Atrial fibrillation, fermented foods, tyramine reaction

Here is Len’s story of his very unusual reaction:  My tyramine symptoms came on me right out of the blue. I am a 68 yr old male and the last 2 years I suffered with gastritis and stomach ulcers brought on by taking aspirin..which is supposed to doctor recommended. To deal with the ulcers the physicians wanted me on PPI but after suffering side effects for one week from the medication plus reading up on long term side effects I decided to punt the pills and address the problem through diet. I started taking bone broth and probotic food like kefir and sauerkraut. I started to have success with a few setbacks due to finding some foods were causing me more problems than solving them. I found sauerkraut was very beneficial and I started making it and having it with every meal. Almost a year ago I would start having afib….and I couldn’t figure out what was triggering it. After ending up in the hospital a couple times and the doctors scratching their heads about my sudden onset of afib that would mysteriously disappear after 6 to 12 hours, I was sent to an expert who was going to put me on meds and give me an ablation to prevent future episodes. It was shortly after that out of desperation I started googling foods that may set off afib and I stumbled across Tyramine. I found food lists with Tyramine and on the list was sauerkraut along with a bunch of other foods like cheddar cheese, dried fruit, smoked fish. I connected the dots and as soon as I started taking out the Tyramine related foods out of my diet, the afib started to ease up. I would try eating something with Tyramine in it…and small amounts I could tolerate but if I over did it, then I would go through another episode. To date I still haven’t found a solution to getting past this and in the mean time I am hypersensitive about the types of foods that I eat. The strange thing is, I never had a sensitivity to Tyramine until I over did it with the sauerkraut.

My comment: Dear Len, Atrial fibrillation reaction is a rare, though it and an increased pulse rate and increased blood pressure are all possible symptoms in tyramine sensitivity, or with other amine reactions. You have done well persisting to see if diet had a role. Fermented foods may be helpful for people with no gut symptoms to help with gut flora, but those with IBS need to view them with the suspicion you have shown. In fact the freshness of all foods, especially meats and other protein foods really matters where tyramine and other amines are concerned.

It is no wonder you feel supersensitive about what foods you can eat! Gradually finding out what you may tolerate is what I call “Diet detective work”! I have some good news and some not-so-good news for you. First the not-so-good news: many people do not begin to have food-sensitivity symptoms until in their 60s or 70s or even 80s! The good news is that much can still be done to have the broadest diet possible. Another part of your good news, and the detective work, is that since your gut became inflamed with aspirin it is probable that you should also consider investigating foods high in salicylate as part of what you watch. This is part of what I call the Total Body Load of factors that may influence whether or not you begin having symptoms at any particular time. Salicylates are similar in shape, chemically, to additive colour and flavour. An over-arching idea is that suspect food chemicals (whether these are tyramine, other amines, salicylates, additives, even MSG) aggravate the underlying symptoms in susceptible people. Another important idea is that tyramine is one amine and most people who are sensitive to tyramine are likely to be sensitive to all the others. Don’t panic! You don’t need to go on a much stricter diet. But it is worth using this idea to reduce the foods high in these various suspect chemicals so you realize that having a meal high in spice with soft drinks make it more likely you will react to some food that might be quite low in amines up to 24 hours later. It is wise for you to read all the articles on Amines on this site  which mention the foods you are most likely to tolerate.

Over forty years I have collected information on the foods most food-sensitive people react to and made the Best Guess Food Guide where over 300 foods are arranged in order of risk. Another part of your good news is that different people get away with (tolerate) different foods, even different amines. It is still the “best guess” as it is impossible to produce charts that give exact information on amines. They change so much with storage. You can also get yourself a copy of Tolerating Troublesome Foods so you learn from what others have found from thousands of food trials. You can read much about why reactions occur and notes on all the foods showing how to test them. You will learn why you should use your nose when deciding what foods may be tolerated. Go to AmazonKindle to obtain a copy to read    or from this site obtain a copy to download into your computer and print if you wish  I wish you well in learning what foods you can tolerate.