Chronic Migraine, Coping, Triggers

A Gluten Connection?

Still brain dead in a migraine spell, but I couldn’t wait to tell you that I’m almost positive there’s a food connection with my migraines. . . and I’m pretty sure gluten is the culprit. Only after cheating on my migraine diet with baked goods over Thanksgiving weekend did I come to this conclusion. The food was delicious, but not worth the price of the current migraine spell.

As you can tell by the equivocal opening sentence, I’m not completely convinced gluten is the problem. But I’m close enough to believing it that I’m impatiently waiting for my body to recover from my cheating and thinking about the glorious possibilities that await if I’ve truly found a problem. I’m trying to keep from getting too excited — having a migraine helps with that.

So I’m spending the day reading, drafting a few of the many posts that have been floating around in my mind since the AHS symposium, and resting. Mostly resting. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are doing as well as possible!

10 thoughts on “A Gluten Connection?”

  1. Histamine intolerance – gluten – antibiotics – genetic predisposition to migraine – connection: I had migraines for 20 years (between 5 and 13 headaches days a month). The only time that I didn’t have migraines was during my 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Thanks to European studies – I found out about histamine intolerance. During pregnancy the placenta pumps out a tremendous amount of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) one of two enzymes responsible for breaking down histamine. This extra amount, I believe, helped bring my histamine load down to a level that allowed me to eat histamine-releasing foods without penalty. The gluten connection: the worst trigger for me is gluten, especially hyper-glutenized breads, I always get a migraine after eating this. Gluten damages the cells that produce DAO in the intestines. Couple that with 2 years of Tetracycline that I took in my late teens, I wiped out the good bacteria that dismantle histamine. So, I think that the damaged intestinal cells from gluten coupled with the loss of good bacteria – mainly species that dismantle histamine, my histamine levels were too high. I believe that high histamine releases nitric oxide – a headache trigger. In short, take a probiotic that has these good bacteria, stay far away from wheat and the other big triggers namely, vinegar, aged cheeses, onions and of course MSG, aspartame and see what happens. You can also buy Histame (DAO enzyme supplement) to help with problem meals. I use the probiotic from the GAPS website. Hope this helps someone.

  2. I think a lot of us are victims of exposure to chemicals.
    Read The Invisible Disease by Gunni Nordstrom
    A really amazing book. They mention brominated flame retardants in the book and about how they are so pervasive in our society – especially on the electronic equipment we all use. It volatizes into the air and we breathe it in. This can produce sensitivity to light, headaches etc. Flame retardans are epoxy based. Very toxic stuff. When flame retardants interact with other chemicals emitted by certain types of lighting, eg fluourescent then new chems are formed. No wonder we are sensitive to certain lights.

  3. Thanks for the tip, Bibi. I’ve been looking into histamine for the last week and have revamped my already restricted diet. A lot of foods that are high in histamine are also on migraine trigger lists, like tyramine and tannin, but not all. Haven’t noticed a difference yet, but the weather has been changing. Am going to talk to my headache specialist about histamine tomorrow. Thanks again for the idea!

    Madeleine, I haven’t. I have to admit that I’m suspicious of a test that claims to catch something that all the other tests miss. It sounds like a marketing ploy to me.

    Stacey, have you tried conventional migraine diets? Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz, while written in a rude and condescending tone, has a comprehensive overview of migraine trigger foods. Here’s some information on tyramine and migraine: Also, tannin and migraine: Tannin doesn’t make the typical lists of migraine triggers, but maybe there’s something there?

    Amy, there’s definitely a gluten-migraine connection for people who are sensitive to gluten. Unfortunately, there are plenty of migraineurs who have chronic migraine and no trouble with gluten. Or maybe I mean fortunately? As much as giving up gluten would be hard, I’d do it if it took care of the migraines. Now I’m thinking it could be histamine, not gluten, as histamine-containing foods were in everything I ate that also had gluten. And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad the blog is helpful for you. Happy holidays!


  4. Hi Kerrie, I will be following you to see if getting off gluten helps you. I have heard from one other person that it took away her migraines, but in fairness she didn’t have them like you and I seem to experience them on a chronic daily level. I see my neurologist tomorrow and I don’t know what he will say; The neurontin at 300mg is not preventing them so I am probably going to end up on a low dose of Depakote :-(. I am going to ask if I try Topamax again, at a lower dose, with the Depakote as a ‘hail mary.’ I am exhausted and have had to keep working; Some days i want to walk away; some days the anticipatory anxiety and depression takes away all thoughts except how to get through another day. Other days what I do for work matters so I fight for the people I touch; and for my family.
    I was reading what you were thankful for and you are so lucky to have people around you who understand. I have people who think they do, but don’t. That’s okay. I also have accepted that feeling better may be relative and not an all or nothing. I look forward to seeing you having some relief and reading more of your blogs.
    Personally, I am thankful that this site exists. Thank You Kerrie and happy holidays. amy

  5. The histamine comment from Bibi really got me thinking. I take an antihistamine every day. I am researching this now as a possible migraine trigger for me. On one hand I hope so because I would love to find the cause and prevent it but on the other hand, there are soooooo many foods with histamines. So that would suck. But what sucks more? I’ve gone so far as getting cat scans etc and secretly hoping it was a brain tumor I could have removed. I would gladly give up tomatoes, red wine, and bread to never have a headache again.

  6. My migraines get worse with wheat as well, but a gluten test at the doctor’s was negative. Genny Masterman (What HIT me) writes, that there is histamine in yeast so that might cause migraines. I feel a lot better eating less histamine rich and histamine releasing foods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *