The American Society for Microbiology published a 2016 study showing an alarming difference in mouth and gut bacterial flora when comparing subjects with and without migraines. It’s estimated that approximately 12 percent of the United States population suffers from migraines and much blame on this problem has been placed on food triggers. However, when examining the bacteria from the subjects, it was found that those suffering with migraine symptoms have a much higher concentration of mouth bacteria. The bacteria is responsible for converting nitrates in foods into nitrites. This conversion creates an abundance of nitric oxide in the bloodstream – a cause of migraines. This explains why foods high in nitrates such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and processed lunch meat are common triggers for migraines. Bacterial genes that reduce nitrates to nitrites have been found in migraine patients, according to ‘The American Gut Project’. This recent study suggests strong clinical correlation.
If you treat patients who suffer from migraines, this information may be worth bringing to their attention, especially if they experience food-triggered migraines.