Have You Thought About Your Diet When You Think About Your Migraines?

IgG food sensitivity testing with subsequent elimination diets have been shown in several clinical trials to result in improvement or reduction of exacerbations of chronic syndromes, including migraine headaches.

Additionally, evidence has shown improvement in quality of life among individuals who follow elimination diets after testing for IgG antibodies to certain common foods. 

Migraine headaches affect approximately 28 million Americans, according to the National Headache Foundation. Women are affected more frequently than men. Many migraine sufferers will experience four or more headaches a month, lasting from four hours to three days. 

Migraine headaches differ from headaches caused by sinus infection or from tension headaches, the most common type of headache. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and visual changes. They sometimes produce stroke-like symptoms. Migraine headaches may cause extreme sensitivity to light, and they are debilitating, causing the sufferer to retreat from their planned activities, often interfering with job or family obligations. 

For years, doctors have tried to determine the exact etiology of migraine headaches, and although there are genetic factors that may predispose some patients to migraines, there is always more involved, in this case environmental factors. However, it is worthwhile noting that four of five migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine headaches. 

The physiological mechanism of migraine headache was long thought to be vascular, due to constriction and dilation of the blood vessels on the surface of the brain. New evidence suggests that migraines are caused by an interaction between a genetically determined locus of hyperactive neurons in the brain that sends out signals to cause the vascular changes, and subsequent release of inflammatory mediators or substances which cause pain. Some of the substances involved in migraine headaches include prostaglandins, serotonin (a neurotransmitter), and cytokines. Inflammation is an important component of migraine pathology. 

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, or to a foreign substance, which the immune system perceives as a threat. The immune system involves the response of the white blood cells in the body, and the chemicals they release to recruit other white blood cells to engulf antigenic substances, like bacterial or viruses. 

The immune system forms antibodies to various substances, and re-exposure to the substance will cause an immune reaction. This process has been studied with respect to migraine headaches. It has long been known that certain foods that contain tyramine, nitrates, nitrites, or monosodium glutamate can trigger migraine headaches in susceptible individuals. However, a recent study done at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine focused on the presence of IgG antibodies to a variety of common foods in subjects who suffer from migraine headaches. This study demonstrated both a reduction in frequency of migraine headaches and improvement in a variety of quality of life indicators among subjects who eliminated the foods to which they were found to have hypersensitivity. 

Using the Immuno Bloodprint® assay, the process of determining the presence of food sensitivity is greatly abbreviated when compared to the process of elimination and food challenges. The Immuno Bloodprint® assay determines the presence of IgG antibodies to certain foods. In the past, the focus of dietary testing has been on IgE antibodies, which cause an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. 

However, studies have shown that circulating IgG antibodies have a role in migraines. A randomized, double-blind cross-over trial published in Cephalalgia reported a significant reduction in the number of migraine attacks in subjects who were on a restricted diet with elimination of foods to which they had demonstrated IgG antibodies detected by ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). 

While migraines are currently treated with prophylactic medications and symptomatic relief, they represent a tremendous disruption in the lives of sufferers. Truly disabling, this condition may be aided by simple dietary restrictions. 

We are assaulted by toxins in the environment and through our consumption of heavily processed foods. However, in susceptible individuals, the most benign foods may trigger a migraine headache. The state of inflammation that occurs with the exposure to a trigger is not necessarily limited to the headache, but can affect multiple body systems, which is evidenced by the improved vitality, mood, and other quality of life indicators studied at the University of Miami. 

When developing a plan to improve your quality of life as a migraine sufferer, you should consider an immunoassay for IgG sensitivity. Nutrition is necessary to life, and so many of the pleasant experiences we have occur around mealtimes. It seems prudent to rule out any foods that trigger disabling conditions like migraine. 

The Immuno Bloodprint® is internationally available. A trial of an elimination diet may surprise you with many beneficial outcomes of health and well-being. Studies are also showing results that link IgG food antibodies to obesity and irritable bowel syndrome. Adverse reactions to foods may be the cause of considerable conditions and symptoms such as depression, mood swings, asthma, and bloating or fluid retention.


Lewis, J. E., Lopez, J., A. G., Woolger, J. M., Chen, L., Melillo, A. B., . . . Alonso, Y. (2013). A pilot study eliminating immunologically-reactive foods from the diet and its effect on symptomatology and quality of life in persons with chronic migraines and headaches. Open Journal of Internal Medicine, 3, 8-14. Retrieved from 10:4236/ojim2013.31003

AlpayK, Ertas M, Orhan EK, et al. “Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical double-blind, randomized, cross-over trial.” Cephalgia. 2010:30:829-37.


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