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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI's) are drugs than inhibit the enzyme Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) which breaks down monoamines, and thus potentiate the effects of many tryptamines, phenethylamines, and other monoamine neurotransmitters. In medicine, MAOIs are a class of drugs indicated primarily for the treatment of depression and Parkinson's, although some are also used to treat conditions such as social anxiety.
MAOI's are found in various plant sources, among them Syrian Rue and Banisteriopsis caapi which both contain Harmal and Harmaline, which inhibits MAO-A. MAO's come in two isoforms, MAO-A and MAO-B.
MAO-A breaks down serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
MAO-B breaks down phenethylamine.
Both break down dopamine.
Syrian Rue seeds or B. Caapi are common plant sources of MAOI-A. They can be ground up and consumed.
Consumption of MAOI's stimulates the central nervous system and lifts mood.
Combination of MAOI's and psychedelic drugs can notably prolong and intensify the experience.
It has been reported that roughly 3 grams of powdered Syrian rue seeds is enough for full MAOI-A inhibition, which in turn doubles the length of a psylocybin mushroom trip.
There are two major conditions that can arise during the use of MAOIs, namely a hypertensive crisis and serotonin syndrome.
In humans, MAO enzymes are found both centrally (i.e. in the brain) and peripherally (e.g. in the liver and intestines). It's the inhibition of central MAO that produces both clinical effects and potentiation of recreational drugs, but orally administered MAOIs inhibit peripheral MAO as well. Peripheral MAO breaks down monoamines, such as tyramine, contained in ingested food. In doing so, it protects the body from health risks posed by the consumption of spoiled food, which often times has a particularly high tyramine content. The consequence of inhibition of peripheral MAO is that monoamines in food are broken down at a much slower pace, resulting in higher monoamine concentrations in the body. High concentrations of tyramine in the body produce a so-called 'tyramine pressor response', referring to a significant rise in blood pressure. By inhibiting monoamine degradation, MAOIs significantly lower the amount of ingested tyramine necessary to produce a rise in blood pressure and therefore lowers the threshold for a hypertensive crisis. Thus, when taking an MAOI, one has to be careful to avoid eating tyramine-rich foods (see MAOI Diet below). Consequences of a severe hypertensive crisis can be irreversible organ damage and death.
The inhibition of central MAO enzymes raises the concentrations of monoamines, including serotonin, in the brain, and more specifically, in the synaptic cleft. When combined with serotonin precursors or other serotonergic agents (see Drugs to Avoid below), an overstimulation of serotonin receptors, called serotonin syndrome, can occur. This, too, is a serious and potentially fatal condition.
h="2"]Drugs to Avoid[/h]
Really important - Never mix MAOI's with other drugs for depression such as 5htp, st johns wort, SSRI's, SNRI's etc. on cause death.
Talk to your doctor about these drugs if taking them:
FOODS TO AVOID
Alcoholic beverages Avoid Chianti wine and vermouth.The foods to use with caution list categorizes foods that have been reported to cause a hypertensive crisis if foods were consumed in large quantities, stored for prolong periods, or if contamination occurred. Small servings (½ cup, or less than 120 mL) of the following foods are not expected to pose a risk for patients on MAOI therapy (McCabe, 1986).
FOODS TO USE WITH CAUTION
(½ cup or less than 120 mL)
Alcoholic beverages - see Foods to Avoid.More than 200 foods contain tyramine in small quantities and have been implicated in reactions with MAOI therapy, however the majority of the previous reactions were due to the consumption of spoiled food. Evidence does not support the restriction of the following foods listed if the food is fresh (McCabe, 1986).
FOODS WITH INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR RESTRICTION (McCabe, 1986)
The combination of MAOI-A's and tryptophan can cause Serotonin Syndrome, or Serotonin Toxicity which is a life-threatening adverse drug reaction. Mild symptoms may only consist of increased heart rate, shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, myoclonus (intermittent tremor or twitching), as well as over-responsive reflexes. Moderate intoxication includes additional abnormalities such as hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure and hyperthermia; a temperature as high as 40 °C (104 °F) is common in moderate intoxication.
1. Erowid MAOI Vault, accessed April 29 2009: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/maois/
2. Wikipedia MAOI article, accessed April 29 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoami...dase_inhibitor
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