Comment from Patty Woods
I too have discovered over the last two years or so that I have become intolerant to tyramine. I am a 60 year old female. It all seemed to start very suddenly, but I have for the last 15 years or so had other food sensitivities. I really suspect my over-use of Zyrtec. Cannot prove it and my doctors will not agree with me, but I used Zyrtec for about 15 years for allergies, and at one point every time I tried to stop taking it I had worse issues, I would break out in hives, etc. Eventually I powered thru it and quit (don’t take it anymore) and now I have this intolerance.
I like so many others just slowly became aware that there were certain foods that caused these reactions. For me, if I eat foods high in tyramine I get a hypertensive crisis, my BP raises incredibly high, I get fight or flight syndrome, have to defecate frequently, shake and feel very frightened. Like so many others here I visited the ER and doctors to no avail, most just saying….”oh, you have hypertension” , well, no, because in between these episodes my blood pressure is very low for weeks or months, or until I eat something in a restaurant where they use something like nutritional yeast, or other fermented foods!
I’m so glad I came upon this site, I don’t feel so alone. It has been hard on my work relationships and very stressful for my family.
I’m trying to be careful and have a second visit scheduled with the Mayo in Scotsdale hoping to get some answers but I apparently may never have them. Thanks for listening. Anyone who would like to communicate please feel free to add to my comment.
Dear Patty, Like many of those sensitive to tyramine your symptoms are very dramatic and serious. One reason why those with food sensitivity are not well understood is because the symptoms can change over a lifetime. This is called “Target organ sensitivity” whereby you can have symptoms in your skin, such as hives for some time, and then change, perhaps at menopause time, and have symptoms in another system, or in many systems, such as you now have. I am very happy to have a site where tyramine and other amine sensitive people can tell their stories, so none of you feel as if you are so unusual you can’t be believed. That is so unfair in these times where personalised medicine is supposed to be recognised. You may decide to print out another story that is a bit similar to yours. It can make you more assertive when you visit your doctor, or talk to your family, or those you work with. You can print out the information in the Articles section on amines especially the hints on why the amount of amines can and do change in a food.
As well you can get answers about many puzzling aspects in my book: Tolerating Troublesome Foods. These include understanding adverse reactions, how individual they are, and the many reasons tolerance can change. These include stuff going on in you that may change, stuff in the environment, and stuff in the food. All of this makes you more in control of things so you know when to take small chances and when to just stay with very safe food. See https://foodintolerancepro.com/tolerating-troublesome-foods/
With the story printed out, and Tolerating, you can feel you can work out answers that apply to just your own situation. And I hope you get more help from doctors you visit. All the best in your diet detective work. Joan
Mary Wyatt says
It took me a while to work out that the hypertensive episodes that I was enduring were tyramine related. My BP would climb rapidly up to 220/110 with the symptoms mentioned by Patty Woods – the adrenaline surge causing nausea, clamminess, sweating, a frequent urge to defaecate and on some occasions hypertension related chest pain. The only way to describe how revolting I felt was to say that I was constitutionally really unwell as it felt with each episode that every system was affected including my poor foggy brain!
I’ve had a number of investigations and hospital admissions (eight in all) since the onset of this ‘recalcitrant blood pressure’ as my specialist liked to call it in 2016.
Despite extensive blood testing and radiological investigation no definite cause was unearthed. I saw a cardiologist, neurologist, allergist, psychologist, generalist physician and, it seemed like weekly for a time, our GP.
All the usual groups of medication related to blood pressure control were tried, dosages increased, timings changed, new ones added, ineffective ones discarded. Currently I take nine drugs morning and night.
Our family and social life was affected as I never knew if my BP could be relied on to stay stable enough for an outing, to go to a movie, have our grandkids for a sleepover, go shopping even.
I read extensively, sought out alternative help without effect. I charted my BP daily looking for patterns, correlating physical activity and food eaten.
Over time I noted that when I had bacon, drank coffee, ate chocolate, snow peas, capsicum and meat that had been in the fridge more than a day there would be a blood pressure response. In fact I had an emergency admission after one cup of coffee and a couple of weeks later after eating sea scallops despite having eaten them previously and not being allergic to them.
So I realized that I had better be my own advocate and late one night after another episode I googled “foods that cause hypertension” and up came lots of info including articles by Joan Breaky. Finally I felt heard and along with help from Joan and another dietitian plus the RPA diet book, I learnt about the low tyramine diet.
I religiously followed the diet avoiding all the many foods containing tyramine for about four months and slowly have started reintroducing them with some success.
My BP has been normal for ten weeks now so fingers crossed!
Joan Breakey says
Dear Mary, You have given hope to many with any of the variety of symptoms you have had to put up with. You have shown two important things.
One is that the symptoms each person has are their own unique ones, even though all the ones you mention often occur. Because they are not similar enough to be recognised by doctors as of some type that will respond to a particular regimen that some medication helps with, they cannot be bunched together. Because they do not happen often enough to be recognised by the medical speciality they are not believed as often as, for instance, eczema is by dermatologists, so they are not believed.
The second important idea is that the diet is not neat and tidy as other diets such as allergy which can be tested for and foods can be more clearly positive and negative. “Sensitivity” is not a common medical word, even though it is the right one for several reasons you would have seen in the book you used – Tolerating Troublesome Foods”. Some suggest using the words “adverse reactions to food” which may be useful for some doctors to accept. If the diet was clear and everyone responded to the same starting point and did not have reactions to different types of amines food sensitivity would be more accepted.
I wish you all you food sensitive people assertiveness when you do find diet makes a difference. Please let your doctor know what happens for you so that the next person who thinks they might be food sensitive is listened to with more sympathy by that doctor. And of course suggest the doctor look at the site and the information there so they know all the clinical research I have done, along with others, and my books that each give more information about the big picture. Thanks again for providing your big picture which others could print and take to their doctor to support what is happening to them. Joan
Do tyramines build up as oxalates do in body tissues!
Is there a chart for processing and excreting the waste from them?
And they must have different dose loads and can be impacted by stress, gut health and the weather!
So far none of my medical cohorts will recognize the layering of different food chemicals for what I call “zapping”!
We eat so clean that we are hit within 3/10 mins!
I can judge my inflammation by the weight of my body each morning on the sheets.
Never discount mold and food sensitivities.
Thanks for all you do Joan…
No. Tyramines have their action as they are going through your metabolic system being broken down. You could call it detoxing. We know they don’t stay around as when people use my books or see a dietitian and learn their best Baseline diet and use it for a month they clear the various amines all reduce symptoms. You are very unusual and very unlucky to have both an oxalate problem and be very food sensitive. Allow yourself time to manage both. Oxalates have a completly different process to amines and can form calcium oxalates. So you need to give yourself medical care here.
Read Tolerating to learn interesting detail of what affects the reactions to food chemicals.
You will learn and understand the idea of the Total Body Load. And Yes it does build up! Remember that having a diet that helps reduce amine gut reactions is NOT the same as using all the general rules for normal folk who can eat spoonfuls of spice or fermented foods which both cause bad symptoms in amine sensitive people. As mould increases the amines increase. Do read my article What’s smell got to do with it? to understand.
https://foodintolerancepro.com/category/food-intolerance/whats-smell-got-to-do-with-it/ You are going to learn more and more so you get to your own best diet! All the best. Joan
I just found your site. I never had high blood pressure before. Two doctors put me on blood pressure medicine that didn’t work. Actually, when I was following all foods that are supposed to lower my blood pressure, it actually went higher. 9 I read eats nuts, bananas and spinach.) I suspected food because some days my blood pressure was normal and other days really high. I changed to a new doctor who did not believe food could be the cause. However, I started taking my blood pressure every hour and the reading was sent to my phone. I thought I might be histamine intolerant and bought DAO. It didn’t really help. Then before my blood pressure check appointment, I had two glasses of super beet juice. Crystals made from fermented and unfermented beets. My blood pressure was normal but with in an hour it spiked! It went from 115/82 to 139/87! He believed me, and I have a prescription to see a nutritionist. Now I find that everything I was eating supposedly healthy was contributing. It took a few years to figure this out. When I was younger I had hives and small itchy bumps a lot. After buy one get one free raspberries, I had red spots all over my face. I think that when I was approaching menopause, it changed to my blood pressure. I actually can feel it going up after I eat something.
Bought your book ….
My question is there is so much conflicting info about foods that are acceptable. Is it all a trial and error process?
You are right! Eating what is seen as a good normal diet can be quite the wrong direction for a food sensitive person. Fermented food is a new idea being emphasized at present because everything related to what is healthy gut flora is a hot topic at present. But fermented food is high in amines so can be quite wrong if you are sensitive.
The problem is that food-sensitive people are a small proportion of the population. That means that each doctor only has a few, so is more likely to say things like “I’ve never had anyone with a story like yours before”. You have done well convincing your doctor to believe you. And then we hope your doctor is more likely to believe some other food-sensitive person.
You have been a great diet detective gradually realizing what foods were most likely to cause your BP spike. You were also aware to note that you had hives, itchy bumps and spots in your childhood. And you are right that anyone who had particular food-sensitivity symptoms in childhood can have different ‘target organ’ symptoms later in life. You understood that symptoms can be precipitated by some other happening such as changes in hormones as occurs in menopause. The good news is that with good [beginning with very low dose] HRT your food tolerance may improve, or it may improve after menopause passes. On the other hand, many food sensitive people have symptoms that come on as age increases, so keep looking after yourself.
I am so glad you have my book for support. Chapter 3 of Are You Food Sensitive? has careful summaries of the natural chemicals, including amines, to consider, as well as the whole diet investigation process. As well, most of the early chapters in Tolerating Troublesome Foods cover understanding adverse reactions and how tolerance can change for many reasons in you, in your environment, and in the food itself. Reading those will show you why there is so much conflicting information available. And the Best Guess Food Guide provides the Risk Rating Scale where you can know what the likelihood of a reaction is for food sensitive people. You can learn to change from hoping some table will be right for you, to understanding all the factors to take into account to gradually test the lower risk foods to help with learning what you can manage.
Using all the information I have learned over many years you can avoid trial and error, buy using the guided support from my books. It is also wise to use an accredited dietitian if you can find one near you. The last idea to remember is that even within amine-containing foods there is individual variation in what is tolerated so you may be lucky with some. All the best!
Lori Miller says
I recently as in 2010 became extremely hypertensive. I also had frequent hospitalizations for episodes of supraventricular tachycardia. This went on for several years until I realized cured meats and or chocolate seemed to be the trigger (I often had symptoms on or around Easter) I was hospitalized after a Reuben sandwich… and once after consuming hotdogs at first I thought it was nitrates but the nitrate free hotdogs produced the same effect. I am a pretty good historian and a nurse. I have told doctors that I suspected cured meats. Not one physician mentioned tyramine intolerance. I had to find this on blogs on the internet. It also explains why ham eaten at Easter seemed to bother me more than the occasional ham sandwich it would seem to be additive with the chocolate and other trigger foods.
Good on you Lori for your diet detective work! Remember that there are various types of amines. Tyramine is important and doctors should know it. Chocolate is phenylethylamine. Some doctors will accept reactions to chocolate and red wine but do not refer people to dietitians who can help to reduce symptoms more. You can learn more going to my Articles section where there is much about amines. And you are clever understanding the cumulative effect. I call this the Total Body Load and describe it in Are You Food Sensitive? which, by the way has a carefully worded 2 page summary on Amines. It also adds info on other food chemicals that cause reactions, such as the dye used in the hot dogs. I have also noted that where cooler weather and inhalant allergens, that also increase around Easter, add to the likelihood of reactions. So the trick is to test very small amounts of chocolate during summer and see if you have a little luck! And you can get more from my other book:Tolerating Troublesome Foods, with all the info on what factors increase or decrease tolerance, and info on foods to help you work out how to test foods to have maximum chance of tolerance. Ham varies greatly. Ham carefully aged and held until Easter may cause a worse reaction than fresh ham from a big deli. You can get my books from AmazonKindle and learn more. All the best!