Biogenic Amines – what are they?
Naturally occurring chemicals are a food’s natural defense system and preservative. They assist in protecting the food while it grows and ripens. Biogenic amines, like salicylates, are naturally occurring in food and the degree to which these natural chemicals are contained in each food can vary greatly. Many people become aware of a possible salicylate reaction but do not consider that they may have also had a food reaction to amines.
MSG (Mono-sodium Glutamate) is also naturally present in many foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms and silverbeet for example, although it is also used as a flavor enhancer in food production. MSG is a nasty food additive you should definitely avoid as a flavor enhancer. For those suffering from food intolerance symptoms, MSG should be avoided in all cases until you can sort out your food problems.
Amines are formed from of a chemical reaction with amino acids. To put it another way, Amines are formed as a result of a breakdown of proteins or fermentation. You can learn more about a chemical reaction perspective by clicking on this link or looking at a book such as: Biogenic Amines in Food. Or, if you would like some general information on a possible food reaction to amines and food intolerance symptoms then you can follow this link to a book by well known author Sue Dengate.
Understanding Biogenic Amines in Food
Unlike salicylates; where the natural chemical content decreases as fruit ripens, the natural chemical content of amines increases as a food matures. So for example, as a banana ripens, the amine content increases. As meat ages, the amine content also increases, making it more likely that you will have a food reaction to amines if you suffer from food intolerance symptoms linked to amines. Where salicylates are present, in cantaloupe for example, the naturally occurring chemical content decreases with ripening.
How Many Types of Amines Are There?
Amines serve different purposes. For the sake of this article, we are only really concerned with amines from the perspective of a food reaction to amines. For this purpose, the following information is based on biogenic amines.
There is more than one type of biogenic amine and in most cases, if you suffer from a food reaction to amines, you will be tested against biogenic amines as a whole group, rather than individually. Biogenic amines are contained in both animal and plant foods so it is possible that you can have a food reaction to amines in either of these groups. Thus, if you have a food reaction to amines, it is no good just avoiding fruits and vegetables that contain biogenic amines and still eating aged meat, for example.
The triggers for those who may have a food reaction to amines are Tyramine from the amino acid tyrosine, phenylethylamine from the amino acid phenylalanine and tryptamine from the amino acid tryptophan.
Foods That Contain Biogenic Amines
There are certain foods you will need to consider when looking to see if you have a food reaction to amines. A book that is internationally known and that we used in our house called Friendly Food, shows a chart indicating amine levels in certain foods. For example, it will list cocoa in a column for foods that are very high in amines. On the same chart, you can look at the “moderate” column for amines and see that foods such as banana, malt vinegar and pawpaw are listed, to name a few. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to conduct a food elimination diet and find out if you have a food reaction to amines.
Common foods that can cause a food reaction to amines are red wine, aged cheese and chocolate however, do not discount other foods if you do have a food reaction to amines. As mentioned earlier, cocoa is very high in amines.
Food Reaction to Amines – Where to Next?
In this article we have shared an overview of amines. I recommend you look at purchasing the following books to guide you in finding out if food amines are a problem for you or any other naturally occurring chemicals in food. Food intolerance symptoms can be just as debilitating as food allergies but you can overcome your food problems. This is possible once you have identified where your food problems are then using the correct foods to heal your body.
3. Fed Up
You can read on with Part Two of this article Food Reaction To Amines.Your News On Food brought to you by Eileen Baudinette Food and Health Commentator. © Copyright 2011-2013 www.thenewsonfood.com ———————–
I’m no medical expert and information contained on this blog is written through my own experience with the aim of furthering your education on health. It is your responsibility as to how you use this information and I cannot be held liable for any misinterpretation or misuse of the information provided.
Food Reaction to Amines - Part One by Eileen