Migraines Could be Caused by Bacteria in Your Mouth

By Ana Verayo, | October 19, 2016

Chocolate and wine are known to trigger migraines in some people.

Chocolate and wine are known to trigger migraines in some people.

Scientists say that people who suffer from migraines may have to blame their mouth bacteria mixture as this can make them more sensitive to certain kinds of food.

In this new study, a team from the University of California San Diego offers new insight into why some people are more prone to unbearable headaches, including why some foods are considered as migraine triggers.

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The new findings reveal that people who are afflicted with migraines have higher levels of gut bacteria that produce nitrates. Nitrates are often found in processed meat, chocolate, some leafy vegetables, and wines.

 Researchers say migraines can occur when nitrates in food are broken down during digestion which can lead to brain and scalp vessels to dilate.

According to the lead author of the study, Antonio Gonzalez from the University of California San Diego, there is an idea that certain foods can trigger migraines such as chocolate, and wine. The team is now investigating the links between what people are eating and their microbiomes that can lead to experiencing more migraines.

Mouth and gut bacteria helps break down nitrates in food which is converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide in the blood stream can cause blood vessels to dilate and also provide benefits in cardiovascular health by improving circulation.

During experiments, researchers studied 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples from healthy participants and sequenced their bacteria. Some of the participants reported that they are affected by migraines.

The results revealed that those with severe migraines had slightly higher levels of bacteria that can break down these nitrates.

Scientists will now conduct further research involving a controlled diet in migraine sufferers to observe if the nitric oxide level in their bloodstream is linked to their migraine attacks. Researchers are also looking into a possible "probiotic mouthwash" that can help balance out the bacteria to prevent migraines.

This new study was published in the journal mSystems.

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