated by MAO-A while dopamine and phenylethylamine are normally metabolized by MAO-B.