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.

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?

Amines can act directly on small blood vessels to expand their capacity. This may be why they can trigger flushing, migraines and nasal congestion in some people.

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.

Some people are genetically predisposed to amine intolerance e.g. AOC1 (DOA) gene, MAO gene, other.

A person sensitive to amines may react to certain high amine foods such as pineapples, over ripe bananas, baked meat, vegetables, red wine, wood-matured white wine, avocados, chocolate, citrus fruits and mature cheese.

Common symptoms of amine sensitivity

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

  • Migraines and headaches
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Inability to focus (memory and concentration issues)
  • Hangover type feeling
  • Stomach aches
  • Constipation
  • 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 in amines. Symptoms will disappear or reduce if amines are a causative factor.

If you have Amine Sensitivity you may also have glutamate and salicylate sensitivity. To find out it is necessary to do a low chemical (Salicylate, amine and Glutamate) Food Intolerance Elimination Diet like the one developed by the RPAH Allergy Unit.

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