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Is Caffeine Bad For Migraines

What Are The Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Migraine Headaches and Caffeine Migraine Headache Relief Dr.Berg

Beyond tasting delicious, theres another reason not to exclude dark chocolate from your diet as a migraine sufferer. When enjoyed in moderation, dark chocolate has a whole array of health benefits some of which might even help prevent migraines in a round-about way.

Several studies have found that eating cocoa-containing foods helps lower blood pressure, which is important to note since high blood pressure is linked to migraines. Chocolate, when consumed in moderation, seems to be good for cardiovascular health in general. Dark chocolate also appears to increase insulin sensitivity, which indicates it could help reduce the risk of diabetes.

Another benefit of dark chocolate is that its really high in certain minerals, including iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. Many of us do not get enough of these minerals in our diet.

Of course, to experience these health benefits, you need to be buying the right chocolate. Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. The higher the cocoa content, the more flavanols the chocolate contains and flavanols are responsible for most of the chocolates health benefits.

Condiments As A Migraine Trigger

We use condiments all the time, some of us more and some less. It depends on a taste, definitely. Some people love spicy food, saltier, juicier, greasy or acidly. With this in mind, I would like to talk about condiments as a migraine trigger. There are a lot of different types of condiments, and their usage can improve the taste of food, indeed. Of course, we need them in our nutrition, but in normal quantities. On the contrary, if you use them in large quantities, they could cause us health issues. One of the issues is a migraine headache, and you can induce a migraine headache with vinegar ingestion.

Triggers, in this case, are also tyramine and PEA. Process and mechanism of tyramine and PEA you have already read above. So, there is no need to repeat me.

Caffeine Withdrawal Headaches Are Most Likely Your Issue Here

These can happen when your brain becomes used to that regular hit of caffeine over time. But lets back up a bit so you know exactly which processes to blame for your head pain.

Caffeine peps you up by affecting a chemical in your brain called adenosine. Adenosine typically accumulates in your brain over the course of the day, making you sleepy, Lauren Green, D.O., R.D., a board-certified neurologist at the USC Headache and Neuralgia Center and assistant clinical professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, tells SELF. As an adenosine antagonist, caffeine is an opposing force that helps wake you up by binding to your adenosine receptors. This blocks your brains absorption of adenosine, preventing the level of drowsiness you would otherwise experience, Dr. Green explains.

All of this can happen with even one cup of coffee. But when you regularly consume significant amounts of caffeine, you can develop additional adenosine receptors, Dr. Green explains. And, in general, your adenosine receptors will become less sensitive to the effects of any caffeine you do consume. This means that over time you need to ingest more caffeine in order to block adenosines fatigue-inducing effects, so you form a dependence of sorts.

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But When Does Caffeine Help A Migraine

Caffeine is what Dr. Crystal calls a âdouble-edged sword,â because while it can trigger headaches, itâs also an active ingredient in some migraine relief medications.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, caffeine affects the activity of adenosine, a naturally occuring and necessary brain substance. During migraine attacks, adenosine levels in the blood rise. Caffeine can block specific brain cell receptors adenosine typically bind to, stopping its effects. Caffeine also has vasoconstrictive properties that can restrict blood flow. Since blood vessels vasodilate, or get larger, before a migraine attack, caffeine can help counterbalance that effect, thus decreasing pain.

âCaffeine helps relieve headaches by its own analgesic, or alleviating, effects, and by enhancing the analgesic effects of aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen,â Dr. Crystal says.

Thereâs still much research to be done to determine exactly how caffeine results in acute anti-migraine and pain control, but the evidence is there: A 2017 study published by The Journal of Headache and Pain found that combining caffeine over-the-counter pain relief medications significantly improved relief compared to using the medication alone. And while treating headaches with non-medical options is sometimes effective, The American Migraine Foundation recommends limiting this to two days a week.

Dairy Products As Migraine Trigger

Is Caffeine Good or Bad for Migraines?

The first category of 27 foods that trigger migraines is dairy products. Dairy products contain tyramine and casein, and this is a reason why migraine occurs. So we listed here foodstuffs, such as cheese, aged cheese, and milk.

With this in mind, we can definitely say that dairy products are a type of food to avoid, or to limit in the case of dietary migraineurs. On one hand dairy products can be a trigger for a migraine headache, on the other not. So it is kind of individual, varying from one migraineur to another. The concrete mechanism and process of occurring a migraine are explained below.

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How To Minimize Caffeine Withdrawal Headaches

If youre trying to reduce your caffeine dependency by dialing back on your intake, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can put a damper on your efforts. Minimize caffeine withdrawal headaches using the following techniques:

  • Wean off your caffeine intake gradually by reducing your intake by 25% each week. You can also try swapping out some of your regular coffee with decaf if you crave the taste of a steaming cup of coffee.
  • Read food labels to ensure that youre not consuming extra caffeine you arent aware of.
  • Use peppermint oil topically to help relieve inflammation and tighten muscles associated with headaches.
  • Drink plenty of water since dehydration can cause the brain to shrink in volume and cause a headache.
  • Apply an ice pack to your head to alter the blood flow or numb the area.
  • Stimulate pressure points to relieve muscle tension, which can cause headaches.
  • Get enough rest by taking naps or going to bed earlier than usual.

Caffeine headaches can be caused by a variety of triggers and withdrawal is one of the most common reasons. You can track your caffeine intake and notice how your body reacts so you can adjust your consumption and find the best way to wean your body from caffeine dependency while minimizing the withdrawal symptoms.


Alcohol As A Migraine Trigger

The seventh group of 27 foods that trigger migraines is alcoholic beverages. It is good to know that not all alcoholic beverages trigger a migraine headache, but only the ones with increased levels of histamine. Or the ones which include tyramine, sulfites and phenolic flavanoids in migraine occurring process.

For example, if you drink a large amount of alcohol, such as vodka, you could experience a hangover headache the next day. But, if you drink red wine in a large amount, because of the increased level of histamine, you could experience a migraine headache the next day. Besidehistamine, tyramine and PEA are also chemical triggers here.

Therefore, on this list and in this category we have wine, especially red wine and beer. But how migraine occurs in this case? You can read about the specific details of this process below.

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So Can Caffeine Really Cause A Migraine

The short answer? Yes.

Let us explain: While studies have found no proof that drinking caffeine will automatically trigger a migraine, Dr. Crystal warns that the stimulant is still one to be wary of.

âCaffeine withdrawal is a known trigger for migraine and other headache types, and caffeine itself may trigger migraines,â Dr. Crystal says.

Migraine triggers are unique for everyone, but studies show that when it comes to caffeine, the amount consumed may have more weight in whether or not you develop a headache. Research from the American Journal of Medicine shows that three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day is associated with developing a migraine in individuals who experience episodic migraines.

Study: Excess Caffeine Intake Is A Migraine Trigger

Quick Tip: Is Caffeine Good or Bad for Migraine Sufferers?

In a study in The American Journal of Medicine, 98 participants with episodic migraine completed an electronic diary each morning and evening for six weeks.

Within the diary, the participants reported their caffeinated beverage intake, as well as their migraine characteristics and other lifestyle factors .

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Does Caffeine Help Relieve Headaches It Can But Not If You Drink Too Much

  • Drinking pain or trigger it, depending on the amount you consume.
  • Caffeine narrows blood vessels, which may relieve pain caused by some headaches, like migraines.
  • However, if you become dependent on caffeine and stop drinking it, you may experience headaches as a result of caffeine withdrawal.
  • This article was reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Caffeine and headaches have a complicated relationship. In fact, caffeine can either relieve or trigger headaches, depending on how much of it you consume, and how frequently.

Caffeine which is a central nervous system stimulant turns up in soft drinks, sports drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate, and more, so it’s easy to see why 80% to 90% of all adults in North America consume it regularly.

Here’s everything you need to know about how caffeine can impact headaches and how much of it you should consume for positive effects.

Caffeine: What You Need To Know

Robert E. Shapiro, MD, PhDProfessor of NeurologyUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlington, VT

Keeler Center for the Study of HeadachesOjai, CA

Migraine patients often report that some attacks can be halted by a strong cup of coffee. This is not surprising to hear. Caffeine is a key active ingredient in many headache medications including ExcedrinTM, AnacinTM, MidolTM, Darvon CompoundTM, FioricetTM, and MigranalTM. Caffeine may aid in the absorption of these medicines, but can caffeine itself relieve headaches? Few research studies have examined this question, but the answer appears to be yes; caffeine can provide some headache relief. For example, one small controlled study found that caffeine was more effective than placebo, and as effective as acetaminophen, in relieving tension-type headaches.

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Is Drinking Coffee Good Or Bad For Headaches

Does drinking coffee help headaches? Does it actually provide a relief? Well, there is a lot of mystery around here. We will clearly explain exact-fact here.

Coffee is a classic beverage brewed from the seeds of berries from coffee species. Coffea is the name of the genus it belongs to and native to Africa. The caffeine content in coffee is known it the bitter and slightly acidic taste. It also can stimulate humans, keeping them energized and active throughout the day. However, this same caffeine content has also been responsible for causing headaches and headache relief for a lot of others.

Using Caffeine As A Treatment

Caffeine withdrawal headaches: Causes and treatment

When youre having a caffeine withdrawal headache, the easiest thing to do might just be to give your body the caffeine that it wants. Here are a few ways you can try it:

Have a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage

If youre positive this is a withdrawal headache, try having a dose of caffeine as soon as you realize whats going on. Your usual caffeinated beverage is fine to drink. Dont overdo it to make up for what you missed.

However, if you think your headache is from a caffeine overdose, dont consume more caffeine it could lead to serious health problems! Contact your healthcare provider instead.

Take an OTC medication that includes caffeine

Some pain relievers are made with caffeine, including Excedrin. Caffeine can help your body absorb the medicine faster and can make them up to 40 percent more effective, which is promising.

Combine treatments

Try drinking a caffeinated beverage and taking Advil or Tylenol. A 2017 study found that people with migraine experienced faster relief when they took acetaminophen or ibuprofen with caffeine.

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How Much Caffeine Do You Consume Daily

A recent study suggested limiting that intake to 2 servings of a caffeinated beverage per day. Anything over seems to be the tipping point for triggering a Migraine attack.


If you are a regular coffee or tea drinker and wake up with headaches each morning , caffeine could be the problem. Regular intake above the level your body can handle is one way that an episodic migraine can become chronic. The following anecdotes from my client files show how insidious caffeine can be.

In her Headache Diary, my client Barbara reported drinking two cups of black tea per day, which seemed fine upon first glance. But when she wasnt migraine-free after implementing most of the Mundo Program, we started mining more deeply for clues. Only then did she sheepishly admit that she used three tea bags to brew each cup.

We already knew that she took two Excedrin almost daily, in total making her caffeine intake the equivalent of five to six cups of coffee per day. No wonder Barbara would wake up in the morning with full-blown migraines! Her honest revelation was the breakthrough that she needed in order to progress.

Dear Jan,

Since your seminar, little by little, Ive been getting off Excedrin and am now in my third week without it. I feel like my headache cycle is broken. Its exciting! Not only that, but the irritable bowel syndrome that had bothered me for so long is gone.

Thank you,


Its Unlikely That Your Post

Its an interesting theory, but its a very unlikely scenario, Dr. Green says. Neither she nor Dr. Natbony believes they have encountered this situation among their thousands of patients.

The pathophysiology of migraines is complex and not yet completely understood, Dr. Green explains. However, doctors do know that small amounts of caffeine can sometimes help relieve migraine pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . It appears as though caffeine may do this by narrowing dilated blood vessels that might contribute to migraine discomfort. But doctors believe theres much more to migraines than fluctuations in blood vessel width. The vasodilation and vasoconstriction component is not thought to be as important as it , Dr. Green says.

Second, although caffeine can help treat migrainesespecially in combination with other drugs, like typical pain relieversit has not been established as an effective preventive drug for migraines, Dr. Green and Dr. Natbony explain. Its potential lies more in treating pain that has already begun, and even that power appears to be limited. If its a mild migraine, there are some people that do respond to just a cup of coffee, Dr. Green says. But thats not the case for most people with moderate to severe migraines.

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Caffeine Headaches By The Numbers

Caffeine-withdrawal headaches generally occur when you consume over 200mg of caffeine daily for 2 weeks, then stop or delay your caffeine intake. The headache goes away within an hour of consuming 100mg of caffeine. Heres the amount of caffeine in various sources:

  • Coffee : 95-165 mg
  • Espresso : 47-64 mg
  • Energy drinks : 27-164 mg
  • Soda : 24-46 mg
  • Green tea : 25-29 mg
  • Black tea : 25-48 mg
  • Milk Chocolate : 9 mg
  • Dark Chocolate : 30 mg

If you stop caffeine completely, caffeine-withdrawal headache symptoms should go away in about 1 week.

What Is A Caffeine Withdrawal Headache

Is Coffee Bad For Your Migraines And Headaches? What is caffeine headache?

Headaches are the most common and dominant symptom of caffeine withdrawal, occurring in about 50% of people trying to quit caffeine.

When caffeine is consumed it is absorbed into the bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier where it blocks the adenosine receptors and prevents drowsiness..

Caffeine consumption also affects the blood vessels and the rate of blood flow in the brain. Consuming caffeine can significantly decrease the rate of blood flow in certain blood vessels in the brain within half an hour, with flow rates returning to normal after about two hours.

Withdrawing caffeine can cause blood flow rates to temporarily increase in certain blood vessels in the brain and this is thought to contribute to the development of headaches when trying to quit caffeine.

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Other Claims Against Caffeine

You may have heard or read about other negative health effects from caffeine consumption, but as of now, there just isnt enough evidence to fully endorse those as legitimate health concerns.

Some of those negatives include:

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Accelerates bone loss. Src.
  • Tremors

Caffeine is a drug and can affect people differently just like any other substance. Its important that consumers understand how caffeine interacts with their bodies in regard to their personal health histories. For some consumers, swapping morning coffee for a shot of ginger or another naturally energizing beverage could be a better alternative. Sprint Kitchen;has some good recommendations.

The food and beverage industry spends millions, if not billions, of dollars worldwide to fund studies and promote caffeinated products as safe or even healthy.

Fortunately, caffeine is one of the most researched substances on the planet and there does exist some unbiased data from which to glean some reliable information from.

While much of the research published does allude to the safety and even potential benefits of caffeine , there are a handful of research studies that highlight the potentially harmful effects of caffeine.

The risks of suffering from any of the harmful effects of caffeine are diminished by being aware of how much is personally being consumed daily.

It is also important to be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions that may contribute to caffeines negative effects.


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