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Scientists call for more studies after finding new link between migraines and food

It is well known that red wine and chocolate can cause the onset of a migraine attack but scientists have found evidence to suggest chronic sufferers could find relief by controlling other elements of their diet.

Midlands-based Test Your Intolerance has produced a White Paper after finding links between eating food such as nuts and fish before developing the debilitating attacks later on.

Now the allergy and food intolerance testing firm is calling for more studies in the wake of its recently published research which focussed on the role played by immunoglobin G4 (IgG) antibodies, which are made by our immune systems to fight germs such as viruses and bacteria.

Raised IgG4 (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies can indicate a food intolerance – as opposed to an allergic reaction – but food intolerances can be more difficult to self-diagnose since symptoms can occur hours or even days after consumption.

Scientists at the firm put their hypothesis to the test by recruiting five people, three who suffer from migraines and two who don’t – and gave them an IgG4 ELISA test, which looks for evidence of raised antibody levels in response to 74 different foods, divided into categories including fish and seafood, meats, vegetables and egg and dairy.

Then, after working with a professional dietician, the participants spent the next four weeks eating a diet which cut out any IgG4-positive foodstuffs that had been identified by the tests.

This was followed by a reintroduction diet where the foodstuffs were gradually brought back into their daily intake.

The scientists traced 17 foodstuffs which triggered positive tests for IgG4 antibodies in all three migraine sufferers – who experienced the symptoms at least twice a month – including almonds, cabbage, barley and salmon.

While one of the three migraine sufferers had to pull out of the trial because of COVID, the others reported a reduction or a total absence of symptoms during the period of the experiment.

Test Your Intolerance spokesman Cris Wootton said: “While the numbers involved in the test are limited, the results seem to indicate that migraines can be controlled by an IgG4 antibody elimination diet without resorting to painkillers or depriving patients of essential nutrients.

“Other studies have found a link between raised IgG4 antibodies and conditions such as irritable bowel symptoms, so we were interested in discovering whether it had an impact on migraines too.

“We discovered a strong link, but we would need a new study involving more participants and carried out over a longer time period for the evidence to be more conclusive.

“However, we’re pleased to have taken a step forward in understanding how the food we eat affects our health and how adjusting their diets could end the misery for thousands of migraine sufferers.”

Test Your Intolerance is one of the country’s biggest suppliers of at-home health tests, which enable customers to make informed decisions about their diets and lifestyles. It recently performed its one millionth test at its laboratory, having built up an export operation to more than 40 countries.

It was the first company of its kind to create and implement a Test Facts statement, giving customers essential relevant information about the test, while its labs follow Good Laboratory Practice and are part of a facility that has been certified according to ISO 9001.

Picture shows: To be confirmed

This press release was issued by Penguin PR and for more information contact Sarah Newton on 07974 502764 or by email at