These Foods Could Be Causing Your Migraines

By , Category : Pain

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Painful migraines might be caused by a chemical in some common foods.Here’s some health advice for all of you suffering from the sharp pain associated with migraines: you might want to avoid eating too many foods containing tyramine.

According to researchers at the Center for Research and Innovation in Padua, Italy, metabolizing tyramine may indirectly trigger headache pain. This is important news, given that the pathogenesis of migraine is still a hotly debated issue. Recent studies report that migraines may, in fact, be the result of metabolic abnormalities in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators.

The problem is that tyramine metabolism gets directed toward the wrong pathway. When this happens, there is an imbalance of neurotransmitters, and pain is the result. Both noradrenaline and dopamine (two important neurotransmitters) are produced in excess of what they normally would be. This, in turn, triggers impaired mitochondrial function and high levels of glutamate in the central nervous system. Which all leads to a much greater chance of suffering a migraine in those prone to the condition, the researchers say. A sort of inflammatory soup is the result, and a migraine attack is triggered—with all the unpleasant pain symptoms in tow.

Try to go easy on foods that contain tyramine if you are prone to getting migraines. This group includes figs, red wine, chicken liver, smoked fish, aged cheese, and some beans. You’ll also want to monitor your intake of MSG and nitrates found in hot dogs, bacon, and other processed foods. Other foods that contain moderate amounts of tyramine include avocado, citrus, peanut butter, chocolate, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods.

For another way to avoid migraine pain, see “Natural Remedy Has Odd Success Versus Migraines.”

Sources for Today’s Articles:
These Foods Could Be Causing Your Migraines
D’Andrea, G., et al., “Pathogenesis of migraine: role of neuromodulators,” Headache July–August 2012; 52(7): 1155–63.




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Richard M. Foxx, MD has decades of medical experience with a comprehensive background in endocrinology, aesthetic and laser medicine, gynecology, and sports medicine. He has extensive experience with professional athletes, including several Olympic competitors. Dr. Foxx practices aesthetic and laser medicine, integrative medicine, and anti-aging medicine. He is the founder and Medical Director of the Medical and Skin Spa located in Indian Wells, California, at the Hyatt Regency Resort. Dr. Foxx is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners... Read Full Bio »