Food allergies can trigger a migraine

Most of us think that a headache is a common ailment that does not require medical intervention unless it is severe and turns into a migraine. However, did you know that food allergy could also trigger headaches?

Since the food allergies have a reaction on the body every time the food is eaten, it is still difficult to recognise them as the reaction may vary every time and that’s why it is difficult to recognise food-related migraine triggers.

The foods that trigger a migraine generally contain tyramine or phenylethylamine compounds which are generally found in chocolates, fermented cheese, soy foods, nuts, wine, onions, pickles etc. Here’s a list of some food components that may cause severe headaches.

  • Caffeine: It is one of the major food components that result in a migraine. Black tea and other caffeinated drinks cause headaches.
  • Aspartame: The used artificial sweetener causes a migraine. Be careful while consuming diet beverages, yoghurt and sugar-free foods.
  • Additives: MSG, yeast extracts, sodium caseinate etc. are generally used in the Chinese cuisines are bad for people with a migraine.
  • Sulfites: This ingredient is found in dried prunes, figs, apricots etc.
  • Alcohol: Since alcohol causes dehydration, drinking any form of liquor results in headaches.

Researchers have different views on food allergy and migraine trigger. Some say that food intolerance rather than allergies are responsible for a migraine. There are no particular tests for food intolerance as its effects may be physiological, immunological or biochemical in its origin. Certain food allergy tests also take into account the IgG & IgA antibodies. Studies have shown that by removing foods that result in IgG response, the migraine attacks are reduced to a great extent.  

(The author is COO, Oncquest Laboratories)

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Food allergies can trigger a migraine

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