Low levels of the neurotransmitter (chemical messengers in the brain) dopamine characterize Parkinson’s Disease.  The enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), it initiates the metabolic breakdown of various chemicals in the body, into forms that can be assimilated or eliminated by the body.  MAO in the brain, binds to several different neurotransmitters, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  MAO breaks them down into smaller chemicals for eventual elimination from the body.

Thus MAO can decrease levels of dopamine.  Often MAO inhibitors, such as the drug deprenyl are used to block the actions of MAO, which could generate higher levels of dopamine.

The problem with using any compound in large amounts and everyday is that eventually the body can become depleted of various enzymes and other important compounds from the frequent use.  This can lead to allergies, insufficiency, and other events using deprenyl.  This can result in decreasing levels of dopamine, as deprenyl loses some effectiveness. 

Thus, you do not want to stimulate MAO.  Eventually this can lead to decreasing the effects of deprenyl.  This can result in less conservation of dopamine.

MAO also breaks down tyramine.  Tyramine is a chemical that occurs in some foods, especially in high concentration in aged cheese, nutmeg, possibly some smoked fish, and possibly some aged wine.  It is also a metabolite (end product) of PEA.  PEA is a molecule that bears close structural relationships with the following compounds; “amphetamine, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine; phenylalanine, tyrosine, and L-dopa, amino acids used by the body to make these neurotransmitters, and tyramine, a chemical that occurs in some foods and is also one of PEA’s metabolic end-products  (John Morgenthaler and Dan Joy, Better Sex Through Chemistry).”

Eating aged cheese, which can produce tyramine, and other chemicals such as those that resemble PEA, can stimulate the production of MAO enzymes.  Stimulating MAO enzymes stresses the body to conserve dopamine.  Deprenyl can protect against MAO.  There are actually two types of MAO enzymes called MAO-A and MAO-B.  MAO-B is responsible for the breakdown of dopamine.  Except at very high doses, deprenyl can selectively inhibit MAO-B.  MAO-B works primarily in the brain.  MAO-A works primarily in the digestive system, and deprenyl does not inhibit it.  Tyramine can stimulate MAO-A, which can breakdown epinephrine and norepinephrine.  Epinephrine and morepinerphine are synthesized from doprain. This may lead to less conservation of dopamine.

Tyramine and other chemicals that closely resemble PEA can displace stimulatory neurotransmitters called catecholamines  (dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine) from storage granules, “where these chemicals are stored in an essentially dormant state.  The catecholamines are then released from the neurons into the synapses- the spaces between brain cells-where they perform their stimulatory function.  The catecholamine-releasing action of tyramine, PEA, amphetamines, and other siblings of PEA might be viewed as a process similar to passengers entering and exiting a crowded elevator.  As a load of passengers (tyramine molecules) enters the elevator (a catecholamine storage site inside a brain cell), old passengers (catecholamines) must flood out into the hallway (the synapse), in order to make room for the new passengers.  In the cheese effect, too much tyramine triggers excessive catecholamine release. (Better Sex Through Chemistry).”

Eating aged cheese, in amounts that are excessive in an individual, may stimulate excessive catecholamine release.  The neurotransmitter norepinephrine controls the hormone adrenaline (epinephrine). The hormone epinephrine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine are produced from dopamine.  Thus, if epinephrine and norepinephrine are excessively stimulated by tyramine, then this may deplete dopamine levels.

In Parkinson’s Disease, methods and ideas to conserve dopamine can help a Parkinson’s sufferer.  Needing to increase doses of deprenyl to combat poor lifestyle habits such as eating tyramine producing foods and stimulating the production of MAO-A by tyramine can increase the stress of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s is a disease of accelerated aging.  Degeneration, aging, and breakdown are a cascade of events in Parkinson’s.  Declining efficiency and function characterize Parkinson’s.  Antiaging is simply any idea that decreases stress.  There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but you can neutralize as many negative effects as possible, as a method to slow down the progression of the disease.  Not eating tyramine-producing foods is one idea to help decrease the stress of Parkinson’s Disease.  Good luck.

Remember – “Aged” cheese may be culprit, not all cheese!

Tyramine List    - compiled from Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Mayo Clinic Diet Manual


            Alcoholic beverage (some, not all alcohol)

            Homemade yeast breads          

            Crackers containing cheese

        Sour cream      


            Red plums




            Aged game


            Canned meats

            Yeast extracts

            Commercial meat extracts

            Stored beef liver

            Chicken livers



            Aged cheese (including Blue, Boursault, Brick, Brie, Camemberter, Cheddar, Colby, Emmentaler, Gouda, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Romano, Roquefort, and Stilton)

            Salted dried fish (herring, cod), pickled herring

            Italian broad beans

Green bean pods

            Egg plant

            Yeast concentrates or products made with them


            Soup cubes

            Commercial gravies – anything with soy sauce, and any protein that has not been stored properly or has some degree of spoilage (i.e., all but those that have been freshly prepared).

The tyramine list was found in the book, Breathe Well, Be Well, by Robert Fried.

Note – In order for these anti-aging ideas to be successful, you must use supplements of the highest quality. Dr. Bob often said, "almost all supplement companies produce poor quality." You can consider the product page of this web site. Almost all the products met Dr. Bob’s approval. Since he passed away we have attempted to keep the same high standards.


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