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Study Reports Migraines More Likely for People With Celiac Disease


“We found significantly higher prevalence of headaches in patients with celiac disease compared to those without it,” said Dimitrova, a neurology resident at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

This is not new.  Any food has the potential to trigger a migraine if you happen to be allergic to that food. Why are we so shocked that food can and does profoundly affect our health?

But these researchers (like most physicians) have been ignoring the importance of food allergies, celiac disease and other immune system activation to non-digestive symptoms.

We have known for years that immune system activation, such as through food allergies, can cause migraines.

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“We ended up analyzing 502 people,” Dimitrova said. “We eliminated those who had head trauma or brain tumors, everybody who drank more than two alcoholic beverages a day and people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day — anything that could be headache contributors.”

The yearlong study found that 188 people had celiac disease, 111 had inflammatory bowel disease and 25 were gluten-sensitive — meaning they had not tested positive for celiac disease but reported symptoms when they ate foods with wheat. The other 178 healthy individuals served as the control group.

Chronic headaches of any kind were reported by 56 percent of gluten-sensitive participants, 30 percent of those with celiac disease and 23 percent of those with inflammatory bowel disease, while only 14 percent of the control group reported headaches.

There are several good studies including this nice double blind, placebo controlled study:

*Worth Noting: The researchers in the study also showed that the probability of migraine was dramatically higher in patients with non-celiac gluten reactions (between 2.5 and 3 times higher) than in those with celiac disease.  That is a huge difference and could be a headline story by itself.

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