Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
There is one normal microbial product that can cause discomfort to some people. In a strongly ripened cheese, the casein proteins are broken down to amino acids, and the amino acids can be broken down into amines, small molecules that can serve as chemical signals in the human body. Histamine and tyramine are found in large quantities in Cheddar, blue, Swiss, and Dutch-style cheeses, and can cause a rise in blood pressure, headaches, and rashes in people who are especially sensitive to them.