Let`s start by looking at what Amines are…
Amines are naturally occurring chemicals found in many foods. They result from the breakdown of proteins or through the fermentation process, and are responsible for giving the food its flavour. The more intense the flavour, the higher the amine content, so the longer, say, a fruit ripens or a meat cures the more amines it will contain. The highest amounts can be found in aged cheeses, chocolate, wine, many alcoholic beverages, aged meats such as sausage or salami, canned or smoked fish, banana, avocado, and tomato. Amine content increases as certain fruits ripen and as meats and fish age, so those sensitive should only consume the freshest produce, meats and fish.
When you eat a food high in amines, the histamine it contains is metabolised by enzymes and bacteria to amines which are quickly absorbed in the gut and, in people who are sensitive, an allergy-type of response occurs. The end result is widening of blood vessels, tissue inflammation and swelling just as our own natural histamine creates.
Amine Intolerance or Allergy: What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of an amine allergy or amine intolerance usually depend on the amount of amine you eat you are likely to tolerate smaller amounts than larger amounts and occur when the enzymes responsible for breaking down histamine are saturated, or used up. The most common symptoms experienced by those sensitive to amines are recurrent eczema and hives, headaches or migraines, sinus trouble, mouth ulcers, fatigue (frequently feeling rundown and tired for no apparent reason), nausea, stomach pains, joint pain that is undiagnosed and digestive issues. Children can become irritable, restless and exhibit symptoms related to ADHD. Breast fed babies can exhibit colic, diaper rash, loose stools, and eczema through the milk if the mother is taking in excessive amounts of amines.
If you know that you have reactions to wines, aged cheeses or chocolate, there’s a good chance you may be reacting to other foods high in amines. Take them out of your diet completely for a few weeks and see how you feel. If you do have sensitivity to amines, you’ll want to limit the amount you eat every day, and determine what your own personal tolerance is to these highly reactive chemicals.