Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

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Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Jen E on Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:02 pm

I have had food related migraines since I was 16.  I am now 47.  Over the past year, my M's have dramatically increased in severity, frequency, and a drastic change in symptoms.  I used to always get the classic visual aura prodrome, now I almost never get that.  Facial numbness and tingling are now my first signs.  For the first time in my life, I vomited with my migraine (now twice).  I also have developed the sensation of smelling scents that aren't there with a few of the headaches (notably, the smell of liquor).  Until now, if I avoided my known triggers of cheddar cheese (migraine of death) and wine (sometimes grapes, too), my migraines were fairly rare, but I call myself the queen of headaches and often had some kind of low level headache.  Now, it is unusual to NOT have a strong to severe headache and almost all of those headaches end up as migraines.  They are now interfering with my normal daily activities and I am starting to feel very discouraged.

I knew I had a tannin sensitivity from the beginning,  but I believe my body chemistry has changed and it is now much more severe of a sensitivity.  Since it's sort of new to me, I would love to talk to others with tannin sensitivity.  Would you share your experiences, what triggers you, what foods you can't eat, etc?  

At the moment, I am eliminating all foods that have moderate to high tannins.  This is a very new discovery, so I am not sure if I am on to the whole reason for my increased headaches yet.

Thanks,
Jen

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Reama on Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:48 pm

Hi, Jen, replying here to you too, maybe mostly in case you or others miss my comment under my own thread about beans.

See the widomaker website (if you google it, it'll come right up). Just about all the list of high tannin foods, I've suspeced in the past have been troublesome for me, but the problem is, that if you're not eating meat/dairy, it doesn't leave much (also if avoiding gluten).

Some of my reliable triggers include cinnamon, raspberries, pomegranate, blackberries, and, unfortunately, beans.

What have you noticed regarding your migraines?

Reama

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Jen E on Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:01 pm

Hi Reama, I did find the sites you mentioned. I am desperate for more info. It seems there are tannins in so many things and almost everything I really like (berries, apple cider, etc).

I have always had a problem with wine and grapes, though the grapes were not big enough of an issue and I would eat them occasionally. I had a lot of cider this Fall and though I used to be able to drink it, it appears I cannot anymore. I'm having a terrible time with headaches for the past year and especially the last 2 months. Had a migraine today that I ended up taking a Maxalt for. I leave that for a last resort because it only helps reduce the pain and the side effects are very uncomfortable to me. I'm at the point now where I am afraid to eat anything. I have been pushing myself through my headaches and I am feeling very discouraged.

I'm looking now into PHENOLS. Tannins are a phenol and so is tyramine. Tyramine is in cheddar cheese and that triggers my most severe migraines. I have not eaten cheddar (deliberately....I have accidentally eaten it) since I was 16. I am 47 now.

I have to lot to research, but right now, I am seeking ANY relief and I am considering acupuncture (which I have had success with in the past for ankle pain after a serious fracture and 2 surgeries) and even hypnosis for pain management.


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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Reama on Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:37 pm

Hi Jen, I am 50 and since about the mid 40s, the migraines were getting worse and worse, in spite of my avoiding all the triggers I'd identified (and there were very many of these). Now, they are actually getting better, and I've been loosening up on dietary restrictions. I guess it's just because of the "change" (going from premenopause more into menopause). I never would have believed it would help so much. I'm able to get away with things now that I couldn't dream of having before....but still, this is not a license for me to eat indiscriminately. the big triggers are still big triggers. But wanted to let you know that there is probably some relief in the next few years for you, too.

Berries, cinnamon, beans, many other fruits, salt, nuts, peanuts...they can still get me into trouble, but it takes a bigger dose to do it.

I'll be traveling without frequent internet access, for the next couple of weeks, but wish you well with this and will check your progress if you post...
Good Luck!

Reama

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Jen E on Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:05 pm

Thanks Reama. I went to my dr today. I just can't keep existing with a constant bad headache and often a migraine. I feel like I can eat nothing as foods I have eaten my whole life are now causing migraines. I am positive my tannin sensitivity has changed and I am pretty positive it's because of the upcoming pre-menopausal period in my life. I have had other hormone related issues this year. I did get a referral to acupuncture, it have to wait for insurance to review. I am having an MRI as a precaution. My dr and I agree that it's my own body changing. However, I am trying 25mg of Topamax. I read stories about side effects and stories about it working wonders. I start it tonight and I'm nervous. Hoping it will help me and that I won't suffer the bad effects. I know all too well that meds can affect some people and others not at all...both side effects and in efficacy.

My ultimate goal is to get my diet figured out and get the headaches under control with as few meds as possible. I just never realized how many foods have tannins! I am actually eating only milk and Cheerios at the moment because I'm afraid to add anything else in! Sigh. What a pain. Here I have had M's nearly all my life and thought I had them all figured out and now my hormones have to get in on it. Smile

I'll have to see how it goes. I've started a food/headache diary. Today I have a moderate headache, but it's not a migraine. I'm now grading my headaches! Ugh.

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Post  Reama on Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:23 pm

Hi Jen,

How are you doing? I hope, better. How's the topamax? Any clues from your food diary? I am coming off a bad 3 day migraine because I overdid the walnuts and pecans over Thanksgiving (which included eating these nuts in some quantity for the next day or two). I so seldom eat nuts that I'd forgotten what a trigger they could be, or else, I guess, was also feeling a bit cocky with the (until now) improved migraine history. I reviewed the widomaker site again and am starting a low tannin diet to the best of my knowledge.

Regarding other foods with tannins, she doesn't list corn, but I saw on another site that corn contains tannins, and personally, I'm suspicious of sweet potato too, as have had trouble with it in the past. It's too bad there isn't more info on low tannin diets out there (at least that I can find).

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Jen E on Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:46 pm

Hi Reama,

Sorry to hear about the 3 day-er. It really sucks when you can't even enjoy some special foods without getting a headache!

A lot has transpired since I joined the forum and posted my flurry of initial posts. Long story short. I still am certain my food sensitivities have changed and I have eliminated pretty much all tannins I can. I am craving fruit in the worst way. Unfortunately, it's looking like it's not my only issue. After agreeing to go on the Topamax while I work to figure out what was happening, my doctor sent me for an MRI. When the results came back, she said it showed "evidence of migraines" and for me to stay on the Topamax and call back in 6-8 weeks. I lost it. She had no intention of helping me figure it out at all....she had planned to put me on med after med for pain management.

So, I fired her. haha

I am now seeing a holistic Internist and he is just what I was looking for. No news yet, but he ordered a SLEW of tests to check for deficiencies/issues with vitamins, hormones, thyroid, adrenal, and bunch of others. I just had the bloodwork done on Friday, so I don't know anything yet. I go back to him on 12/10. He did give me a magnesium supplement. My headaches are mostly unchanged right now, but I just started with him. I went off ALL of my meds except the Maxalt as needed. Last migraine was Saturday 11/30 (yesterday). I didn't want the meds to mask anything while I finally have a doctor who is helping me figure out the cause of things. Maybe we won't find it, but hopefully we will. I am so happy to have someone who is working with me instead of just prescribing me pills.

I will be going to acupuncture too. My new doctor did some acupressure in office because I had a bad headache the day I saw him. While it didn't go completely away, it did lessen the pain by a lot.

Once the tests come back, I hope it shows some areas to look further into. Once (hopefully) things get more under control, maybe I can start adding some foods in to see what my new triggers are. I pretty much only eat steak or chicken, a potato, and green beans right now. I only drink water or milk. That's it. And the headaches are still around.

I'll post some updates when I get further into my visits with my new dr.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Jen

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Reama on Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:57 am

Thanks for the update, Jen.

Yes, neurologists don't get it...haven't found one yet that's really been able to help me. My last one (who came very highly recommended by another doctor) gave me eight prescriptions (!!!) and wasn't interested in helping me find the cause of the migraines. Like you, I fired her...
I wonder what your doc meant when he said your MRI showed evidence of migraine??? Some of mine are so very painful that it seems they must cause some kind of brain damage, but I've never heard of migraine being evident on MRI!

I've given up all fruit, as of about 6 weeks ago, in that I'd heard fructose could be a cause of chronic headache. I think/thought it helped, but this recent 3-day migraine has thrown me for a loop, though again, I blame the nuts.

Regarding tannins, it was listed on the widomaker site that spinach is safe, but I've read elsewhere that spinach has a lot of tannins, though the baby spinach has less. Apparently potato skins also have tannins, though she includes potatoes in her daily diet. I'm wondering if she peeled hers.

I'll be interested to here more of your experience when you get further along; good luck to you, too!

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  Jen E on Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Truthfully, I think the "evidence of migraines" diagnosis was a joke. I am not aware of anything that shows on MRI for migraine either. But, I did have a migraine at the time of the MRI. The tech praised me on my ability to lay completely still. I said, "I am very, very good at not moving so as not to make a headache get worse." I was SO upset when my doctor (not a neuro) said that..."evidence of migraines". Uh, no kidding.

If it turns out that I have an increased tannin sensitivity, I will probably have a mini meltdown. It seems EVERYTING I like most is high in tannins. Will I starve? No. But I will probably not enjoy my food at all. I really, really, really miss fruit!

I'll post an update when I know more.

P.S. I ate pistachios today. oops

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Post  Jen E on Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:36 pm

I was able to get the daily headache down to a "whisper", as I call the tiny ones, so I tried a little experiment. No gluten, in addition to no tannins. I felt pretty good yesterday but got a migraine today. However, I haven't had the squeezing pressure I usually have all over my head since I took out the gluten and the Maxalt actually WORKED today, instead of just taking the edge off like usual. I feel pretty decent at the moment...just my "whisper" headache and some neck tightness/pain (I get the neck issues with my migraines). Will keep the gluten out for a bit to see what happens. Basically, I'm just trying to make myself comfortable until I go back to the new doc on Tuesday.

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Post  Jen E on Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:33 pm

Went to doctor today. All those blood tests were back and he went over every single one with me. All were within normal range except vitamin D (I have a significant deficiency) and pregnenolone (adrenal hormone) was low. Thyroid was within normal range, but he has not ruled it out. Not the glaring answer I hoped for, but hopefully a starting point. He also wants me to omit gluten AND dairy for 2 weeks, then add one in and a week later, the other to see what effect they might have on the headaches. Adding a vitamin D supplement (5,000 IU each, 3 times a day) and pregnenolone. He also have me Migrelief. Looks like a magnesium/riboflavin/feverfew mix.

I am adding the tannins back in (or rather, the fruit I used to eat). I'm going to stick with his plan until we find it, because today when I was disappointed that it's still a mystery, he said, "We're going to find it." If nothing else, I finally feel like someone is REALLY going to try to find it and not just throw a prescription at me and ignore it.

Next trip to doctor is 30 days. I have a renewed Maxalt rx for emergencies.

-Jen

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Post  Reama on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:20 pm

Hi Jen,

Yes, at least he's really trying to help find a cause. Maybe I'll do the two week off-gluten thing with you, too...I've tried it in the past,but not for two consecutive weeks (it's hard to avoid, for me), but I think it may be part of the equation for me, too. Or possibly it's just the company that gluten keeps. I'm already off dairy, and have been for a long time. Are you planning on avoiding gluten and dairy starting now? If so, enjoy the fruits, because the holiday baked stuff will be torture if you look at it and want it! (I'm planning to avoid that, too, but for other non-migraine reasons!).

This food-trigger stuff is such a mixed bag. I'm finding I tolerate beans a lot better IF I avoid all added forms of sodium in my diet...again, maybe a case of not the beans, but the company they keep...

I also just got a new computer monitor with a very fast re-fresh rate, as the times I'm away from the computer for extended times, the migraines basically mostly (but not completely) go away. It's been less than a week, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Flickering lights have been a trigger for years for me.

By the way, my vit D was very low (around 18) a couple of weeks ago when I had it checked.

Anyway, thanks for the update, and wishing you well, and a NONSTRESSFUL, MIGRAINE-FREE Christmas. That's all any of us really want for Christmas, isn't it?!

Reama


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Post  Jen E on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:39 pm

My vitamin D level was 14.  I start the supplement tomorrow.  He wanted me to start each of the 3 new supplements a day apart and he wanted me to do the Migrelief first.  The day after will be the pregnenolone.  And I have LOTS of reading to do.  He explained Leaky Gut Syndrome to me and that is one of the things we are considering....though there is no "test" for that.  What he described made sense.

Gluten will not be hard for me, even with the holidays.  Right now I am so afraid to eat anything!  I need to sit down and plan some menus though, because it isn't easy to grab something gluten free on the run.  The hardest part about giving up the dairy is the milk.  I love milk and that, for me, is the worst thing you could tell me that I could never eat again....so I am REALLY hoping it's NOT dairy!  I still didn't go for it with the fruit.  I got watermelon and oranges at the store tonight.  Both on the safe list.  I couldn't bring myself to grab an apple.

At this point, I am trying everything, but staying with my doctor's plan.  

Good luck if you try no gluten.  I'll check in again after the 2 weeks are up and before I start adding the two suspects back in.

Happy Holidays!

Jen

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Post  Jen E on Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:22 pm

Reama, I posted a new post regarding my progress with my new doctor. See the thread "Leaky Gut Syndrome" for my updates. I'm surviving without my beloved milk, for now.  Laughing 

Jen

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Tannins are defainately a migraine trigger

Post  ZomigMan on Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:48 pm

For me, blueberries, cider apples, apple juice/cider, high tannin wines (red and white), persimmons, raisins, most nuts, and barley are all rather high in tannins (or related phenols), and will trigger my migraines if I eat enough of them. Search this site on my posts about tannins and migraines.

One thing about tannins is that milk and cheese have proteins in them that bind with tannins and render them less afflicting. Lots of studies have been done about milk added to tea lowering its anti-oxidant effect.
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Post  Jen E on Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:04 pm

Zomigman...I have found a huge source of my migraines. See my post about Leaky Gut Syndrome. Gluten and Casein have been found to be my main issues. I am now migraine free. Only two months, but I was getting 2-3 a week. Still not sure about tannins as I have yet to re-test them now that I have found I am gluten and casein sensitive.

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Post  ZomigMan on Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:23 pm

Well, I have no problems with either Gluten and Casein. Casein actually binds with tannins and reduces their migraine trigger effects. For that reason I eat more cottage cheese and half and half these days. Gluten sensitivity is so over-diagnosed that it is ridiculous. Only about 1:100 actually have that. But if it works for you, great.
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Post  Jen E on Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:47 pm

Glad you have found what works for you. As we all know, no one has an answer that works for everyone. Some will not explore new options because they are quick to shoot down possibilities or may have never heard of some of the potential causes.

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Re: Are tannins your trigger? I'd like to compare notes.

Post  ZomigMan on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:43 pm

Reama wrote:
This food-trigger stuff is such a mixed bag.  I'm finding I tolerate beans a lot better IF I avoid all added forms of sodium in my diet...again, maybe a case of not the beans, but the company they keep...

Yes... sodium seems to be a migraine catalyst for tannins and vaso-active amines like tyramine. MSG or table salt seem to amplify the tannin triggers for me at least. But enough tannins alone and I get a migraine. More than two handfuls of fresh blueberries and I am doomed. One red pear or a cider apple will force me to down triptans.
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Post  ZomigMan on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:54 pm

Jen E wrote:Zomigman...I have found a huge source of my migraines.  See my post about Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Gluten and Casein have been found to be my main issues.  I am now migraine free.  Only two months, but I was getting 2-3 a week.  Still not sure about tannins as I have yet to re-test them now that I have found I am gluten and casein sensitive.  

I am not such a fan of leaky gut syndrome as a diagnosis, as most doctors site lacking evidence for it. However, they do have a lot of info on SIBO these days, and my GI specialist recently diagnosed me with it. It is commonly mis-diagnosed as a lot of other things. Casein is actually beneficial in my case to bind with tannins, a sure migraine trigger for me. Here is a good site on SIBO, which includes LGS, IBS, and associated conditions: http://www.siboinfo.com/symptoms.html

But whatever works! Different people have different sensitivities, and different migraine triggers.
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