ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Could Food Sensitivities be causing chronic headaches?

Updated on March 8, 2014

The issue with chronic headaches is that it could be caused by so many different things. I feel that food sensitivities play such an significant role in chronic headaches that it needs to be always investigated as a possible cause. I'm not saying that all headaches are caused by food sensitivities, but that it should always be considered in rooting out the causes.

The problem is determining what food is triggering it. It is most likely not one food, but a category of food. For example, gluten or dairy or food additives / coloring, or MSG. These ingredients are in so many foods that you may not notice any one particular food as trigger. The best thing to try is an "elimination diet", that is to eliminate the most commonly allergenic foods for at least a week to see if symptoms disappears -- the longer the better. You can not just eliminate them for a day, because low-level sensitivities can have symptoms show up to three days after the food is eaten.

Because these food are so prevalent the in commercial food chain, it may mean that you have to cook all your own food during the elimination period.

If the headaches disappears during the elimination period, then food sensitivities is a likely cause. Now to pinpoint the exact food, you add back the food one at a time (give at least 3 days per food) to see which food is the trigger.

What possible food can cause headaches?

But what foods to eliminate during the elimination period.

Take a look at the book The Virgin Diet book which has a version of an elimination diet that eliminates seven food categories. These are the seven food categories that people are commonly sensitive to. They are gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, and certain refined sugars.

In the case of headaches, I would also exclude MSG, aspartame, and food colorings and additives from your diet during your elimination period.

Aspartame is a neuro-toxin and can kill brain cells. I wrote about it here. As for MSG (Monosodium glutamate), some people may be particularly sensitive to it, while others may not. Those sensitive to it may experience symptoms such as headaches and flushing.

How Does Food Sensitivity Causes Headaches?

How can food that you put in your stomach affect pain in your head? Don't be surprised, the body is not a Lego of independent pieces. Everything is connected to everything else.

Did you know that more than 90% of the brain neuro-transmitter serotonin is produced in the gut? Did you know that food sensitivity is associated with a "leaky gut"? I wrote about how to heal a leaky gut in another article. And if a person has a leaky gut, there is a chance they have a leaky blood-brain barrier too.

In fact the gut is sometimes known as the "second brain".

Read Dr. Mercola's article which has a section titled "Are Food Allergies Causing Your Migraines". It writes ...

"Searching the medical literature in using the search terms "migraine" and "food allergies" will provide you with more than 150 different studies."

and that the common headache-producing food allergy foods are wheat, yeast, corn, cane sugar, grain cereals, eggs, citrus, cow's milk.

He also says that ...

"Both aspartame and MSG are notorious for causing headaches and triggering migraines."

Interestingly, WebMD writes article listing various foods that can trigger headaches. This include cheeses which is dairy and peanuts and baked goods which contain gluten. WebMD also included "cold foods" and alcohol and food additives.

Did you noticed that many of the foods listed overlap in the category to be eliminated in the elimination diet?

Gluten As a Possible Cause of Headaches

In the below video Dr. Osborne and Dr. O'Bryan talked about gluten causing headaches.

Without a doubt, gluten can be a cause of headaches for some people. Did you hear the above video? The reason that Dr. O'Bryan got interested in gluten sensitivity and celiac is when he heard of the study where 10 migraine headache sufferers was put on a gluten-free diet. Seven of them no longer have headaches. Two of them had headaches partially reduced. And the last one did not follow the gluten free diet.

Here is actual study mentioned and article on about it.

Wikipedia writes that gluten-free diet as one of the preventions of migraines.

While it is true that celiac disease affects the gut. But for gluten sensitivity, this is not necessarily the case. The organ that gluten affects the most is actually the brain and central nervous system.

Here is article in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry titled "Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness"

Just type in "gluten headache" in your search engine and you will find tons of references linking the two. Here are just a few... say ...

"But people with gluten allergies — especially those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and to a lesser extent, those with celiac disease — seem to be especially prone to them, and some even seem to get migraines that are triggered by gluten."

Dr. Perlmutter writes case report "Association Between Headache and Sensitivities to Gluten and Dairy"

Testimonials of Headaches Solved by Eliminating Certain Foods

Still don't believe that food can be causing your headaches? Here are some reports of people who have solved their chronic headache by figuring out what food to eliminate.

Posted under "Wheat Headache" is testimonial about a child with chronic headache. The mother placed him on a gluten-free diet and headaches disappear on the third day.

Dr. Vikki Petersen's article Are You Killing Your Brain with Gluten? writes that their clinic had ...

"witnessed the ‘miracle’ of removing gluten from someone’s diet and having their chronic headaches disappear. Personally, my mother and myself were migraine sufferers and these debilitating headaches had gluten as their root cause. I haven’t had a migraine in decades and it’s the same for her."

Dr. Mark Hyman writes 5 steps to solve migraines. Step one is to do an elimination diet. He says that gluten (such as in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt), peanuts, dairy, and eggs can be the cause of headaches. He tells of one of his patient who had headaches for 40 years -- 40 years!! They discovered that the headaches were caused by eggs. When she stop eating eggs, no headaches. When she ate them again, headaches again.

Other possible causes of chronic headaches

In above article, Dr. Hyman also mentions other possible causes of headaches (besides gluten and other food sensitivities) could be hormonal imbalances, vitamin B deficiencies, melatonin imbalance, and magnesium deficiency.

Dr. Ben Kim writes ...

"build-up of toxins within your nervous system"

Dr. Peter Osborne writes ...

"A large percentage of migraines are actually induced by nutritional deficiencies, dietary allergens, and environmental chemical exposure. "

Spread the Word about Food Sensitivity and Headaches

If you find this article contain useful information, please share with others and/or tweet. The information may help others who have chronic headaches.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)