Can Foods Trigger Migraines?

Dr. David Dodick of the Mayo Clinic responds to readers’ questions about migraines. … migraines/

Good articles, thanks! It was also interesting reading about the form of migraines in children-the pieces are really falling into place, remembering my stomach aches of yesteryear and thinking they were a “stomach virus.” I guess whenever there is an inflammatory condition in the body, a migraine may be right around the corner, whether it’s from a food allergy, a head injury, or a viral insult to your inner ear. And boy do I mean “insult!” But the gut and the brain are definitely connected; I read somewhere that something like 90% of serotonin is synthesized in the gut.


I think the way the gut and brain may interact in a negative way is via inflammation. For example, a poor diet creates a different gut flora which can cause a more inflammatory state in the body. Various proteins are secreted etc. There’s evidence for this that I saw presented here at the university a few months ago. An increased inflammatory state impacts the vascular wall. Maybe this is a trigger.

Gut serotonin doesn’t have any effect on the brain as sero cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. The brain has to manufacture it. One interesting thing that Nicholas Silver said was that it was a myth about blood vessel dilation or constriction being part of the cause of migrainous symptoms; rather, migraine actually slows brain activity and so the vessels react by lowering blood supply. Lowered brain activity might affect the production of serotonin within the brain and would also explain why some people experience memory problems, “slow” thinking ability, and other significant cognitive problems. Could also cause the low moods and anxiety that is served up with this crap.

LIke your explanation using Silver’s different spin on what goes on with migraines. It makes sense. I guess it is Tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin that can cross the blood-brain barrier.

Yup, also 5HTP can cross as well, another sero precursor. I tried that stuff a few times and wow, did it ever give me a charge but also a whopping headache.