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Is Sugar A Migraine Trigger

Ever Experience A Sugar Headache Simple Carbs Or Sweets Can Cause Blood Sugar To Spike And Then Crash Discover 4 Healthy Tips For Sugar And Migraines

Migraine Headaches : Foods That Trigger Migraine Attacks

Long ago, before sugar and carbs were such dietary demons, my Migraine pal Debbie and I discovered we both craved “white food” before and after the worst part of our attacks. You know, mashed potatoes, rice, rolls, pasta – any kind of bland carb.

It wasn’t just gentle on a nauseous stomach. We now know that it was the blood sugar fix our bodies were craving after a Migraine attack, during that strange feeling after the pain stops known as postdrome.

How To Avoid Sugar Headaches

Whether you have diabetes or not, you can manage your diet to avoid developing a headache after sugar consumption. Try these strategies:

  • Avoid sugar binges. Remember that sugar exists in many foodsand in alcohol. To avoid a sugar headache, dont binge on candy, desserts or cocktails.

  • Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration can help your body eliminate excessive glucose from the bloodstream.

  • Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Simple carbohydrates like refined grains, potatoes and table sugar cause insulin levels to spike, which can lead to headache. To avoid that, aim to eat more complex carbohydrates like fresh vegetables and whole grains. Complex carbs take longer to digest and dont dramatically raise insulin levels.

  • Reduce your sugar consumption gradually. Taper off sugary drinks, for example, instead of quitting cold turkey. This approach will allow your brain and blood vessels to adapt to the change in glucose levels.

  • Track your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, either formally or informally. People with should precisely track all the simple and complex carbs they consume throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Others can use a dietary app for this purpose, or simply limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you eat with each meal.

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A Few More Potential Trigger Foods

Even though weâd hate to take the fun out of even more of your favorite foods, we should let you know about these other potential trigger foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these foods are commonly reported as migraine triggers, but thereâs no scientific evidence that they really cause them, so donât clean out your fridge just yet. Instead, turn to a migraine tracker to see if any of these might be causing you pain.

  • Avocados
  • Chicken livers and other organ meats
  • Dairy products like buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
  • Dried fruits like dates, figs, and raisins
  • Garlic
  • Most beans including lima, fava, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, and snow peas
  • Onions
  • Pickled foods like olives, sauerkraut, and, of course, pickles
  • Potato chips
  • Some fresh fruits like ripe bananas, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, and pineapple
  • Smoked or dried fish
  • Tomato-based products

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Can Too Much Sugar Or Not Enough Sugar Cause Headaches

Both too much sugar and not enough sugar can cause headaches.

Dr. Patel was quoted as saying:Sugar-related headaches come from a rapid swing in your blood sugar level. So its not actually the sugar itself that causes the headache, but the quick change in consumption. Glucose level fluctuations affect your brain more than any other organ.

Sugar causes hormonal changes, specifically with epinephrine and norepinephrine. Those shifts change blood vessel behavior in the brain, causing a headache.

How Many People Report Food Triggers

8 Foods That Trigger Migraines  SheKnows

According to studies, between 10% and 80% of people report food triggers. Why would the numbers vary that much? Perception is one factor. Some people and some cultures are more centered on diet as a migraine trigger.

One other thing to consider is the delay to include a food as a trigger. If you choose a short delay, less food will be potential triggers. If you decide to consider everything you ate over the last 48h as a potential trigger, well, it becomes a bit difficult to establish causal links.

The international classification recommends a maximum delay of 12h to consider a link between a food intake and a migraine attack.

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What Is A Sugar Headache

    Reducing the amount of sugar you consume usually isnt a bad idea. Eating refined grains or foods with added sugars provides almost no nutritive value and can raise your risk of developing . But most people know that abruptly eliminating sugar from the diet can trigger headachessometimes called sugar withdrawal or a sugar headache. What causes a headache from sugar withdrawal? Get the facts about how too littleor too muchsugar in your bloodstream can cause your head to throb.

    Tree Nuts And Peanuts

    It’s no surprise that tree nuts and peanuts are on this list because they are some of the most commonly eaten foods and the most commonly allergic as well. They are also high in biogenic amines, which can aggravate the brain and gut. Peanuts can contain mold that can compromise the immune system. They are also difficult to digest because of their high fat content. Almonds and hazelnuts may be better options but it depends on your specific sensitivity.

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    Chewing Gum: Good Or Bad

    People have been chewing gum in various forms for thousands of years.

    Original gums were made from the sap of trees, such as spruce or Manilkara chicle.

    However, most modern chewing gums are made from synthetic rubbers.

    This article explores the health benefits and potential risks of chewing gum.

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    Watch Out For The Calorie Creep

    Migraine Success Secrets #8 “Blood Sugar”

    Although artificial sweeteners are commonly used for weight management, one crossover study from 2017 compared the short-term effects of aspartame, monk fruit, stevia, and sucrose consumption among 30 healthy male subjects. The study found that those who consumed any of the artificial or low-calorie sugars in a midmorning beverage ate more calories at lunch than those who consumed regular sugar in their beverage.

    The energy they saved by consuming low-calorie sugar substitutes ended up being fully compensated for by the rest of the meal

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    Is It A Trigger Or A Warning

    We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.

    It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.

    Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.

    During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.

    These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.

    The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.

    Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Migraine Attacks What The Research Says

    Sucralose headaches are occasionally reported, making it an addition to some Migraine diet avoidance lists. Aspartame is the more commonly reported food trigger for people with Migraine.

    “Artificial sweeteners are frequently reported to trigger migraine attacks,”said Dr. Andrew Charles, President-elect of the American Headache Society, Professor of Neurology, and Director of the Goldberg Migraine Program at UCLA. “The challenge with artificial sweeteners is determining whether it is the sweetener itself that triggers a migraine attack rather than other contributing factors, like inconsistent meals or caloric intake.”

    Clinical evidence linking aspartame to Migraine or headache is unclear. One double-blind study conducted by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2015 found no link between aspartame consumption and adverse health effects

    A more recent but controversial review article hypothesizes that aspartame raises the levels of phenylalanine and aspartic acid in the brain, which might have implications for the release of important regulators in our brain like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine

    No other artificial sweeteners have been linked to Migraine attacks and the evidence on aspartame is weak. Still, people have reported headaches, dizziness, and nausea as a side effect of consumption.

    Migraine food triggers are a personal thing. If you suspect you are sensitive to aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, it is best to avoid them.

    • Sorbitol
    • Xylitol

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    Migraines May Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes

    But maybe there is some good news. A recent study suggests that, at least in women, having a diagnosis of active migraine is somewhat protective against the development of type 2 diabetes. In this study, which followed nearly 75,000 women for 10 years, women with active migraine were 20% to 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the course of the study than women with no history of migraine. In addition, if the migraine condition improved and the headaches lessened, the chances of developing diabetes went up. This supports the notion that migraine is protective against developing diabetes, and this is not simply a chance association.

    Headache specialists had long observed that their migraine patient populations did not develop diabetes as frequently as the general population, so this finding was not entirely unexpected. The reason for this relationship, though, remains unclear after all, what could it be about having a headache that could make your blood sugar and insulin function improve? Looked at the other way around, one consideration could be that elevated blood sugar levels are somehow protective against developing a headache. Yet another explanation may have to do with CGRP, a protein molecule in the body that is active in both conditions and may be the factor that links them.

    How Do You Identify Your Triggers

    What Is Migraine?

    So how do you know which of these foods are actually triggering your migraines? Since food affects all migraine sufferers differently, the best thing you can do is examine your eating habits and identify patterns that could be potential triggers. By slowly eliminating foods one-by-one, you can start to recognize what spurs your migraines. Food allergy testing can also be helpful, though you should still be wary of certain foods even if you arenât allergic to them.

    To keep track of your habits, Dr. Crystal recommends keeping a careful food diary for at least one month to record what you do and donât eat. If something is a trigger, an attack will likely hit 12 to 24 hours post-consumption. Youâll be able to trace the pain back to the sourceâor at the very least, narrow it down.

    We know reading this might make you feel like youâll have to start living off of nothing but water if you want to avoid debilitating pain, but itâs important to remember that not all of these foods are triggers for every sufferer . Migraines are personal, and the only way to learn your specific triggers is to track your migraines, make one adjustment at a time, and see what helps.

    And, of course, not all foods are your enemy. Check out this article for a list of migraine-safe foods. Looking for dinner ideas? Try this roundup of migraine-safe recipes.

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    Understanding The Sugar Withdrawal Headache

    A headache is perhaps the most common symptom people report when they cut out sugar or caffeine. Researchers arent 100 percent positive why headaches occur as a sugar withdrawal symptom, but they theorize it could be due, at least in part, to the brains stress system.

    In a study published in the journal PNAS, researchers fed two groups of mice different diets one consistently low in sugar and one high in sugar , on certain days. They found that the mice on the cycled chocolate-flavored sugary diet exhibited some withdrawal-like responses when they didnt have access to the sweet stuff. Their levels of corticotropin-releasing factor a hormone in the part of the brain that controls fear, anxiety, and stress responses was raised. It was five times higher than the control group, and only stabilized when the mice were fed chocolate-flavored sugary feed.

    Are Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Migraines

    The short answer is yes, while the long answer is a little more complicated.

    While a small study published in Neurology in 1994 did conclude that some people may be susceptible to headaches caused by aspartame and a 2006 case report published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain investigated a patient whos migraines were constantly triggered by sucralose, these studies are small, making it pretty hard to say theres a definitive connection between headaches, or migraines, and artificial sugar consumption.

    However, both the Mayo Clinic and American Migraine Foundation list artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame, as a possible migraine trigger, so if you already suffer from migraines, its probably best to stay away from them whenever possible.

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    So Could Sugar Cause Migraines

    But we do know that the migraine brain does seem to have a special alarm that goes off when there are sudden changes. This could do with hormones in your body, with temperature, with sudden exercise, environmental changes, any number of things.

    So these things do not cause migraine, but they can trigger migraine attacks.

    Low Blood Sugar Is Often Overlooked

    Dr Sugar-What is a Migraine Headache? Part 1 of 4

    Migraine headaches are a symptom of low blood sugar in some people. Normally, heres how the blood sugar system works in the body:

  • You eat a meal. The foods in that meal are broken down by enzymes and the sugar in the food is released to the blood. The blood sugar rises.
  • Your pancreas detects the rise in blood sugar and then produces insulin to bring the blood sugar level within the normal range, 80-120 mg/dl.
  • If the blood sugar level initially rose too high, the pancreas had to produce more insulin than what is normally needed. The result is that the blood sugar can go down into the low blood sugar zone. It will stay there until you eat again.
  • The lunch she had eaten had a fair share of high Glycemic index foods, so we can expect that her blood sugar level initially rose too high. This released a higher than normal amount of insulin which brought her blood sugar down too low. Her migraine headache started around 7 p.m., which is the expected time that low blood sugar would start to cause a migraine headache or other symptoms.

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    How To Deal With Headache Food Triggers

    The National Headache Foundation recommends keeping a food log of the foods you have eaten before a headache. Note the time you ate and when the symptoms occurred. Identify the trigger foods and see if eliminating them from your diet reduces or eliminates your headaches. Dont miss these easy ways to reduce your risk of headaches.

    Get The Right Type Of Physical Assessment

    Next, we have to understand the absolutely massive role that our bodies structure plays in vestibular issues of all kinds.

    This becomes a problem area because a GP does not have the knowledge to assess you here.

    You will likely need a:

    • NUCCA chiropractor
    • CHEK practitioner

    to give you a full assessment.

    You want to get everything looked at, from your head and atlas to your butt and coccyx.

    All of our nerves hold hands and affect each other.

    In particular, we want to:

    Get cranial balancing especially with any head or neck trauma

    Get TMJ fixed as the TMJ is linked into our balance system

    Check for compression of the vestibulocochlear nerve which controls the vestibular system

    Make sure we dont have vertebral basilar insufficiency or a vertebral artery occlusion as reduced blood flow means lots of issues

    Get all of our vertebrae and bones checked out especially the hyoid bone and upper cervical vertebrae

    Is your posture off? You likely need to have it checked out. Make sure to get a skilled therapist. A basic physical therapist will not do.

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    A Silver Lining For Migraine Sufferers

    Could there be any benefit associated with having migraine headaches? Most migraine patients would agree this is an odd question. is a common, inherited, lifelong, and often debilitating illness that impacts people most during their productive working and parenting years. It has been associated with a higher risk of vascular disorders such as stroke and heart attack, and psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety. What could possibly be good about migraine?

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    With So Many Complicating Factors Whats The Best Approach To Reduce My Chance Of Getting A Headache

    10 Foods That May Trigger a Migraine

    Being aware of foods, drinks and most importantly, the ingredients and chemicals that have been reported as headache triggers can be a helpful tool, a good starting point. Keep in mind that headache triggers vary from person to person. Also understand that pinpointing a headache trigger goes far beyond food/drink products that may have been consumed in the hours or even days before the headache started. So many other factors influence the occurrence of a headache.

    So then, what can you do to lower your chance of headache? The best approach may be to begin to control known influencers of headache. A family history of headaches is something you cannot control. However, getting a good nights sleep, not skipping meals, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and exercising regularly are some of the other things you can control.

    As far as foods, drinks, and ingredients are concerned, it certainly doesnt hurt to try to figure out if one or more food items might be triggering your headache. Eliminate one item at a time over weeks or months and record this information in a headache diary. Only cut out a food if you have a high suspicion it causes headaches, otherwise you might remove foods you enjoy! In this diary, also track other factors that occurred within 24 hours of the headache . With all of this information in hand, you can begin to sort out and discover for yourself the factors that provoke your headache.


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