Intolerance Lab

Migraines, are yours caused by undiagnosed food intolerances?

If you are a migraine sufferer, you are not alone. Worldwide, migraines affect many millions of people, impacting on their ability to do everyday things with ease. Today we are taking a look at how a migraine works, what triggers them, what foods can be causative, and how food intolerances could be related to many migraine sufferers. We also take a look at what you can do to help prevent Migraines in the future. First up, let’s look at how a Migraines differs from a headache, and what’s really going on when a Migraines attack occurs.

Migraine 101

If you are not a migraine sufferer, you most probably know someone who is. Let’s dive into an explanation of what occurs when someone suffers a migraine. To begin, it’s essential to know that a simple headache, even if it is quite bad, is nothing like a migraine. This is because migraines come with other symptoms as well. The pain also needs to be severe to be classified as migraine. Migraines occur in two categories, those that have an aura and those that don’t.

Classification of Migraine with aura:

To be in this class, there has to have been at least two occasions of this occurring, and the following criteria must be present for each.
  1. The aura comes with visual symptoms, such as spots in front of the eyes, or flickers of light, that are fully reversible once the attack is over.
  2. Physical symptoms may be present, such as pins and needles or speech issues, that are also fully reversible.
Two of the following symptoms also need to present for a diagnosis of migraine with aura:
  • Headache – begins within 60 minutes of the aura or during it
  • Headache without pulsation that isn’t aggravated by movement
  • The headache may also start 60 minutes after the aura
  • The headache must not be attributed to any other physical illness or disease.

Classification of Migraine without aura

this is the other type of migraine, and for this to be diagnosed there must be at least five attacks with severe headache, that last from 4 to 72 hours each. At least two of the following qualities must be present for a migraine diagnosis:

  • Pulsations
  • Severe pain
  • Physical activity aggravates the pain
One of the following symptoms also needs to be present during the headache phase.
  • Nausea, and often vomiting occurs as well
  • Any light or movement can aggravate
  • This type of pain must not be attributed to any other physical illness or disease.

The theories of why Migraines occur are many and varied, with some of the arguments based on genetics, neuronal/nervous system disorders, hormones, medications, blood/platelet issues and more. We cannot say with any certainty what the reasons are. Still, we do have some clear links through scientific studies that migraines are in some cases related to food intolerances or allergies. Bushara et al released a study in which celiac patients had a great reduction in the frequency of migraines once they removed gluten entirely from their food intake. This is just one of many studies showing this gluten link. Another component of food that has also been shown to trigger migraines is dietary amines, and we will delve a bit more into what these amines are soon.
First, let’stake a look at some of the commonly known triggers.

Common migraine triggers.

Not all migraine triggers are food-related, and these are the most common non-food triggers to date:

Dehydration

This is a very well known cause of headaches, and migraines are also not exempt from this. Case reports show that when patients increased their water and fluid intake, the number of migraines they experienced greatly reduced. Of course it isn’t always this simple, but this can be a great starting point.

Stress Levels

High stress causes high cortisol levels, and this is a huge migraine trigger for many. High cortisol also induces high inflammation levels, which can lead down the path of increasing tension, headache and migraine.

Fasting

This can trigger low blood sugar in the body, and also release stress hormones. If you are someone that suffers migraines, fasting may not be the best option for you. Regulating your blood sugar through consuming small and regular meals is known to reduce systemic inflammation and also the occurrence of both headaches and migraines.

Food triggersand migraines

Dietary amines are well known to be causative of migraines, but you may be wondering what even is an amine! They are by-products of protein digestion or breakdown within the food, and they occur at the highest levels in foods that are considered mature. This refers to aged cheese, fermented meats and ripe fruits.

This list contains foods that are very high in amines levels, and are known to trigger migraines in some sufferers.

  • Cacao, cocoa and other chocolate products
  • Wine, specifically red wines
  • Cheese, usually more mature and aged types
  • Nuts
  • Cured meats
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut
  • Diary, only for some people
  • All caffeinated beverages, tea and coffee etc
  • Chinese food and Asian style sauces and condiments
  • Aspartame
  • Many wines and beers
  • Food additives
  • Food colourings
  • Fish can also be an issue for some people.

Food intolerances and migraines.

When someone suffers from a food intolerance, it automatically causes inflammation through the bodies systems. Migraines are an example of an inflammatory reaction, and they have been linked to leaky gut. Food intolerances can cause leaky gut, and when this happens, food particles get into the bloodstream and cause massive inflammatory reactions to occur. The immune system is involved in this process, and the results produced can range from digestive upsets through to migraines, and everything in between. If you suspect undiagnosed food intolerances and are also suffering from Migraines with no known cause, we highly recommend taking our bio-resonance hair intolerance test, which you can find HERE. Results arrive within three days of us receiving your sample, and we offer full support in reading and utilising your results.

How to help prevent food-related Migraines

If you experience unresolved Migraines, the first step is to take a food intolerance test. This will allow you to discover what foods are causing your symptoms and allow you to avoid them. Removing these foods from your diet reduces your bodies inflammatory load, which can help greatly in reducing migraine attacks.
A further option is to remove all of the food triggers that we mentioned above in the section titled ‘food triggers and migraines’. Coffee and chocolate are two major ones to remove, and if this doesn’t bring relief, then you can go through the list and see how your body reacts.
Hydration is also crucial! Consuming two litres of water a day can be extremely beneficial for both migraine and headache sufferers, as often the conditions are caused or exacerbated by dehydration.
Maintaining even blood sugar has also been shown to help in avoiding migraines. You can do this by eating small regular meals/snacks that are low in added sugar and high in protein and fibre. Some example foods are brown rice with chicken and greens, coconut yoghurt with nuts and fruit, tortillas with Mexican beans and salad, veggie sticks with hummus, and eggs.

In summary

Migraines are suffered by many people the world over, and they can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life. Likely you either experience them yourself, or know someone who does, and the results are not pretty. This article takes a dive into how undiagnosed food intolerances can affect migraine sufferers.
There are two types of migraines, and we discuss the differences and explanations of both, along with some of the most common triggers. They are not always food-related, and can include things such as dehydration and stress! There are, however, several known food triggers, and we also discuss these and include a list of well-known foods to avoid.
Following on from this, we give you a useful list of things you can do to help prevent food-related migraines, including removing your intolerance foods and staying well hydrated. These two factors account for a large number of migraines alone.
If you suffer Migraines with an unknown cause, our bio-resonance hair intolerance testing may just give you the answers you seek! Many of our customers have reported reduced migraine frequency upon removing their trigger foods, and you could too. You can find out more HERE.