One of the most popular migraine-fighting diets over the past 20 years has been the low tyramine diet. Avoiding foods such as soy sauce, salami, aged cheese, nuts and alcohol have been pretty standard. But – is it time to start eating these things again?
There’s no doubt that the low tyramine diet has helped a lot of people reduce their migraine symptoms. But as we have learned over and over again, sometimes something “works” for a completely unexpected reason.
For example, could it be that just avoiding processed foods and being more careful about what you eat is actually the key, no matter what common migraine diet you’re trying? Or is there another chemical or compound in the food that is actually causing the problem, and not tyramine?
For example, the debate about just why some alcoholic beverages trigger migraine attacks in some people is far from over.
The makers of the Curelator app continue to challenge common knowledge about just what triggers attacks – and their latest target is, you guessed it, tyramine.
Taking information from 488 individuals with chronic or episodic migraine, they checked to see if tyramine actually triggered attacks. It did – but not very often.
Tyramine was a “confirmed trigger” in less than 10% of episodic migraine attacks, and less than 5% of chronic migraine attacks.
Now, at first this sounds pretty shocking. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Don’t forget the “unconfirmed” triggers. And — if we could wipe out 10% of our attacks for sure by avoiding tyramine – or if 10% of migraine sufferers could eliminate their attacks by avoiding tyramine — well, you get my point.
So tyramine does still seem to be a significant trigger. BUT.
But what about all the people avoiding tyramine that don’t need to?
The Curelator researchers found another surprising result. For many people who suspected tyramine to be a trigger, it actually turned out to be a “protector”. In other words, they were more likely to avoid a migraine attack when they ate foods high in tyramine!
Perhaps the biggest take-away from this study is that we’re not always very good at guessing what our triggers are. Life if very complex, and apps like Curelator are heolping us rethink migraine triggers and stop avoiding things that we really don’t need to avoid.
For more on these findings, check out Curelator Headache Presents New Data Underscoring Misconceptions About Migraine Triggers And Protectors At American Headache Society Scientific Meeting