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Histamine and Migraines

Histamine and migraine headache connection

Histamine is discussed here due to its role in the mediation of the allergic response. Interestingly, histamine can cause the blood vessels in the scalp to dilate, a symptom that is similarly seen in migraine and can also cause symptoms of severe, throbbing headaches, even in patients who does not suffer from migraine.

Typically, migraine sufferers may experience a migraine headache from a smaller dosage of histamine than is needed to produce a headache in a non-migraine sufferer. In addition, the headache usually is experienced on the same side where the migraine headache often occurs. This so-called histamine headache can be completely blocked by medicines that block the histamine effect, while these same medicines may have completely no effect whatsoever on a genuine migraine attack.

A group of German investigators feel that histamine triggers migraine however not on the basis of allergy. They believe that it is the histamine in the diet that causes a migraine attack. Due to this reason, their recommendation is a regimen to eliminate histamine from the diet.

They developed a diet in which beer, wine, sausage, fish, cheese and pickled cabbage were excluded for a total of four weeks. They reported a significant reduction in the frequency of headaches on this elimination diet. In addition, they also postulate that the basic biochemical defect in the patient is actually a deficiency of the enzyme involved in the biochemical elimination of histamine. This looks like an interesting theory however it still requires further investigation.