Tyramine and Migraines

How does tyramine cause migraine headaches?

Tyramine belongs to a group of nitrogen-containing chemicals that can indirectly or directly impact the caliber of blood vessels thereby influencing blood pressure and the function of various organ systems. The effects of tyramine on the body are the same as that of adrenaline and other related nitrogen-containing, physiologically active compounds.

After ingesting foods that has high tyramine content, the migraine sufferer may experience a typical migraine attack within a few short hours. There are still a lot of confusions and conflicting data regarding the importance of tyramine as a migraine headache trigger however it is still strongly believed that tyramine is a potent trigger in selected individuals particularly if it is consumed in large amounts.

Foodstuffs that contains large amounts of tyramine would include:

  • Aged cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and Roquefort
  • Many processed meats including bologna and salami
  • Sauerkraut
  • Some beverages such as beer and various wines
  • Onions
  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Sourdough
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and raisins
  • Figs

Migraine sufferers should also be aware that there are many other types of foods that have low levels of tyramine until spoilage.  Fish and liver that are not stored properly and overripe bananas can accumulate high amounts of tyramine over a fairly short period of time.

Since there are still some doubts as to the actual prevalence of tyramine-sensitive migraineurs, it is still highly recommended that patients should avoid large amounts of tyramine by eliminating of these foodstuffs.