Amine Sensitivity

What are Amines?

Amines are organic compounds that are formed within foods due to the breakdown of proteins.  Proteins are naturally broken down in foods as they age and the cooking, processing and maturing processes all increased amine content.  Amines also increase in content as fruits ripen such as in avocado and bananas.

Where are Amines most commonly found?

There are a variety of different types of amines, both found in foods and also in substances created by our body.  These include;

  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Adrenaline
  • Histamine (eg. wine)
  • Tyramine (eg. Cheese)
  • Phenylethylamine (eg. Chocolate)

The highest amine foods are usually your processed meats, organs, fermented foods, soy sauce and cheeses.  Browning, grilling, charring and overcooking will all increase amine levels.

What is amine sensitivity?

Amine sensitivity is the inability for the body to process an excessive amount of amines at a given time.  The amount of amines a person can handle at any period varies between individuals and there can be a cumulative effect in the body.  A person sensitive to amines may react to certain high amine foods such as cheeses and processed meats.  Those with a defective MAO snp can cause the breakdown of amines to be slowed, increasing the potential for amines to build up in the body causing negative reactions.

Common symptoms of amine sensitivity

Symptoms vary between individuals as can the severity of the reactions.  Amine sensitivity may show itself at any time throughout a person’s life.  Common symptomatic reactions include

·         Migraines and headaches·         Eczema
·         Behavioural problems in children·         Inability to focus
·         Aggressive children·         Hangover type feeling
·         Bet wetting in children·         Stomach aches
·         High blood pressure·         Constipation
·         Depression·         Rhinitis

If you are suffering from some of the above symptoms and feel you may have an amine sensitivity, the best way to assess the situation is a trial for two weeks avoiding foods containing very high and high levels of amines from the list provided.  Symptoms will disappear or greatly reduce if amines are a causative factor.  You could also try the Amine Challenge, increasing amine foods for 3-5 days and see if your symptoms get much worse.  Eg. Eat 2-3 large ripe bananas, cocoa powder and milk, canned sardines, dark chocolate daily and assess your symptoms, you may react after one day or it may take a few days for strong reactions if you are amine sensitive

Amine Content of Common Foods

FRUIT
NegligibleLowModerateHighVery High
AppleBlackcurrantDatesAvocadoMandarin
ApricotGrapefruitKiwifruitBananaPineapple
PeachHoneydewLimeCoconutPlum
PearRockmelonOrangeFigRaspberry
StrawberryPassionfruitGrapes
CherryPawpawLemon

 

VEGETABLES
NegligibleLowModerateHighVery High
AsparagusLettuceBroccoliEggplantSauerkraut
CabbageOnionCauliflowerMushroomSpinach
CarrotPotatoOlivesTomato
CelerySoy BeansPickles
CornTurnip
CucumberZucchini

 

MEAT, CHICKEN, FISH, EGGS
NegligibleLowModerateHighVery High
EggsCanned salmonAged MeatsAnchoviesOrgan meats
Beef (<2days old)Chicken liverBaconBeef liverPate
Fish-whiteBeef, chicken, lamb > 2 days oldCanned sardinesCanned tunaSalami
Lamb(<2days old)Frozen fishFish – smokedSausages
TurkeyFrozen meatGravy with meat juicePickled meatsSmoked meats
Veal (<2days old)Fresh TunaHam / PorkMeat pies

 

DAIRY and SOY PRODUCTS
NegligibleLowModerateHighVery High
Cottage cheeseJaalsberg cheeseMild CheeseBlue cheeseMozzarella
Ricotta CheeseBrie cheeseParmesan
Soy MilkCamembertSoy Sauce
TofuEdamSwiss
YoghurtLeicesterMiso

 

BEVERAGES
NegligibleModerateHighVery High
CoffeeTeaAleBeerChoc & cola flavoured drinks
GinVodkaChampagnePortCocoa / Drinking chocloate
LemonadeWhiskeySakeWine – red & whiteOrange juices
MilkStoutVinegarVegetable juices

 

SWEETS and NUTS
NegligibleLowModerateHighVery High
CarobCaramelBrazil NutCocoaDark Chocolate
Golden syrupAlmondsSesame seedsMilk ChocolateBlack Walnut
Maple syrupCashewsSunflower SeedsWhite Chocolate
SugarPistachioPeanuts