Our diet contains several substances that are mildly toxic. In general, these substances are quickly eliminated from the body either by the liver or the kidneys. This is the case with tyramine.

People who take drugs from the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) class, have trouble eliminating tyramine from their systems. An excess of tyramine in blood can cause a dangerous hypertensive crisis. Thus people taking MAOIs must avoid foods with a high-tyramine content. These foods are listed in the following chart.

Foods with a High-Tyramine Content
Avocados (ripe)Herring
BananaLiver (beef/chicken)
BeerMeat extracts (e.g., Bovril, Oxo)
Blue cheeseMeat, tenderized
Brick cheeseParmesan
CamembertRed wine (homemade/Chianti)
Figs (ripe)Sausage
Fish (dried)Sherry
Fish (salted)Shrimp
Fresh sausageSour cream
GrapesSoya sauce
Gruyere (Swiss cheese)Yeast

This list is not exhaustive. People on MAOIs are advised to consult a dietician for help developing a well-balanced diet that contains varied, appetizing, and safe foods.

Be sure to tell your pharmacist and other health-care professionals that you are taking an MAOI.

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