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How did scientists find the link between tyramine and headaches?

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Experts have long known that tyramine can be harmful to people's health in some cases. Discoveries they made since the 1950s help explain how this ingredient can trigger migraine pain. Because of its chemical structure, tyramine is called a monoamine. An enzyme in our bodies that breaks down monoamines is called monoamine oxidase (MAO). The enzyme helps process tyramine. In the 1950s, anti-depression drugs that inhibit MAO went on the market. These drugs, which are still used today, are called monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Soon after these drugs became available, some people began developing problems when they ate foods containing tyramine while they were taking these drugs. They had headaches as well as high blood pressure. People taking these drugs can't break down tyramine properly. As a result, tyramine can get into the bloodstream and raise blood pressure. That's why people taking these drugs are supposed to limit the foods they eat that contain tyramine. In the late 1960s, researchers began suspecting that tyramine could also play a role in migraines. One researcher noted that some people with migraines who also had a deficiency of MAO had headaches after they ate foods containing tyramine.

From: Tyramine and Migraines WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Sun-Edelstein, C. June 2009; vol 25: pp 446-452. Clinical Journal of Pain,

Rumore, M. June 2010; vol 25: pp 265-269. Nutrition in Clinical Practice,

Walker, S. October 1996; vol 16: pp 383-388. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology,

D'Andrea, G. , August 2006; vol 26: pp. 968-972. Cephalalgia

Andress-Rothrock, D. September 2010; vol 50: pp 1366-1370. Headache,

Hauge, A. March 2011; vol 31: pp 416-438. Cephalalgia,

McCabe-Sellers, B. August2006; vol 19: pp S58-S65. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis,

National Headache Foundation: "Keeping a Headache Diary Can Help Your Doctor Help You."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 18, 2018

SOURCES:

Sun-Edelstein, C. June 2009; vol 25: pp 446-452. Clinical Journal of Pain,

Rumore, M. June 2010; vol 25: pp 265-269. Nutrition in Clinical Practice,

Walker, S. October 1996; vol 16: pp 383-388. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology,

D'Andrea, G. , August 2006; vol 26: pp. 968-972. Cephalalgia

Andress-Rothrock, D. September 2010; vol 50: pp 1366-1370. Headache,

Hauge, A. March 2011; vol 31: pp 416-438. Cephalalgia,

McCabe-Sellers, B. August2006; vol 19: pp S58-S65. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis,

National Headache Foundation: "Keeping a Headache Diary Can Help Your Doctor Help You."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 18, 2018

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What foods contain tyramine?

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