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Migraines could be caused by gut bacteria: study

Migraines could be caused by gut bacteria: study

Migraines could be triggered when nitrates in food are broken down more efficiently, causing vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, says the recent study of the scientists. The researcher team from the University Hospitals of North Midlands. According to the results od tests, in both oral and faecal samples, people with migraines had slightly higher levels of bacteria linked to breaking down nitrates.

Antonio Gonzalez, a programmer analyst at the University of California San Diego and the study’s first author, said:

“There is this idea out there that certain foods trigger migraines – chocolate, wine and especially foods containing nitrates. We thought that perhaps there are connections between what people are eating, their microbiomes and their experiences with migraines.”

When nitrates in food are broken down by bacteria in the mouth and gut they are eventually converted into nitric oxide in the blood stream, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and can aid cardiovascular health by boosting circulation.

However, around four in five cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs for chest pain or heart failure report severe headaches as a side effect.

Migraine: causes and consequences

Migraine could be caused by gut bacteria, but others factors are shouldn’t be underestimated, too. The diet, stress and lack of sleep are all known to be triggers, and hormones are also thought to play a role. Consequently, migraine affects three times as many women as men.

The Californian scientists are now planning a controlled diet study of migraine sufferers to see whether nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream are linked to migraine attacks. In the perspective, the researchers intend to create a formulation of “a magical probiotic mouthwash” that would alter the balance of bacteria to help prevent migraines.

For now, though, Gonzalez said:

“If you suspect that nitrates are causing you migraines, you should try to avoid them in your diet.”