Ought to You Go Gluten-Free For Your Migraines?

For those who’re among the many 1 billion individuals on the planet who’ve migraines, you’ve in all probability tried virtually every part to really feel higher. You keep away from identified triggers like chocolate, MSG, purple wine, citrus fruit, and aged cheese.

You would possibly even have lower out gluten, a protein primarily present in wheat, barley, and rye. However does skipping sourdough bread assist ease your signs?

Migraine and Celiac Illness

Numerous sufferers ask that query, says Lauren Natbony, MD, an assistant scientific professor of neurology specializing in headache medication at Mount Sinai in New York Metropolis.

There’s a transparent connection, she says, between migraine and GI problems — together with celiac illness.

“Sufferers with identified celiac illness who swap to a gluten-free weight loss program are inclined to have fewer and fewer extreme migraine assaults.”

In celiac illness, gluten triggers the immune system to assault the physique, damaging the small gut. However in case you have psoriasis however not celiac illness, skipping glutens gained’t allow you to.

What if You’re Gluten-Delicate?

Your physician would possibly name you “gluten-sensitive” should you don’t have celiac illness however nonetheless react to gluten. It’s unclear how many individuals fall on this class.

Natbony says she’s seen a handful of non-celiac sufferers whose complications acquired higher after quitting gluten. She provides that these good results don’t appear to final, and sufferers can have bother sticking to the weight loss program.

Nonetheless, she says, gluten would possibly set off intestine irritation that results in migraines in gluten-sensitive individuals.

Maria Vazquez-Roque, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, says some individuals who appear gluten-sensitive may very well be delicate to FODMAPS (brief for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols).

These are carbs discovered in lots of wholesome meals that some individuals can’t digest, resulting in bloating, diarrhea, and complications. She suggests individuals with migraine who take a look at detrimental for celiac illness work with a dietitian to attempt a low-FODMAP weight loss program for a month or two.


Natbony doesn’t take a look at each migraine affected person for celiac illness. She does display screen for gluten sensitivity signs, like diarrhea, smelly stools, and more-than-normal gasoline. She often doesn’t suggest a gluten-free weight loss program to individuals who don’t want it.

“Gluten-free merchandise are typically greater in fats, carbohydrates, and sodium, and they are often costly,” she says.

Plus, it’s onerous to keep away from gluten fully. It’s not solely in apparent meals like bread, pasta, and cake. It lurks in a whole bunch of merchandise you’d by no means consider, together with soy sauce, canned soup, and salad dressings — even toothpaste.

Nonetheless, she says weight loss program adjustments are an necessary a part of remedy. Individuals could make a number of adjustments on their very own, reminiscent of avoiding identified meals triggers like caffeine, nitrates in cured meat, and aspartame.

Natbony says chasing down headache triggers will be tense, which in flip may cause migraine, too. Right here’s what she suggests:

  • Hold a headache diary and a meals diary to see if there’s any connection between what you eat and a migraine assault. A food-related migraine can occur proper after you eat or as much as 48 hours later.
  • If there appears to be a hyperlink, lower that meals out of your weight loss program for about 4 weeks and see should you really feel higher.
  • Slowly add the meals again in — not an excessive amount of at first. If it triggers a migraine or you may have extra complications, it’s finest to cease consuming it fully. 


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