Bacteria in mouth 'linked' to migraines

Blame it on the spinach

'We thought that perhaps there are connections between what people are eating, their microbiomes and their experiences with migraines'. Specifically, people with migraines tended to have more bacteria that process nitrates, compounds found in many foods (e.g. leafy vegetables and processed meats).

The research team are now planning on looking at nitric oxide levels in the blood streams of those with migraines through a diet-controlled study and have said products such as probiotic mouthwash could be created to level out the types of oral bacteria and prevent the onset of migraines according to The Guardian.

People who suffer from migraines often say that eating certain foods triggers their headaches, but a new study suggests that it might not always be the food per se - rather, the bacteria in the mouth may be playing a role.

The study was published October 18 in the journal mSystems, a journal from the American Society for Microbiology. So, if migraine sufferers have more nitrate-processing bacteria, those could be fueling the creation of more nitric oxide and triggering those hellish headaches.

However, around four in five cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs for chest pain or heart failure report severe headaches as a side effect.

There could be a reason why you are more susceptible to suffering from migraines and the reason is contained in your gut and mouth.

Using publicly available data from the American Gut Project, the team sequenced bacteria found in 172 oral samples and 1,996 stool samples.

The scientists are now planning a controlled diet study of migraine sufferers to see whether nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream are linked to migraine attacks.

When nitrates are consumed they are reduced to nitrites by bacteria found in the mouth.

As part of the United States study, scientists analysed oral and fecal samples from more than 2000 patients and found there was significantly more bacteria linked to the breaking down of nitrates in those from migrane sufferers.

'We definitely think this pathway is advantageous to cardiovascular health.

Gonzalez and Hyde said the next steps will be to look at more defined groups of patients, separated into the handful of different types of migraines. It's possible that the results of such research might lead to new migraine treatments, they added.

Co-authors of this study include: Naseer Sangwan and Jack A. Gilbert, University of Chicago; and Erik Viirre, UC San Diego.

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