Chronic Migraine, Diet, Reader Stories, Treatment, Triggers

The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write

Not only do I think I’ve figured out my biggest migraine trigger, I have a way to treat it. Even better, the treatment is simple and straightforward and feels sustainable for the long-term. As an added bonus, it lets me eat peanut butter.

Here’s the gist, which may have gotten lost in the epically long post about mast cells, histamine and diamine oxidase a couple weeks ago:

  1. Whenever a person eats anything, histamine is released as part of the digestive process.
  2. An enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) processes the released histamine.
  3. I do not produce enough DAO (nor do many other migraineurs, according to at least one researcher).
  4. Without enough DAO, I can’t fully process normal amounts of histamine.
  5. All that unprocessed histamine is a major migraine trigger for me. (Studies suggest histamine could be a trigger for some percentage of people with migraine.)
  6. By taking a DAO supplement 10 minutes before I eat, I’ve been able to eat without getting a migraine.
  7. Histamine Block, the supplement I started this week, is much more potent and more effective than the one I was experimenting with a couple weeks ago, hence the drastic improvement. [Tons of people have asked where to buy the supplement. The name is Histamine Block and it’s available on Amazon. Click those words and you’ll get right to it.]

Despite still having constant head pain, it is sometimes as low as a level 1 and I haven’t had a real migraine since last Friday. I literally cannot remember the last time I felt as good as I have in this week.

Unsurprisingly, it has been a tremendously exciting and weird week. Multiple times, I’ve been driving with the windows down, dancing and singing at the top of my lungs, the stereo blaring so I don’t have to hear myself sing — and crying. I just can’t get over how normal life suddenly seems.

I’m so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I can’t make sense of the mass of thoughts jumbled in my mind. Could this treatment — which is so obscure as to be unheard of by the vast majority of headache specialists — really be “it”? Am I embarking on a future without daily debilitating migraine attacks? What does day-to-day life without a constant migraine even look like? Is my greatest wish actually coming true?

1/24/14: I awoke at 5 a.m. worried this post made it sound like I think I’ll never have another migraine, so here’s a clarification. I do not. I even expect they will stay chronic. My greatest wish isn’t to be pain- or migraine-free, but to not have a migraine all. the. time.

Having a migraine triggered every time I ate has probably been the greatest burden of chronic migraine for me. Figuring out something that’s contributing to that one piece of the puzzle — and having any sense of normalcy — is exhilarating.

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23 thoughts on “The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write”

  1. Has anyone else noticed an improvement in mood with DAO? I feel so much happier! I am using Umbrellex since Histame no longer contains DAO.

  2. I have recently had several episodes where I would get very dizzy and feel like I am going to pass out and also terrible stomach pain. One of my drs. Said it was a migraine headache involving the Vagus nerve. I usually never have any headaches so this something new to me. Have you ever heard of this before? I really don’t know what to do about it. I am also having problems with severe bloating and constipation. Love to hear any thoughts you have. Thank you!

    1. Hi Marsha, it sounds like maybe you have abdominal migraine. Drugs called triptans can be taken to stop a migraine attack (whether it includes head pain or not). They’re prescription-only in the U.S. I’d ask your doctor if they’re safe for you to try. Some people describe them as miraculous in their ability to stop a migraine attack. There are also preventive medications and supplements that can keep migraine attacks from happening in the first place. Magnesium can be really effective for migraine and can have a laxative effect, so it could relieve your constipation. Also keep in mind that people with migraine often also have IBS. It’s possible you have symptoms from both going on.

      Take care,

  3. Hello. My GP is insisting that I go to see Dr.. Buckholz. After calling his office to make an appt., I realized that since my migraine diagnosis back in 1992, he was one of the seemingly Hundreds of doctors I have been to. The office receptionist told me to check out his book from the library and that it was an easy read.

    When I found your site and read the comments about the book and him – it all came rushing back to my already pounding head! The preventive meds, the triptans, the rebounds, the diet, the blame game. I just don’t want to go through all that again.

    I just don’t Know why these docs dontvgive you the meds that you know work for you. I am the one living with daily headache, whether occipital, migraine, tension, etc. I know what to do, what works, etc. I hate this.

  4. Hi! I’ve been struggling with weird symptoms for months and recently figured out it was due to histamine intolerance. I found your site when searching for doa options. I’m going to give this one a try. Have you tried transdermal magnesium therapy? It has done wonders for my situation. I’m new here so I might have missed that you did already, but if not it’s well worth a try.

  5. Hi Kerrie, First let me tell you how I absolutely love your articles. I don’t read so much on the computer, due to 20 migraine days a month, but I always feel my heart open when I read your posts, and this article is no exception. I am so incredibly happy that you can eat somewhat freely again. I have yet to experiment with DAO … I am on large doses of HCL before each meal,so I am printing out some information to take to my doctor to see if I can try this. Thank you for the link to amazon should he not wish to accept my new experiment (yet another one I dare say). So, it seems a year later now – I am wondering what your results with this are now? All good I hope. And thank you once again, it is so nice to not feel so alone in this illness. Stay well Kerrie …. we need you!

    1. Thank you so much, Holly! You’re very sweet. I had great results until I tried a new treatment this spring. That exacerbated my symptoms and I’m still trying to get back to my prior baseline. The DAO is still working, but there’s something else going on, too. Best of luck finding relief.

      Take care,

  6. I am amazed and also happy for you. I’ve been reading all your DOA posts and now I’ve really got to think about a low histamine diet. It makes more sense to me than the seemingly random migraine diet.

    1. Bureinato,

      Thank you! I’d recommend both a low-histamine and low-tyramine diet for the best approach to the diet. Tyramine and histamine are related in that they’re both biogenic amines. Also, many foods have both, so it’s not too much extra to also avoid tyramine. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

      Take care,

  7. Thank you, Audra! I remember you from the early days and am so happy to hear that you’re doing better as well. And that you’re enjoying and appreciating the improvement so much. I am too!

    Amber, as always, thanks for the support.

    Rose, thanks for the kind words and for updating me on your progress. It’s great to hear that you’ve found relief.

  8. I am so Extremely Hapy for you Kerrie. I have found relief too and I can only say it’s a miracle cause all I was left to do was Pray (Or actually the people around me that had the courage to do so while I cry and scream or sleep through an attack) I will for ever be part of this community of migraineurs I once discovered. I thank you especially who took the time to communicate with me via email and show me I’m not alone.

  9. FINALLY reading this joyous post and crying with happiness – not only for you but for ALL OF US. This is wonderful. YOU DESERVE ALL THE JOY!!!

  10. I’ve been following your blog for years, Kerry, and this post makes me so happy … For you and for all those who hope for and stay persistent in searching for relief and better health. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope this is it for you!!! You have gone through so much!! I’ve had CDH and transform migraine for almost 20 years, I haven’t gone to the same lengths as you, and for a couple of years I even stopped looking for answers because I hated all the side effects, lack of results and disappointment from false hope from all the different doctors and treatments. It’s such a long story, but in the last couple years, I’ve been crazy persistent and I’ve found a four pronged treatment for relief more days that not. One doctor insisted I had to go off one medication because of EKG results, I just didn’t believe the results were right, and did go off the medication and fell back into pain. A cardiologist confirmed they were being dramatic about my results and wrote a letter that I could go back on the med and could be under her care for future heart monitoring. With all four pieces: two medications (typically not used together, but found the combo worked while transitioning from one migraine specialist to the next) and vitamin D, regular massage and daily meditation, I feel like a completely new person, like one who is experiencing how fun life can be for the first time. Yes, I still have a headache everyday, but it’s so low that I can actually think, talk, walk and sleep without overcoming pain. I noticed the little things, too, like turning the car radio up and singing or in response to “How are you?” I’ve changed – subconsciously – from “ok” or “fine” to ” good” or great!” Knowing this may not work forever, I’m appreciative every day!

  11. That Q&A I promised? It has swallowed three hours and still needs work. I’ll finish it up tonight and publish it tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the answer to the most frequently asked question:

    What’s the name of your supplement and where do I buy it?
    The actual name is Histamine Block and it’s available on Amazon:
    (Disclosure: If you buy through that link, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale.)

  12. Thanks for the love and for celebrating with me. It means more to me than you know.

    I’ve gotten multiple email messages with questions about histamine and DAO. Once I get them all responded to, I’ll post my responses in these comments so everyone can get the additional information.

    First, to answer Christina Harper’s question: Eating anything caused my migraines to worsen, but I think I’m fairly rare in that. A lot of people who have low DAO can eat some (or many) foods without a reaction, and only have trouble with food that’s high in histamine itself. Certain foods naturally contain histamine and some others release even more than usual amounts of histamine when you eat them. You’ll find many conflicting lists online of what’s considered high in histamine and what isn’t. This is the one that’s generally regarded to be the most accurate:


  13. Wow. Thanks for sharing. ..
    Hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy improved health and others like me will benefit.

  14. Did your migraine go up after eating every time you ate? Or was it certain foods that triggered it more than others?

  15. I’m more of a creepy lurker-type than someone who posts a lot, but I’m so pleased for you and your progress. I have my fingers crossed for you, and I wish you a ton of luck going forward. We are all looking for that thing (or combination of things) that will help us. (I have been in and out of chronic for years.)


  16. I understand in ways that I would not have a couple of years ago. Chronic pain is hard to appreciate until a) you have some and b) it goes away. Happy you’ve found this!

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