For years, I have suffered through migraine headache after migraine headache. Unable to determine the origin of my underlying migraine pain, I began a quest to eliminate prescription migraine drugs and, instead, focus on my diet and exercise in hopes of determining if there was a food triggering the migraine pain I so often suffered with. Journaling my eating habits, sleeping habits and even exercise habits, I was certain I would determine what natural invasion, if any, my body did not appreciate. Understanding food intolerances, in contrast to food allergies, was the first step in my journey into resolving my personal migraine pain naturally.
Food intolerance, unlike food allergies, involves the physiological adverse reaction to essential biological, or chemical, components of food. These physiological responses, unlike food allergies, are often delayed by several hours of even several days. For many food intolerance sufferers, the adverse physiological response is commonly not attributed to a food product and, therefore, the individual suffers for many years with a food intolerance which has been undiagnosed.
In contrast, a food allergy involves an immune response in which the body immediately sets off a physiological reaction, usually hives or inability to breath, as a result of an allergic reaction. For this reason, food allergies are usually quite common to pinpoint.
For migraine sufferers, fool intolerances commonly force the onset of migraine pain. Such was my case. Only after journaling my eating habits did I realize the culprit of my pain was lodge in my minute consumption of peanut butter. While peanuts did not create the physiological adverse reaction, peanut butter did. Upon confirming this as a definite migraine trigger, I set out to determine the basis on which this food intolerance was possible.
Food intolerances can, generally, be divided into three categories. There are those food intolerances for which most American adults are accustomed such as the adverse effects of caffeinated products, this is known as a pharmacological effect of food. For individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance, an inability to digest dairy products, this is known as metabolic defect intolerance. However, with the inability to consume peanut butter, I found neither of these food intolerance theories fit into my complication. Instead, there is a third food intolerance which seems to be the culprit behind my love and hate relationship with peanut butter.
Known as a histamine release effect, it is this food intolerance which most mimics the food allergy reaction, although the effects are delayed by hours, days or even weeks. It is within this type of food intolerance that a food intolerance sufferer will experience a physiological release of natural histamine, in an effort to ward off the intolerant food product. As histamines are released gradually, within a food intolerance situation, the individual may experience symptoms such as swelling, diarrhea, vomiting and even headache pain. Such was my case. It was through my consumption of peanut butter that my body began to release histamine in response, resulting in a full week of migraine pain, usually about seven to 10 days later. So, what is my selection of treatment for this food intolerance?
Essentially, treatment involves only one option; eliminating the food choice altogether. Beyond the use of histamine blocking drugs, such as Benadryl, my only choice, to live relatively migraine pain free, was to completely eliminate peanut butter from my diet. After doing so, I rarely experienced a migraine headache again. While the urge to consume peanut butter is overwhelming, it is often a choice between immediate gratification of the flavorful peanut butter or the option to avoid a migraine in the week following consumption. I’ve learned, through trial and error, that even a tablespoon of peanut butter is enough to send my body into a full food intolerance reaction. As a result, I avoid peanut butter at all cost.
For migraine headache sufferers, healthcare professionals, including neurologists, commonly prescribe prescription drugs in an effort to relieve the migraine pain of the patient. However, for many migraine pain sufferers, diet may simply be the culprit with, in most cases, the elimination of a food selection will avert a food intolerance reaction, thereby improving the occurrences of migraine headache pain and, ultimately, lead to elimination of prescription drugs. For many migraine headache pain sufferers, the key to addressing migraine headache pain involves, first, the recognition that diet and exercise may be playing a key role and, from there, be willing to journal eating habits so as to determine what, if any, foods may be triggering migraine headache pain.