Jump to content

Important Information

This site places cookies on your device (Cookie settings). Continued use is acceptance of our Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

  • Sign Up
  • Join our community!

    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

  • Member Statistics

    84,923
    Total Members
    4,125
    Most Online
    Beckyok
    Newest Member
    Beckyok
    Joined
  • 0

    Migraine Headaches: Gluten Triggers Severe Headaches in Sensitive Individuals


    Scott Adams

    Neurology 2001;56:385-388.

    Celiac.com 02/15/2001 - According to a new study published in the February issue of Neurology, severe, chronic migraine headaches can be triggered in gluten-sensitive individuals who do not exclude gluten from their diets. The study examined ten patients who had a long history of chronic headaches that had recently worsened, or were resistant to treatment. Some patients had additional symptoms such as lack of balance. Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou, from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, UK, and colleagues tested each patient and found that all were sensitive to gluten. . The patients were tested and each was found to be gluten-sensitive. Additionally, MRI scans determined that each had inflammation in their central nervous systems caused by gluten-sensitivity.

    Results: Nine out of 10 patients went on a gluten-free diet, and seven of them stopped having headaches completely. The patients heightened immune responses, which are triggered by the ingestion of gluten, could be one of the factors causing the headaches. The other two patients who were on a gluten-free diet experienced significant relief, but not complete relief.

    Conclusion: According to Dr. Hadjivassiliou, removal of the trigger factor by the introduction of a gluten-free diet may be a promising therapeutic intervention for patients with chronic headaches. Further studies are needed to confirm Dr. Hadjivassilious preliminary findings.

    0


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Guest glojo

    Posted

    My 8 year old son went on a gluten and dairy free diet 2 weeks ago - he had chronic daily migraines and facial spasms - they have entirely disappeared - there is a definite link between your diet and migraines! It's a lot of hard work to change your eating pattern - but it so worth it! Good luck~

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Patrice

    Posted

    This article was very helpful. I've been having headaches almost daily for the past year and I'm now considering to be tested to see if I'm sensitive to gluten.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great article! I had migraines 2 to 5 times a week for over 10 years and they stopped completely after a couple of days of eating gluten-free. I have been gluten-free for about 6 months and they have not come back.

     

    Is there a way to make migraines one of the common symptoms caused by an intolerance to gluten? Every list I looked at stated many symptoms but rarely said anything about migraines (or headaches in general).

     

    Also, I had an MD tell me that an intolerance to gluten cannot cause migraines or headaches. Would there be a way of informing them that, yes, it can cause migraines?

     

    Cheers

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow,

    I am thrilled to know that I might have found why I have been so sick those past years. I have seen different specialists and they couldn't figure what was the reason I had those multiple symptoms (chronic migraines, constipation/diahrrea, lack of appetite, fatigue etc). Usually, the doctors I went through only said: Well, here's a prescription. That made me angry because I wanted to find the cause. I couldn't find a pattern that helped me figured what was wrong. Celiac disease makes sense since gluten is found in lots of products. I'm seeing my doctor next month and I will make sure to ask for tests I need to go through to find if I have celiac disease.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My husband has had severe headaches and migraines for many years and medication has not helped. We went on a diet last fall that only allowed some fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken and fish. His headaches and migraines disappeared completely. Now off the strict diet, we started adding things back to our diet and through process of elimination, have determined what was causing his migraines - gluten.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Mariateek

    Posted

    Great article I suffer with aura migraines since childhood. Yesterday I had an intense blind spots and other aura migraine symptoms. I have been gluten free for 6 months and I ate a small amount of gluten yesterday resulting in nausea intense stomach pain and an intense aura migraine. Diet is so important to our immune system.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest ken craig

    Posted

    I am a celiac and I do get migraines. These can usually be traced to accidental gluten ingestion. Thanks for the information.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have had daily "atypical" Migraines on a daily basis for the past three years while under the care of a neurologist. A nerve block injection at the base of the skull helped for a short time and then several months ago a total of 31 botox injections in one setting in the back of the neck, skull, side of the head, and forehead worked for a few months. However, a repeat procedure was not really successful. Over the years I took many of the usual medications which did not help over the long run to prevent the headaches. However, the Triptans worked great for relieving/stopping the headaches once they started. The good news is that a recent endoscopy and biopsy revealed that I had celiac disease. I just recently went on the gluten free diet and my migraines basically went away after about three weeks (I still take some preventative meds in conjunction with the diet) but I have not had to take a triptan to kill a headache which I did before on almost a daily plus basis. I plan on slowly backing off the preventative meds.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I have had daily "atypical" Migraines on a daily basis for the past three years while under the care of a neurologist. A nerve block injection at the base of the skull helped for a short time and then several months ago a total of 31 botox injections in one setting in the back of the neck, skull, side of the head, and forehead worked for a few months. However, a repeat procedure was not really successful. Over the years I took many of the usual medications which did not help over the long run to prevent the headaches. However, the Triptans worked great for relieving/stopping the headaches once they started. The good news is that a recent endoscopy and biopsy revealed that I had celiac disease. I just recently went on the gluten free diet and my migraines basically went away after about three weeks (I still take some preventative meds in conjunction with the diet) but I have not had to take a triptan to kill a headache which I did before on almost a daily plus basis. I plan on slowly backing off the preventative meds.

    Hi Frank, I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. Did your doctor think you had celiac disease before the endoscopy? I believe it is possible I might have celiac sensitivity and had just googled celiac and migraines and found this page. I will have an endoscopy and colonoscopy next week. I plan on asking my doc if he will take the necessary biopsies to test for celiac. I just tried Topamax and I had to stop because of side effects. Good Luck!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Would love to believe that this is the answer for my husband's migraine problem. 13 years now and we haven't found a solution. Dr.'s all want to through a script at him and no one wants to eliminate the source. He has kept a food diary, tried preventatives (Topamax and Nortriptyline), massage therapy, chiropractor and acupuncture. Mouthguard for TMJ, special pillows and his only help is the Imitrex he takes for pain when he gets a headache. I started him gluten free yesterday (January 1) and on day two, he has a migraine. Hoping it will just take a few weeks and then they'll be gone. Don't know what to do next if it isn't gluten.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About Me

    In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I founded The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

  • Related Articles

    Scott Adams
    Am J Gastroenterol. 2003;98:625-629
    Celiac.com 04/29/2003 – The findings of a recent study published in the March edition of American Journal of Gastroenterology indicate that around 4% of those who suffer from migraine headaches may have celiac disease, and in such cases a gluten-free diet can reduce or eliminate migraine symptoms. According to one of the researchers, Maurizio Gabrielli, MD (Gemelli Hospital in Rome, Italy), if further studies confirm these findings it could alter the current range of migraine treatments to include serological screening for celiac disease and the gluten-free diet for those with positive test results.
    Maurizio Gabrielli, MD and colleagues studied 90 patients who were diagnosed with idiopathic migraine, and found that 4.4% had celiac disease compared to 0.4% of 23 controls. The four migraine patients found to have celiac disease were treated for six months with a gluten-free diet and their symptoms decreased or were eliminated. The patients also showed an improvement in their cerebral blood flow on a gluten-free diet that was confirmed by using single-photon emission computed tomography scans.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/10/2008 - New evidence suggests that children who suffer from migraines face a greater risk of developing celiac disease. Migraines have been previously tied to classic celiac disease, but have not been well studied in cases of asymptomatic celiac disease.
    Spurred by the fact that most people with celiac disease either have no symptoms at all, or present symptoms other than the traditional intestinal complaints, a team of Turkish researchers led by Dr. Fusan Alehan set out to study the connection between migraines and asymptomatic celiac disease.
    The team studied 73 migraine patients from 6 to 17 years old, along with 147 controls. Four of these migraine patients (5.5%) along with one of the control patients (0.6%) tested positive for serum tissue transglutaminase IgA (tTGA) antibodies, which is indicative of celiac disease.
    Two of the tTGA-positive participants declined biopsy, while three of the four migraine patients consented to a duodenal biopsy and were shown to have normal histology. As a result of these findings, the research team categorized them as having possible celiac disease.
    The researchers found that higher rates of tTG antibodies among migraine patients suggests that migraines and celiac disease might be linked in children, and that this likelihood merits further study.
    Cephalagia 2008; 28:945-949.


    Jennifer Arrington
    Celiac.com 01/11/2010 - When I first went on a gluten free diet, my migraines disappeared completely.Forfive wonderful years, I only felt the twinges of a migraine (or maybejust a blessedly “normal” headache) during those few times when Iinadvertently consumed gluten.Another thing also happened once I went on a gluten free diet – I got pregnant.
    But, five yearslater, I learned that there could be more than one trigger for mymigraines and unfortunately, gluten was only one of them.After two cycles of pregnancy and nursing, my hormones eventually normalized into a regular cycle.Now, that, in and of itself, amazed me, that for the first time in my life my body had learned to have a 4-week textbook cycle.But, along with those cycles came the worst migraines I had ever experienced in my life.I realized, sadly, that gluten wasn’t my only migraine trigger.I could avoid gluten, but I couldn’t avoid my cycle.Theirony of it all struck hard– the gluten free diet had made me healthyenough to have a regular cycle – a regular cycle attached with horrificmigraines.Once again, I was going from doctor to doctor,but this time (unlike the years until my celiac diagnosis), I receiveda fast diagnosis – menstrual migraine.The neurologistwho diagnosed me said that they were probably the worst type ofmigraine out there – very resistant to medication, fierce in theirstrength, and often lasting for days.Well, he hasn’t been wrong.
    Four years of migraines later, I honestly believe I may have tried every migraine treatment known to woman!I have been searching for a solution in the hope that if I could cure mine, anybody’s could be cured.However,along the way, many of the things I have tried that have temporarilyworked, have worked for others too, with more lasting results.Hence this article – why not share what I’ve learned in the hope that others can be helped?Maybe, too, in this process, someone out there will know of a treatment that I have not yet tried.
    Before I go on, I dowant to say that staying on the gluten-free diet is the only option tohaving a good life at all – even though it allows the cycles that bringthe migraines.Before going gluten-free, I was sick all the time with migraines.Now I am much healthier, but do get terrible cyclical migraines.I obviously choose the latter.
    This article focuses on migraine prevention.Ido have in my cabinet some very expensive, strong prescription triptans(Amerge works the best for me) and these are a necessity…simply becauseI do not want to land up in my local emergency room with a migrainethat feels like it’s killing me.I think of the prescriptions as my rescue doses, for those times when all the prevention and care in the world fails.
    I have tried many,many preventative treatments – supplements, herbs, Chinese medicine,bioidentical hormone pills, natural hormone creams, allergy treatments,massage, chiropractic, and even acupuncture.People swearby massage and acupuncture, I tried it some, but did not perceiveenough of a benefit to continue – the expense alone was giving me amigraine.
    To date, nothing has taken away my migraines, but the following items have definitely helped.And, the good news is that every item listed is affordable and completely doable! 
    Wakeup at the same time every day.  My neurologist has a beautifulexplanation as to why this can prevent a migraine, and it surprisinglyhas nothing to do with low blood sugar!  I cannot remember his eloquentexplanation.  But, many migraine sufferers will find they get amigraine on their day off – the “Saturday Migraine”.  Usually, it’sfrom sleeping in and messing up the sensitive sleep/wake cycle.  Myalarm has one setting – for week days as well as weekends.  If I’mtired later in the day from getting up early after a late night (whichwould usually happen on a weekend), I do my best to take a nap, but Irarely sleep in. B complex.  Every migraine guide you read anywhere, always mentions theB vitamins.  As I have already posted, and others have commented,celiacs have low absorption of the B vitamins since often the damagedportion of the small intestine is where absorption of B’s shouldoccur.  This can be overcome by taking large doses of B’s.  I finallyfound a B-complex I can tolerate, and that’s Solgar B50.  They have astronger dose, Solgar B100, but the B50 works for me.  B2 is oftensingled out for migraine sufferers, and Solgar makes an isolated B2,but this doesn’t work well for me.  It may for you, and at under $10,it’s certainly worth a try – in fact, I wish I could give you some ofmy almost-full bottle to try! Magnesium.  I’ve taken magnesiumall along, but recently, from a commercial on the celiac website in themigraine section, I read about Dermamag.  (My husband joked with methat purchasing a supplement from an online Ad, was akin to finding adate on the internet, but it does look like this has been a goodthing!)  The premise behind Dermamag, is that people with migraines arenot absorbing enough magnesium through their digestive systems (soundslike a celiac to me), and that their “patented” formula is the first ofits kind to deliver it through the skin.  Well, $29 and a few dayslater, my first bottle arrived, and I must say, I’ve been quitepleased.  It does sting my skin a bit, so I apply it to wet skin, butit has definitely stopped a few days from turning into migraine daysthese past few weeks.  I’m hoping that after a few months of use, theoverall benefit will increase.  It might work just as well to soak in abath of Epsom salts every night, and it would certainly be cheaper, butyou know, that isn’t a “patented” way to increase your magnesiumlevels!!! Lemon Juice.  About three years ago I read a littleside article in an educators magazine, of all places, that women intheir mid-thirties often start experiencing terrible cyclicalheadaches.  The article blamed this on our western acidic diets andwent on to say that one of the best ways to counteract an acidic dietis to squeeze lemon in your water.  Now, that made about as much senseto me as nothing – since lemons are acidic themselves, but lemons arecheap – much cheaper than the dozens of supplements I have tried overthe years.  I have since been told that although they are acidic, theirnet effect in the body is basic (?!!) but illogical logic aside, Istarted squeezing lemons into my water that same day and for THREEMONTHS I did not have one migraine.  Of course, you have to be carefulnot to overdo it – too much acid cannot be good for a sensitivestomach.  Currently, I consume at least one lemon every day – mostpeople go to the store when they run out of milk, I go when I run outof lemons.  I honestly think that at this point in my migraine journey,without “lemon-water” I would have a migraine every day. Vitamin D.  I actually break open my vitamin D capsule and rub it on myskin every other day.  I know the latest articles are pushing 4000 IU’sof vitamin D a day and higher, but if I take that much (orally ortransdermally) I get welts on my skin.  I showed the welts to a healthcare practitioner once and he immediately said they were from excessvitamin D.  I reduced my dose and find that 2000IU every other dayseems to be optimum for me. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) fromHemp Oil.  I think, I hope, I pray, that this oil is turning into myown personal magic bullet.  A few months ago I purchased some ManitobaHarvest Hemp Oil on the advice of a friend and went 5 weeks without amigraine.  I had previously tried a great brand of EPO in the capsuleform, but honestly couldn’t afford to take it in the doses I required. The Hemp Oil, however, brings you the EPO in a nature-made n-3:n-6:n-9fatty acid ratio.   When I ran out of the Manitoba harvest, I couldn’tfind it locally, so I bought a different brand and my migrainesreturned.  Frustrated, I gave up on it, until just two weeks ago, whensomeone I had suggested try it raved on and on how it was helping themwith PMS.  I finally found my original brand, and have been back on itfor 10 days.  The difference so far has been amazing, I don’t even feellike I could get a migraine at all!  Obviously, time will tell, but fornow I’ll continue to be hopeful.  I actually take Nordic Arctic FishOil, too, so I mix a little of each and swallow the whole nasty mess. I have friends who mix it in juice or incorporate it in their food, butI don’t want to ruin the food I’m eating, so I just take it straightand get it over with.  A word of caution – EPO has been known to causeuterine contractions, so do not take it if you are pregnant! Finally, and I will not belabor this point since I have have mentionedit in another article, I do take Solgar’s prenatal multivitamin simplybecause it’s the only multi that I can tolerate.  And, I only take halfa dose.   Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D from Solaray. 
    That’smy personal regime.  I have come up with it by research, reading,severe trial and error, and much wasting of money.  Hopefully one ofthose items can help you in your quest to become migraine free.  Asalways, I would never try more than one new thing at a time, our bodiesare too sensitive and there needs to be time for us to gauge our ownreactions.  
    Good luck, God bless, and I would love to hear of anyof your own personal successes against migraines.  Maybe, between allof us, we can beat these things, and instead of counting the yearsuntil menopause, we can enjoy the intervening years gluten AND migrainefree!!!
     

  • Popular Contributors

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      111,067
    • Total Posts
      953,252
  • Topics

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Posts

    • Maureen and Cyclinglady, Of the foods you listed. . .. I would focus on the Chocolate. Chocolate has Tyramine in it and it could/can cause rashes that  might be confused for DH. Sometimes Tyramine get's confused for/in high sulfite foods as triggers. Here is a great overview article on this topic. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-red-wine-headache-health-0608-20160525-story.html you might also have trouble with headaches if it tyramine is causing you your trouble. People who have trouble Tyramine might also have trouble with consuming cheeses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738414/ As for the Milk causing/triggering your DH don't rule Adult onset dairy allergy. While rare it does occur in the literature/research when you search it out. I am including the research here in the hopes it might help you or someone else entitled "Adult onset of cow's milk protein allergy with small‐intestinal mucosal IgE mast cells" https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.1996.tb04640.x It is generally thought most of grow out of a Milk Allergy at approx. 3 years old. But for some lucky one (I guess) we never do apparently.  (I speak for my friend on this board JMG).  He found out he was having trouble with dairy as an adult better never realized until about 6 months ago. With delayed onset allergies it is often hard to tell if it (allergen) is effecting us because we might not associate it with our dairy consumption because it might happen a day or two latter. See this WHFoods article about food allergens/sensitivies.  It is very long/exhaustive but it is very helpful if you have time to study it in more detail. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?pfriendly=1&tname=faq&dbid=30 I will quote some key points for your information. Symptoms of Food Allergies "The most common symptoms for food allergies include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools, eczema, hives, skin rashes, wheezing and a runny nose. Symptoms can vary depending upon a number of variables including age, the type of allergen (antigen), and the amount of food consumed. It may be difficult to associate the symptoms of an allergic reaction to a particular food because the response time can be highly variable. For example, an allergic response to eating fish will usually occur within minutes after consumption in the form of a rash, hives or asthma or a combination of these symptoms. However, the symptoms of an allergic reaction to cow's milk may be delayed for 24 to 48 hours after consuming the milk; these symptoms may also be low-grade and last for several days. If this does not make diagnosis difficult enough, reactions to foods made from cow's milk may also vary depending on how it was produced and the portion of the milk to which you are allergic. Delayed allergic reactions to foods are difficult to identify without eliminating the food from your diet for at least several weeks and slowly reintroducing it while taking note of any physical, emotional or mental changes as it is being reintroduced." Here is their information on Tyramine's. Tyramine "Reactions to tyramine (an amino acid-like molecule) or phenylalanine (another amino acid-like molecule) can result from eating the following foods: Fermented cheeses Fermented Sausage Chocolate Sour Cream Red wine Avocado Beer Raspberries Yeast Picked Herring Symptoms of tyramine intolerance can include urticaria (hives), angioedema (localized swelling due to fluid retention), migraines, wheezing, and even asthma. In fact, some researchers suggest that as many as 20 percent of migraines are caused by food intolerance or allergy, and tyramine intolerance is one of the most common of these toxic food responses." Here is an old thread on tyramine and especially how it can trigger headaches. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/95457-headache-culprit-is-tyramine/ I would also suggest your research a low histamine food diet.  Rashes/hives etc. can be triggered my disregulaton of histamine in the body. The other thing in chocolate that might be causing your problems is Sulfites. Here is a website dedicated to a Sulftie allergy. http://www.allergy-details.com/sulfites/foods-contain-sulfites/ Chocolate bars are on their list of sulfite contaning foods but probably most noted in dried fruits and red wine. Knitty Kitty on this board knows alot about a sulfite allergy. I want to go back to the possible dairy allergy for a second as a possible trigger. . .because it has been established as connected to DH . . .it is just not well known. Here is current research (as I said earlier) most dairy allergies are studied in children but it does occur in approx. 10 pct of the GP unless your of Asian descent where it is much more common. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29555204 quoting the new research from this year on children. "When CMP (Cow's Milk Protein) was re-introduced, anti-tTG increased, and returned to normal after the CMP was withdrawn again." and if adults can also (though rarely) it seem develop "Adult onset of cow's milk protein allergy with small‐intestinal mucosal IgE mast cells" (see research linked above) as the research shows  you should at least trial removing dairy from your diet if you haven't already and see if your DH doesn't come back when you re-introduce it. It just takes 15 or 20 years for medical doctor' to incorporate new research/thinking into clinical practice.  And note the research on this happening in adults is 20+ years old and as far I know doctor's . . . are not aware of this.  I know I wasn't until recently and I research things alot of to help myself and my friends. But I know you can't do what you don't know about.  So this is why I am trying to share what I learned so that other might be helped and this research might not  lay hidden another 20 years before doctor's and their Celiac/DH patients become aware of it. And if it helps you come back on the board and let us know so it can help others too! If it helps you it will/can help someone else! if they know it helped you then they will/can have hope it might help them too and why I share and research these things for others'. . . who don't know or don't have time to research this for themselves. I hope this is helpful but it is not medical advice. Good luck on your continued journey. I know this is a lot of information to digest at one time but I hope at least some of if it helpful and you at least have a better idea of what in your chocolate could be causing your DH (idiopathic) as the doctor's say (of an unknown cause mild) DH symptom's. Or at least it is not commonly known yet that Milk can also cause trigger (DH) in children and adults who have a Milk allergy undiagnosed. . .because we don't don't typically think  or associate it with adults like maybe we should if we are not of Asian descent. Maureen if this doesn't help you you might want to start a thread in the DH section of the forum. As always  2 Timothy 2: 7   “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” this included. Posterboy by the grace of God,
    • I hooe you can get some answers with your new GI doc.
    • Many of us deal with doctor issues and diagnosis, you got a really bad draw indeed. Most doctors dismiss Celiac as their is no money in the cure for them IE a gluten free diet and not medications.

      Keep up updated on your new doctor and testing, good to see you finally found one that listens and can help, I got through on doc #5 I think it was.
  • Upcoming Events

  • Most Popular Articles

  • Blog Entries

  • Topics

×