Can More Fat and Less Carbohydrate Help with Migraines?

Picture by Shanghai killer whale; No this isn’t TheFatNurse

TheFatNurse was in the clinic today when the topic of migraines came up. This is a pretty common condition that is seen in the outpatient clinic and can be treated with abortive and preventive drug regimes…but is there a dietary approach to this? Well TheFatNurse came upon this study released last month that may be of interest. Now keep in mind, that it’s a prospective observational study so nothing truly conclusive can be drawn from it, but if enough interest gets generated we might be able to see some Randomized controlled clinical trials perhaps.

So what the researchers did was compare the effects of a ketogenic diet (KD; high fat low carb) to a standard calorie restricted one (SD) for 1 month with people who have migraines. So what happened?

Headache frequency and drug consumption was reduced during the observation period, but only in KD group.

The author’s conclusions:

KD ameliorates headache and reduces drug consumption in migraineurs, while the SD is fully ineffective on migraine in a short term observation. Our findings support the role of KDs in migraine treatment, maybe modulated by KBs inhibitory effects on neural inflammation and cortical spreading depression, and enhancing brain mitochondrial metabolism.

Again, it’s hard to draw conclusions from this design method but it certainly is interesting.

C Di Lorenzo – G Coppola (2013) Short term improvement of migraine headaches during ketogenic diet: a prospective observational study in a dietician clinical setting. The Journal of Headache and Pain. Suppl 1):P219