Tyramine is a naturally occurring monoamine compound and trace amine. It is derived from the amino acid called tyrosine.
Tyramine acts as a catecholamine (dopamine), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline) releasing agent.
Because of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) (this means that the circulation of blood from the brain's extracellular fluid (BECF) in the central nervous system is separated), tyramine is unable to cross over, resulting in non-psychoactive peripheral sympathomimetic effects.
For those who are on monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (to treat depression, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's), [click on LINK] ingestion of large amounts of tyramine can induce a hypertensive crisis. This is when hypertension (high blood pressure) occurs with acute impairment of one or more organs. This can result in irreversible organ damage.
The Occurrence of Tyramine
Tyramine occurs in plants and animals. It is metabolized by the enzyme called monoamine oxidase. In food, it is often produced by fermentation and spoilage. Tyramine is produced by the decarboxylation of tyrosine during fermentation or decay.
Foods Which Are High in Tyramine
- Spoilt meats/fish
- Dried/Aged/Smoked/Fermented/Marinated fish and poultry
- Broad bean pods
- Tap and unpasteurized beers
- Soy products/Tofu/Tempeh
- Shrimp paste
- Sour cream
- Teriyaki sauce
- Miso soup
- Yeast extracts (Bovril, Marmite & Vegemite)/Brewer's yeast/Yeast vitamin supplements
- Old liver (not fresh)
- Banana peel/Over-riped bananas
Somewhere in the 1960s, a British pharmacist noticed that his wife who was on an anti-depression (MAOI) would develope headaches whenever she consumed cheese. Thus, the 'cheese effect' name came about.
To read more about the monoamine oxidase inhibitor, click on LINK.
To read more about the link between tyramine-rich-food and antidepressants, click on LINK.