Elimination diet

I just wanted to share my experience of doing an elimination diet I did recently in hopes that it may benefit some of you. The plan was to to cut out dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts and sugar along with the 6 C’s to see if I could identify any food sensitivities or additional food triggers. I tried to eat organic as much possible and eat as fresh as possible during this, which lead to many trips to the store. After three weeks I would slowly introduce items back and see how I felt. I found that my reactions to food happened pretty quick. Usually within an hour, sometimes as quick as 20 minutes. When I reacted to food I usually felt it in my sinuses as pressure and throbbing. Sometimes I’d get pressure in my head along with dizziness but not always. I mostly just focused on my sinus reactions cause I get this mostly with food triggers while other symptoms (dizziness, light sensitivity, head pressure, fogginess, etc.) I can get from all sorts of things like weather changes, going for a walk or just from the effort of making a meal. Focusing more on my sinus symptoms made it easier for me to figure out the food triggers vs other triggers.

I won’t get into the details of all that i was sensitive to cause there’s a lot but it wasn’t necessarily a particular food group but items within those food groups. For example, I appear to be fine with milk and butter but not with cultured dairy products like yogurt and cheese. This won’t be a surprise to many of you cause these are very common migraine triggers. I know that everyone is different with their triggers and some people can benefit from cutting out whole food groups but I wanted to share my experience to save some of you from going to such extremes unnecessarily. I think avoiding the 6 C’s is probably sufficient for most people.

What made this elimination diet worth it for me was that I discovered some triggers I wasn’t expecting. The biggest one being olive oil. I’ve seen olives on some migraine diet lists but I wasn’t expecting the oil. Also discovered I’m sensitive to not only to onions but also garlic. They’re in the same family so I guess that makes some sense. I appear to be fine with gluten products like pasta, but not bread even when it’s a day old. So I’m thinking it might be the yeast in it that I have an issue with. On a more positive note, I discovered that I’m ok with tomatoes and possibly even citrus too.

I know I won’t be able to avoid everything I’m sensitive to, especially when going out to eat, but it feels good knowing what items I should try to limit. I probably could have figured some of this out without restricting my diet as much as I did though. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. I will say that one unexpected benefit of doing this was that my mood was surprising good during it. Whether it was from eating really clean or from taking an active role in fighting this I don’t know. Maybe a little of both. Anyway, stay strong and watch out for the 6 C’s.


Me too. Thankfully the reaction goes pretty quickly too

I wonder if it’s easier to identify problem foods when not on medication? Also I suspect that one can be so ill that diet makes little difference and for some they are going to feel awful anyway making identifying triggers very difficult early on. For me it was only once I’d got ‘well enough’ to survive without medication did I notice the more subtle differences diet could make.

I would also be keen to know if this is a life long aversion or will certain foods be reintroduceable at some stage?

And finally, is this just a discomfort thing or are these foods exacerbating the condition and holding you back from recovery if you continue to consume them? Because sometimes the joy of chocolate, for example, is worth the temporary light sensitivity and brain rumbles :rofl:

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That is the case for me too. How interesting. You made some interesting points there. I decided to put off trialing a new med until I had done this just in case it skewed my reactions which I suspect it would. Really hoping it’s not a life long aversion to all of these foods. I don’t think it is cause I was able to handle more problem foods when taking a medication that worked. Watching my diet helps but I don’t believe it’s my ticket out of this. I could be wrong though. I just don’t think eating an incredibly restrictive diet is very sustainable in the long run. I’m so with you on the chocolate.

Also many people completely recover all the way to being normal. Then the same folks have a relapse. I wonder if the underlying condition makes a comeback because of bad sleep hygiene, stress or eating without care or a combination of the above. Something upsets the ear chemistry which in turn can causes the brain to freak out causing migraines. I understand there might not be a life-long ban of certain foods but then again i don’t think one can go back to the care free way of living which was once the norm pre MAV ! Or probably you can go back to living like that…

Same, I’ve mentioned noticing symptoms within 10-15 mins of eating something that causes an issue.

I really hope it’s not life long. I have avoided chocolate and the problematic foods to minimize the dizziness / symptoms.
I’m reducing fast food now since it was simple to obtain but I would like to see if I’m less symptomatic by eating less salty foods (which will most likely help). Shame on me for eating it. Convenience is a pain sometimes.

Yes try this

Reviving this topic.
James, I’d want to know if you had anymore theories on this.
I’m just slowly cooking / baking again and was curious if garlic is a trigger without having taken a bite out of one yet to see if I am.
I recently made cheesecake the other night with graham cracker crumb crushed by your’s truly and I was fine. Yay for finding something other than vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream to enjoy.

Curious if triggering foods sets us back from recovery or just irritates for the short time in a day.
Also, if we’re able to once again enjoy chocolate care free again some day.

Just my hypothesis:

For those with Hydrops on this forum I think triggers are probably doing one of two things:

  • making the brain too active with stimulants e.g. caffeine, chocolate
  • raising the level of electrolytes in the blood (e.g .very salty or potassium heavy food) which activate the osmotic processes of the ear raising the pressure level, which causes ‘vestibular tinnitus’ and aggravates the brain.

Your ear pressure fluctuates. Sometimes your ear pressure is low enough to cope with the additional pressure from the increase in chemical activity, sometimes it is not. I’m pretty sure a vertigo attack is a leak which lowers the pressure, only for it to build up again over the following days. When that pressure gets too high you are very sensitive to certain foods.

That’s the theory.

I’ve almost given up worrying about category 2 triggers (the ones that increase ear pressure) because its very hard to predict if you are vulnerable at that moment or not. Stimulants are easy to avoid so do that anyway but if you must have some chocolate occasionally, you might get away with it.

Does it set back our recovery to have symptoms? Well for Secondary Hydrops guys I don’t think it has to - in fact the pressure might actually lead towards recovery - without the pressure you’d never head towards equilibrium again - personal experience of this condition suggests that my imbalance feels like its improved over the past year or so and that must be because the pressure is pushing things back to where they should be. Anatomically the perilymph is pushing against the Endolymph volume and I believe this must help reduce the endolymph volume over time (and the theory is eventually that would lead to homeostasis once more)

The extent to which any of this is relevant to pure VM sufferers I’m not sure, but you know I have my suspicions its all the same thing…

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That is very interesting James and makes sense. Im glad this topic was revived since i need some info. As you know i am taking 10meq of potassium chloride. When i researched how much in 10meq is mg and it saids 750mg of potassium. If thats the case, that is almost equilvalent to 2 bananas. I asked my doc why can’t i just eat 2 bananas and he said no. 10meq equals about 40 bananas and i was like what!!?? I think he mentioned something about number 1 and i believe he was stating maybe 1 mmol/l that shows up on the blood work. Thats just my theory when he said 1. Can my doc could be wrong about the conversion of meq to mg?

This is one migraine elimination diet. I like that this one includes the component in each food that might be the trigger (such as histamine or tyramine). So if you want to eliminate tyramines, you can see exactly which foods contain them.

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I’ve wondered this same thing. My guess, after my experience doing the elimination diet, would be that it is just irritating for a period after ingesting it. But to really know I guess you’d have to eliminate all triggering items for an extended period of time which can be difficult especially when there’s a lot of triggers you’re avoiding. I think the problem comes more when you’re eating triggering foods at each meal. Instead of having mini flare ups, you end up not feeling well all day. Also, having a lot of triggers all at once create bigger and longer reactions. I recently indulged at lunch and had all sorts of things I shouldn’t have and felt it into the next day. It was delicious but I paid for it and won’t be doing it again soon.

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The leak only happens in the case you have a perilymphatic fistula. In a healthy ear there should not be any leak through any of the windows.

Science doesn’t know this for sure. And indeed perilymph fistulas might be spontaneous to shed Hydropic pressure and therefore might be considered ‘normal’ one day. Science cannot tell us what is happening in a vertigo attack. To me it makes complete sense this involves a significant movement of fluid in the inner ear in order to stimulate the labyrinth neurons. Some have put forward the theory that the Reissner membrane is breaching during a vertigo attack but this doesn’t make sense to me as pressure is surely equal on both sides at all times no matter how Hydropic the ear is because the membrane is compliant so would naturally move to take up any difference.

If one leaked from the windows a Meniere’s attack would not prolong for hours , the leak would stop it in the tracks. Since a Meniere’s attack can go as long as a day we can infer there is no leak.

I don’t think we can be sure of how long a leak could occur. Also the sensation of an ‘attack’ might include the period in which there is a deficit of perilymph after the initial leak which might cause neurological symptoms which could last hours or days. Just like it does for MAVers …

Anyway, this is all hypothesis. Just don’t like the arm waving and implication it’s all hallucination which is just a lazy explanation and completely ignores how the plumbing could so easily get upset in the ear (and being delicate and peripheral is far more exposed to injury than the brain)

If what you are saying is true than all Meniere’s patients have PLF, which is a pretty controversial statement and largely not supported by any test so far ! Which will also make the endolymphatic shunt surgery useless if your theory is true.

This is a good question to ask a super-specialist, why does the window not give way during a MD attack.

What test?

Yep but PLFs could surely vary and the spontaneous ones heal more easily. I’m imagining that a small breach to let additional pressure out of the ear would essentially be evolved, normal function of the ear during a pressure crisis. Remember this membrane is one of the thinnest in the human body - why wouldn’t it give way? Evolved because letting the pressure out saves your hearing and balance!! (if the pressure were to increase to glaucoma levels you get a very nasty situation).

PLFs could of course be much larger and caused by injury or congenital malformation and these are less ‘natural’.

In any case its shocking and terribly indicting of medicine that they haven’t yet fully monitored a single patient during a vertigo attack, despite some patients having very frequent attacks, some of which can be brought on merely by lying down!

I think there might be a commonality between migraine and MD etiology. When the brain goes into migraine causing blood vessels to constrict it can also cause the ear fluid to be imbalanced. The brain could trigger the fluid imbalance in the ear. Squelch the source using brain meds and the ear gets better.

One more paper on MD etiology

VEMP and ECoG are pretty good at picking up both PLF and hydrops

I believe the current consensus is that migraine is an electrical, not vascular spasm. Sure some believe that its also a vascular event (pure hypothesis) but I think this is just someone saying this because they’ve been painted into a corner on this topic and need some far-fetched route to explain all the symptoms :slight_smile:

Why don’t (non-vestibular) migraineurs get vestibular symptoms?

It’s silly.