Migraine headaches are the bain that ruins many people’s lives with over 36 million sufferers in the US and over 6 million in the UK.
Migraine sufferers typically experience excruciating one sided headaches, visual disturbances (auras), nausea, vomiting and intense sensitivity to light.
Although the medical profession do not yet have the definitive answer to the cause of migraines many sufferers are convinced that certain foods will trigger an attack.
A recent study has found convincing evidence that those people suffering with migraines who think specific foods are at the root of their condition may well be right.
The study was monitored by the Headache Services at Kings College Hospital, London and by the Migraine in Primary Care Advisors. The research was part funded by the Migraine Action Association.
In the study, 61 people whose migraines were classified as moderate to severe took a food intolerance test. The test found only one person with no food intolerances, and the average patient had 5.3.
After removing the reactive foods from their diet 80% reported improvements in their symptoms, and over a third experienced significant relief. Of those who reintroduced the foods that were tested as being intolerant to over 60% experienced their original symptoms returning.
The foods most commonly found to be problematic were cow’s milk, egg (white and yoke), yeast, wheat, gluten, cashew nuts, corn, Brazil nuts, seafood, garlic and cranberry.
Before you run to your kitchen and throw out all of the foods on that list, the food intolerances are very individual, and even if you remove all of these foods you still might not see the improvements you are hoping for. It is very possible that you could be fine with all of these foods and intolerant to a food not on the list.
A food intolerance test which measures the levels of IgG antibodies in the blood is the most reliable method of discovering which foods you should avoid first. When we eat foods we are intolerant to the body produces these antibodies. The IgG antibodies found with food intolerances are a different species of antibody to those produced with classic allergies.
Classic allergies where the symptoms tend to be acute and strong (eg anaphylactic shock) cause the release of IgE antibodies. IgG antibody symptoms are usually characterised by slow onset, and milder symptoms (eg irritable bowel).
Whilst food intolerances appear to have a role in migraine headaches, it is not the only known trigger. Stress, lack of sleep, travelling, hormonal cycles and certain types of exercise are all known to play a role.
But if you can take a simple test and avoid the foods you are intolerant to you could well be heading along the road to a migraine free life.
Image by r. nial firstname.lastname@example.org