Low Amine Diet

If you experience ongoing migraines, sleeplessness and symptoms difficult to explain, it may be worth trying a low amine diet, to see if amines are contributing to your symptoms.

Amine foods may for some people trigger Migraines and Sleepless Episodes due to their close chemical makeup to the brain’s neurotransmitters. For instance, dietary Tyramine when not neutralised may act as a pseudo-neurotransmitter on adrenaline receptors disrupting normal brain function. In this way dietary amines can have a significant impact on the symptoms of susceptible people. Amines need also be restricted if you are consuming the anti-Depressant drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhihitors (check with your chemist)

The following foods may be high in amines. Unfortunately there is often considerable variance in the amine content of a single food depending upon the time it is picked, product manufacturing processes and other factors making amine intolerance management complicated.

If you suffer from Migraines or Sleeplessness a low amine diet may be worth trialling for 3-4 weeks followed by a structured re-introduction in order to establish if amine intolerance is relevant. Where amine intolerane is identified it may be worth trialling if this is general or specific to a subset of amine foods, however note that variations in the age of foods may effect their individual qualities (e.g ripe versus early banana).

High Amine foods include (highest amines in bold):


  • Red Wine, Beer, All Spirits except Gin, Vodka and Whisky
  • Coffee, Tea, Caffeinated Drinks
  • All Fruit Juices


  • Hot Dog, Sausage, Ham, Bratwurst, Salami, Corned Beef, Bacon, Smoked Meats, Pastramia, Liverwurst, Bacon, Organ Meats
  • Eggs
  • Chicken Liver
  • Sardines, Herring, Anchovies


  • Fava and Broad Beans
  • Yeasted Breads
  • Corn and Wheat Products
  • Citrus Fruit, Figs, Raisins, Bananas
  • Ripe Avocadoes


  • Nuts, particularly if aged


  • All Non-Soft Cheeses
  • Yoghurt, Sour Cream
  • Chocolate


  • Peanut Butter
  • Sauerkraut, Pickled Foods, Olives


  • Soy Sauce, Vegemite, Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, Bonox, Meat Extract
  • Aspartame, MSG, Gelatin
  • Prepared Frozen Foods
  • Left overs  >24hours

(source of the above information: www.integrativemedicine.com.au)

Amines particularly histamines may also lead to amplified pain and a range of unpleasant symptoms beyond migraines and headaches particularly in people who have mastocytosis or a mast cell activation disorder (MCAD).  People these disorders are told to eat a low histamine diet, however, some research indicates that a low salicylate, amine and glutamate diet like the RPAH Allergy Unit Friendly Food Diet for pharmacological food intolerance may be best.


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