Wednesday, August 17, 2022
HomeNewsCan Gluten Give You Migraines

Can Gluten Give You Migraines

How Wheat Or Gluten Affects Periods

Can Gluten Cause Headaches?

Wheat is fine for most people but a major problem for about one in ten. For women with gluten sensitivity, even a small amount can drive or worsen endometriosis, adenomyosis, migraines, thyroid disease, and some cases of amenorrhea.

The first step is to understand the difference between FODMAPs and gluten. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates found in wheat and many other foods they can cause digestive bloating. Gluten is a protein and it can cause inflammation and immune dysfunction.

What Is Gluten Sensitivity

One of the major digestive issues related to headaches and migraines is sensitivity to gluten. Individuals who have gluten sensitivity are unable to process and absorb nutrients in foods that contain gluten.

Gluten is a substance found mainly in foods made of wheat, rye or barley, as well as some medicines, vitamins and supplements. It is composed of two proteins called glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin gives dough strength and elasticity, while gliadin is responsible for making bread rise during baking. Gliadin is also the protein that your gut reacts to negatively if you have gluten sensitivity.

If you are sensitive to gluten, eating foods that contain it will cause your gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed. This results in digestive problems such as increased intestinal permeability, which prevents the proper absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream. Ingesting gluten is also dangerous if you have coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder where your small intestine gets damaged after you consume gluten.

Some of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity, such as fatigue and abdominal cramps, are similar to those of coeliac disease. The difference between the two is non-coeliac gluten sensitivity does not harm your small intestine in the long run. Headaches, heartburn, bloating, diarrhoea/constipation and vomiting are other known symptoms of gluten sensitivity.

Histamine Cluster Headaches And Gluten

Theres evidence that histamine, a compound released in response to an injury or allergen, may play a role in cluster headaches. For example, in this study, histamine levels were significantly elevated in patients during a cluster headache attack.

This is relevant because elevated histamine levels are also associated with celiac disease and may even contribute to gut permeability .

In addition, gut bacteria imbalances caused by gluten may raise histamine levels. And medications often used to treat digestive symptoms commonly associated with gluten sensitivity may disrupt your gut bacteria as well as prevent histamine from being broken down and eliminated from the body efficiently.

Recommended Reading: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy

Similarities Between Celiac Disease And Migraine

Some of the similar features of both celiac disease and migraine include:

  • A higher prevalence in females: More women get migraines and severe headaches than men the prevalence is nearly 21 percent in women and not quite 10 percent in men. Celiac disease, too, affects more women than men, occurring in an estimated 0.6 percent of women and 0.4 percent of men.
  • A potential genetic component: Like celiac, migraines also seem to run in families.
  • Relief during pregnancy: Some women experience fewer migraines during pregnancy, just as some women with celiac see a reduction in symptoms while they’re pregnant.
  • Overlapping symptoms: The conditions have a number of symptoms in common like fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, head pain, and brain fog, which includes difficulty concentrating and paying attention, poor short-term memory, and slowed thinking.
  • An association with depression and anxiety: Having migraines increases your chance of developing depression, while depression, in turn, increases your risk of developing migraines. The same is true with anxiety and migraine. Depression and anxiety have both been linked to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity as well.

Could Gluten Make You Tired

New Study Links Gluten And Migraine Occurence: Your Brain ...

If youve been diagnosed with celiac disease, have a family history of chronic illness, or generally feel awful every time you eat bread or pasta, then yes, Id say gluten is causing your fatigue.

But what about if your only symptom after eating gluten is tiredeness?

Can gluten cause fatigue?

The simplest answer is: maybe.

If you do not have:

  • any health issues,
  • chronic illness in your family history,
  • chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia,
  • any symptoms when you eat gluten,

then consuming gluten is likely okay.

Now this is only one end of the spectrum. At the other end are those with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivities. In these situations, fatigue is almost always a symptom.

For the majority of you, its likely that youll fall somewhere between the two extremes. This is when it becomes a challenge trying to figure out whether or not gluten is causing your fatigue.

Read Also: Do Daith Piercings Help With Migraines

Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.

It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population and may lead to damage in the digestive system .

It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, and more.

Here are a few of the most common symptoms of celiac disease.

Triggers Of Migraine Headaches

  • Sleep changes. Getting too much sleep or too little sleep can lead to migraines in some people. 30%-50% of individuals who suffer from migraines also experience disturbed sleep.
  • Beverages. Certain beverages including alcohol and drinks with caffeine are common triggers of migraines. Alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, contain byproducts known as congeners. They are linked to headaches. Alcohol also signals the immune system to produce more histamine which increases inflammation throughout the body and can lead to headaches. Caffeine-filled drinks such as coffee are linked to migraines. The chances of experiencing a migraine increase when an individual consumer three or more caffeinated beverages per day.
  • Stress. Everyone experiences stress at home and at work. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage or control, but too much stress can wreak havoc on the body and lead to migraines.
  • Don’t Miss: Do I Have A Migraine Quiz

    What About Genetic Testing

    Genetic testing does not diagnose celiac disease. Remember, between 25-30% of the general population carry the very same genes that are linked to celiac disease. But celiac disease only affects 1-3% of the population. A genetic test merely lets you know if you have the genes associated with celiac disease. This does not mean you have celiac disease or that you will go on to develop it later in life.

    Genetic testing does indicate whether or not youre at an increased risk of developing celiac disease or possibly gluten sensitivities. If you have these genes the chance that gluten is causing your fatigue is higher. If you do genetic testing like 23& me, and learn that you have the HLA DQ2 or DQ8 genes that most celiacs have, Id encourage you to adopt a gluten-free diet.

    When to perform genetic testing

    I recommend performing genetic testing if one of your first-degree relatives has celiac disease or the genes associated with celiac disease. This is especially important for children as they may not have any symptoms of celiac disease early in life. Genetic testing is also a great option for those already following a gluten-free diet.

    Be aware that a celiac screen will only work if you are consuming gluten on a regular basis. The genetic test will work regardless of whether youre consuming gluten or not.

    Genetic testing is also great if youve received a negative gluten sensitivity screen or a celiac screen but feel like your fatigue is improved on a gluten-free diet.

    Can Gluten Sensitivity Cause Headaches

    Can Gluten Cause Migraine Headaches? What’s the connection?

    A recurring headache can be a debilitating condition that affects your career, studies, social interactions, and overall health. As medical experts are researching ways to alleviate chronic headaches and figuring out what may be causing them, findings reveal that there could be a correlation between what goes on in your gastrointestinal tract and the pain you feel in your head. This complex interaction is often referred to in medical literature as the gut-brain axis.

    You May Like: How To Get A Migraine

    The Connection Between Migraines And Gluten

    Studies do show that gluten may be a trigger for migraines in some of us. A recent study has suggested a link between celiac disease and migraines. Migraines may even be an early symptom of celiac disease in some people, though migraine is considered a rare complication of celiac disease.

    Gluten can affect the nervous system in people with celiac disease and people with non-celiac gluten intolerance. Here are a few examples of conditions that affect the nervous system:

    • learning disorders
    • migraine
    • headache

    This means that gluten could trigger a migraine for you even if you dont have celiac disease but instead have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Gluten sensitivity isnt well understood yet. If you have gluten sensitivity, here are a few things you might experience:

    • foggy thinking
    • bloating
    • chronic fatigue

    So its true that gluten could be a trigger for you if you get a lot of migraines, but more research is necessary to understand this connection.

    Migraine And The Blood

    Recent evidence shows us that there are certain situations in which that wall becomes leaky. One such situation? Migraine.

    Migraine is a many-armed beast, as you may know, meaning theres a cornucopia of physiological changes occurring when the beast comes to town.

    One of those arms involves whats known as neurovascular inflammation. Nerves at the base of the brain that are activated during a migraine send a signal to the blood vessels they connect with to release inflammatory substances. The resulting inflammation then triggers breakdown inthe blood brain barrier. 4

    And a leaky blood brain barrier means stuff can get inside the brain that shouldnt be there.


    Read Also: How To Beat Migraines Naturally

    Cold Turkey Vs Tapering

    How quickly did you discontinue gluten from your diet? Did you find everything with gluten in your kitchen and toss it in the garbage? Or did you make a conscientious effort to slowly reduce the amount of gluten in your diet in a tapering method. There is debate as to whether tapering off of gluten products is a superior method of withdrawal to giving it up cold turkey.

    Many people find that when they quit cold turkey from a previously high gluten intake, that they cannot handle the withdrawal symptoms. Part of this may be due to certain gluten-induced endorphin deficiencies. Those that taper down their gluten consumption before finally quitting generally find that withdrawal symptoms are less severe because theyve given their physiology some extra time to transition and adapt to reduced consumption.

    Please Consult Your Physician To Determine The Appropriate Treatments For You

    Can gluten cause migraines and headaches?

    Headache Journal: Everyone has their own particular trigger or triggers for the onset of a migraine. Keeping a headache diary is a great way to find yours. When you experience a migraine, keep a note of all the possibilities listed above and see if you can discover a pattern to your onset. Your specific trigger may not be listed above, so make sure to keep track of any other items of importance on your headache days.

    Good Sleep: Sleep is crucial for our overall health. Ways to improve the amount and quality of sleep include: eliminate caffeine, especially afternoon keep television and electronics out of your sleeping space go to bed at the same time nightly and practice relaxation techniques before bed. The light from computer screens and televisions may actually suppress melatonin levels and create sleeping difficulties, so avoiding screen time for two hours before bedtime is recommended. Melatonin and valerian have been used to regulate sleep cycles in migraine sufferers. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

    Stress Reduction: Exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and guided imagery are a few stress reducers find the one that works best for you.

    Possible Supplements: Magnesium, riboflavin , Co-Q10, essential fatty acids , butterbur, alpha-lipoic acid, and feverfew have all been used to prevent migraines. Magnesium is also often used while experiencing a migraine to minimize or alleviate symptoms.

    Don’t Miss: How To Get A Migraine

    Why Is Gluten A Problem Now

    Lets face it. We are a very different culture now then we were 100 years ago

    Even 50 years ago.

    Let alone 1000 or 10000 years ago.

    But our genes dont change very quickly so they cannot be blamed for the massive changes that have happened in the last 20-50 years

    What is contributing to the massive changes that have created the gluten free diet craze?

    3 pieces.

    But before I go into these 3 pieces we need to understand leaky gut.

    Gluten And Headache: Your Brain On Grain

    While the two previous conditions should be enough to sway you to ditch wheat forever, there are a variety of other brain disorders and conditions that researchers believe are associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, including autism and epilepsy !

    MR imaging also shows that people suffering from celiac disease have significant brain abnormalities, particularly those who suffer from headaches and migraines, an all too common complaint from people with CD .

    Researchers have also looked at things such as immune system activation and the increased ability for toxins and pathogens to enter your blood stream. This was proven to be caused by gluten consumption, and they positively determined there is a real connection to this condition and mental illness .

    As well, in some cases where brain disorders are a result of a loss of brain matter, the adoption of a gluten-free diet has also been show to help.

    While wheat or gluten are not always directly shown to cause all of the above conditions, there is enough evidence, according to Psychology Today, to suggest that gluten may be a contributing factor and thus, should be avoided .

    The mere fact that researchers are even studying the link between wheat, gluten, and mental illness and brain disease, let alone the other 200 issues it is shown to cause, should be enough to give anyone pause. It may be time to put down the bread and explore other grains.

    You May Like: How Common Are Visual Migraines

    Celiac Disease Vs Gluten Sensitivity

    When someone suffers from celiac disease a digestive disorder caused by an autoimmune response to gluten there is a clear link between migraine headaches and gluten. Gluten triggers immune cells to release antibodies to attack substances the body sees as foreign.

    When someone without celiac disease eats gluten, it goes into the gastrointestinal tract where food is broken down and the nutrients are absorbed. In the case of celiac disease, that persons immune system sees the gluten as a foreign substance and attacks it with a specific antibody called transglutaminase 2 serum autoantibodies to destroy the gluten.

    The problem is the persons own healthy tissues gets destroyed in the process. In other words, when people who are sensitive to gluten consume it, the immune system sees this protein as an invader and creates antibodies to capture and destroy the protein. If the protein is sitting in the GI tract or has been absorbed by other organs, the antibodies go looking for it and attack whatever tissue is harboring the gluten protein.

    This triggers an inflammatory reaction that puts the body in high alert that injures various healthy organs. Organs then release molecules that cause blood vessels to become leaky and release water, electrolytes and protein into the tissues and cause swelling.

    The Best Ways To Avoid Gluten

    If you suffer from migraines, pay attention to these 16 triggers that YOU can change!

    The best way to avoid migraines and gluten in foods is to get used of reading your food labels.

    Someone once said to me, if you even have to read the label, you should not be eating it.

    Meaning, eat fresh food, home cooked meat and vegetables and you cant go wrong.

    You can always phone the food manufacturers is you want more information on the product.

    Cross contamination can be important. This means that a knife used to cut normal bread should not be used without a thorough wash with hot soap and water, before cutting you gluten free bread. Or washing the cutting board off before you cut up your veggies.

    I found this a necessity at first, when I was becoming gluten free. My allergic reactions were severe. But now, some 8 years later, I can use the same toaster as my husband, but not the same cutting boards.

    Be very clear if you are going over to a friends for dinner, or out for dinner. We are lucky now a days, there seems to always be gluten free food on menus. If there is not, be sure to ask, so that they get the hint for the future. If they want your return business that is!

    Ask your pharmacist about your medications, herbs and supplements. I have noticed that many supplements now actually say gluten free if they are. Back to reading the labels.

    You May Like: Why Do Migraines Go Away After Vomiting

    Can Gluten Give You Headaches

    Gluten Headaches have a connection with celiac disease too as gluten headaches are the early symptoms of celiac disease. Gluten affects the nervous system of those people who have celiac disease.

    People with this disease have to avoid gluten at all costs. Even a small amount of gluten can cause serious issues.

    Another reason can be the intolerance to the protein which is called Non-celiac gluten sensitivity . It may be due to the intolerance of nutrients in the small intestine which usually leads to diarrhea, weight loss, or bloating.

    These are the gastrointestinal symptoms.

    Those people who have migraines usually experience sensory disturbances or pains, strange smells, fatigue, appetite loss, and other feelings of discomfort. These are the digestive issues that are common in people with NCGS

    Many recent studies found strong associations between gluten and migraines. According to some studies, gluten can be a reason for migraines.

    Not only can those with celiac disease but it also affects the nervous system of those who have an intolerance to gluten. It means that gluten headaches are not only common in people with celiac disease but also in those who dont have celiac disease but intolerant or sensitive to gluten.


    Popular Articles