2

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What foods trigger migraines?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 30, 2013 at 12:47 AM

What different food types have been identified as triggers of migraines, either with an immediate response or cumulative over time? Some folks say that caffeine and citrus can be a cause but I suspect that there may be other agents at work such as fungus toxins in coffee beans and sulfur/sulphur or wax on fruit skins for example.

UPDATE:
Dr Biffa has an interesting post on his blog about some of the potential causes of migraines. There are the usual suspects (the three Cs; chocolate, coffee, citrus) but also milk, which I found illuminating.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on April 18, 2013
at 03:49 AM

Thanks, I think -- looks like my diet is screwed! So long wine and aged cheese! http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.full

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 18, 2013
at 02:56 AM

Milk!! Oh no! I got a stray migraine yesterday that I couldn't figure out. Usually only get them from wine now that I eat clean. But the last two days drank a lot of milk. Noooo....

24a0a0d5073f0a77c3737ef9d0e4c426

(188)

on March 19, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Be careful with the advil. I hurt my stomach doing that exact thing 2 times a week too many weeks of the year. Staying off caffeine and gluten cures it completely for me without medicine. Your explanation is exactly what happened to me when i got migraines. Cheers.

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6 Answers

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3
9d142ffae34c518722ea67d4cfb89a19

on January 30, 2013
at 01:58 AM

Anything that is a vascodilator can have a rebound constricting event which can lead to migrane...

  • caffeine, sugar, chocolate, wine, (the list is long) are all vasodilators, temporarily expanding blood vessels

When their effects wear off and the vessels constrict again (esp those in the brain) it can lead to migraines.


My personal sure-fire migraine protocol (it's not paleo, but it works):

  • I get sparkly halos as a warning before I get a migraine, if I act quickly I can tone it down to just a headache and fatigue rather than immobilizing pain

  • dose ibuprophen and acetaminophen at 2-3x recommended dose

  • follow with a large jolt of caffeine and sugar (Jolt cola, can of Coke, etc).

All of the above work together to snap open those blood vessels - relief is usually within 5-10 minutes.

24a0a0d5073f0a77c3737ef9d0e4c426

(188)

on March 19, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Be careful with the advil. I hurt my stomach doing that exact thing 2 times a week too many weeks of the year. Staying off caffeine and gluten cures it completely for me without medicine. Your explanation is exactly what happened to me when i got migraines. Cheers.

2
24a0a0d5073f0a77c3737ef9d0e4c426

on January 30, 2013
at 12:11 PM

Gluten & caffeine for me. If i avoid them i get infrequent headaches but not migraines. I went from 2 a week to none by quitting both. For years i over used advil and hurt my insides by taking 600mg 2 times per week. Be very cautious with any medicine. It may help with one aspect and hurt in another. Why minimize the caffeine withdrawal by using too much (harmful dose) medicine when you can easily avoid caffeine altogether. Don't say 'i need my coffee'. I miss pizza,dairy, not checking for soy and coca cola, but i feel a ton better and now my brain has adjusted as seeing those things as harmful to me. Everyone is different but for me i have to do it. There is no blanket rule for everyone and things change over time. My allergies have been confirmed at different doctors. For me palleo is important. My wife is also feeling good and losing weight but foods dont have any individual effect on her. Hope this experience helps you to learn how to control your situation in some way. Cheers.

2
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 30, 2013
at 12:52 AM

I've read that gluten is the No 1 reason, and caffeine withdrawal.

1
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on April 18, 2013
at 03:03 AM

Surprisingly, dehydration / too much salt.

Also, google tyramine and histamine rich foods.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on April 18, 2013
at 03:49 AM

Thanks, I think -- looks like my diet is screwed! So long wine and aged cheese! http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.full

1
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:02 PM

There's a bunch of research showing that IgG-mediated food intolerances/allergies can affect migraines. Here's a good study: Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial. But it's worth a google scholar search because there are a few papers on the topic.

And you might find this editorial more informative: http://integrativehealthconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IgG-mediated-allergy-A-new-mechanism-for-migraine-attacks1.pdf

The first few sentences of the editorial:

Despite recent advances offered by modern neuroimag- ing and genetic techniques, the pathophysiology of migraine has not been fully clarified. As pointed out by Selby and Lance 50 years ago, a relevant proportion of patients report that their migraine attacks are usually precipitated by dietary items (1). In a survey analysing the prevalence of dietary migraine in 500 new migraine patients, Peatfield et al. found in 1984 that 19.2% of migraine patients reported sensitivity to cheese, 18.2% to chocolate ad 11.1% to citrus fruit (2).

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:39 AM

Just off the top of my head:

aspartame, MSG, caffeine, sugar, gluten.....any food allergy

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