amines

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amines Formed by the decarboxylation of amino acids. Three are potentially important in foods: phenylethylamine (formed from phenylalanine), tyramine (from tyrosine), and tryptamine (from tryptophan). They are found in ripened cheese, chocolate, yeast, wines, and fermented foods. They all stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and can cause increased blood pressure. In sensitive people they are one of the possible dietary causes of migraine.

Amines from foods are normally inactivated by the enzyme monoamine oxidase in the liver, but some drugs used as antidepressant medication (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) inhibit the enzyme; patients receiving such drugs must avoid foods that contain relatively large amounts of amines.