Community, Treatment

Migraine and Gluten Sensitivity

In a desperate attempt to treat her migraines, herself (gluten-free) blogger Karen Yesowich Schmucker discovered she was sensitive to gluten. Adopting a gluten-free diet has reduced the frequency and severity of her migraines. Karen explains the connection in this guest post.

While there is data to suggest that a certain percentage of migraineurs also suffer from celiac disease or some form of gluten sensitivity, few neurologists routinely test their patients for it. One study done in Italy in 2003 suggested that 4% of migraineurs also had celiac. You may think this is a small number and that may explain neurologists’ reluctance to test for it. But consider this: few people in the general population are ever tested for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Until recently, doctors considered it to be extremely rare, but now there is reason to believe that the number of people in this country who have some form of intolerance to gluten is 1 in 133, or about 3 million. Over 90% of these people do not know of their gluten sensitivity. So how safe can we as patients feel about the small number of migraineurs who also have Celiac? We don’t really know how many of us are out there. Should we care? Would a gluten-free diet really help us? And what the heck is gluten anyway?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is what makes dough from these grains sticky and hold together when baked. Gluten is also used in many other food products from soups and salad dressings to soy sauce and beer. Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune disease which, left untreated, will eventually destroy the villi in the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of minerals and nutrients. There are serious implications from malabsorption including osteoporosis, certain cancers and a host of other disorders. Go to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to find out more.

Today the only treatment for gluten sensitivity is the complete and lifelong avoidance of gluten. Does maintaining a gluten-free diet help migraine? There is some evidence to suggest that some migraineurs are helped by it. Some report the total disappearance of migraine while others have fewer and less severe attacks. I fall into the latter category. I found out (by accident) a little over a year ago that I am gluten intolerant and I have followed a gluten-free diet since December 2006. Do I still get migraines? Yes, but not as many and not as severe. I have not had a classic migraine (with aura) in about a year. Does my neurologist think that gluten caused my migraines? No, but it could have created a situation where migraine was more likely to occur, especially since I had evidence of malabsorption and was deficient in several important minerals like magnesium, even though I was supplementing at 400 mg per day!

As a direct result of my experience, my neurologist now tests his patients who show gastrointestinal symptoms for gluten sensitivity. But he doesn¹t test all his patients. He (incorrectly, according to experts on celiac) believes that one must have these types of symptoms before testing makes sense. However, with celiac, symptoms often do not appear until the disease has progressed and a patient is not absorbing nutrients. Here are some of the symptoms noted in celiac literature: fatigue, anemia, migraine, eczema, psoriasis, mineral deficiencies, as well as gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea. So the bottom line is: finding out you have gluten intolerance may or may not help your migraine, but the health benefits of discovery and treatment by themselves are compelling. I went gluten-free hoping to rid myself of debilitating headaches, but knowing what I know now makes me glad I did it regardless of the effect on my headaches.

If you do decide to get tested, make sure you do NOT start a gluten-free diet until AFTER the test results come in and your doctor tells you to start it. The test will come back negative if you are not actively eating gluten. If you go on a gluten-free diet please give it a good chance to succeed. I found some of my symptoms disappeared within three days, but the migraine-easing part of it took longer. Months longer. So be patient and don’t cheat. It can take up to 18 months for your system to heal. If you want to see how to navigate life gluten-free, visit my blog. You can find recipes there as well as tips for managing eating out, traveling and otherwise living a normal life gluten and headache-free.

References and Resources:

  • Association between migraine and celiac disease: results from a preliminary case-control and therapeutic study. Gabrielli, M.; Cremonini, F.; Fiore, G.; Addolorato, G.; Padalino, C.; Candelli, M.; de Leo, M.E.; Santarelli, L.; Giacovazzo, M.; Gasbarrini, A.; Pola, P. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 98, Number 3, March 2003 , pp. 625-629(5)
  • Migraine and Coeliac Disease. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 38 (8). J. Serratrice MD, P. Disdier MD, C. de Roux MD, C. Christides MD, P.J. Weiller MD.  (1998), 627­628 doi:10.1046/j.1526-4610.1998.3808627.x
  • Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic. Peter H. Green, Rory Jones. HarperCollins Publishers. 2006. ISBN-13: 9780060766931 (Peter H. Green, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. He confirmed that migraines can be a symptom of celiac disease.)
  • Living Gluten Free for Dummies. Dana Korn. Wiley Publishing, Inc. Hoboken N.J., 2006
  • All in Your Head. Untreated gluten sensitivity can affect your gut, your skin and your brain. By Alicia B. Woodward. Living Without magazine. Winter 2007. Pp. 11-16; 27.
  • Celiac Disease Foundation
  • Gluten Intolerance Group

Karen Yesowich Schmucker is a freelance graphic designer and translator who lives with her husband in Bellevue, WA. Karen also teaches Naginata (a Japanese martial art) near Seattle. A migraineur since age 12, she has been gluten-free since December 2006. Contact her at karen[at]kysdesigns[dot]com.

84 thoughts on “Migraine and Gluten Sensitivity”

  1. i was tested this week 4 allergys . To my surprise i am allergic to garlic, wheat oats, barley,turkey, and egg whites. I wanted to be tested because I suffer from migrains since i was about 14 (im now 49) and i realized that this could be the season. Reading your artical just enlighted me even more. I havent had a headache since I stopped eating these things 3 days ago. I am elated I cant believe no dr had ever even subjested that this could be the problem. thanks for this article

  2. Corn too can be the culprit. I had terrible headaches, GERD and constipation for many years. Not until I gave up wheat nod corn gluten did my life turn around. Many people who have wheat gluten issues are sensitive to corn also.

  3. Wow!!!I am amazed that this gluten free diet has turned my life around. From the age of 11yrs old (I am now 55yrs)I used to get blinding migraines every few weeks and in the last few years they increased to everyday or every other day with this groggy brain fog (I thought I was getting stupid, not as bright anymore:(. My doctor was concerned and along with Imitrex and Sumatriptin gave me calcium and magnesium supplements – no help. She sent me for a CT which appeared normal. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 plus yrs and just by fluke I searched online and began hearing about migraines -gluten and a connection to vegetarians who are often unaware of eating large amounts of gluten as alternatives for protein (ie; veggie burgers,veggie nuggets etc). Being vegetarian possibly just sped up the gluten sensitivity triggering migraine symptoms faster than a regular diet. As soon as I made the gluten connection to migraines I tried going gluten free Its been about a year now and after 45 years of suffering I am now migraine free its nothing short of a miracle – no more migraines!! Occasionally, I make a mistake and overlook ingredients or when eating out I’ve gotten headaches with the brain fog and realized there was gluten in the food (sometimes soy sauce,balsamic vinegar etc). Got to be super vigilant but it is so worth it to be free of those sickening headaches and brain fog. I feel so good now and clear minded. It was a gluten sensitivity the whole time.

  4. I’m 57, have had migraines and frequent severe headaches in general since I was a teenager. About six weeks ago I decided to try eliminating all grain products from my diet, but especially wheat and other glutens. Since doing that, I have not had a single headache of any kind whatsoever; nothing short of a miracle as far as I’m concerned. Have not renewed my prescription for Imitrex for the first time in years. Also sleeping better, GERD symptoms disappeared, much more energy. It may not be the solution for everyone, but for anyone with migraines I think it’s worth experimenting.

  5. My 16 year-old daughter began having headaches (not migraines, but some days were worse than others and some days she also experienced vertigo) every day in June of 2011 (she was 15). No medications would work. We had test after test done; tried Cranio-Sacral treatments, chiropractor, and neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed her with chronic daily headache, but could offer no relief. Finally, about 3-4 weeks ago, someone mentioned that a person she knew had headaches everyday and gave up gluten. Her headaches went away—so my daughter tried it. When she stopped eating gluten, her headache became noticeably less severe. Then, when we went to a party with Italian food (lots of gluten) and she ate pasta, meatballs, and cake, she came home feeling horrible and her headache was really bad. My husband (forever the skeptic) wanted to test it again so he had her eat pizza on a different occasion. Again, her headache became worse. She has decided to not eat gluten.

  6. feb. 4
    I’ve had migraines all my life — I am now in my 60s. There have been times I’ve wanted to take my life since these headaches have ruined everything I’ve ever wanted to do.
    I’ve always loved bread products; muffins, bagels, pancakes, pastries. It never occurred to me that these may be the cause of my constant headaches — every morning it’s an ordeal to get out of bed w/ my daily headache and the day ahead feeling so out of it. Some days my brain fog was extreme.
    I’ve already eliminated dairy from my diet and it may have helped a little bit, but I know there is something major that I’m missing. I believe it is gluten.
    My neurologist has put me on several meds to no avail. NOthing has worked.
    I pray that this elminiation diet will work. I’m starting it tomorrow. These comments have given me some hope. At times I feel so very alone in this headache prison. Even my husband just does not understand.
    Thank you all for your thoughts.

  7. I am 45 years old and suffered severe migraines for all most 25 years. My favorite foods use to be pizza, bagel and other gluten rich goodies. I had a migraine regimen that was consistent for most of my life and a medications regimen of about 3 maxalt 10mg a month. Most migraines took me 24 hours to recover from and some time I would have to seek the help needed at the emergency room, hoping for a quick IV pain killer.  My migraines costed me over $300,000 in medical care and medications over the past 25 years. 
    6 months ago while particpating in an official migraine study, I discovered by mistake that I have gluten allergy or gluten sensitivity.  I started a strict gluten free diet and within 2 months my migraines completely stopped. I feel like I got my life back! However it is sad to find out that half your life went down the drain due to lack of knowledge. I recommend anyone who suffers from migraine to test for gluten sensitivity. I know that a real bad migraine can bring you to almost suicide so this test can really save lives.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Ron. I’m so glad you’re doing better! I’m sorry it took so long to find relief from your migraines, but take heart knowing that you have much life left to live.

    Take care,

  8. I can remember my first headache in 3rd grade. The answer my parent gave me was that I was just hungry. So I ate more. By the time I reached high school I was 40 lbs over weight and still had head aches 2-4 times a week. The worse ones were when they last 2-4 days at a time. If I caught them soon enough I could take a sinus pill, 4 ibuprophen and a Mt. Dew. If not I was out of luck. At one point an eye doctor was sure I needed glasses and they would go away. I have been perscribed anti anxiety medications, migrain medications and given anti seizure medication (I would not take this). Over the years I have attempted massage and yoga only to have them continue. In December 2011 I spent 2 weeks before christmas with a non stop migrain. One day I woke up and I couldn’t see, items 4 ft infront of my face were blurred. I couldn’t make out my husbands facial features. I was scared. On January 1st I made an impromptu decision to go gluten free. I have Sjogrens Syndrome and hypothyroidism. While searching these topics came across GF and migraines. The day after I began GF diet I didn’t have a head ache. I was reluctant to believe. I am now 30 days into the diet and have had one strong headache which went away with 1 Advil!!!!! 3 nights ago I broke down and ate cookie dough ice cream at 9:30 at night, I woke up with an intense head ache I hadn’t had in weeks. Lesson Learned. I am a believer and will continue on as long as I do not want to have head aches. Thanks to all of you who have posted your stories. I too have believed for years that it was sinus, stress, anxiety or hormones. Not anymore.

  9. I have been gluten free for nearly three months now. My frequent and painful migraines, which had been going on for over twelve years are almost gone. I still get a slight headache sometimes when the humidity is high. Nothing like I had before.
    My joints are no longer sore, and I am feeling generally much better off the gluten. My “brain fog” and other neurological symptoms are much improved. I tested negatively for Celiac, but I know that I should not be eating gluten, as I am obviously intolerant of it. My general physician, allergist, and gastroenterologist all agree that I should not be eating gluten. They did mention that they are aware of a migraine/gluten connection. Good luck to all who try this, it may work for you.

  10. I’ve had headaches for several years between 2003 and 2008. My doctor said it was because I was stressed out.

    In septembre 2008 I phoned a friend because I heard she had the same symptoms as me.

    She told me about gluten (and also lactose) sensitivity.

    I tried not to eat gluten any more. Now the headaches are almost gone…and they come back if I eat wheat. It cannot happen just by chance !

  11. All of your posts are giving me hope! My husband has suffered with migraines for over 12 years. I can always tell when he gets them and I feel for him and the pain and difficulty he must live with. He’s been on preventative meds like Topamax and Nortriptyline, neither of which helped and the side effects were terrible. He’s been to a massage therapist, chiropractor and accupunturist, all at my urging, since preventative meds, or even pain relievers are only band aiding the problem and not getting to the root. Come January 1, we are going gluten free, for at least a month, to see what happens. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  12. I like many other migraine sufferers was hoping for some help.. My friend who has Celiac disease encouraged me to go Gluten free after reading many articles on the connection therein. I used to have migraines or headaches half the days of the month and often ended up in the ER for IV meds. Within 1 month of being Gluten free my migraines were practically gone and the headaches I had were less severe and went away with my medication quickly. Honestly my life is so much better without the nagging headache looming over my shoulder. It’s amazing how this change can affect ones body and life, and now my Neurologist has cut my preventative meds in half and hopefully I can get off of them soon. It’s worth all the adjustments to feel better any day!!!!

  13. I’ve had migraines for 36+ years and have always thought them to be hormonally related. Family finally begged me to go to a neurologist and after 2 years under his care I’m still no better. Being smack dab in the middle of peri-menopause isnt’ helping at all either. Have tried all of the anti-seizure for maintenance and use relpax for rescue. He now wants to put me on blood pressure medication as a maintenance drug. I’m going to try gluten free instead. There is nothing wrong with my blood pressure and I’m sick of being dependent on all these drugs. Maybe my migraines aren’t so much hormonally driven as I thought. Cravings and eating is so tied to hormones as well that its hard to determine which came first. Its the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ case. I’m not looking forwward to GF, as I really do love to eat, but I need relief. I so relate to brain fog and am sick of it and the pain. Wish me luck. And if there’s a Gluten Free for Dummies out there, I sure need it!

  14. I have been suffering from migraines/headaches for many years now. At first we thought was triggered by smoking so I quit. Then thought was triggered by high blood pressure, so I got on meds for that and blood pressure is now under control, but the headaches, ear pain, sinus pain was all still there. For 2-3 years I would fight with the pain thinking I just had a severe sinus infection that just would not ease up. I suffered from headaches, ear aches, and sinus pain daily with little to no relief. About a year ago my dad was diagnosed with celiac. He has been a headache sufferer for decades too, but was having severe gastro problems when he was diagnosed. Several of my symptoms mirrored symptoms his mother (my paternal grandmother) had and even though she is long gone from this world, we think she had celiac too. I was tested using the normal blood test and the results were negative. I then started to really watch what I ate and see if there was any correlation between wheat/gluten foods and my symptoms. To my delight there is. I am just now starting a GF diet, and already (within the first 2 days) am feeling the difference. I woke up this morning without a headache. This is the first time in probably 4 years that I can remember not waking up with a headache. I have not been diagnosed with celiac or even gluten intolerance, but the proof is in the pudding or in this case the gluten. I look forward to a long GF, headache-free life.


  15. First off, I had migraines for over 30 years. I could count on at least 2-4 every month, some so bad I had to stay home from work. I was prescribed imitrex and other migraine relievers. Second, I had acne at age 40, canker sores, IBS and bumpy skin in random spots all over my body (like tiny painless pimples). I asked my doctor about the daily IBS because it was seriously impacting my ability to teach. One doctor said I might want to try eliminating wheat.

    I tried it and within a couple of days my IBS subsided, then after a couple weeks the acne started getting better, then I realized I didn’t have any more canker sores. Finally, one day, I realized I hadn’t had a migraine in a few months! They no longer were part of my life!! I had no idea that the migraines were connected to the gluten intolerance.

    I have been GF for almost 3 years and have probably had 5 migraines within that time, mostly caused from wheat related food products. After some research I found that wheat derivatives are present in many foods that don’t list wheat as an ingredient, and that my remaining few migraines were linked to those rogue ingredients that are a mystery to consumers. MALTODEXTRIN is a key culprit in many of the foods I was eating. You can find lists online about wheat based ingredients and then look on your food labels to make some more changes.
    It is challenging to go GF, keep in mind you should shop the perimeter of the store to avoid most wheat products. I hope going gluten-free can help many of you get rid of your migraines! It worked for me 😀

    I’m left wondering why more doctors are not aware of this issue and would rather prescribe pain killers than try a change in diet. I hope more of them will take notice and help these poor migraine sufferers heal instead of mask their pain with a temporary fix.

  16. In Feb of 2010 I came across this site and started myself on Gluten Free..I have struggled with migraines since I was a teenager..I have gone on every diet they suggest, I go to a headache clinic, do botox, everything you can think of I have done..And I knew there had to be something I was missing and I found this site…THANK GOD!!! I cut GLUTEN out and I do not get headaches everyday anymore. Of course like everyone I get an occasional headache here and there but nothing like I did before. All I can say is cutting gluten out may seem like a challenge because gluten is in everything but you learn to make it part of your life and everyone around me has made it so easy for me. ITS WORTH THE HASSLE..My life has changed for the better. I love not having the daily headaches and the massive migraines. Such a better quality of life! Good luck to everyone out there.

  17. My neurologist & other doctors found a fructose intolerance and other stomach problems but missed Celiac’s…it didn’t show up on blood tests. At alternative med doctor found a wheat/gluten allergy and after 30 days my migraines (after 7 years of almost daily migraines) had greatly improved. Its worth a shot!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I felt I had tried everything for the headaches! For 25 years, I have experienced about 1 debilitating headache a week. Chiropractic, accupuncture, massage, herbs, vitamins, oxygen, exercise, yoga……everything has helped a bit to some extent. I believe that eating gluten-free will be the tipping point. I have on occasion eaten gluten free and felt wonderful but never put it all together. I also don’t know what to do at this point, but feel inspired and encouraged by your story and stories. Thank you so much. Two days gluten free and I feel wonderful!

  19. I am so glad I found this site. I have suffered from migraines/cluster headaches for several years. I have some extreme food allergies, one of which is millet( a grain ) which causes anaphylaxis. Last night we had pasta and this morning had a horrible headache. It dawned on me that perhaps gluten is the problem. I had actually talked to someone last week who was diagnosed with celiac disease at 57, so am going to try a gluten free diet. I need to do some serious investigating to find out what I can and cannot eat. I am also SEVERELY allergic to lemons and when they do the prick test for allergies, I test positive to everything environmental including weeds, grasses, trees, animals, etc…
    I am so glad I found this site and will post back after I have tried this diet.
    Thanks all for your postings and encouragement!

  20. I am so glad I came across this website with all of these comments. It feels good to know I am not the only one suffering from headaches/migraines. I have been suffering from daily headaches and frequent migraines for 16 years. I too have tried many, many different things, but have yet to find a solution. I have been seeing an acupuncturist since September. She has helped me with my daily headaches, but is still working on my migraines. I have had lots of people suggest changing my diet. Recently, someone told me to try a gluten free diet. As far as I know, I’m not allergic to it, but I may have a sensitivity to it. I mentioned it to my acupuncturist, and she said to go for it. I plan on starting a gluten free diet next week, when I have eaten all the food in my house containing gluten.(I can’t afford to throw it all away!) After reading all these encouraging comments, I am very hopeful. I know it’s going to be hard changing my whole diet, but if it makes me feel better, it will be worth it. I REALLY hope it works!!! I don’t know what else to do at this point. Wish me luck!

  21. Thank you for answering, Steph, and for the suggestions. I am now approaching eight weeks gluten free. Three weeks ago I changed my supplement regimen to include products from ForeverWell based on gut-brain research (perhaps a long shot, but worth a try). My headaches do seem to be a bit better than they were before, but I’ve done bad science by having too many variables and am not sure if either effort has “caused” an improvement.

    I had heard of the tyramine connection before, and will likely try that diet. With the exception of yogurt, peanuts, and nuts (all of which I consume regularly), it doesn’t appear to be that many more changes for me to make.

  22. Dara,
    Have you tried a low-tyramine diet as well? A gluten free diet alone wasn’t enough to make me migraine-free, but a gluten free, low-tyramine has made a huge difference in the number of migraines I have per week. I have even gone over a week without a single migraine, which is a miracle, and when I do have a migraine, I can almost always trace it back to food. I would suggest buying Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz (as Kay testified above, it is a book all migraine sufferers should own; it is all about low-tyramine diets), and in addition Google “low-tyramine migraine diet”. Write down everything you find (each list will not be all-inclusive) and cut out EVERYTHING from your diet that can possibly cause migraines, including gluten. Do this religiously for at least a month before dismissing it as not helpful, because it can take that long for the body to detoxify from those substances. You must be ultra careful and even consider all pills you take and lotions/make-up you use. This is difficult; I am still searching for vitamins that I can take. You can ask your pharmacist about the ingredients of prescription meds. Some of the literature on tyramine can be ambiguous, so if there is any doubt, cut it out! For example, some sites say we should be able to eat greens (spinach, etc) and drink tea. I cannot eat any greens or drink any tea or coffee, including decaf. I can drink herbal tea, but watch out for citrus peels. I cannot eat any citrus. After 8 years of daily migraines and trying everything except Botox, this seems to be working for me, praise God. I will pray it works for you as well.
    Best, Steph

  23. I have had migraines since I was in my teens and nothing has ever worked for them. I saw a new Neaurologist and she suggested I go on a headache diet. I was already on a gluten free diet for six months and was still having headaches. The book is called Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz and it worked for me and has for many others. I found out that I am allergic to preservatives, such as msg and red food dye. You go off headache trigger foods then gradually add them back in and see what you are allergic to. I hope this info helps someone out there.

  24. I was so thankful to find this site! I have been a migraine suffer since the 4th grade and am now reaching 40. My migraines have become intolerable. I have tried everything. My diet has been severely limited, I take two preventative meds a day and just this week alone have had five migraines and it is only Thursday. Two weeks ago I tried Botox. Obviously, that didn’t work for me either.
    I see a top rated neurologist in my area for migraines and I just asked him when I was in for the Botox about going gluten free and he brushed me off. He also doesn’t understand the “brain-fog” I was trying to explain (that could have been the the fog 🙂 ).
    I am ready to take the plunge and eliminate gluten and I am PRAYING this is it!
    Thanks so much for all the posts!

  25. Lindsey,
    I have found out during my crusade that each of us can be quite different with what we can and cannot eat. I had hoped that just going gluten free would be enough, as it has been for many people, but for me I did have to give up soy and dairy, as well as corn and foods high in tyramine (which is a long dang list!) I am still not entirely migraine or headache free, so I am going to go even further and include gluten-free oats on a trial basis, which seem to be causing me some problem. (I never thought I’d be so sad to see oatmeal gone!) Honestly, I am worried that I am simply allergic to food altogether! But the truth is, once I hit that day when I was actually migraine-free (mine tend to be daily), I found that any diet is worth it. As one person said, “I’d eat bugs” if it kept me migraine free! I can’t help but agree, although too, there is no way my diet is nutritionally adequate at this moment. My insurance won’t cover the cost to see a dietitian unless I’m a diabetic, and that is just wrong! So I’m saving up to see a Nutritionist, and hoping & praying that I can conquer this migraine problem I’ve had x 8yrs without excluding yet another food product.
    Best to all of you!

  26. I am 44 and a have had migraines for at least the past 35 years. I have tried countless preventative meds (all the major categories) and many alternative therapies. Essentially the only thing that works is an abortive (sumatriptan), which I wind up using far more than I would like.

    At this point, I get migraines almost constantly, to the point where I believe I will qualify for Botox treatment (now FDA approved). Out of desperation, I began a gluten-free diet about three weeks ago. Sadly, I haven’t noticed any improvements (and I soooo wanted to see some). I have always been fairly careful in what I eat and I am a label reader, so I don’t think I’ve consumed any large quantities of gluten I didn’t know about.

    How long should I reasonably continue a gluten-free diet? I am willing and able to continue for as long as it would be reasonable, but can’t quite figure out how long that should be given my apparent lack of any improvement thus far. Many thanks for any input.

  27. My symptoms are migraine with aura,fatigue,anemia,and irritable bowel syndrome that I have suffered most of my life. Later in life I experience vertigo, muscle and joint pain,and tingling of nerves. I also had petite mal epilepsy as a child, not sure if that’s related. I went to emergency 2 years ago because I collapsed and they told me my magnesium and potasium were real low. 1 year ago I had severe vertigo while driving my car,luckily I was able to pull over safely. Went to many Specialists,had many tests done and I still get no answers.I am going to try gluten free diet to see if that helps. I recently found that msg has been causing alot of my problems.Everyone needs to educate themselves on msg.It depletes your body of magnesium. Gluten and msg are terrible chemicals that are in the majority of are foods. You are what you eat.

  28. I too have had success with removing gluten from my diet. WAY less frequent migraines and WAY less severe. I’ve slipped on eating well lately, and guess what. Migraines are back. So back on the healthy/gluten free eating plan it is! BTW- I had MANY other symptoms besides just migraines, all are better eating healthy/gluten free.

    If I were you, I would be strict on avoiding all of those items for a couple of months. It will be hard, but worth it! Try Almond milk, it’s yummy. If your headaches are gone. Introduce the other stuff one at a time and wait a couple of weeks and add another. Your body will tell you if you’re intolerant. If you can get raw milk and cheese where you are, you’re less likely to be intolerant to it. Also, you may want to research muscle testing for allergies for other foods. I can tolerate dairy and small amounts of soy. Hopefully you will find the same. Also beware of sugar and artificial sweetners, they are bad news. Good luck!

  29. I have been hoping to find the cause of my migraines. My neurologist has had me on everything from anti-sezure meds to antidepressents. The olny thing they did for me was make me feel like I was loosing my mind. Todays meds are very powerful, and I will gladly trade them for something less invasive. Here’s hoping this works 🙂

  30. Hello,

    Thanks for all the great info. I have been suffering with horrible pain on the right side of my head, jaw, neck and shoulders for years now and have been to tons of doctors, none of which could tell me what was wrong. I tried allergy shots, over the counter drugs and even spinal decompression which was very expensive and didnt help at all. Then my chiropractor suggested going gluten free which I am starting today and am really hoping that this will work. My question for all of you is did you give up soy and dairy as well? My doctor wants me to do this as well and I am not sure how I am going to follow such a strict diet. Did you get these results from only giving up gluten? THANKS!!

  31. I am GF, have been for over a year. Also went pro-soy milk, as regualr milk has always given me bad gas, and other problems.

    Unfortunately, it now seems that in trying to be super healthy, I have caused migraines instead!

    Soy is the migraine sufferers enemy. beware.

  32. I have suffered from migraines for years and have been on prophylactic medications for the past probably 10 years or so. I have just decided enough is enough I cannot continue to be dependent on these drugs for the rest of my life. I recently learned about migraines and gluten sensitivity and so I am going to go on a gluten free diet while reducing these medications to see the results. I know it may not be easy but I have to try something.

  33. Add me to the list of people who are headache-free after eliminating gluten. I had bad headaches for many years accompanied by muscle tightness and pain in the neck and shoulders. This past year it got worse and worse. I was becoming debilitated and often non-functional. I decided to try going gluten-free. My headaches vanished along with my digestive problems, bloating, etc. The one night I ate some ice cream with “natural flavor” I paid dearly for it with a terrible “sick headache” the next morning. I have been super-careful ever since. It’s just not worth it. I try to get the word out so others won’t suffer needlessly. Not one doctor of the many I described my symptoms to over the years ever suggested a gluten-free diet.

  34. I really think that wheat (be it gluten or not) is related to my headaches.

    I tried a gluten free diet for a month on my own. Suprisingly I had only 4 headaches in that time (all in the first week.) I even when through my cycle without a migrane, unheard of. (my average frequency is 10-15 a month).

    Then last week I had pie one day and pizza two days later. Three headaches in 5 days, one of them extremely severe.

    My doctors may not think it is true, but for me I think wheat effects my migranes, even though I don’t think I have celiac…

  35. i have been so hopeful after reading all of these testimonials. I have had runny,poorly formed poop my whole life, although I have no pain or discomfort in my belly from it. However, I have had daily headaches, sinusitis, and asthsma for going on 10 years. Lately, I am lucky if i go ONE day a week WITHOUT a headache. My sister found out last year that she has celiac disease and is extremely gluten intolerant. She has finally convinced me to try going Gluten Free for my symptoms. Today is my first day and I am praying it works…..

  36. I definitely agree that gluten is potent trigger for migraines. I used to always get a migraine after eating any type of macaroni and cheese. I loved Annie’s mac 7 cheese but gave it up since I always got a migraine afterward. I assumed that it was the cheese that was the primary trigger. I have been eating Annie’s rice pasta mac and cheese and no migraines! That being said, too much cheese and especially aged cheese will be a trigger. I have also been eating rice bread and have noticed that my hemorroids no longer bother me and passing stools is a totally benign experience. I think that I was so used to being somewhat inflamed and I didn’t know that it was not normal.

  37. Suffered from severe migraines for more than 12 years and, long story short, being gluten-free reduced my headaches from basically daily to 1-2 a month and never as severe as before.

    on the other note, it took years for my doctors to even suggest that i might be suffering from wheat/gluten intolerance. So, sad, but also my child was tested high on IGE for wheat allergy (21.75 compared to norm below .35).

    Currently, if get glutened, the following occurs: migraine (2-3 day long), swollen feet, fatigue, and malaise beyond normal to the exhausting point. So, the only solution that works for me = gluten-free but it is so hard and most of the relatives do not understanding what exactly is my issue with food (as they put it) – strugle every day 🙁

  38. I stopped eating gluten at the beginning of April. In three days I felt better with fewer migraines and less fatigue. My Fibromyalgia disappeared after two months and now in September, the only migraine I have had in two months was when a friend accidently gave me wheat to eat. The next morning, I was too fatigued to get out of bed and later a migraine developed which lasted three days.
    Before going gluten free I could hardly function: sometimes I would have three migraine auras in one day and had constant brain fog.
    I had seen three neurologists and tried every migraine medication. I had even spent a week in hospital being medicated.Nothing worked,
    : so I took my cure into my own hands. Now thankfully I am migraine free. Doctors need to consider diet before drugs when dealing with migraines. Going gluten free has changed my life but just be careful – gluten is found in the strangest places eg. Greenseas tuna in spring water contains wheat!

  39. Thanks to all the contributors on this post! For years I had suffered from headaches, the sinus-variety, and other types, almost daily. Also, I suffered from extreme brain-fog (my doctor had no idea what I was talking about) after eating cereal or bread. For years I cut out these items because I felt horrible after eating them. I was frequently nauseous, anxious, had skin irritations, crazy episodes of bloating, and leg and arm tingling . All of these symptoms have become worse over time. (I am now 46) I have also been hospitalized three times for breathing difficulties, palpitations and dizziness. I have been checked out from head to toe (negative for Celiac) with no diagnosis. After my last episode I came across information on gluten intolerance and, after 5 months, and a gluten-free diet, I am symptom free!! Really. Everyone wonders how I can go without some of the best goodies in life, but I feel so great now, that its not remotely worth returning to them.

  40. Jennie,

    It IS hard working with a teen for this, but it can be done. Does she like chemistry in school? Just a thought – if you can help her understand some basic chemistry, it may make it fun for her to experiment in the kitchen to make gluten-free concoctions. My background is chemical engineering and I’m working on writing up some techniques to publish (I hope) in a book that have helped me in the kitchen for my gluten-free hubby. I have a teen friend whom I tutored in chemistry who also has Celiac disease and we enjoy our Kitchen Chemistry days in which we try out new recipes/make up new concoctions/experiment for finding new ways of solving the gluten-free, but still tasty and nutritious problem! My hubby can’t do potatoes and corn, either, so I have to modify some gluten-free recipes, but you may enjoy this cookbook to help you get started: Gluten-Free Quick and Easy by Carol Fenster, Ph. D. Also, check out the celiac sprue association’s website for more help… there may be a support group in your local community… a health food store representative could possibly help you if you go ask some questions at your local health food store…. some starting points (also, we avoid wheat, rye, oats, barley and ANY derivatives of the above and also work very hard to prevent cross-contamination with any gluten-free products.) In order to still participate in some activities, you’re just going to have to carry a cooler with her own food – that’s hard for a teen who wants to be like all the others who are eating at the local fast food eatery, but before this problem becomes worse, you have to get on it and be willing to be different. When it comes to absorbing or not absorbing nutrients, it truly is life or death!

    Funny you should mention chocolate chip cookies! I’m actually currently working on developing a gluten-free, corn-free, and potato-free recipe for my hubby to enjoy. I will even start with the butter he can tolerate (he does better if it’s not pasteurized) with baking cocoa and some organic sugar he’s been tolerating to make the chocolate chips from scratch. We’ll see how it goes!

    To all others considering going gluten-free, here’s something to consider – another gluten-free friend of mine said she had read an estimate that 80% of Caucasians are gluten-intolerant. And I’ve also read that Celiac Disease can produce 250 different symptoms in people. While my hubby and I really struggled at first, we are now in the mode where we have some dishes that work great for him, and we can have fun experimenting with some nonessentials like desserts. Before, we were just in crisis mode of having to stop the “running to the restroom” constantly and start increasing absorption of nutrients before he collapsed from malnutrition. He’s actually growing more hair on his head now and instead of having a receding hairline, he’s got a progressing hairline! Many, many other sigs of improved nutrition are apparent, and we praise God for the healing my hubby is experiencing! Being able to absorb nutrients makes such a difference in mood swings, decision-making, thinking, anxiety… the list goes on and on since every bodily function depends on the absorption of nutrients! I wonder how many children are medicated with drugs when they really just need to have a change in diet (gluten-free!!)

    I think it’s worth a try for migraine-suffers! I will probably head to gluten-free soon, too, to make the food prep easier for us; I just am still finishing up my old ingredients for me first, and still focusing on his health since he was in crisis mode. I bet I’ll do better with headaches, too, when I switch to gluten-free with him!

    Freda 🙂

  41. THANKS so much for this post…and to all the contributors! I used to suffer 20 migraines/month (no aura) for 10 years. Maxalt worked, but I was tired of running out of pills each month (lots of pain). After seeing 2 Internists and a Neuro, I finally turned to an acupuncturist, who tested me for gluten and soy sensitivity (yes to both). I went gluten-free and soy-free 7 months ago. My migraines have reduced to 7/month and are mild now. (7 may sound like a lot, but I feel like a new person….I never run out of my Maxalt….It’s been great). Once I’m 100% strict on the diet:), I’m sure the headaches will be reduced to 1 or 2. I’m going to let all 3 doctors know. We need to spread the word…
    PS Power bars and cereal bars were a major culprit for my headaches.

  42. Jennie- A lot of supermarkets have small gluten free sections now – and of course health food stores usually have a good selection. Also look online. Just search ‘gluten free food.’ I do a lot of veggies. brown rice, fruit, and you can get some excellent gluten free pastas, etc.
    There is gluten “hidden” in a lot of common food products though and you have to really study labels. Good luck!

  43. It is hard to believe that after trying everything else it was as simple as eliminating gluten. In addition to relieving me of migranes, my digestive symptoms are highly relieved and I have lost about ten pounds of ugly bloat w/o trying. I am convinced that my son suffers from the same sensitivity, although it manifests differently in him.
    Just found out the hard way that there is wheat in soy sauce! Had it with sushi one night last week and woke up the next day with that all too familiar sick headache, congestion, digestive upset etc. Could not figure out what I might have ingested. Read the label on the soy sauce and wheat was the second ingredient!

  44. I had tried everything over the 23 year period of having migraines except anti convulsants and my GP wanted to refer me to neurolgy for this when I decided that a gluten free diet was worth a try. The 7 months previous I had had 11 days in bed with migraine. In the five months since starting the diet, I have had one day in bed (after two weeks) then none since. I still get the migraines but they respond to either 3 x nurofen with 2 x domperidone or 20mg nasal sumatriptan within an hour or so.
    My life has changed and I still can’t qite beleive it.

  45. My Daughter is suffering from Basilar Artery Migraines – she had “seizure style activity” for almost 2 years and ended up in the hospital several times. She has had the current migraine for 6 weeks – making it difficult for her to get through her Junior Year. She has given up caffine and chocolate.
    I guess my question is how to I bring this up with the Neurologist(s) 4 of them that we are working with?
    Where can i I find Gluten Free Products ? Now this is a 17 year old how can I help her make this change and still be able to enjoy food and her life ?
    Any help – suggestions would be wonderful

  46. I suffered from headaches for severl years. They were becoming more frequent and intense. My daughter found a website claiming that gluten free diets have helped people suffering with headaches. I tried eliminating several so called migrane triggers with no results, until I went gluten free. I have been gluten free for 4 months now and have not had one headache. I suffered in the past every 7 to 10 days with a headache that lasted 2 to 3 days. I even had a numbness on the side of my face. All symptoms are gone due to being gluten free.

  47. I recently started to make the connection between my migraines, headaches and gluten intolerance. I suffer headaches almost daily (some more severe than others) and mostly attributed it to stress. I am sure that certainly contributes, but I have see a direct correlation between days where I do not eat anything and a day without a headache/migraine. Then within hours of eating something with wheat/gluten, I start to get either a headache or a migraine. I am going to try a gluten free diet and see how it goes. What I loved about reading this blog is that I am not alone in this.

  48. ive suffered with migrains for almost 40yrs
    4 years ago i was diagnosed with being coeliac
    i can associate the two as being connected
    my main problem with migraine is artificial sweeteners, so my advice is keep away from them and anything containing gluten for a better quality of life. unfortunately i dont always take my own advice therefore i suffer the consequences!

  49. I’ve had migraine since I was 19, now I have 59. But before to feel the pain in a half of my head (hemi-craneus pain = migraine), first I feel a little pain close to the gald bladder, I think it is because, an inflammation in the small intestine. As I understand, as least in my case, that inflammation allows a protein-like product from the gluten, go to the blood. This product is the “n-acetil-galactaminase” wich is also present in the “A” blood type. I’m O negative, so an inmune response trigger inflammation in the brain perifepherical vessels causing the migrain. I will like to know how many of the migraineurs are O type blood. I went to gluten free 10 years ago, and only when eat gluten accidentally I get migrain again. Panama R.P.

  50. I recently wrote an article for that corresponds with the parallels between gluten and migraines discuss here.

    I am not only completely migraine free, but also entirely headache free. I dropped gluten 2 years ago and have not had one migraine since.

    I used to suffer from debilitating retinal migraines that were so demoralizing that I was, at one point, contemplating very desperate measures.

    Please feel free to reach out to me by writing a personal email, I would love to share my story and insights with you.

    That blog post can be seen at –


  51. I had severe migraines and latterly what I think were classified as cluster headaches for 30 plus years. Latterly I was having several per week. Wheat free/Gluten free and caffeine free diet stoped them completely. I have now been completely migraine free for six months. I have my life back.

  52. In response to the continuation of headaches: It is great that riding your diet of gluten has resulted in less severe headaches, but you can do more to reduce incidence of headaches, tension and sinus pain. According to Buchholz’s “Heal Your Headache,” our multiple triggers add up to surpass our threshold and thus cause headache pain. Gluten could be just one of your triggers, and there are still several diet modifications you could make to achieve complete control of your headaches, neck tension and sinus pain.

  53. I started a gluten free diet to reduce the sugar levels in my blood and also found out that it eliminated my migraines completely. I had not symptoms that would indicate gluten sensitivity. Prior to that, I started to take 2000 mg of vitamin C daily which reduced my migraines by a third and also reduced the severity.

  54. Just been reading your wonderful comments. I’ve had migraine and daily headaches since I was 15, but recently they’ve been intolerable. I was convinced they were to do with shoulder tension so went to see a sports masseuse – she looked at my nails (ridged) my forehead (high) and the area around the base of my hose (red), and said I may be gluten intolerant. I thought she was a witch! But as the massage wasn’t doing any good, I gave it a try. Been gluten free for a week now, and the headaches have all but gone. It’s like being alive again. I’m off now to buy her a big bunch of flowers. Good luck everyone!

  55. I never had a migraine in my life until last July, and then I got my first of many opthalmic migraines. I was also having bad GI problems and muscle twitches then too, but didn’t make the connection until a month ago. After eliminating a lot of other things from my diet and life, I started eating gluten free out of desperation. I also started taking a multivitamin and magnesium supplement. My GI problems have improved considerably, I have almost no muscle twitches now, and have had 0 opthalmic migraines. I hope this inspires others to give a gluten free lifestyle a try. Good luck!

  56. After years of chronic headaches daily plus migraines 3-4 times a month my friend finally talked me into seeing her nutritionist. Very smart ladies both of them! I’ve been off gluten, sugar, and artificial sweetners for 1 month. Almost no headaches! Plus more energy than I’ve had in a long time. I’m in this for the long haul and can’t wait for the next 40 years of my life now (I’m 43). In the past, I only dreaded getting older because of the constant pain. I’ve had the notion in the back of my mind that I was gluten intolerant for some time now. I just needed that nudge from a pro.

  57. I could see this being a real cause of Migraines. I personally don’t know if I would classify mine as migraines…just an everyday dull ache. Before I was diagnosed I suffered from this dull ache every day…which made schoolwork in high school almost impossible (which I could never remember from day to day what I had learned). Also it felt like I was always in some sort of ‘fog’ as if I was disconnected somehow from the world and my thoughts never made scene to others. Only after going gluten free did the headaches and mind fog disappear. However if I accidentally do eat gluten, so I am told by family that my personality changes and I don’t make complete scene.

    Good to see research is coming out and there are others with the same or somewhat close to symptoms I had- and that I wasn’t crazy 🙂

    – Jessika : Celiac Speaks – Symptoms, Recipes, Restaurants and Daily Life

  58. Aha! I must add to all of this wonderful information and exciting reviews that I, too, have been a migraine-free gal since I lessened my gluten intake! It started with a bit of a fast… I wanted to detox a little and eliminated all dairy, chocolate, and wheat, and kept sugars to just fruit and in moderation. When I’d gone a week without a headache, I thought I was on to something and stayed on that simple diet for another week, again with no headaches. I then guinea-pigged myself and introduced dairy back in first, to see if there was any headache reaction; but nil! Then I went for a little dark chocolate again and still had no headaches! (YES! GO DAIRY AND CHOCOLATE!) 😛 And I stayed off gluten for almost 2 months before reintroducing a little bit here and there. It seems If I carefully moderate it, I’m ok. I’ve had maybe 3 VERY MINOR headaches that, compared to my past pounders, were a walk in the park. If I completely eliminated gluten 100%, I may not even get slight headaches… but I try to be really careful and attentive to what I’m eating, and this arrangement seems ok at the moment. Time shall tell! 😀 Congratulations to other headache conquerors!!

  59. I was skeptical of the gluten free diet but after one particularly awful migraine I decided to try it. I’ve been gluten free and migraine free for a month now. I used to have daily headaches and weekly migraines and about once a month my migraine would be bad enough that i would vomit and be completely debilitated. I used to avoid going out and being social because I always had such bad headaches. My boyfriend, who used to be at a loss for how to support my headaches is really astonished at the success of my gluten free diet. I’ve found that I don’t have to COMPLETELY avoid wheat for it to work either. I don’t pay attention to stuff like what is in sauces etc. but avoiding bread, beer, and the major gluten products is fine. I’ve done many things I couldn’t have done before going gluten free. I spent all day at a wine festival out in the sun without getting a migraine! No way I could have done that before. Red wine used to give me migraines but not anymore. I used to drink 3 beers end up with a terrible migraine and be vomiting ALL night endlessly. Now that I have found gluten free beer I can drink 5 or 6 without even feeling hungover the next day! It’s awesome. I would definitely suggest to any migraine sufferers to TRY THE GLUTEN FREE DIET. It’s free to try unlike some migraine medications which cost up to $40 a pill. I’ve been on all kinds of preventative and abortive medication for migraines with no more than a 50% effectiveness rate for anything and with results that never seemed to last or be consistent. Whereas gluten free has completely eliminated my migraines. I don’t care if it’s placebo or not (which I doubt, because I’ve tried avoiding other food triggers and that hasn’t worked, and I have objective stuff im going off of like not vomiting…)

    To the person who asked do you have to avoid stuff made on equipment with wheat… for me, no I don’t, but it probably varies from person to person. I’ve had teriyaki sauces and stuff like that too without a problem which I know has soy sauce which has a little wheat… but as long as I eat rice and not pasta, gluten free bread and corn instead of wheat tortillas, cutting out these big things has seemed to make the biggest difference! Also, I noticed changes IMMEDIATELY after going on this diet. Within a day or two. This might vary from person to person though also. Good luck and I hope this works for everyone who tries this. If you have migraines and feel like nothing has worked, please take my word for it, this is definitely worth trying! It could change your life.

  60. I gave up chocolate, milk, and gluten and have never had a migraine since. I read a study done in England that the three top causes for migraines were the above listed items.

    Eliminating gluten by itself may not be enough for some people. If you’re eating a lot of chocolate and drinking a lot of milk try eliminating those from your diet.

    I had migraines (with aura) since I was a toddler. I don’t even take ibuprofen or aspirin anymore.

  61. I highly recommend the book “Dangerous grains.”

    It is an especially worthwhile read for those of us who have lots of problems with gluten consumption, but don’t test positive for Celiac disease. In that book, he goes into the reasons why Gluten has these negative neurological effects, by binding to various opiate receptors.

    I have no affiliation with the author, other than being grateful that this book exists to explain the problems my family has suffered with.

  62. I tested negative 2x for celiac, but after suffering from migraines all my life, they went away like magic after following a gluten-free diet. I occasionally still get a headache, but my headaches are nothing like they used to be and compared to my multiple headaches a week, my 1 headache every once in a while is pretty easy to live with. Often times I’ll also be able to link a headache to hidden gluten I had eaten the day before, which is surprising, because you wouldn’t think the gluten could affect a person that quickly. My advice to anyone suffering from Migraines: Give a gluten-free diet a try!

  63. Great to see so many success stories by linking gluten to migraines. I’m optimistic that I’ve found a connection too. In answer to Maria, I started to see improvement within about two weeks of going on an almost gluten-free diet. In the last month, I’ve had one migraine, down from an average of 2-3 per week. I did a few other things that might have helped: for the first two weeks, I drank the juice of half a lemon mixed with water (to cleanse my liver, my nutritionist-friend told me), and ramped up my eating of apples and other fruits, and green vegetables.
    I also began eating much more fish, started buying chicken legs and thighs rather than chicken breasts (i.e. dark meat rather than white meat) and planned meals so that I wouldn’t eat the same thing on consecutive days (I used to have pasta, pasta, pasta…) — a relaxed version of the rotation diet. I think all of this has helped me. I have still had some gluten once or twice a week, without any ill effects, so my sensitivity may not be super strong, but I’m going to stick with this almost gluten free diet as long as it’s giving me migraine free days.


    ps. yes, I would purchase food where wheat is produced… but others who are more sensitive/completely intolerant might not…

  64. just wanted to add I found out gluten is used to plump up food and make it last longer,I kept telling everyone that I felt like i was being preserved no one belived me, then I read about it and thats just how I was feeling listen to you’r body it is smart and won’t lie to you, and by the way my favorite food is ice cream guess whats in that? Gluten!

  65. I also have sufferd from migrain headaches for approx. 17+ years last 2 years they were worse more intense i also felt stiff and swollen had trouble getting out of bed in mornings my neck was tigt and stiff i couln’t close my hands i couln’t walk with out pain, one day i read about wheat and gluten i was willing to try anything @ that point, i’m glad to report i have had no migrains no more swelling & my joints dont hurt I thank God! I’ve been blessed. If some of you still suffer from these problems and you’r staying away from gluten and and wheat and are still having problems try a chiroprator. God bless you all.

  66. I have suffered from Migraines & vertigo for several years and heard that gluten-intolerence may be the problem. I have been gluten-free for a year and have been almost completely migraine free. When I get lazy and decide it’s okay to have wheat (glute) now and again, the migraines start again and I quickly get back on track. The pain isn’t worth it! Good luck. Hope it helps you all as well.

  67. I’ve have sinus headaches for 10 years now. I ate sudafed constantly. Eventually the sudafed started to create kidney stones. I’ve passed 16 kidneys stones so far. I went to a number of allergy specialists. They all threw meds at me and sent me on my way. Nothing helped. I suggested to the last “expert” that I saw that perhaps I have a gluten allergy. She said its not possible. I had headaches 2 to 5 days a weeks. I ignored her advice and threw away the meds she gave me. I’ve been gluten free and headache free for 2months now. Not paying attention I ate croutons on a salad yesterday, today I have a sinus headache.

  68. I’ve been having daily headaches for 2 years. For the people that the gluten free diet worked, how long before being gluten free did the headaches/migraines subside.

    Also, would u purchase food that is made in a factory/equipment where wheat is produced. Is this still considered gluten or wheat free?

  69. I’ve been having 3-5 migraines/week. Bloodwork for celiac came back negative, but I decided to try a gluten free diet anyway (I have a few other symptoms, though nothing GI). It’s been nearly 8 weeks since I started the gluten free diet, and I’m not seeing any improvement. (Being a vegan, I’m already an obsessive label reader, so I don’t think I’ve been eating any “stealth gluten.”) Seriously, how long should I stick with this before I can expect to see any results if there are going to be any? At what point is it reasonable to say it isn’t working?

  70. I’m a daily headache/migraine sufferer and am trying a gluten free diet because all else has failed since June of 1993. I am so sick with sinus pain, vertigo, fatigue. I’ll update you after a month. I am trying to start tomorrow if I can get all the food. Thanks for all your help.

  71. I ate gluten free for three years to help alleviate (successfully) breathing problems. It wasn’t until I added it back into my diet over the last few months that I started getting migraines again. I hadn’t even noticed that they were gone, but sure enough they were. Before I stopped eating gluten I used to get migraines, not very often but very debilitating. Over the last few months of eating everything I’ve been getting them a lot. So I’m glad to see that people do see the correlation and I’m not just completely weird 🙂 Also for anyone starting a gluten-free lifestyle, its hard at first but keep at it and soon enough you wont feel like you are missing anything. Good luck!

  72. I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 16, and now in my 40s they have worsened, more frequent, more severe, longer lasting. I also suffer from chronic bloating, I can look as pregnant as any 5 month pregnant woman at any stage of the month. Recently my son, after being unwell with all kinds of symptons for 2 1/2 years, was diagnosed as having celiac’s disease. Then I came across a tiny article in a magazine linking the words gluten intolerant and miagraines and I found myself browsing the web. The light has gone on. Maybe my son did not get his condition from a stranger, maybe I too, but to a lesser degree am gluten intolerant. My medication for my migraines no longer work and I suspect joining my son on gluten free for a time may well be worth trying. I’ll bet the bloating will be cured in no time.

  73. I have suffered from migraines for about 40 years — I mean suffered. I have never ever gone a week without one and usually had 3 to 5. I am a lawyer and mother of 2 teenagers and I often can’t believe I’ve made it through my days. I tried the CORE diet on Weight watchers a few months ago and gave up bread and pasta, etc. and sort of noticed that I was having less and less headaches. One day I ate a half a loaf of bread (oops) and I thought I was going to die the next day. That was it – I’ve been gluten free for the past 4 months and have had about ONE headache a week! And that one requires only half a regular dose of medicine. It is amazing. I’m going to give it at least 6 months before I believe it – but that’s my experience. My neurologist told me she has never ever heard of this so I can’t do enough to spread the word. Why not? No meds, no cost — give it a try!

  74. Emily~
    Did the doc do the endoscopy on you for celiac? Beware that the tests can be a false negative. A friend had that happen twice. The diet will be the same, stay away from gluten/wheat products. Be on the lookout for seasonings, shampoos/conditioners, anything/everything you use for on/in your body. I had a reaction to conditioner–not fun! Hope all is well and you have gotten better! It is a hard diet to stick to but if you like fruits/veggies etc…it helps! DeBoles has a very good corn pasta-my family likes it and they don’t have a gluten intolerance problem.

  75. I know from personal experience that gluten/wheat is a cause for my migraines! (Unfortunately, that is just one of my ‘symptoms’ from gluten intolerance.) It took a few wks once I had quit eating gluten but my migraines decreased to like only 2/month instead of at least 5/wk. Doc put me on Zomig/naprosyn/Mt Dew…I guess that Dew kicks it all in. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I do recommend homeopathic/naturopathic docs-even if its kinda strange…it works!! Can’t forget to drink plenty of water too!

  76. I feel like I have found a lifeboat after swimming alone for a very long time. I have tried medication after medication. I have felt like I “caused” my headaches somehow. I can hardly wait to try a gluten free diet. A co-worker mentioned it to me, almost as an aside, last week. She is seriously into health and nutrition and heard about a connection. I have reading on the internet this morning. Wow, at last! I will let you know how it goes. I may have to give up my favorite food, chocolate chip cookies, but oh well. Thanks for the messages.

  77. I’ve been experimenting with the wheat-free thing now for just a few weeks. I don’t know why I started it. Desperation? Nothing else works, so why not? My husband actually found this post. When I’ve read about the symptoms of wheat sensitivity rarely do I see headaches listed, and rarely in the books on nutrition for migraine sufferers do they say anything about wheat or gluten, so I felt like this was a whim. Maybe not?!? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  78. I was diagnosed as having Meniere’s as well…also one of my great aunts suffered badly at times with meniere’s. Although I’ve managed to get away without using medication, I’ve had frequent and regular ‘sick headaches’ and ‘sick days’ (my terminology). Going back to being vegetarian has helped a little I think, in retrospect, though this is not why I am vegetarian. I also have a sister who is very intolerant to gluten, and a friend mentioned she’d heard views on meniere’s being linked to allergies/sensitivities….thought I’d try gluten-free diet to see what happened…esp since at times wheat bread, pasta, porridge etc often seemed to give me indigestion.

    After a bare two weeks I noticed a marked difference….no headaches, no sinus pain, my ears felt clear and ‘normal’ …couldn’t remember last time they felt this way…also reduction in tinnitis, mine would come and go but always had ‘tape hiss’ kind of noise…then ate some gluten-containing food….Oooh so sick that afternoon and next day. Back on gluten-free diet, nearly been a week now. The idea I had was to go gluten free for a few weeks then try again to see what happens but I’m not sure I want to. It’s so nice not feeling sick!

    Interestingly I’m feeling more vertigo than I usually do, but I’m wondering whether this may have something to do with my body getting a chance to clear stuff out of my system…if this is the case then I would expect this to reduce in time. I suppose I’ll see.
    Kind regards to all.

  79. Very good information.

    Gluten appears to be a trigger for some people with Meniere’s Syndrome too. My Meniere’s symptoms have decreased in intensity since I started reducing the gluten in my diet.

    Maybe if I remove gluten from my diet entirely it would help my migraine.

  80. I have learned so much recently about Celiac. It seems to be a hot topic lately. I guess it is more diagnosed than ever before. I have a B12 deficiency, anemia and I vomit multiple times a week. I also get very intense headaches, not migraines necessarily. My blood tests came back negative for Celiac but I am convinced that is what it is or some degree of gluten sensitivity. My doctor wants to do an endoscopy to confirm but I decided to just try a gluten-free diet instead.

    Good luck!

  81. This is a topic that rises up in the neurology community occationally. I believe it is not front and center simply because (as pointed out) a small percentage of people with migraine have celiac disease..IBS is far more common.

    But having said that some are most probably misdiagnosed.

    There is a new blood test for wheat gluten called Immunocap. I have been thinking of screening some of my patients who come to me with food triggers for their migraines. Perhaps now is the time to start!

    We have also noticed in our clinic that many migraineurs are B-12 deficient..another vitamin deficiency so to those of you who have migraines, ask your doctor to screen you for this also.

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