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MAOI diets - and 'free' verses bound tyramine

Posted by paulk on May 27, 2001, at 22:35:11

There is an FAQ about MAOI diet restrictions centering on restricting tyramine, an amino acid. I have looked up the tyramine content of the restricted foods and don’t see a good correlation between tyramine content and the restricted food list. There are many items, which contain little tyramine on the list and some foods that contain lots of tyramine that are not on the list?

For example, according to the book “Food Values of portions commonly used” (by Pennington Harper & Row), 3.5oz of ground lean beef contains 747mg of tyramine while 1 oz of cheddar cheese contains 341mg of tyramine. Thus a Cheeseburger with Cheddar cheese on it may deliver twice as much tyramine from the meat as from the cheese.
I thought perhaps it was combinations of more than one Amino acid – but I have yet to see any pattern.
I’m guessing that it must be the amount of ‘free’ tyramine, that is tyramine that is not bound up as part of a protein, which counts? This would explain why ‘spoiled’ meat would pose a danger and fresh cooked meat would be safe? Some meat tenderizers actually digest some of the protein and could be of danger??

Can anyone provide a source of information that would list free Amino acids contained in foods? There must be some better/ more complete information of this subject somewhere – I would appreciate anyone who could help point me to it.

I do know that tyramine is a precursor to dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine and that large amounts of the ingested amino acid can change the amounts of these nuro transmitters – although there is an interaction with insulin and carbohydrates. (See Scientific American May of 1982 – an article by Richard Wurtman of MIT)

I know that if I feel down, I also crave cheddar cheese. If the reason is that cheddar cheese is a source of ‘free’ tyramine (as opposed to bound tyramine) it could well mean that an MAOI may well be the best choice of medicine for my depression (atypical – life long etc.) (BTW it seems that especially Sharp Cheddar cheese is the best for me - other cheeses (mozzarella, American etc) don't do it)




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