Scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found that the mouths of migraine sufferers harbor significantly more microbes with the ability to modify nitrates than people who do not get migraine headaches.
The study, published in the journal mSystems, revealed that the researchers got to check out 172 oral samples and 1996 faecal samples. And both of these samples in migraine sufferers had higher levels of that particular nitrate-processing bacteria.
Around one in seven people suffer from migraines, with the majority having an attack more than once a month and about half being severely affected when they get a migraine. A migraine sufferer knows how debilitating episode is, and how it’s much more than a headache. Symptoms can include visual auras and disturbances, nausea and vomiting, and the need to lie in a darkened space.
Diet, stress and lack of sleep are all known to be triggers, and hormones are also thought to play a role with migraines affecting three times as many women as men.
The study’s lead author Antonio Gonzalez has hopes that based on this research and the research that springs from it that one day there will be a way migraine sufferers can prevent the headaches from developing. The paper says that in the future there might be a “magical probiotic mouthwash” that would alter the balance of bacteria to help prevent migraines.
For now, though, Gonzalez suggests: “If you suspect that nitrates are causing you migraines, you should try to avoid them in your diet.”