According to a recent study carried out among GP’s, * 90,000 Britons miss school or work every day as a result of migraines or headaches, which accounts for about 20% of sick leave from work.
Many foods have been linked with the onset of migraine. In one study, the foods most commonly implicated were: milk (43%), chocolate (29%), German sausages (14%), Cheese (14%), fish (10%), wine (9%), coffee (9%), garlic (5%) and eggs (5%). Other foods reported to trigger migraine include: beans, beef, citrus fruits, corn, fried foods, nuts, pork, shellfish, tea and tomatoes (Ref 1).
Some dietary migraine triggers may work through an ill-defined immune/ intolerance mechanism (e.g. milk, fish, egg, garlic), while others contain vasoactive substances affecting blood flow within the brain such as (Refs 2, 3, 4):
– histamine (e.g. fish, shellfish, fermented products, cured meats, tomato, spinach, egg white, strawberries, chocolate)
– tyramine (e.g. aged cheeses, sausages, sour cream, smoked and pickled foods, avocado, peanut, chicken liver)
– phenylalanine (e.g. chocolate, aged cheeses, red wine)
– phenolic flavonoids (e.g. black grapes, red wine, berries)
– nitrites (e.g. Wieners, salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon and other cured/smoked meats, aged cheeses) monosodium glutamate (e.g. Chinese restaurant meals, soy sauce)
– alcohol (especially red wine and beer)
– caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, colas, some over-the-counter medications)
– the artificial sweetener, aspartame (Refs 5, 6).
However, there is uncertainty about exactly which food chemicals are the offending agents; for example, although tyramine is believed to trigger migraine, when administered by nasogastric tube does not precipitate an attack (Ref 7). Other food-related migraine triggers include very cold food (ice-cream), hunger (Ref 8) and reactive hypoglycemia.
The simplest approach to the management of migraine is the identification and avoidance of precipitating factors (Refs 9, 10).
Dr Sarah Brewer, medical consultant to NOVO, by Immogenics™ says, “The easiest and most painless thing to do, is to find out what food is really affecting you. The NOVO blood test will establish which foods are triggering an inappropriate immune response. When your white blood cells mis-identify certain foods as foreign invaders, inflammatory chemicals are released into your circulation. Your body goes on the defensive, in turn causing migraines and your general health to suffer.”
NOVO is a sophisticated blood analysis that identifies the body’s sensitivity to particular foods; a personalised eating plan is then created with a full support package including one-on-one access to qualified nutritionists and medical experts.
Cassandra Parish, a NOVO nutritionist, has made some observations when assessing NOVO customer results. “Surprisingly just over a third of NOVO migraine suffers also suffer from candida sensitivity, which is most likely the cause of their headaches. The two most common triggers among migraine sufferers were yeast 65% and sugar 68%, perhaps indicating that the sugar, yeast and candida may be triggering their migraines.”
The NOVO programme can help with many other health problems, particularly those which may be related to immunity including:
Skin complaints including eczema and psoriasis
- Weak immune system
- Lack of energy
- Weight control
*Study carried out by researchers from Kings College London over a 9-year period, looking at 253 general practices in the UK.
- Ref 1 Cited in: Joneja JV. Diet and Migraine. Chapter 31, In Dietary management of food allergies & intolerances. 2nd Ed. J A Hall Publications 2000.
- Ref 2 Leira R, Rodriguez R. 1996. Diet and migraine Rev Neurol. 24;129:534-8
- Ref 3 Joneja JV. Diet and Migraine. Chapter 31, In Dietary management of food allergies & intolerances. 2nd Ed. J A Hall Publications 2000.
- Ref 4 Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in pediatric and adolescent migraine. 2003 Pediatr Neurol. 28;1:9-15
- Ref 5 Newman LC, Lipton RB. 2001 Migraine MLT-down: an unusual presentation of migraine in patients with aspartame-triggered headaches. Headache. 41;9:899-901
- Ref 6 Blumenthal HJ, Vance DA 1997. Chewing gum headaches. Headache. 37;10:665-6
- Ref 7 Blau JN 1992. Migraine: theories of pathogenesis. Lancet 339: 1202-1206
- Ref 8 Martin PR, Seneviratne HM. 1997. Effects of food deprivation and a stressor on head pain. Health Psychol. 16;4:310-8.
- Ref 9 Hackett G. 1994. Management of migraine. The Practitioner 238: 130-136.
- Ref 10 Goasby P, Olesen J 1996. Diagnosis and management of migraine. BMJ 312:1279-1283