Although the actual cause of migraines is still unclear, more and more scientific evidence is pointing toward a correlation between gluten sensitivity and migraine headaches. Because migraines can be so debilitating, it is important to investigate all possible triggers in order to alleviate or avoid suffering. Let’s take a look at the link between gluten and migraines. Gluten is all around us; it’s a protein found in the grains of wheat, barley and rye.
Here’s a list of some favorite foods that contain gluten: bagels, biscuits, bread, bread crumbs, breaded fish, meats or poultry, bread pudding, cake, cereal, croissants, cookies, crackers, croutons, doughnuts, dumplings, flour, flour tortillas, fried vegetables, graham crackers, ice cream cones, pastas, Melba toast, muffins, pancakes, pastries, pie crusts, pizza crust, pretzels, stuffing, tabbouleh and waffles.
Because of its common nature, you wouldn’t think that it would be considered an allergen but it is. Approximately 1 in every 100 people suffers from an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease, which is basically when the chemical causes damage to the small intestines. It is these people who seem to be more prone to gluten-induced migraines.
How does this happen? Researchers believe that in those who cannot tolerate it, the chemical causes inflammation in the central nervous system. It is this inflammation that is believed to cause migraines. A recent study took ten migraine patients and, after testing them, discovered they were all gluten-sensitive. Here’s an interesting twist though – you don’t have to have celiac disease to have a sensitivity. While it’s more common in those who do have the disease, there are enough people who have a slight sensitivity to gluten to cause migraines but no damage to the small intestine.
So how can you find out if gluten is causing your migraines? The best way to do this is through the process of elimination. If you have celiac disease, then you’re already aware that you shouldn’t be consuming gluten. If you’re not sure, then (with your doctor’s permission) start eliminating foods which contain it from your diet. When you stop the consumption, you should be able to determine if it is a trigger.