Controlling migraine through diet

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Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Jul on Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:56 am

Has anyone had any success with this?

I thought I'd post as I have had reasonable success with this over the past few months.

For a long time I've believed that my migraines are hormone related since I always seemed to be at my worst around my period but over the past year my migraine pattern has changed so that now I get migraines at all times of the month and sometimes I'm migraine free during menstruation. Since there must be SOMETHING causing this pain I decided to try the diet route again.

So for the past two months I've paid very careful attention to my diet (with the exception of christmas where I went mad and got a monster migraine!).

I basically cut out any additives, preservatives, nitrates, tyramines, alcohol. I eat nothing packaged or canned and try to keep everything as fresh and natural as possible. My diet is incredibly boring as I can no longer add anything to my food (sauces, pickles ect).

Something I've noticed is that I am highly sensitive to tyramines. I was migraine free for a month following this diet all through Nov/Dec until christmas where I ate some brazil nuts and walnuts. Within 20 mins I had a bad migraine coming on that almost ruined the holiday if it had not been for Imigran! I since found out that nuts are high in tyramines. I have the same reaction to alcohol which is also very high in tyramines.

I thought if I tell you guys which foods triggered me in the past few months it may help someone Smile

Nuts
Alcohol (why oh why do I have to be allergic to Baileys??! Razz )
Salami
Hot dogs
Yoghurt (containing aspartame)
Chocolate (so unfair!)
literally anything containing monosodium glutamate
smoked ham

all the above foods have triggered a migraine for me within 30 mins of eating them.

Though I'd share these observations with you all in case it helps. I know that diet isn't the only cause of migraine, I also have many other triggers but this really seems to have helped me in the past few months, going from 3 migraines a week and constantly taking triptans to having NO migraines for 6 weeks unless I eat something I shouldn't.

Since my bad migraine at christmas I've been back to following this diet and now haven't had another since *fingers crossed* After 20 years of migraine it would be nice to finally find a solution even if it means giving up all my favourite foods lol....will keep you updated on my progress Smile

Jul
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  charmed quark on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:04 am

Most of the diets say, in adddition to your listed triggers, that caffeine in large amounts, any cured meat and also any aged cheese are triggers. And red wine is an especially bad form of alcohol. Basically all the stuff I love.

Some diets say very fresh yeast bread, also.

In my case, anything heavy on the nitrites WILL cause a migraine. Very quickly.

Alas, though, when I have tried the "migraine diet" what I found was that food triggers simply triggered a migraine I would have had anyway. It's like the potential for a migraine builds up in me and certain foods, exercise, stress, reduction of stress, sleep patterns, etc. then triggers them. If one thing doesn't set off the migraine, then something else will. Basically, my overall rate of migraines was about the same, they were just more unpredictable.

It's possible the number of migraines I had per month were down a little with the diet, but it wasn't much.

I think there are probably different underlying physical problems that cause migraines. In my case, it is severe cervical degneration resulting in myelopathy. As long as I have the underlying problem I will have migraines. In my case, consistant use of anti-spasmodics drugs (one in particular) have almost eliminated my migraines.

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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  dcook60 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:54 pm

yes, i've had very good results with the diet route. after researching, and finding out about 12-14 years ago that there are (in the u.s., at least) 60+names for MSG, i have had fewer of the real killer migraines.

manufacturers sneak this stuff in under pseudonyms, because even the general public is a little educated about the MSG headache thing. how deceptive can you get??

all the foods you listed are full of chemical crap. i have found i can't eat ANY food chemicals, bar none. it takes me much longer to shop than other people, cuz i have to read each and every ingredient. the simpler the list of ingredients, the more likely it is to be safe for me.

sometimes (often, in fact) things that SHOULD be safe according to their labels, make me a hideous mess of pain. in the u.s., if an ingredient is in the food in less than a prescribed amount, they don't have to list it on the label. for me, one molecule seems to be monstrous.

here's something you might try, when you are brave enough........plain yogurt without anything but milk and bacterial cultures, and chocolate with NO soy lecithin. or any kind of lecithin. these are highly processed substances. there are several brands of chocolate that i can eat, which does make me happy! i can eat nuts, as long as there is nothing else in them besides salt.

it's not fun at all to watch everyone eat stuff i can't touch, but hey, i'm used to it by now. it's just a way of life. the pain isn't worth the momentary pleasure of eating something questionable. dianne (43 years now......doing better but i will never be pain-free. i have accepted this, much as i don't like it!)
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Jul on Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:16 am

Thanks for the tips Very Happy

I can't believe I forgot to mention cheese which is one of my major triggers especially the aged cheese. I moved from the UK to Italy a year ago and couldn't work out why my migraines became so much worse when I started living here. It was only when I realised that the italians put a lot of parmesan in their pasta dishes and as I was living with an italian family I was being served Lasagne and cannelloni weekly that the I solved the puzzle lol....shame because the food here is amazing!!

They also eat a lot of cured meats and salami, none of which I can touch.

As for the food labelling, in the UK is was very detailed so easy to identify the culprits, here is not so easy as everything is in italian and my italian is not so good :p

My most recent discovery has been yogurt, I had no idea these were giving me trouble since I had no clue that most yoghurts contain aspartame these days.

Jul

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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Cindy*W on Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:18 am

Jul,

Thanks for posting on this subject.

Although I have tried to watch my diet in the past, if I am being honest with myself, I wasn't very consistent with it.

I think it is time to give it another try.

Thanks to all the other posters who gave such good info.

You have inspired me to give the diet another try.

How I would love to take meds as needed instead of it being a daily thing.

Anyway, I will let you know how it works out for me.

Thanks!

Cindy
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Jul on Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:35 am

hi Cindy Smile

so pleased you're going to give it a go Smile

Just wanted to add that perseverance is needed with this, I felt worse before I felt better, the change in diet seemed to trigger a headache in the first days but after a week or so I really noticed an improvement in my head pain. The same happened again at christmas when I got a bad migraine from coming off this diet for the holiday period. Although I went back to really watching what I ate it took a week or so again for me to feel much better. Its almost like it takes that long for the body to rid itself of these toxins Smile

Its hard to say no to the foods you love but I'd rather lived on boiled rice than get all the headaches I was getting before!

Best of luck Smile

Jul
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Mini on Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:52 am

I don't have time to stop for longer, but what you write about trigger foods is terribly important, Jul.

I have also been thorugh the elimination and observation process and my comclusions are similar to yours. My M became much better controlled/

One of the last seriosu triggers I have discovered were citrus fruit. All citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, garpefruits - I stilll miss them, but will not touch them, not even citrus peel in deserts.

So look out for those in Italy.
And of course pizza and all that cheese.
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Jul on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:29 am

yep I'm wary of citrus fruit too, am not 100% sure if they are a trigger for me as I am not a big fruit lover so only have the occasional satsuma, but my Dad insists they are a migraine trigger for him.

I have to say that this way of eating, although very restrictive and boring, has made more difference to my migraines than any drug I've tried in 20 years so I completely agree that diet is very important in migraine disease. Not for everyone, as many have completely non diet related triggers too, myself included and I still have to be careful of all the other things too but this has been very helpful for me Smile

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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  Mini on Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Yes, I agree, foods are just one group of M triggers.
Then there are chemical (cleaning materials, fuels etc) and environmental triggers (weather, air quality etc) Many of us are just sensitive to variety of different triggers in all these groups.

Of course some of these triggers cannot be avoided, no matter what we do (like weather for example). Fortunately others can be eliminated (I only buy scent free cleaning stuff and cosmetics).
I find that most trigger foods can often be avoided, even it requires strong will power and lots of understanding from our nearest and dearest it is not too difficult, once you adapt.
Taking risks is simply not worth it so I have adjusted to more natural and healthy foods.

I have lliminated all processed food in every form, and will not touch anything that ready made, or bottled. This is a small price to pay, if you really want to have fewer Ms.
I do not call it M diet, I just refuse to eat foods, that are likely to give me M, that's all.
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Re: Controlling migraine through diet

Post  TechSpec on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:58 pm

A study on chronic migraines in children showed that 93% of patients could stop their frequent severe migraines on an elimination diet (see first reference). In the study, the patients ate only 4 foods (ex: rice, lamb, apples, and brassica) for a week. If that helped reduce their migraines, they added foods back once a week until their diet was nutritious and socially acceptable. It might be worth a try. There is growing evidence that migraines are an allergic disease.

I learned a while ago that my diet was by far the best way to manage my migraines. I tried an elimination diet. I cut out 7 common allergens from my diet (Milk, Egg, Wheat, Tomato, Beef, Corn, Soy) and got much better. I now eat mainly rice, vegetables, and fish and have almost no migraines.


Best,
Steven

References:

Egger, J., et al. "Is migraine food allergy?: a double-blind controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment." The Lancet (1983): 865-869.

Mansfield, Lyndon E., et al. "Food allergy and adult migraine: double-blind and mediator confirmation of an allergic etiology." Annals of allergy (1985): 126.

Monro, Jean, Claudio Carini, and Jonathan Brostoff. "Migraine is a food-allergic disease." The Lancet (1984): 719-721.

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