According to the results of a small new study, some people may
experience migraine headaches due to an unexpected culprit:
The investigators found that limiting gluten -- a protein found
in wheat, oats, barely, rye and spelt-
Reduced symptoms of severe headache in
seven out of nine patients.
Gluten sensitivity can include celiac disease, an inherited inability
to digest gluten that results in abdominal distention, vomiting,
diarrhea, muscle wasting and lethargy.
Other conditions can also develop, including neurological problems
or dermatitis herpetiformis -- blister-like lesions on the elbows,
buttocks and knees.
The only treatment is strict avoidance
The study showed that these patients had a sensitivity to gluten,
and magnetic resonance imaging scans suggested they had inflammation
in the central nervous system.
Nine of the ten patients tried a gluten-free diet, and seven
stopped having headaches. Two other patients had some -- but
not complete -- success by switching to a gluten-free diet. One
patient did not follow the diet.
Neurology February 2001;56:385-388