Alimentation, catastrophes : Impact sur la migraine et mal tête

From diet to natural disasters, they affect headaches and migraine.

Aug 04, 2023

Headaches can be caused (or triggered) by a multitude of factors, and clinicians, researchers, and patients often seek ways to adjust, avoid, and relieve them.

While certain aspects of life, such as diet , sleep , and social habits , influence headaches , other factors are completely beyond our control, such as genetics and/or environment. In this article (originally published by the Headach Journal ), we have collected the most recent manuscripts published in Headache on lifestyle, modifiable and non-modifiable factors related to headache and migraine.

A diet to relieve migraines

The impact of diet and nutrition on headaches has been widely debated. Diet is thought to affect the modulation of neuroreceptors , neuropeptides, and sympathetic nerve responses, and to play a role in causing and/or alleviating inflammation .

Various diets, including low-fat , high-folate, high -omega-3 fatty acids , and low - omega-6 fatty acids, low-sodium, and ketogenic diets, have all been previously reported to reduce the frequency of migraines . Additionally, several clinical trials have reported a reduction in the number of monthly headaches or migraine days through the elimination of foods associated with high levels of immunoglobulin G antibodies.

Diet a triggering factor for headache

Alcohol is not always the culprit

Besides diet, many studies and surveys have looked at a variety of dietary triggers . The most common culprits are alcohol , dairy (i.e. milk and cheese), chocolate , and caffeine . The relationship between headache and alcohol as a trigger has been well described and is reported in 27% of migraine sufferers ; However, a recent observational (prospective cohort) study found that, among people with episodic migraine (EM), alcohol did not actually have a significant effect on increasing the likelihood of having a migraine. migraine attack.

Beware of caffeine

The complex relationship between caffeine and headaches , both as a trigger and as a treatment , through consumption and/or withdrawal, has also been widely debated.

One of the proposed mechanisms of action for caffeine's influence on headache is the paradoxical effect of caffeine on cerebral blood flow . Caffeine can both decrease and increase the production of nitric oxide (NO), a potent blood vessel vasodilator .

A recent study of people with headaches found lower cerebrovascular reactivity in the cerebral arteries of people who consumed caffeine, which improved after stopping caffeine consumption. . These results suggest that caffeine may have a negative impact on brain endothelial function, which could provide a rationale for stopping caffeine in people with migraine.

Food nutrients

Dietary nutrients such as riboflavin (vitamin B2), magnesium , thiamine (vitamin B1), and coenzyme Q10 have also been studied as potential treatments for headaches and migraine. Two cross-sectional studies examining results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2004) in relation to headache have been conducted recently.

Vitamin B1 and B2

The first assessed thiamine and riboflavin intake and showed that people with higher thiamine intake were less likely to have headaches , while no significant reduction in headaches was found. was observed with higher riboflavin intake.


The second looked at magnesium and showed that insufficient dietary magnesium intake was associated with a higher likelihood of suffering from migraine in adults.

Hunger triggers migraines

Additionally, hunger is a well-known headache trigger . Two articles discussing fasting customs during the holy month of Ramadan demonstrated an increase in the frequency of migraine attacks . One of these studies further showed that this effect was mainly observed during the first 10 days of the holiday. , then faded away afterward.

The essential role of sleep

Inadequate sleep is another commonly reported headache trigger, and poor sleep quality has been shown to be a risk factor for migraine progression. A prospective cohort study of people with episodic migraines showed that those who slept poorly had a higher frequency of headaches over a 6-week period.

It can be difficult to get adequate sleep in adolescents because their circadian phase is delayed as they develop. A cross-sectional study showed that adolescents in secondary schools starting after 8:30 a.m. reported headaches less often than those in schools starting earlier.

Emotions and environment contribute to migraines

Headaches can also be linked to life events such as major childhood experiences and natural disasters (like a global pandemic). Childhood abuse has previously been associated with an increased likelihood of developing migraine. This was demonstrated by the first longitudinal data following children from 0 to 1 year old until the age of 14 to 15 years. Children who had negative childhood experiences were more likely to suffer from migraine than others.

Disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters can have a significant impact on a person's physical and mental health, and therefore their headaches. The Migraine Clinical Outcome Assessment System project is a multi-stage study that took place during the pandemic and focused on evaluating metrics in treatment development migraine . Most participants reported more than one impact of the pandemic on their migraine .

Additionally, during the 2018 Japanese floods, there was an increase in acute migraine medication prescriptions among victims, suggesting that acute migraine attacks occurred more frequently after the natural disaster.


Headaches can impact almost every area of ​​life, including physical and psychological health , interpersonal relationships, and even financial stability. While there are myriad factors that cause headaches, this virtual issue shows the importance of several lifestyle influences. There is still much to learn and understand about how our daily habits and customs affect headache health . We look forward to more data and information on lifestyle choices related to headache and migraine being published in Headache in the future.

Source: Headache Journal

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