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Migraine and food triggers

Are you plagued with headaches?  Migraine Awareness Week runs from the 6th of September.

We’ve all had a headache.  Most of the time they’re not very serious, drink some more water or exercise lightly and it can go away on its own.  It’s estimated that two-thirds of the Western population experience a headache from time to time, and one in four people will get a headache fairly regularly.  Along with back pain, headaches are actually one of the most common medical complaints.

But as any chronic headache sufferer will tell you, not all headaches are the same.  There are actually 180 different types of headaches, with the symptoms varying from throbbing pain or an unbearable hammering in the head and others complain of tension behind the eyes or in the forehead. More than 90% of headache patients suffer from either a tension headache or a migraine.

Migraine headaches are a complex neurological picture.  People affected usually suffer from long-lasting and intense headaches.  Migraine headaches cause throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on only one side of the head.  They may impact a person’s vision or eyesight, can interfere with sleep, work and other everyday activities, and may occur as often as several times per week or as rarely as once or twice a year.  A migraine most often begins at puberty and mostly affects those aged between 35 and 45 years.

Common Symptoms of Migraine:

  • Throbbing, pulsating or pressing pain
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Aura
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
  • Lethargy

Headaches or migraine have many causes, with food being a fairly common trigger.  Chocolate, cheese and wine are often suspected (in the case of Histamine Intolerance), but headaches can also be caused by delayed food allergy.

If your headache is caused by a delayed food allergy…

With a delayed food allergy the body triggers a defense response by the immune system against certain foods.  If the small intestine is damaged due to stress, infections or medications, other food constituents that cannot normally enter the bloodstream are able to do so.  These food constituents are identified as foreign bodies by the immune system and so-called IgG antibodies are formed to counteract them.  These antibodies bind to the food constituents and trigger a reaction by the immune system.  This causes inflammations in the body, which may result in headaches whenever that trigger food is consumed.  If you are unknowingly consuming a trigger food fairly regularly, chronic headaches can occur.

It is important to identify exactly which foods are your personal triggers as everybody is different.  An ImuPro IgG food intolerance test will pinpoint which foods are causing you inflammation and give you the tools you need to effectively change your diet and stop the inflammatory processes.

Histamine intolerance and migraine

Histamine is a natural substance that is produced by the body as part of the immune response. It plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including inflammation, digestion, and sleep. However, excessive levels of histamine can lead to a range of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

One way that histamine can contribute to migraine is by triggering a release of other chemicals, such as serotonin, that can cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate and become inflamed. This can lead to the pain and other symptoms associated with migraine.

DAO, or diamine oxidase, is an enzyme that helps to break down histamine in the body. When levels of DAO are low, histamine levels can rise, leading to symptoms such as headaches and migraines.

Research has suggested that some people with migraines may have lower levels of DAO than those without migraines. This may be due to genetic factors or other underlying health conditions.

In addition to DAO levels, the levels of histamine in the body can also be affected by dietary factors. Certain foods, such as aged cheese, wine, and fermented foods, are high in histamine and can trigger migraines in some people.

Overall, the relationship between histamine, DAO, and migraine is complex and not fully understood. However, it is clear that dietary factors and the body’s ability to regulate histamine levels play a role in migraine development and may be an important consideration for those who suffer from migraines. If you experience migraines, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best approach for your individual needs.


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