NYS Certified Nutritionist

How is Diet Linked to Vestibular Migraines?

Migraine headaches are not unusual, affecting more than 17% of women, and almost 6% of men. These episodes can be brief, or go on for a day, often causing pain that interferes with one’s life, reducing productivity, and sense of well being.

Less well known is a more rare headache known as Vestibular Migraine, striking about 3% of adults. Symptoms may not include the usual throbbing pain that comes with migraines. Vestibular migraines may instead affect one’s equilibrium [sense of balance]-known as vertigo. This symptom, like motion sickness, presents with nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Some research indicates that changes in dietary intake, may reduce the frequency of symptoms associated with Vestibular Migraines, and the more common migraine headaches as well. Knowing which foods are implicated as triggers could provide sufferers with a better sense of control over their quality of life.

The potential food triggers are: chocolate, citrus fruits, nuts, ice cold foods or drinks, tomatoes, onions, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, coffee, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate [MSG] -a flavor enhancer. MSG goes by other names as well: autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed yeast extract, and natural flavor. Fasting can also be a migraine trigger.

If one suffers from Vestibular Migraines, it might pay to use an elimination diet, eliminating foods [or classes of foods], one by one, to see if identifying, and eliminating, possible initiators of migraines provides more migraine free days.

It is always advisable to seek medical advice for the treatment of troubling symptoms of any kind. Nevertheless, eating a whole foods, plant based diet, like the Mediterranean Diet, may reduce exposure to unnecessary risk for migraine sufferers.

Dateline: Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York’s Capital Region