Can Tyramine Trigger Migraines? Find Out How!

Migraine headaches can be debilitating and unbearable at times. For some, a migraine may even be triggered by the foods they eat. Tyramine is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, so it’s no wonder that many people are asking: Can Tyramine Trigger Migraines? Here are some tips for those who are concerned about avoiding tyramine in their diet to reduce their chances of experiencing migraine.

Learning How to Live with Chronic Migraines can be tough, but there are ways to manage the pain and keep moving forward. First and foremost, it’s important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that works best for you. This might involve medications, lifestyle changes, or other therapies. It’s also helpful to keep track of your symptoms and triggers so you can better anticipate when a migraine might strike. And don’t forget the power of self-care: prioritize rest, relaxation, and stress-management techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and with the right support and strategies, you can maintain a fulfilling life even with chronic migraines.

can tyramine trigger migraines

Migraines are a common and debilitating type of headache that can have a significant impact on the quality of one’s life. While there are many potential triggers for migraine headaches, such as weather changes, stress, or hormones, recent research suggests that tyramine may also be a culprit. tyramine can trigger migraine headaches and discuss ways to reduce your exposure. As we learn more about how Tyramine affects migraine sufferers, it’s important to take steps to stay informed and proactive in managing this condition.

Tyramine is a naturally occurring chemical in many foods, notably aged or fermented foods. The amino acid tyrosine produces it. Because of its chemical structure, tyramine is classified as a Monoamine. The body processes monoamine via an enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO). Tyramine is a neurotransmitter that appears to be involved in blood pressure regulation. Those who consume too much tyramine can develop high blood pressure and headaches. So, tyramine can trigger migraines.

Why Does Tyramine Trigger Migraines?

The amino acid tyrosine is broken down to produce tyramine. It can be present in anything, but the amount varies depending on the age, fermentation, or storage time of the food. Monoamine Oxidase is an enzyme that breaks down monoamines in humans. If you don’t have enough MAO in your body, eating meals high in tyramine may cause headaches or migraines. When MAOI antidepressants were introduced to the market in the 1950s, scientists discovered that MAOIs prevent the synthesis of monoamine oxidase. 

Individuals on MAO inhibitors experienced headaches and elevated blood pressure after eating foods high in tyrosine. Tyramine can trigger migraines. Researchers believe tyramine causes migraines by forcing nerve cells in the brain to release too much norepinephrine. Another theory is that greater levels of tyramine combined with an unusual level of brain chemicals can produce brain alterations that result in headaches and migraines. Those who are prone to migraines may suffer a headache or migraine if they consume tyramine-containing meals and do not have enough MAO in their bodies to digest it. 

The exact reason why tyramine triggers migraines is unknown. Yet, tyramine triggers the production of norepinephrine (a hormone and neurotransmitter), and some studies suggest that a combination of high tyramine levels and elevated norepinephrine may cause a headache. Tyramine levels in the body can also raise heart rate and blood pressure. Foods high in tyramine should be avoided if headaches or migraines are a problem. It is especially for people who take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which decrease the body’s capacity to absorb tyramine.

What are the Symptoms of Tyramine Intolerance?

Most people have heard about lactose intolerance, due to its prevalence. Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of lactase (an enzyme) to decompose the lactose contained in milk products.

Because lactose cannot be broken down, it accumulates in the gut, causing unpleasant side effects such as bloating, discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea. Tyramine intolerance works similarly. Tyramine intolerance occurs when the enzyme that decomposes tyramine is insufficient, causing the molecule to build up and create symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest discomfort

Several of these symptoms are caused by elevated blood pressure, which can be harmful.

migraine tyramine foods

What Foods Contain Tyramine?

Leftovers are not your friend if you are sensitive to tyramine. The amount of tyramine in food grows as it is aged, fermented, or stored. Determine the age of the item to help you rapidly detect tyramine-containing foods. Tyramine is most typically present in food that has been aged or fermented. Although tyramine effects are referred to as the “cheese effect,” tyramines are found in many foods other than aged cheese.

These foods include:

  • Certain beans, especially fava beans, and broad beans
  • Some overripe foods, such as older fruits 
  • Certain sauces, such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and bouillon-based alternatives
  • Meats that have been fermented 
  • Soy sauce and other fermented soybean products, such as tofu 
  • Broad beans
  • Snow peas 
  • Nuts 
  • Olives 
  • Aged dairy products, such as blue cheese, brie, cheddar, and feta
  • Nitrate-containing or aged meat, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausage, deli meat, pepperoni, and smoked products
  • Pickled foods, such as sauerkraut
  • Strongly yeasted bread, such as sourdough
  • Vinegar, particularly wine vinegar
  • Alcoholic beverages, such as beers

These high-tyramine meals will cause migraines in many people. If your headache diary reveals a correlation between your headaches and these items, it’s time to try a low-tyramine diet to lessen your migraines.

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