Can food allergies cause a headache

Migraines due to food intolerance? What role does diet play

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From: Jasmina Deshmeh

Migraine patients with histamine intolerance can react with migraine attacks after consuming histamine-containing foods (symbol image). © Westend61 /

Many people with migraines suspect that certain foods like red wine and chocolate trigger their migraine attacks. Read about the role diet plays in migraines and when a migraine diet makes sense.

  • At a migraine to step paroxysmal headache, often associated with nausea and sensitivity to irritation
  • Many patients feel that certain Food trigger the migraine attacks are
  • If there is any suspicion, patients should clarify whether this is due to a food intolerance

Koenigstein - migraine is a neurological disorder that results in seizure-like headaches. According to estimates, around 18 million people in Germany suffer from migraines, with women being affected much more frequently than men. About two thirds of those affected see you context between the nutrition and the Migraine attacks. Anyone who suspects that foods trigger migraine symptoms should do so first with the help of a Symptom diary check before removing certain foods from the menu.

Migraines: This happens when you have a migraine attack

At Mirage occur seizure-like a headache that can be pulsating, stabbing or pounding. Often the complaints of Loss of appetite, nausea and Light- and Sensitivity to noise accompanied. In some of the patients there is also a so-called aura with blurred vision, lightning, blind spots, tingling and numbness. The Migraine attacks can last between four and 72 hours and put a lot of stress on those affected. How often they occur varies from patient to patient. Some people have migraines every few days, others only every few months.

The attack is often announced with Symptoms such as shivering, sweating, tension, cravings, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, irritability or hyperactivity. The Main symptom, the Headache, usually increases in the course of the attack and then subsides again. During one Migraine attack it can also cause nausea and Vomit come. After the attack, patients usually feel the need to sleep for a long time and to recover.

According to the current state of research, the root cause the Migraine symptoms a Overactivity of nerve cells in the brain stem and midbrain. These activate certain branches of the Trigeminal nerve, which in turn are painful Inflammation of the blood vessels the Meninges and on Nerve tissue cause.

Migraines due to food intolerance? What role does diet play

There are now many different trigger ("Trigger") the migraine known. As the prevalence has increased over the past few decades, play alongside genetic factors Obviously, the living conditions also play a decisive role. You are not that root cause the migraine - this is always the one excessive responsiveness of the body - with a corresponding genetic predisposition, the key stimuli can trigger an attack. Possible migraine triggers are:

  • Hormonal factors
  • Mental and physical strain (stress)
  • sleep
  • Environmental factors
  • Food

Again and again it stands nutrition suspected in patients with hereditary predisposition Migraine attacks trigger. Indeed, certain food provoke the attacks in some patients. Participants in a British study were able to use a corresponding Elimination diet cut the frequency of their migraine attacks by half. In addition, several research groups were able to examine the blood of patients with so-called food-induced migraine attacks the messenger substance responsible for allergies histamine determine. However, no migraine-causing allergens could be identified in conventional skin tests.

The German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG) points out, however, that migraine triggers are very individual and that foods are by no means suitable as trigger factors for all patients. These should always be shared with you doctor be determined. Correspondingly is a precautionary waiver in the form of a migraine diet not recommendable.

Food intolerance migraines: These foods can cause problems

Do patients have the impression that the consumption is certain Food your migraine triggers, they should get your nutrition as well as the frequency and strength of the migraine attacks in one Symptom diary hold tight. Only in this way can personal nutritional influences on the migraine to be checked. It should be noted that there can be several hours or even a whole day between eating and the occurrence of a migraine attack. In addition, food does not necessarily have to be the trigger for the attack, it can also act as a "Co-factor" amplify other triggers. It is also important not just what, but when and in what context a food was consumed.

Foods or food components that can play a role in triggering migraine attacks are, for example:

  • Red wine, mature cheeses, citrus fruits
  • Proteins in dairy products
  • Caffeine, e.g. in beverages
  • Preservatives (e.g. nitrite)
  • Flavor enhancer (e.g. glutamate)
  • Ice cream

Migraines due to histamine intolerance

Again and again migraineurs report that to them alcohol Causes problems. For example, 35.6 percent of 2197 migraine patients in a Dutch study stated that alcohol with you migraine can trigger. The respondents cited the most frequent suspected triggers Red wine. Doctors suspect that certain ingredients in red wine and other "matured" foods, such as mature cheese, but also in Citrus fruits lead to the discomfort. So could the ones contained in these foods Protein substances histamine,Tyramine or Phenylethylamine the migraine trigger.

Do patients have the impression that these foods Migraine symptoms trigger, you should medically determine whether a Histamine intolerance is behind it. Often times, the complaints are with Histamine intolerance accompanied by symptoms such as itching, diarrhea, constipation, rashes, asthma and cardiovascular discomfort. With a diagnosed Histamine intolerance foods containing histamine should be avoided or at least reduced. In addition to red wine, many types of fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna as well as meat such as sausage, salami and smoked ham contain large amounts of histamine.

Migraines due to food intolerance: "China restaurant syndrome" due to glutamate

Some people respond to that too Flavor enhancer glutamate With migraine or migraine-like symptoms. Glutamate is often used in Asian dishes, which is why the intolerance also known as "china restaurant syndrome" Glutamate intolerance Next a headache redness, tingling, numbness, weakness and circulatory problems can also occur Food intolerance often mistakenly as allergy interpreted. An international team of researchers from Cambridge found that a certain gene variant increases the risk of a migraine attack after consuming glutamate. However, other controlled double-blind studies could not confirm the connection between glutamate and the symptoms.

Migraines due to food intolerance: Diet as a trigger is often overestimated

According to experts, be Food as Migraine Triggers but tend to be overrated and are more often a cofactor as a key stimulus. A Migraine Diet should therefore only be adhered to if certain food as Migraine Triggersclearly identified or has been shown to have a food intolerance or allergy. In order to rule out malnutrition, diet changes should always be supervised by a doctor or trained nutritionist.

Migraine sufferers should definitely rely on one healthy and varied diet take care not to unnecessarily burden the organism, as also reported by *. In addition, they should eat regularly and do not skip meals. That was true for a long time chocolate as a migraine trigger. It is now known, however, that cravings for sweets can already be the harbinger of migraines. * is part of the Ippen digital network

This article contains only general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. Under no circumstances does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.