Migraines remain mysterious. Despite all our research, we don’t really understand what causes them. For people with migraines there are typically many triggers that can lead to the development of headaches. For many people, diet is a big part of their migraine triggers, and when people have a dietary migraine trigger, a compound known as tyramine is one of the most common suspects.
Tyramine and Migraines
Tyramine is a monoamine and a neurotransmitter that seems to be involved in regulating blood pressure, among other functions. We know that people who have too much tyramine can suffer elevated blood pressure, as well as headaches.
This effect was known in antiquity, and was associated with cheese, which resulted in some unpleasant physiologic effects for some people, and in recent times the effect was rediscovered when a neurologist noticed that his wife had acute blood pressure spikes and headaches from eating cheese when she was on a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, an early type of antidepressant.
Monoamine oxidase is the enzyme that breaks down tyramine in the body. When it’s being inhibited, a person ends up with too much tyramine, causing the blood pressure spikes and headaches.
Foods High in Tyramine
Although tyramine effects are commonly known as the “cheese effect,” there are many types of food beside aged cheese that are high in tyramines. These include:
- Fermented or salted meats
- Red wine
- Soy sauce
- Broad beans
- Snow peas
Will Avoiding Tyramine Cure Migraines?
So now we come to the big question: will cutting down on tyramine eliminate your migraines? That’s complicated. If you have dietary triggers, try using the tyramine-free diet to try to cut down on or eliminate tyramine. For people with tyramine triggers, this should definitely cut down on the number of headaches and their severity.
For others . . . there will likely be no effect.
As a migraine sufferers, though, you are probably used to trying many different migraine treatments. Another treatment to try, if you haven’t already, is TMJ treatment.
By eliminating excess stimulus on the trigeminal nerve and eliminating tension headaches, TMJ treatment can make your migraines less frequent and less powerful.