Low-Tyramine Diet

Also indexed as:Migraines and Diet, Tyramine-Free Diet
master.k.m.us.TyramineFreeDiet Diet & Fitness

The Basics

A low-tyramine diet is prescribed for people who are sensitive to tyramine, such as migraine sufferers, or those taking prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants, such as phenelzine (Nardil). Tyramine is a natural substance formed from the breakdown of protein as food ages. It is found in aged, fermented, or spoiled foods.

  • Generally speaking, the longer a high-protein food—such as cheese or meat—ages, the greater the potential tyramine content.
  • Aged cheeses, spoiled meats, some aged and cured meats, Marmite yeast extract, sauerkraut, fermented soybean products (such as soy sauce and miso), broad (fava) bean pods, and draft (tap) beer have the highest levels of tyramine.
  • Learn the foods that are highest in tyramine and find foods that are safer substitutes for you so you don’t feel deprived of your favorite foods.
  • Remember, even foods with small amounts of tyramine can build up if you eat a lot of them at one meal.

Best bets: Fresh cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese, fresh or frozen meats, and most vegetables and fruits, except those on the “avoid these” list below. Don’t let your food, especially protein-containing foods, sit for many days in the refrigerator, as the tyramine content will rise over time.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.