Jan 18

Crossover Study Finds Veganism Can Mitigate Migraine Effects


Photo: PBS.org

Migraine headaches are typically treated with pharmaceutical solutions, which, while sometimes effective, can often have unwanted side effects. While the impact of diet on migraines has received little scientific attention, it has been established that certain foods, such as coffee, alcohol and citrus can act as triggers that induce these headaches. With this in mind, a group of Washington, DC based researchers studied whether a healthier, cleaner diet, such as a low-fat vegan diet, could have a positive impact on migraines and their severity.

Because such a limited amount of previous research existed on the topic of diet and its relation to migraines, the researchers decided that a crossover study would be the best way to gauge the impact a vegan diet could have on migraine sufferers. A crossover study involves giving one group a placebo for a period while a second group receives the diet to be tested. Both groups then go through detox periods before switching placebo and diet regimens.

To conduct the study, researchers recruited volunteers from the general community in Washington DC and placed them in a 36 week crossover study regimen with two treatment periods. One group would undergo a 16 week low-fat vegan diet while the other used the placebo before both going on a 4 week washout period and then switching regimens. Participants recorded their own data on the regularity and severity of headaches during these periods, and were then assessed by researchers at the beginning, midpoint and end of each period.

Ultimately, researchers found the biggest benefits from a low-fat vegan diet were reported in headache intensity. Participants reported a decrease in intensity on the low-fat vegan diet that was nearly twice that of the placebo group. However, minimal reductions were reported in the frequency of headache occurrence.

While the results necessitated more research, researchers found the results a positive sign that diet can have a positive impact on migraine severity. The results were published in The Journal of Headache and Pain. To see the abstract of the study click here, and to read the full article click here.


About the author The Vegan Herald

The Vegan Herald, launched in 2015, is a vegan news and information website.

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