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Migraine Headaches and Gluten Sensitivity – A Strong Connection

what causes migraine headaches

Migraines and Gluten

what causes migraine headachesOne of the most common clinical conditions I see and treat is migraine headaches. This problem is quite common, unfortunately, the solutions elude many of the patients suffering from this debilitating problem. A large percentage of migraines are actually induced by nutritional deficiencies, dietary allergens, and environmental chemical exposure. Learning how to identify these problems. Once you do, you might find your headaches become a distant memory.

What Causes Migraine Headaches

Sometimes the underlying cause of migraines can be the gluten that you are consuming too much gluten. Dr. Peter Osborne and Dr. Tom O’Bryan discuss gluten sensitivity and its impact on the body. Migraine headaches, brain and nerve damage, osteoporosis, as well as traditional lab testing flaws are discussed in part 1 of this special interview presented by Gluten Free Society…

Glutenology Health Matrix Member? Watch the full video here…

IF You Have Migraine Headaches, Try These Simple Tips First

If you are experiencing migraine headache symptoms, then try some of these tips to see if these help you.

  • Stop eating food with gluten.
  • Rule out additional food triggers for the headache – Common triggers are sugar, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, cheese, and other dairy products, wine, processed lunch meats and artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet (aspartame). You can find this information out by having your doctor run a delayed hypersensitivity food allergy test. (More on this here <<<)
  • Get tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies – Vitamins are oftentimes used as a treatment for migraines. The most common -Vitamin B2, vitamin B-12 (this is the most common deficiency for those with gluten sensitivity), magnesium, and CoQ10.
  • Avoid the use of perfumes, scented air fresheners, and scented soaps – many of the chemicals in these items can trigger migraines directly.
  • Visit a chiropractor – Many headaches begin with structural problems in the spine as well as muscular dysfunction. A reputable chiropractor should be able to help you determine these types of problems.

Trying these tips are one way to help migraine headache treatment. Symptoms should lesson while following these suggestions.

Medication Won’t Solve The Problem

Remember that the medications used to treat migraine headaches typically create a life long dependence without addressing the origin of the headache. In addition, many of the drugs can contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies – thus creating new problems. Read more on this here<<<

Are you curious if migraines in females differ than males? Let us know in the comments below to find out more about migraines and gluten.

Always looking out for you,

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

35 Responses

  1. “vitamin B-12 (this is the most common deficiency for those with gluten sensitivity)”

    I wish I’d known this years ago. I’ve had B-12 deficiency symptoms for my whole life, and never recognized what it was, and never had a doctor check for it.
    I discovered when I was in college that I was sensitive to gluten and have avoided it on and off over the years. It’s only recently I was tested and am in fact allergic. I’ve taken it more seriously and see the damage it’s done to me. Now I’m extremely diligent in avoiding gluten. And am also on a B-12 protocol hoping to recover my health.

    Thanks so much for this informative website…I wish all those in my situation find this important life saving information.

  2. Sugar depletes calcium from the bones, so eliminating other high glucose and fructose sources from the diet would probably remedy that. Gluten actually blocks absorption of nutrients. Rather than “you are what you eat”, we actually “are what we absorb”. If you aren’t absorbing Vitamin D, Calcium, and other vital nutrients together, then you will suffer bone loss, but if you don’t eliminate sugar sources from your diet as well, you still have a problem.

  3. Your DNA test resulted in determining that I received a gene from EACH parent making me non-celiac, gluten sensitivity. I’ve been totally-free of all grains for over a year and completely off all dairy since August.
    I was like the scenario about my children having to be quiet when they were young due to my many migraines triggered by low barometric pressure & positive ions in the atmosphere. HOWEVER, I have adrenal fatigue, wildly fluctuating BP and have never felt any better when receiving injections of the B’s. I’m going to be tested for MTHFR, which I’m 99% sure I have. Would you PLEASE comment on this? My family is riddled with MTHFR conditions. My Spectracell test showed me to be Fructose Sensitive (I hate sweet things.), low in D3, despite taking 50,000 IU’s of it and almost non-existent Oleic Acid, inspite of taking 1 TBSP of Carlson’s Fish Oil daily. 35% of the population has MTHFR and 98% of autistic people have it. Please comment. Thank you very much. Annette

  4. I am responding to Annette who commented on the MTHFR. I just found out I have the gene for this, and also I have the gene for celiac, but considered non-celiac since I didn’t have it in my blood. I will take the Spectracell test as soon as I can afford it. Any suggestions on teh MTHFR? I had never heard of it. I have been referred to a cardiologist so making that appointment today. all of this due to a visit to a naturopathic doctor after a possible TIA in mid December and no findings from the MD’s at the hospital, other than suggesting it was a panic attack!!

    1. Susi,
      The gene variant responds very well to using a methylated form of folic acid. I prescribe my patients 5-MTHF (a supplement) in these situations. If you need help finding this, call my office 281-240-2229.
      All the best to you,
      Dr. O

  5. My 23andMe test came back with me being homogyzous for both 1298 and 677 plus COMT and CBS, etc…..Many of the people that have had the test are gluten/grain-free and dairy-free, but still have many problems. There definitely seems to be a tie-in with gluten. Would you care to comment? Many of us have parasites, due to leaky gut and also some of us have lung conditions, adrenal fatigue, CFS, etc..Thank you!

  6. I went gluten free so I thought, but I was still eating rice and corn until I found Dr. Osborne’s site and he shared with me if I could get off the rice and corn. I did and the migraine headaches went away. Then we had company last year I had some corn tortilla’s and I was so sick with a headache after that. I have learned it’s the corn that really bothers me. As I say all the time I am so grateful for him. If it wasn’t for him I don’t know where I would be today with what I was dealing with my body couldn’t take much more of it.

  7. This is brilliant, thank you. I have continual migraines. I take tablets night and Morning other tablets when it starts. I’m going to look into gluten free. I’m also very deficient vitamin D, last reading 25.

  8. My wife is migraine free since she has stopped eat gluten. Before always stomach pain and migraine. When she eats a tiny gluten now then within half hour migraine. So its really the gluten.

  9. I had lab test showing I am gluten intolerant 7/15. I unexpectedly noted my migraine headaches stopped. After one year I had read try reintroducing gluten to see how you feel. Do I ate a high gluten meal,& suffered through a terrible migraine headache that night & next day. I would like to understand the mechanism of why this is.

  10. I’ve suffered terrible mental ailments randomly when I was 16 and it actually took me years to figure out it was gluten causing this problem. Watch out because certain gluten free foods contain similar flours whos proteins can cause a similar reaction that your body can react to. I’ve noticed that I have a terrible reaction to quinoa and possibly buckwheat. I can tolerate rice. Corn is absolutely terrible for me. It’s all about finding what foods work with your body and keep adding to that list.

  11. I have been pretty much gluten free for over a year. I do backslide and eat food with gluten once in awhile. Usually when I do I get a migraine after eating it.

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  14. “Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.” In fact, it isn’t. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for others, “unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber,”

  15. I’ve just gone gluten, dairy, wheat and corn free in an attempt to prevent or reduce my migraines with aura as they’ve been getting progressively worse. I am also on propanalol to prevent them and I regularly have a bath in Epsom salts. So far so good, even if the diet has taken some getting use to!

  16. Dr. Osborne, it is so refreshing to see people FINALLY opening up the discourse on the connection between diet and chronic migraines! I can’t believe it’s taken this long to being to be accepted, and it’s far from “widely accepted” but we’re moving in the right direction.

    What’s more — you’ve recommended seeing a chiropractor! Grand Slam. Both are extremely important. Thanks for spreading this important message and increasing awareness.

      1. Shell, I also have had complicated migraines for 8 years now they started when I was 16. Im really interested in knowing how your doing since diet changes. I hope your doing amazing and migraine free!!:) Hope to hear from you soon, Lauren

  17. My name is Amy and I have always had migraines which I associated with stress… I won’t deny that with less stress I do have less headaches and migraines however only recently I started developing a very strange rash and inflammation on my face which started around the brow and then at the Chin and got worse each day. I felt so bogged down and had problems, tmi but The only time I could use the restroom were the weekends, which I reserved for taking laxatives without embarrassment. I’ve only been three days without gluten and these things seem to already be so significantly improved… So I have self diagnosed with celiac. My question for everyone here, has anyone noticed their Gluten intolerance having an effect on their menstrual cycle? For the past eight or nine months I’ve noticed that my cycles only last about a day when they used to be quite normal and with no changes such as birth-control etc.

    1. I’be been searching the net as I’d had a headache for a week.. I do take something for Migraine everyday but couldn’t shift it..

      I found this site I have been having milk the last 2 weeks and a wheat based cereal!

      But just read your post & have had this on my face too!

  18. I might also mention that all of my thyroid and hormone tests as well as normal health tests such as cbc etc were completely normal. Due to the scanty cycles I assumed it had to be thyroid or hormone… A nurse practitioner at my job told me to look into celiac and I did and… Here I am

  19. I have a question about what kinds of symptoms people experienced before finding out they had a gluten allergy. I have a teenage daughter who has been ill for over a year now. Her symptoms are headaches every day and she wakes up every night in her sleep and vomits. We have seen multiple specialists who cannot seem to figure out what is going on. GI says it isn’t GERD, Neuro says is isn’t a neuro issue as we were concerned that she also has a chiari 1 malformation. So far all that we have been told is possible abdominal migraine which she takes 400mg of gabapentin at night for that doesn’t really seem to be helping. She has had blood tests done and her allergy/immunology markers are elevated. She does have allergies to dogs, cats, tree pollen, horses, mice, etc. She also has asthma. The allergist does not believe her symptoms are related to an allergy. They have not tested her for food allergies but she did have a biopsy during an upper endoscopy that only showed gastritis probably from all the vomiting she has been doing. This has really affected her health and well being and all of us because we are really concerned about here and trying to find some answers. Just wondering if anyone else had symptoms similar to hers?

    1. D,
      Headaches are an extremely common manifestation of gluten sensitivity. If you really want an answer as to whether or not your daughter is gluten sensitivity, I would recommend two things:
      1. Have her take this free quiz. It might give insight to the possibility of gluten being a problem.
      2. If you want a definitive answer, have her genetically tested.

      Wishing you and your daughter excellent health,
      Dr. Osborne

  20. I have been on holiday and had a change of diet to rice based Indian food. I hadn’t had wheat for many weeks…then I discovered a bakery with great wholmeal bread, and the cafe I go to regularly bought an oven and started baking fresh cinnamon rolls every morning, hot out of the between the western style coffee and pastries and the lunch with cheese and onion toasted sandwich..oh..and I found a store that sold dried western diet crept back in and I started eating less masala dosa ( fermented rice steamed pancakes with dahl for breakfast) …what happened was I went through migraine medication I bought, one headache following another, cluster migraines…that came on, ususally in the afternoons and lasted until the next morni with groogy kind of headache hangovers inbetween…so I stopped eating wheat…and two weeks later, not one headache!

    The change of diet allowed me to pinpoint food I had stopped eating and then reintroduced as my habit. Now I am back to eating vegetable and rice based diet. I also made banana and cocnut pancakes out of a finely ground millet meal, and substituted the wheat flour ” banana bun” with one made from fermented chick pea flour cooked in cocnut oil and served with a vegetable samba for up the cinnamon rolls and wheat flake muesli..for a more traditional taste. And the best debilitating migraines. I am sure there is a connection to my migraines and wheat.

  21. My FL-41 glasses & cover sunglasses help. Although I have not knowingly consumed any food containing gluten since 3-2011, I still get a lot of headaches. I suspect that I’m getting gluten in prescription medications & supplements. I also snack on GMO-free popcorn, which may be a factor. A meteorologist on an online seminar on migraines listed locations in the U.S. where migraines are most prevalent mainly due to fluctuating barometric pressures & also locations where migraines are least prevalent. I live in an area in Wisconsin he considered to be number 2 for the most migraines,

  22. My first symptoms were huge migraines on right side and near to right Eye which made my eyesight blur which last 8 hours. Than after near two months I stopped eating gluten and everything stopped from all pains. After blood analyses for vitamins I had deficiencies for Vitamin D. After taking the Vitamin D now I can freely eat gluten without having migraines. I usually take 600 mg of vitamin D every morning on empty stomach. If I do not take Vitamin D for some days I will get again the migraines. Also I have hyperthyroidism which I think is related to gluten. All these description of diagnosis and description of intakes I founded myself and not by Doctors MD, they are very unprofessional here in my country. I spent huge money for doctors and analyses with MRI and other and in the end I founded solution for my health alone.

  23. I had migraine for 30 years and was angry (and surprised and delighted- real mixed emotions!) when I discovered that my migraines stopped when I went gf. 30 years of misery could have been avoided had I known. Gluten free and migraine free for 22 years now.

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