Do you think there could be some link between gluten and migraines? It’s not easy to distinguish between a headache and migraines, but migraines tend to have more severe symptoms than headaches. As you know these symptoms could include pain behind the eyes, nausea, or sensitivity to light. Actually migraines are a symptom of celiac disease!
How These Migraines Happen?
You might have heard some people say that their migraines have gone once they switched to gluten-free diet. Understanding the way migraines happen in your brain will help you better understand the role gluten plays in their onset.
Here’s how it happens.
Your mechanism triggers (a hangover, a synthetic fragrance, a chemical exposure). Trigeminal nerve in your brain stimulates some neurons which in turn prompts brain to release some chemicals that send out a message to brains blood vessels, which may or may not dilate (blood vessels dilation was earlier thought to be the main reason for migraine pain in the past; this theory is now largely discounted and many experts now believe that blood vessel dilation plays no role in the generation of migraine attacks).
Once certain chemicals are released, they can cause inflammation deep inside the brain, which in turn, causes intense pain. Once this process builds up, it’s not easy to stop a migraine unless you catch it early when it’s developing.
The Role Gluten Plays
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are more likely to experience migraine attacks, according to research by Columbia University in New York. This is obvious because they share a common trigger: inflammation due to body’s response to gluten.
In some cases, your body’s autoimmune mechanism can react to gluten meaning it can attack its own system, resulting in inflammation. This can cause wide range of symptoms (skin rashes, headaches, muscle pain etc) in people sensitive to gluten. The point is, you’ll never know this until you go completely gluten-free.
Regrettably, Dr. Markel Green, senior author on the study discussed above, says to test for celiac first before switching to the gluten-free diet to alleviate your symptoms. However, all those who know about gluten sensitivity know that usually these tests are inaccurate.
How a Gluten-Free Diet Can Help
Gluten-free diet is the only viable solution for overcoming gluten intolerance and celiac disease. While some doctors may say that you don’t need a gluten-free diet without proper celiac diagnosis, consider how well they know your body as compared to how well you know your body.
Doctors are well trained to treat the symptoms of the problem rather than the actual cause of the problem. While you can “treat” your migraines with conventional medicine, you won’t be able to discover the actual cause of the problem this way.
Research shows that all those who switch to a gluten free diet experience relief from migraines-if they are gluten sensitive. While some may argue that grains may not work for every person, a good rule of thumb is that there is no need to go completely gluten-free if your body is not reacting to the protein.
But what’s the way to tell if your body is reacting? Well, you need to go gluten-free and see if your experience some difference. Some may notice dramatic difference within days, whereas others may take time. Usually it takes weeks to properly respond to a gluten free diet.
Other Causes of Migraines
Migraines in humans can be triggers by so many things besides gluten and people usually don’t have same triggers. The most common migraine causes include food intolerances and allergies to gut issues or even some scents, chemicals like nitrates and aspartame in processed foods, and alcohol.
Your migraine could even be caused by magnesium deficiency or hormone imbalance. You can get some insight with thorough blood panel at your doctor’s clinic as this can give vital clues to what your triggers are!
So what’s the verdict?
Migraines and gluten are both linked to inflammation in the body. It can happen due to autoimmune response of the body to gluten. To find if gluten is the culprit responsible for your migraines, go gluten free