Comment from Ryan. S:
I’m a nurse and have been having sort-of hypertensive crises for approximately one year. I became tremulous, nauseous and an erratic heartbeat although my pulse stayed relatively normal. Thank you for your insight into this issue.
As I write now, I have just experienced another one of these episodes, though not as bad as the episode that landed me in the ER last week. I have been to the ER 3x in the last few months with these episodes. I have been put on antihypertensives which has lowered my baseline BP but has not prevented these episodes from occurring.
Last year, I went to see a Naturopath when western medicine was failing me. No one had any answers other than I had “hypertension”. My naturopath put me on a paleo-diet which helped for the month that I was on it but has not been successful since then.
While I was speaking with my ER doctor, it occurred to me that I might be sensitive to Tyramine. As a psychiatric nurse, we used to see a lot of clients on MAOIs and we always had to ensure that the Tyramine-free diet was followed especially closely because of the risk of a hypertensive crisis. It occurred to me that each of my last episodes was triggered eating a gluten-free pizza or other foods possibly rich in Tyramine.
While my episodes have not resolved (and to be honest, there are times I feel like giving up), reading your article has given me some hope that I may have discovered what is causing my issues. Western medicine has been all too dismissive of my health issues chalking it up to uncontrolled hypertension. Your article has unlocked one possibility to why I am suffering so much. Thank you for giving me hope again.
Response from Joan:
Dear Ryan. S,
A big thank you for sharing your story. You did great “diet detective work” thinking through your knowledge as a psychiatric nurse and your MAO-sensitive patients, and realizing the connection. Going on the paleo, or any other elimination diet, helps all those investigating diet to some degree, as they reduce many suspect substances, especially additives, but also often exclude foods that would be tolerated. Milk is tolerated by amine-sensitive people as long as it is VERY fresh. See all the tricks about 300 foods in my book Tolerating Troublesome Foods.
The important idea is that the diet that is right for each individual is different. You can work from attending just to amines as per the info on this page: http://www.foodintolerancepro.com/category/amines/. You can also consider the idea that amines, additives and salicylates follow similar biochemical paths so it is wise to attend to all of them as per Are You Food Sensitive? Then you are reducing the load of suspect chemicals to the sulphotransferase enzyme systems, and get fewer unexpected reactions.
I have recently (June 17) presented on the contrast between people like you who know food is involved, and the often skeptical health professionals. The presentation will be uploaded soon. I am continuing to support dietitians who are becoming more and more sympathetic to patients who tell of their very distressing symptoms. Do come back here and read more stories whenever you feel like giving up hope, so you feel the support from others and me. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you the energy to keep being assertive in finding the diet that is best for just you.