I am taking Nardil for depression understand I can’t eat aged foods.

I’m currently taking Nardil for depression. I understand that I can’t eat any aged foods. The question I have is about the “real processed cheese food” available. I realize that this isn’t real cheese, so I was wondering if this would be ok to eat. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated as the doctor and pharmacist were unable to come up with the answer.

You can’t eat real processed cheese food (cheese spread or cheese food) because it contains some Colby and cheddar cheese along with additional milk fat. Cheese food is not a real cheese because it doesn’t contain enough milk to be labeled real cheese, but none the less contains some aged cheeses.

A key to understanding why you can’t have any aged foods begins with understanding why your food choices are restricted when you are taking Nardil. This drug is a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibiting (MAOI) drug. MAOs are enzymes in the intestinal lining (mucosa) and in the liver that detoxify certain amines. If these ‘pressor’ amines (tyramine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) are not detoxified, they can be harmful to one’s health.

Therefore a person taking an MAOI, like yourself, becomes vulnerable to any foods, drinks or other drugs which naturally contain these ‘pressor’ amines. When you eat a food containing these substances, the toxic levels amines are then not detoxified, causing your blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction), which can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) problems.

The following table should help you make wise food choices in the future. This diet should begin when the drug is begun and continue for at least two weeks after the drug is stopped.

    Foods to Avoid:

  • beer, red wines
  • cheese: aged and processed except cottage, ricotta cream or pot cheese
  • smoked or pickled fish
  • liver or aged meat
  • sausage, dry, pepperoni, summer or hard salami
  • yogurt or sour cream close to the expiration date
  • Chinese pea pods, Italian green beans, fava beans
  • ALL over-ripe fruits, avocado in large amounts
  • soups made with meat extracts
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • soy sauce in large amounts


I hope this is helpful to you.