Tyramine is a compound created from foods through the breakdown of the amino acid called tyrosine. The level of tyramine becomes higher when foods are fermented, aged, spoiled, or cured. Having 6 to 8 mg of tyramine can cause negative side effects, including headaches, vomiting, nausea, and heart palpitations, while 10-25 mg of tyramine may cause extreme headache or stroke. Those who are intolerant to amines, which include tyramine and histamine, may also experience the said symptoms when they are exposed even to small amount of tyramine.
People who are taking MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors like Parkinson’s disease medications and antidepressants have high tendency of increasing their tyramine level. This can cause hypertensive crisis, which is the condition in which an individual becomes more prone to death or stroke because of very high blood pressure. It usually happens when tyramine amount is over 25 mg. If this is the case, or you are intolerant to amines, you must avoid foods that are high in tyramine.
1. Canadian Cheddar Cheese
Per ounce or 28 grams of Canadian cheddar gives 43 mg of tyramine. Cheese is high in calcium and protein in general, which is good for the growth of the muscles and strengthening of bones. However, if you are experiencing migraines or are taking MAOIs, it is best to avoid Canadian Cheddar, as it is high in tyramine. Other types of cheeses are also high in tyramine. Stilton has 33 to 61 mg, New York cheddar has 42 mg, Camembert has 38 mg, and Swiss and blue cheese have 28 mg of tyramine per ounce or 28 grams.
2. Tap Beer
It might be fun to drink beer but it’s no longer fun when you have high levels of tyramine and you experience nausea, drowsiness, and headache. It’s best to pass from drinking if you suffer from any of these as tap beer can increase your tyramine level further as it contains 38 mg per 12 ounce or 355 ml. Korean beer and vermouth are also high with the said compound so they must also be avoided.
3. Dry Sausage
Sausages are often made from ground pork, beef, and veal. They are preserved using various methods such as freezing, smoking, drying, and curing. While they are a favorite to many people, they contain high levels of tyramine, which is why their intake must be limited or completely stopped. An ounce or 28 grams of dry sausage may contain up to 43 mg of tyramine.
4. Aged Chicken Liver
Chicken liver is rich in vitamin B12, zinc, and iron. However, it is also high in cholesterol, as well as tyramine. The tyramine level is even higher if the chicken liver is aged. Every ounce or 28 grams of aged chicken liver contains 60 mg of tyramine.
5. Pickled Herring
Herring is a kind of fish that falls under the same family as sardines. It’s widely used in European foods and is often added on salads, sandwiches, as well as toppings on pizzas. It’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 but low in mercury, which is why it’s considered safe. However, it has high level of tyramine, especially if pickled. An ounce or 28 grams of pickled herring can contain up to 86 mg of tyramine.
6. Chinese Dried Duck
Duck is rich in proteins and minerals like sodium, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of vitamins including vitamin B12 and B6, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. It helps boost the immune system and general mental and physical health. However, its tyramine level can be dangerously high for those who are intolerant or who are suffering from the symptoms of high level of tyramine, which is why it’s recommended that it should be avoided.
7. Concentrated Yeast Extract
Yeast extract is often used for flavorings or as additives on foods. It gives that umami or savory taste and can usually be found on stock, gravy, snacks, crackers, and frozen meals. One tablespoon or 15 grams of concentrated yeast extract can have up to 34 mg of tyramine.
8. Smoked Fish
Smoking of fish was done in the past to preserve the fish and make it last for a long time. In modern days where there are now more convenient ways to do this like freezing and refrigeration, smoking is often done to get that distinct taste that the fish get from the process. If you love smoked fish, but you are suffering from migraine or you are amine intolerant, stay away from this food as it is known to have high levels of tyramine. This is also true with pickled fish.
This is fermented cabbage, which has a sour taste. It’s popular in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and
Belarusian and cuisine. Every 4 ounces or 112 grams of sauerkraut contain up to 14 mg of tyramine, which is why this should be avoided if you want to prevent the side effects of high levels of this compound in your system.
Caviar is rich in vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains selenium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B6, E, and A. These fish eggs are good for the heart. However, even a tablespoon or 15 grams of caviar contains huge amount of tyramine.
The spikes on the blood pressure caused by high levels of tyramine, especially if taking MAOIs can be fatal. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you have high levels of this amino acid or if you are intolerant to it so you can be advised with the best diet that you need to take. The foods listed above are high in tyramine so they must be avoided.