New Research: Bacterium Responsible for Food-induced Migraines

A new research seems to have answered the question about why consuming chocolate and wine happens to cause migraines in some individuals.

Migraines are recurring headaches where a person suffers pain which can result in nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision. They usually affect one side of the head and sadly there is no cure for them. Many people around the world suffer from migraines but doctors and researchers have been unable to find out their cause.

If you suffer from migraines, then there is nothing that you can do except but wait for them to subside. You can take painkillers to reduce the pain but unfortunately, the painkillers take hours to be effective and the said effect doesn’t last long.

There are some foods that have been identified by doctors as triggers for a migraine. Examples of such foods include processed meat, wine, and chocolates although they, the researchers, are not sure about the reason or how these everyday foods lead to migraines in the first place.

An experiment carried out by a team of researchers from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine has found bacteria to be the main cause of migraines. They collected stool and oral samples from 2,200 people and analyzed them. All of the participants were part of the American Gut Project.


They concluded that people who had higher levels of the identified microbes suffered most from migraines because these microbes changed the nitrates present in certain foods to chemicals which cause migraines. The study was published in mSystems.

Our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria. We eat different kinds of food so that our body can get all the vitamins and minerals it needs. We extract all the required nutrients from the food and discard whatever our bodies do not need. Similarly, bacteria also do the same. It feeds on what our bodies have consumed and discards all that it does not need. It is this waste that affects us and causes problems.

Certain types of food, for example, chocolate, wine, some green vegetables, and processed meat contain chemicals known as nitrates. Nitrates are made up of one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms. Bacteria is everywhere in our body, even in our mouth. This mouth bacterium, more specifically Roth mucilaginous and Hemophiliacs parainfluenza, end up breaking down the nitrates present in the food for their own consumption.

This removes the oxygen atom from nitrates due to which a chemical byproduct known as nitrite is produced. This nitrite changes into Nitric oxide when it enters the bloodstream and is the main cause of migraines and other types of tension headaches.


The results from the current research concluded that people who have a high percentage of bacteria which is capable of changing nitrates into nitrites present in their mouths and gut are more prone to migraine attacks. The result of this experiment supports the theory that there is a connection between migraine headaches and nitrate- rich food. Therefore, it is suggested that people with migraine problems must avoid such foods.

Although many researchers agree that migraines are related to nitrate-producing bacteria they are not considered to be the only reason. Further tests are being carried out to identify different types of migraines caused by different types of bacteria. The main objective of these tests is to find a cure for migraine without risking the health of people.

Category: News

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Article by: Douglas Norman

Douglas writes all the latest health news for BodyFatLoss. He is very diligent about finding all the facts and sources of any new health and fitness findings.