Most people get headaches every now and then. 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.
Research presented by Columbia University clinicians at the 2012 American Academy of Neurology meeting found that 56% of people with gluten sensitivity, and 30% of those with celiac disease, suffered from chronic headaches compared to 14% of people in the control group. About 23% of those with inflammatory bowel disease also reported chronic headaches.
When the researchers looked specifically for people who suffered from migraine headaches — severe headaches that can be disabling — they found migraines occurred in 21% of celiacs and 14% of those with inflammatory bowel disease.
That research hasn't been published yet, but it jibes well with other studies on celiac disease and anecdotal reports from researchers in the field of gluten sensitivity. And it's accepted that food can trigger headaches and migraines in those who are susceptible, making it logical to add gluten to the list of triggers.
Learn more about headaches:
- Can A Gluten-Free Diet Stop Your Migraine Pain?
- Gluten and Epilepsy
- Gluten-Related Neurological Conditions and Symptoms
Read about the other eight signs that may indicate you have a gluten allergy:
1. Dysfunctional Digestion
2. Intractable Dandruff
3. Itchy, Scratchy Rash
4. Foggy Brain
5. Pounding Headaches
6. Pins and Needles
7. Attention Deficits
8. Depression, Anxiety and Irritability
9. Infertility or Trouble Conceiving
10. So You Might Have A Gluten Allergy - What Now?
Sources:Gabrielli M. et al. Association Between Migraine and Celiac Disease: Results from A Preliminary Case-Control and Therapeutic Study. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2003 Mar;98(3):625-9.
Zelnick, N. et al. Range of Neurologic Disorders In Patients With Celiac Disease. Pediatrics 2004; 113:1672-76.
U.S. News and World Report. Migraines More Likely for People With Celiac Disease, Study Says. May 3, 2012.