Migraine – how to get rid of it with the help of a diet?
Migraine is a serious problem that affects more and more people. Scientific studies show that the cause of migraine can be, among others poorly selected diet. First, visit a doctor. However, if your medication has not been helping for a long time, check how you can help yourself with proper nutrition and supplementation.
Definition of migraine
Migraine is not just a normal headache that sometimes affects everyone. This is a more complex disorder. Migraine pain is recurrent, pulsating and usually one-sided. Migraine can last from several hours to 3 days. Characteristic accompanying symptoms may occur: nausea, vomiting, photophobia, increased sensitivity to sounds and smells. Sometimes visual disturbances (so-called aura) appear before an attack of pain.
The exact causes of migraines are unknown. Factors such as stress, strong emotions, excessive physical exertion, endocrine disruption, and improper diet may contribute to their occurrence.
Biogenic amines and migraine
Biogenic amines are the most common problem. It is a group of compounds that are formed in food mainly in the process of decarboxylation of free amino acids with the participation of bacteria. Amines include, but are not limited to: histamine, tyramine, serotonin, phenylethylamine and tryptamine.
The human body is able to metabolize amines derived from food due to the presence of enzymes – amino oxidases. However, if the enzyme is deficient or reduced, or if too much amine is consumed, it becomes very difficult to process.
As shown by studies, as many as 87% of people who experience migraines have reduced levels of diamine oxidase (DAO), which results in increased levels of histamine in the blood (Izquierdo-Casas, 2017).
What to avoid to get rid of migraine?
Products that contain a large amount of biogenic amines are: meat (especially highly processed e.g. sausages, canned goods), fish (mackerel, tuna, sardines), crustaceans, alcohol (beer, wine), citrus, chocolate, silage, fermented products and long-ripening (cheese, salami sausage, soy sauce, vinegar), monosodium glutamate (chips, fast-food, Chinese soups, broth cubes, etc.) and expired food.
In addition to biogenic amines, canned food, sausages and sausages also contain harmful preservatives – nitrates and nitrites, which additionally worsen health. Sweets (especially those with chocolate) as a source of refined sugar and trans fats contribute to the formation of inflammation, so they are not a good choice. Aspartame and sucralose (i.e. artificial sweeteners) can also increase migraine.
Caffeine has a dual effect on the occurrence of migraines. Some say coffee intensifies migraine pain in its early stages, while others say the opposite. In people accustomed to drinking a lot of coffee, after stopping it abruptly the headache may increase. For this reason, it is best not to exclude it from day to day, but to limit it gradually.
Fasting or skipping meals, despite the fact that many people derive health benefits from them, unfortunately can negatively affect migraine-prone patients. Recurrent migraines may be the result of unrecognized food intolerance. It is worth doing tests especially for hypersensitivity to gluten.
Migraine – what can you eat?
The diet should be based on fresh and low-processed products. Consume 5 servings of vegetables (but watch out for silage). Fruits are also recommended, but avoid citrus. In addition, eggs, fresh milk (not necessarily cow’s), freshwater fish, meat in small quantities (and only fresh), nuts, seeds and stones and some cereals and pseudo-cereals are allowed: amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, rice, quinoa and Vegetable drinks e.g. rice, coconut, almond, oat.
Do not forget about the addition of fats such as evening primrose oil, linseed oil, brown oil, olive oil and avocado. Omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, due to their anti-inflammatory effect, are an ingredient that should not be missing in the diet of people suffering from migraines.
One study (Wagner, 1997) examined the effect of taking alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) in combination with gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6). The results were very satisfactory. 86% of patients noticed a great improvement, 90% were less likely to vomit during a migraine attack, and almost every fourth patient 100% cured of migraines. This is an argument for regularly consuming linseed oil and evening primrose oil.
It is also important to drink the right amount of water (30 ml / kg body weight). Preferably mineral water with a high magnesium content. Melissa infusion will also help in the fight against stress.
For people with histamine intolerance, it may be helpful to supply the enzyme diamine oxidase from outside. This preparation enables the processing of histamine in the body, thus reducing the onerous symptoms of its intolerance.
Due to the fact that sea fish are a source of omega-3 (EPA and DHA), but at the same time have a high content of biogenic amines and are not recommended in patients with migraines, EPA and DHA should be supplemented in an amount of about 1000-2000 mg / day.
Migraine sufferers also often have deficiencies in magnesium, vitamins B2, B3, B6, folates and coenzyme Q10. It is recommended to take about 200-600 mg of magnesium daily for 2-3 months and 150 mg of coenzyme Q10.
One of the causes of migraines may be damage to the intestinal barrier, making it too permeable to unwanted particles. To seal the intestinal barrier, use a preparation with appropriately selected and tested probiotic strains (e.g. Sanprobi Barrier).
Diet for migraine sufferers should be composed primarily on the basis of patient observation. It is worth to record after what products headache appears and try to eliminate these products from the diet for some time. In addition, it is important to eat fresh, low-processed food, supplement deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and rebuild the intestinal barrier.