Charles Darwin, the world famous 19’the century biologist who was the brain behind the theory of evolution was diagnosed with many afflictions during his lifetime, including lactose intolerance. The findings presented in the 2013 Historical Clinicopathological Conference point to a infectious disease as the biggest culprit responsible for his symptoms. Whatever be the real cause of Darwin’s suffering, you can relate it to his GI stress if you’re also lactose intolerant. Even a glass of milk can quickly unsettle your stomach and may lead to severe migraine headaches.
Understanding the Cause of Lactose Intolerance
Lactase is an enzyme produced mostly in your small intestine, and helps in the digestion of all dairy products. This enzyme can break down lactose present in these products. When too little lactase is produced, it’s very difficult for your body to digest diary products. The lactose fails to break down properly, and starts interacting with bacteria in large intestine. The most common side effects include gas, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating. These symptoms can occur within 30-50 minutes, or sometimes within two hours, following consumption of lactose rich diary products.
Migraines and GI
It’s now clear that a digestive condition can lead to many GI issues, but lactose intolerance may also cause different types of headaches, according to Dr. Derek Masih, an internist at the University of Cincinnati. Some migraines can be triggered by diary products. The dilating and constricting of blood vessels in the brain lead to symptoms often associated with migraines or severe headaches. Constricting vessels may lead to numbness, body weakness, and vision issues; when vessels later on enlarge, you may develop headaches that can affect either one or both sides of your head. Some of these headaches may last for days.
Many factors (both internal and external) can lead to the development of a migraine, but food intolerance can be a big one. It’s often confused with food allergies, but intolerance involves your digestive system’s inherent inability to handle certain food ingredients. According to a 2001 report by Rush University Medical Centre, lactose intolerance is one of the biggest and most prevalent causes of migraines. These types of migraines are referred to as dietary migraines. According to the 2004 book “Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Food and Food Additives.”, some evidence links to a direct association between lactase deficiency and dietary migraines.
Mostly, migraines can be managed with the help of prescription drugs and pain relievers, but some lifestyle changes are essential if yours is the case of lactose intolerance. Try to keep away from foods (cheese, milk, yogurt and other dairy products) that can trigger your migraines. It can be difficult at times, but your health is more important. You can eat small amounts of lactose to check your tolerance limit and then stick to that. Avoiding diary altogether can be risky, as you may not get the calcium you need, so try to increase the intake of green, leafy vegetables.