THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – People who live with chronic migraines suffer intense throbbing and pulsing, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.
Could a plant-based diet, credited with a variety of positive health impacts, also help ease these chronic symptoms?
Researchers in New York have published a case study of one man with severe chronic migraines who had tried everything to curb them, and then switched to a plant-based diet — loaded with a lot of dark green leafy vegetables.
He quickly found significant relief from the headaches, doctors reported online Nov. 18 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
“This report suggests that a whole food plant-based diet may offer a safe, effective and permanent treatment for reversing chronic migraine,” wrote a team led by Dr. David Dunaief, who specializes in nutritional medicine and has a private practice in East Setauket, N.Y.
One expert in migraine who wasn’t connected to the study was cautiously optimistic about the findings.
“It is hard to make much from one case report, [but] it does illustrate the importance of all of these non-pharmacological, evidence-based treatments,” said Dr. Noah Rosen. He directs Northwell Health’s Headache Center in Great Neck, N.Y.
As the researchers noted, more than 1 billion people worldwide have migraines, defined as one-side, pulsating headaches, sometimes with a variety of other symptoms, that last between four and 72 hours.
Some migraines are episodic, meaning they happen fewer than 15 days per month. Others are chronic, with 15 or more migraine days per month plus migraine features on eight days per month.
To be considered successful, migraine treatment must cut the frequency and length of the attacks in half or improve symptoms.
The 60-year-old man whose experiences are detailed in the report had endured severe migraine headaches without aura for more than 12 years. Six months before his clinic referral, his migraines had become chronic, occurring anywhere from 18 to 24 days each month.
He had tried a number of potential fixes, including the prescribed medications zolmitriptan and topiramate. He also cut out potential ‘trigger’ foods, including chocolate, cheese, nuts, caffeine, and dried fruit. Beyond this, the man also tried yoga and meditation to curb the attacks.