Individuals who often struggle with migraines blame their headaches on certain foods that seem to be linked with their condition. However, a group of scientists recently discovered that food is not the problem, but rather a group of bacteria in the mouth that interacts with particular chemical compounds which then cause headaches.
The researchers discovered that individuals who suffer from migraines have more bacteria in their mouths than those who do not struggle with the condition. This lead them to focus more on the chemical interactions between the food and the bacteria in the mouth.
According to the paper, most of the headache-related foods have high nitrates levels. The patients listed leafy vegetables, meat, and even some types of medication as catalysts for their migraines.
The scientists’ hypothesis is that the elevated levels of bacteria modify the composition of the nitrates rising the chances of having a migraine episode. The specialists explained the phenomenon by saying that the bacteria turn the nitrates into a new chemical, nitric oxide which is a substance that was previously related to headaches.
However, the study used a small sample, the researchers being keen on mentioning that the paper only shows a connection between the presence of bacteria and the migraines. Moreover, the authors also said that they hope that more research will be conducted on the subject, especially since there is no cure for migraines at the present moment.
The researchers only studied 172 oral samples originating from both patients diagnosed with migraines and individuals who were not. They also analyzed approximately 2,000 samples of fecal matter cultivated from healthy people who were part of the American Gut Project.
For now, the scientists involved in the project advise individuals who suffer from migraines to avoid eating foods with high concentrations of nitrates or foods that they know are linked to their migraine episodes.
Migraines are recurrent headaches with various degrees of intensity, some being bearable, some causing the affected individual to experience other physical symptoms due to the intense, pulsating pain. The underlying mechanism of the disorder has not been discovered yet, specialists only being able to treat the symptoms, not the condition per se.
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