Saturday, February 20, 2010

Eat Fresh: Tyramine and Depression

The LDS Church has a strict law of health. While many people, LDS included, are familiar with the "dont's" of the Word of Wisdom, we are less familiar with "do's". One in particular instructs us to eat fruits and herbs "in their season."

D&C 89 10-11 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man— Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

This is a very interesting commandment to eat fresh. In many cases fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in other counties and shipped to the US, while those in that country go without. Also, because of processing, we eat dried and preserved foods and meats that science is just now learning the health effects.

One particular side-effect of processing and preserving food, is the production of tyramine. This substance is found in significant levels in Wine, Chocolate, Aged Cheese, Soy Sauce, Tofu, and Processed Meats (Vienna Sausage, Sausage, Bacon, Pastrami, SPAM, Bologna, Cold Cuts, Pepperoni, Corned Beef, Hot Dogs etc). Tyramine is a bio-active substance that releases Norepinephrine, Serotonin, and Dopamine in the Brain resulting in high blood pressure, migraines, and depression.

If you think about it, tyramine-containing foods are the usual ingredients in what we call "comfort foods". While we may say this in jest, science now knows there is physiologic support for this. These foods really do make you feel better. The problem is that because there is so much tyramine in so much of the US diet, we are seretonin, norephinephrine and dopamine deficient the rest of the time. No wonder that there are so many who suffer from obesity and emotional eating. And no wonder that there is so much depression in America. In fact, all the anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics work exactly by raising the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It seems the American diet is leaving many 0f us chronically deficient in these "feel-good" neurotransmitters.

SSRI-Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors: Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft increase Serotonin.
NE,SRI-Effexor, Cymbalta: increases Norepinephrine, and Serotonin.
Antipsychotics- Haldol, Abilify, Zyprexa, Risperdol, Seroquel affect dopamine.

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