This site is exciting for me to discover. I recently diagnosed myself with tyramine sensitivity, which I may have had for months or years. My main symptom was moodiness. This was virtually impossible to connect with diet until I started keeping a food diary after a particularly strange and sudden onset. One day I was talking to my husband and became extremely angry, for no reason. It felt like someone had turned a switch in my brain and was flooding it with “mad.” As a scientist, I had been frustrated for a long time by such experiences and decided to try to figure it out once and for all.
The next day I began a food diary and noticed something immediately: The day I became angry, I had eaten processed meat three times (a lot for anyone, but especially for me). I began tracking my diet and mood for about a month and confirmed that certain symptoms occurred when I ate foods on this list: http://www.headaches.org/pdf/Diet.pdf
I also began to notice physical symptoms, which included mild headache (sometimes but not always at the back of my head) and rapid heartbeat. Last night about 1 hour after a dinner including prosciutto and parmesan cheese, I had an attack like the one Joan describes, with shortness of breath, a little nausea, and a hot flash (I am 29 years old). The attack itself lasted about 10min but right after I ate the culprit foods, I began to feel nauseated.
Sometimes I wonder how many people out there have a similar amine sensitivity and have just been labeled “moody” by their friends, family, or themselves. I feel in control of my emotions for the first time in my life. It is a liberating, wonderful feeling!
Tyramine and food additives can change mood.
Yes, Chiara. Mood is a separate symptom that diet can change. It is very important and often reported by diet responders. You are not alone in your reaction.
When work was begun on hyperactivity the activity itself was the focus [especially by Feingold]. Then it changed to the other important concerns of ADHD. That is attention and impulsivity. And all the other issues that go along with that. See my thesis, and Chapter 1 of Are You Food Sensitive? on this site for interesting findings. The important thing was that after much research by several teams in different parts of the world the finding that the aspect that diet changed most was not the core ADHD symptoms, though these did change. The symptom that diet changed most was mood. It was “irritable, touchy and cranky”. Did you read my article on Diet and Mood? I will add it in the Articles section.
The mood change is important and it explains why in some research parents were better able to identify when children were being given the test additives in double blind placebo controlled trials than teachers were. In addition to ADHD features they were more likely to notice changes in mood as well than teachers were.
But diet changing anything is still not well accepted as the variety of symptoms it can aggravate is many, and not everyone with the symptoms responds in a neat and tidy way. You are right to wonder how many other food sensitive people do not know that diet may make a very big difference to their lives. Research is limited as mood changes are much more difficult to research. Many find out by doing what I call Diet Detective Work [see Are You Food Sensitive? ] Diet responders find that not only does diet help with their irritable bowel, or a rash, or migraine, but report changes like yours: mild headache, shortness of breath, nausea, and a hot flash.
Some diet responders are like you in being particularly sensitive to one group of suspect chemicals, the amines, some are sensitive to others as well.
You have your particular cluster of symptoms when reacting. Others may have similar ones, or different symptoms.
You will also have your own sensitivity to particular amines. Initially it is wise to exclude all foods reported to have amines of any kind. After a month or 6 weeks of exclusion you can test amine containing foods one at a time using the ideas in Are You Food Sensitive?
You may also learn that most people who are sensitive to amines are also sensitive to other food chemicals such as additives, and natural chemicals such as spices, and you can learn where these fit in. Sometimes problems are blamed on sugar but reactions are to the additives.
Thank you Chiara for letting others know this type of change does happen with diet.