In terms of things that can ruin your day, migraines might just have to top the list. As anyone who has suffered one before knows, migraines can inflict an excruciating type of pain on their victim that is much worse than a normal headache. The symptoms brought on by migraines can include anything from throbbing pain and a sensitivity to light and sound to nausea, vomiting, and blurry vision.
How to Get Rid of a Migraine
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever suffered from the pain of a migraine, you are far from alone in the experience. An estimated 37 million Americans are affected by migraines every year, and while some people will be struck only by an occasional migraine, there are others who become caught in a constant trend of shutting the blinds, popping back Advil, and waiting until the pain is over.
Unsurprisingly, this method of combating a migraine is hardly conducive to leading a productive life. Migraines can really interfere with people’s lives, forcing them to stay home from work and social events. If migraines occur often, this can really become a problem. However, since migraines are such a common curse, you have to wonder if there isn’t a better way for dealing with them. As it turns out, there just might be.
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Little do people know, it may actually be a food sensitivity that deserves the blame for a recurring migraine problem. Food sensitivities are different from allergies, and usually are much harder to detect. This is because food allergies are IgE-antibody reactions, which cause an immediate reaction as soon as the substance comes in contact with the body. These reactions can manifest in all sorts of unpleasant ways, from hives to nausea to difficulty breathing, but this makes it easy to trace the symptom back to its source.
Food sensitivities are not so easy to trace. They are caused by something called IgG-antibody reactions against food, and these reactions can remain ‘silent’ for some time after contact from the original trigger. Since IgG reactions can be delayed by hours, or even days, they are much harder to trace back to the source then the IgE type reactions. And it is these slow acting IgG reactions that may be responsible for your migraines. So how do you know exactly what food is the culprit?
Stopping them Before They Start
So clearly it turns out that your food might play a big role in the severity and frequency of your migraines, which means that regulating your diet could have a positive effect in stopping them before they start. Don’t believe it? A 2010 randomized trial showed that when foods that commonly trigger IgG reactions in migraine sufferers were removed for just 6 weeks, there was a shocking, and very noticeable improvement in both the symptoms of migraines, and the duration of them.
Foods to Avoid
While the science behind migraines and food sensitivities is very interesting, to someone who suffers from migraines, the only real question they want answered is: how can I get it to stop?
As it turns out, some common food triggers for migraine sufferers are wheat products, cow’s milk, grain cereals, yeast, corn, citrus, and eggs. However, that’s quite a lengthy list of common foods, so it might not be possible, or practical to eliminate these from your diet. If you are a migraine sufferer and think that food sensitivities might be the root of your problem, you can actually get it checked out by a specialist. Talk to your physician about taking an IgG sensitivity test to figure out which food is the problem.
Try an Elimination Diet
Alternatively, you can try to figure it out on your own by beginning an elimination diet. Go about this by eliminating all of the potential trigger foods from your diet for 3 straight weeks. Then, you can re-introduce each of the food products one by one in order to isolate the one that is causing your migraines. Make sure to do this carefully so you can achieve accurate results.
Introduce each food for a few days at a time, to give your body to react accordingly to it (remember that IgG reactions can take up to a few days to manifest!). Although people can have IgG antibodies against many different types of food, it’s worthwhile to start your test with the most common offenders for IgG reactions- that is; wheat and gluten-containing products and cow’s milk.
Go Forth Without Pain!
So there you have it folks. Migraines aren’t as scary or mysterious as they seem to be. In actuality, they are often caused by something that is very simple to adjust or fix. You don’t always need fancy remedies or expensive medicines to get rid of that giant pain in your life. Just try switching up your diet a little.
If you end up having a slight sensitivity to a food, you can soon look forward to a life without taking sick days or missing important social events. As much as everyone wants to lie at home in debilitating pain like your skull is exploding, the alternative seems far nicer. Give diet adjustment a try.
Just some food for thought!
Pizzorno J, Murray M. The textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone. 2012
Migraine Research Foundation. http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org/fact-sheet.html
Alpay et al. Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: A clinical double-blind, randomized, cross-over trail. Cephalgia. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899772/
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