Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial.

Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache. 2010;30(7):829-37
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Plain language summary

Migraine is a chronic neurological condition characterised by a multifactorial aetiology, with genetic susceptibility playing a significant role in its development. Some researchers believe the development of migraine may also be related to IgG-mediated food intolerances and IgE-mediated food allergies. This randomised, controlled, double-blinded, cross-over clinical trial assessed the effect of an IgG antibody-based elimination diet against two hundred and sixty-six food antigens in thirty migraineurs. During the baseline, each participant was tested for IgG antibody levels in response to specific food antigens in order to receive a tailored elimination diet. The results of this study showed a statistically significant reduction in the number of headache days and the number of migraine attacks during the elimination diet phase, in comparison to the baseline in migraineurs. However, additional larger scale, robust studies are required in order to confirm the efficacy of the IgG-specific elimination diets in the treatment of migraine. In terms of migraine management, the results of this study can be of assistance to health care professionals who would like to understand the potential of diet restrictions based on IgG antibodies.


INTRODUCTION It is well-known that specific foods trigger migraine attacks in some patients. We aimed to investigate the effect of diet restriction, based on IgG antibodies against food antigens on the course of migraine attacks in this randomised, double blind, cross-over, headache-diary based trial on 30 patients diagnosed with migraine without aura. METHODS Following a 6-week baseline, IgG antibodies against 266 food antigens were detected by ELISA. Then, the patients were randomised to a 6-week diet either excluding or including specific foods with raised IgG antibodies, individually. Following a 2-week diet-free interval after the first diet period, the same patients were given the opposite 6-week diet (provocation diet following elimination diet or vice versa). Patients and their physicians were blinded to IgG test results and the type of diet (provocation or elimination). Primary parameters were number of headache days and migraine attack count. Of 30 patients, 28 were female and 2 were male, aged 19-52 years (mean, 35 +/- 10 years). RESULTS The average count of reactions with abnormally high titre was 24 +/- 11 against 266 foods. Compared to baseline, there was a statistically significant reduction in the number of headache days (from 10.5 +/- 4.4 to 7.5 +/- 3.7; P < 0.001) and number of migraine attacks (from 9.0 +/- 4.4 to 6.2 +/- 3.8; P < 0.001) in the elimination diet period. CONCLUSION This is the first randomised, cross-over study in migraineurs, showing that diet restriction based on IgG antibodies is an effective strategy in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Food antigens
Environmental Inputs : Diet
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood
Bioactive Substances : None

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 5
Allocation concealment : No