My Story 4: Amines… Now What?

Now that I know that my problem is with amines and have learned how to cook amine-friendly meals, what do I do now?

After starting this blog, I have been working to make connections with others with amine problems, health, allergy, and food intolerance websites, and am working to raise awareness of amines.

Additionally, I realize I have some learning to do. There are so many different kinds of amines (salicylic acid, tyramine, histamine… did you know that even chlorine is an amine?), and from what I understand, I drew a short stick. I’m allergic to them all. But for the sake of clarification for my readers, I’d like to find out the differences between them all.

If you know of good online amine resources (for some reason, it seems the majority of amine resources I find are in Australia. Anyone know why there is an Australia / Amine connection?), please leave them in the comments below. I am hoping to expand my own site as my knowledge of amines grows.

Good luck to you on your low amine adventures. You’ve heard my story with amines… If you have a story or recipe to share, I’d love to hear it, too.

Your Low Amine Blogger,

Michelle F.


<<Low Amines Recipes home…>>

Published on August 18, 2011 at 10:01 am  Comments (22)  

22 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello, Michelle,

    I’m very happy to have discovered you and your blog! I made the connection through your recent comment on another blog that I follow, Diary of A Reluctant Allergy Sufferer. I can’t wait to read your recipes!

    Until then, I’d love to ask you about the different kinds of amines…I have an allergy/intolerance to salicylates and amines — and I thought that these were different food chemicals, not the same. Would you tell me more about salicylates being part of the amines group?

    Here are some websites I use/have used:
    (disclaimer: I find some of the information in the Food Can Make You Ill newsletter to be extreme, so I pick and choose what I use)

    I, too, have noticed the strong connection between Australia and salicylate/amine resources. Wish I could move there, or at least be treated at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital!!

    Thank you for writing this blog!

    Alison C.

    • I’ve looked through many of these sites, and will probably end up digging through them again to mine for more information. Thank you so much for sharing them!

      As of right now, I cannot answer your question. I don’t have a science background, and most everything I’ve found describing the differences is in terms of literal chemistry of salicylic acid and amines. I will, however, pass this question along to Heidi Turner, my fabulous, wonderful nutritionist who figured out this amine allergy connection for me, and see if she is able to give you a better answer than me.

      If you end up finding an answer before I do, please let me know! I’m on a war path to learn everything I can about amines, tyramines, salicylic acid… all the chemicals that are or might be trying to kill me (and you, it sounds like).

      I do so wish some Aussies would solve the Aussie/Amine mystery connection. Or at least invite me down so I could get checked out by their knowledgeable doctors!

      - Michelle Ferris

  2. Michelle, I have to follow a low-amine diet too, and I completely understand how hard it can be when you’re a foodie! It’s seems like you’re doing an awesome job though, and I love that your site is dedicated to low-amine recipes. Some of the recipes on my blog are low-amine, but not all, and yours is the only one I’ve found so far completely dedicated to low-amine recipes. Thanks so much!

    • Iris,

      Thank you so much. Your comment meant lot to me. I am trying hard to get this blog whipped into shape as a useful, working tool for people with amine allergies or an amine intolerance, and when I hear feedback like that it makes all the work I’m putting into this low amine blog that much more worth it. Thank you. <3

  3. Hi Michelle,
    Your site is very interesting. My son has bad amine allergies. I ahve read alot of your comments and was wonderingif you have heard of anyonewith facial swellings due to amine allergies.

    • I have not, however I know that amine allergies cause such a wide variety of different symptoms that I really wouldn’t be surprised. I’m sorry to hear about your son’s allergies. Amine allergies certainly aren’t any fun, but I hope my blog helps make them a little more liveable.

  4. We are lucky enough in Australia to have two amazing women who have both contributed in a huge way to food intolerance research. They are:

    Sue Dengate:

    Anne Swain at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Sydney)

    Both websites have great information on doing an Elimination Diet yourself to help detect what you might be reacting to.

    • Thank you so much for passing this along. I have seen both sites, but a second recommendation is always a good thing. I will go check them out again. Much appreciated!

  5. Hi,
    I found your blog looking for tomato substitutes for my dad. He has carcinoid cancer, and one of the dietary recommendations for his condition is to avoid foods high in amines.
    You might look for websites relating to carcinoids for more recommendations.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for the tip! I certainly will!

  6. hi, about the curried chicken recipe; both curry and lime are VERY HIGH IN AMINES.
    i have a book; the elimination diet handbook, available through the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

    • Indeed, I have the same book. And you are correct about the lime – my mistake. I’m in the process of doing more research so that I can make changes to my lists and recipes. I have three different books (and two other sources) that all seem to disagree with each other. Very confounding stuff.

      Also confounding – Which is high in amines? Curry leaves, curry powder (which is made up of all low-amine spices), curry paste (which is typically chilies and spices), or curry (as in foods cooked with the process or currying, or with typical “curry” base ingredients, such as coconut or tomato? Absolutely stumped.

  7. Hey Michelle,
    Thanks for the awesome recipe!
    re ‘The Australia Connection’..
    There is a possibly related parallel.
    Following geographic studies of ADHD, which interestingly enough locate a majority of The World’s population of ADHD folks to reside in.. you guessed it Australia, USA, and England.
    What’s the Link?
    I am leaning towards Penal transportation. Apparently those of our ancestors who ‘don’t make good citizens’, had a higher chance of being shipped of to America and the penal colony of Australia.

    Apparently the 800 lb gorillia links sensitivity to amines, phenols, and salcylates to management of ADHD and Autism symptoms.

    • Oh, how interesting! Thanks for the neat feedback. I learn something new every day!

      So perhaps these characteristics of “bad citizens” (ADD, ADHD, etc. causing behavioral problems, no doubt) were genetically reinforced by breeding through the generations. How weird!

    • I’d say the number of people with convict ancestors in australia is really quite low. A more likely explanation of our food intolerances is that a very large part of our population originated in Ireland and other parts of north west Europe ( hence our genetic inheritance of crappy enzyme production to metabolise amines and salicylates) combined with a newly diverse diet featuring lots of plants we never were exposed to before (chillies, tomato concentrates, all the spices of indonesia etc etc etc).

      As for why we have good science about this problem… It is one of the magnificent side effects of socialized medicine. Ironically, the RPAH allergy unit has been privatized recently… Their answering machine says they’re not taking any new patients. Quite disappointing!

      By the way, Michelle, I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m delighted. I really admire your efforts and I’m so glad you’re sharing them online. I’m intolerant to amines, although my dietician friend (who incidentally works at RPAH, although in the ICU) tells me I’m fine with most amines since all proteins are technically amines. What I can’t handle are the “free” amines, that get unbound through heat or other processes (I can’t explain this in greater detail yet… More study in chemistry required!). This would be quite different to you, where you have an allergic reaction. I just can’t break free amines down fast enough to stop some of them getting up into my brain and messing with my serotonin and adrenalin levels. I’m usually a happy optimistic person, but if I get I high enough dose of free amines I become very angry and pessimistic. In the worst case I begin to proactively plan my own death! So low amine diet for me!

      Great blog. Thanks again,


  8. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for your blog! I’m a long-time vegan and have recently been forced to go gluten-free after a horrible infection seems to have left me highly sensitive (of course, the gastro specialist found nothing wrong with me). I’ve had some passing familiarity with amines, being a health nut, but I had been under the impression that this was only an issue for people on MAOIs. Being a bit of a health nut (due to several chronic conditions, including IBS and FM), I researched this amine issue and immediately drew a connection between my many autoimmune-based symptoms and my high histamine intake (and possibly other amines; I’m not sure). In fact, one of the better resources I found was on a website dealing with “chronic urticaria”, i.e, persistent hives. For this, they recommend a low-histamine diet.

    I’ve known for some time that eating processed food and restaurant food tends to give me a lot of problems, but so does food that I prepare at home, at times. The only “safe and certain” approach was to eat only bland grains, vegetables, and protein supplements… whenever I started cooking anything fancier, I’d get seemingly-random flare-ups. I couldn’t figure out the common thread. Your blog has been incredibly helpful. From your spreadsheet, I immediately noticed that the foods I use most as flavor enhancers were almost entirely on the “red” list: soy sauce, wine, seaweed, canned tomato products, vinegar, citrus juice, nut butters, miso. I even have this obscure granulated mushroom seasoning that I love… what can I say? I’m a foodie. I love to cook. I make huge batches of intensely seasoned, high-protein food and freeze them. Oops. And I’m vegan, so apparently, I eat a truckload of amines when I’m not on my super-bland “detox” that I do whenever the pain gets too great. I was at that point this week.

    As someone who used to be on anti-histamines every day (until side effects made me stop), the histamine connection makes perfect sense. I’m crossing my fingers that going off all that soy sauce, spinach, mushrooms, and everything else that makes the “no” list will start to heal my overactive immune system. This is a scary step, because so many things that I love aren’t allowed… but if I eventually stop ever needing a walking stick, it will be worth it. Thank you again… this information is incredibly valuable.


    PS: I think we used to be neighbors; I graduated from the UW in 2010, but now I’m on the other side of the mountains. My guy and I are still in Seattle a lot of weekends, though. Small world!

    • Whoa! Quite a story there! Glad to hear that my blog has been helpful to you in narrowing down the options for what was causing havoc in your life!

      We used to be neighbors? Well shucks. Isn’t that something? Ha!

      Would love to be of help any other way I can. Just let me know. Feel free to email me as well at

      Love and Light!

  9. Hello, I’ve just found your site and want to thank you for putting it together! I’ve been veggie for years but knew that cheese always upset me, didn’t think anymore of it until my child starting seeming to have food problems, and I made the connection to it possibly being amines, he wasnt having cheese, but processed meats, which having not eaten meat in all that time I wouldn’t have known if I was sensitive to. Anyway I wanted to mention that (you may know this) some people have a low expression of the Mono Amine Oxidase gene which I think means they don’t filter out all the amines.
    But my theory about why so many of the sites about food allergies come from Australia is two fold, they have a relatively small initial gene pool, so if there were a few with genetic susceptibility it might make the situation more condensed, and also that the Maoris nearby have a genetic tendency to have the a missing element of the MAO gene
    Thanks again for your receipes!

    • Thanks for this info! Here’s to hoping it answers questions for some of us out there. :)

  10. Wait…. You say, “Additionally, I realize I have some learning to do. There are so many different kinds of amines (salicylic acid, tyramine, histamine… did you know that even chlorine is an amine?), and from what I understand, I drew a short stick. I’m allergic to them all.”

    But many other place on the site you say your recipes are not low in sals as you don’t have that problem? I’m just learning about all of this so now I’m confused, please help.

  11. Found this searching for ideas for stepson who is amine intolerant. Australia has RPAH – hospital elimination diet, but for anyone searching for information Sue & Howard Dengate are pioneers in this field. Food intolerances are a nightmare. If you are having issues a good place for help is the Sue Dengate Failsafe Group on Facebook. Its an entire community with food intolerance/allergy experience – join!

    • Thanks for the tip!

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