Most people consume foods containing tyramine without side effects, although this enzyme increases the risk of developing headaches and blood pressure in individuals taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors; these medications typically include anti-depressants, according to WebMD. Tyramine occurs naturally as an enzyme in several foods, including aged cheese, cured meat, smoked fish and some beers. Along with posing some health risks to people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tyramine consumption worsens and even triggers migraines in those susceptible to migraines.
Tyramine classifies as an enzyme, specifically a monoamine. Normally, human bodies break down tyramine and other monoamines through another enzyme, called monoamine oxidase. The use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors impairs the body's abilities to break down tyramine, in turn leading to bioaccumulation. The buildup of tyramine raises blood pressure, as the enzyme enters the bloodstream and does not leave.
People taking those medications should reduce the amount of tyramine-containing foods in their diets; doing so keeps blood pressure from rising to high levels, as reported by WebMD. Some people naturally produce low levels of monoamine oxidase enzymes; experts recommend those individuals reduce consumption of tyramine-rich foods as well. In addition to meats and cheeses, tyramine levels may rise in foods with high levels of protein if those foods are not sufficiently chilled or remain in storage for long periods of time.