Migraine triggers – Red wine, cheese and chocolate

Published 02 May 2017

Red wine, cheese and chocolate could be migraine triggers, as researchers from the University of New England discover a close relationship between migraines and energy metabolism.

The review of several studies shows that the biochemical changes that occur before and during a migraine attack are consistent with the development of a metabolic challenge.

Dr Anna Kokavec, a Senior Lecturer from the School of Health at the University of New England said the treatment and prevention of migraines in the last decade has become largely pharmacological.

“There is no doubt that the advent of drugs has helped those who suffer from migraine to lead a normal life, but there is still little knowledge with respect to the factors that precipitate a migraine attack,” Dr Kokavec said.

pexels-photo-160322 (1)

“We integrated biochemical and behavioural evidence from a number of research disciplines and found that most, if not all, of the migraine triggers could potentially reduce insulin sensitivity for example, red wine, peanuts, menstrual cycle, bananas, caffeine, citrus and emotional stress.

“In one study which assessed 200 migraine sufferers it was reported the most common migraine triggers in order of frequency were fasting, chocolate, alcohol/red wine and coffee and all of these can be linked to insulin resistance.

Portraits Day One 045

”Therefore, a migraine could be part of a cascade of events which together act to protect the organism when confronted with a metabolic challenge.”

Researchers say there are many biochemical factors that could have been examined in this review and probably many more factors that remain to be discovered.

“However, the information presented serves as a good starting point to perhaps make us start to review the current treatment and management of migraine patients” Dr Kokavec said.