Can Probiotics Help With Migraines?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

probiotics for migraines

Can probiotics cause migraines, or can they actually help lessen the pain?

Long before I discovered the benefits of probiotics for migraines, I had no idea which cures to resort to. I started having migraines when I was in college. At first, my mom just made me stay home from school the days I had an attack. But within six months, she began to suspect they were more than just bad headaches, though none of the doctors we saw seemed able to diagnose this condition.

Since doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me, they didn’t have any advice on how to alleviate the pain and nausea that accompanied my migraines. I tried everything—the only thing that helped was to lie in a dark room with my eyes closed until the pain and nausea passed.

Migraine meds gave me bad side effects, so I rarely took those. Instead, I tried wearing sunglasses inside, staying away from people and noise, lying on my left side, and sleeping as much as possible when I knew a migraine was coming on—all of which sometimes provided marginal relief.

What Is a Migraine?

A migraine is a neurological disorder that affects approximately one in five people worldwide. It’s characterized by severe headaches that can last from a few hours to several days. A migraine can have many symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and sound, and even dizziness.

Migraines are usually accompanied by sensitivity to light and noise (known as an aura), which can start up to an hour before the headache begins. Auras may include flashes of light, blind spots or distortions in your vision, tingling in your fingers or face, numbness on one side of your body, or speech difficulties.

In addition to these symptoms, migraines may also cause depression and anxiety; difficulty concentrating; fatigue; sleep disturbances; changes in appetite; weight loss; gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or constipation; muscle pain (particularly around the shoulders); irritability and mood swings; menstrual irregularities in women.

What Results in Migraines?

The exact cause of migraines isn’t known but they’re thought to be caused by a combination of factors including genetic predisposition and environmental triggers such as stress or lack of sleep. Bowel-related headaches can be a result of poor gut health, and they’re not just a matter of constipation.

man in pain holding temples with his hands

When you eat or drink something that isn’t well-tolerated by your gut, it’s called an “allergic reaction,” which means that your body is reacting to something that it doesn’t like.

This is why people who are lactose intolerant experience bloating and discomfort after eating dairy products. But it doesn’t end there: if you have bad gut health, you can also experience bowel-related headaches due to a disruption in the lining of your intestines caused by an allergic reaction. This disruption can cause pain in the upper abdomen, which can be mistaken for migraines.

In one study of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), researchers found that a small percentage of them also had migraines—and those who had both conditions experienced more frequent and severe headaches than those without IBS alone.

The Gut-Brain Connection

The gut-brain connection is a growing area of research and interest in the medical community. Most people know that the gut and brain are connected, but they might not realize how closely they work together. There are many factors that contribute to this connection, but one of the most interesting ones is probiotics.

How Probiotics Can Aid In Migraines

In another post, I wrote about some cool facts about probiotics. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that have been used for thousands of years to maintain good health and improve digestive function.

These are live microorganisms that when taken in prescribed amounts, result in so many health benefits. The most common probiotic bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Gut Repair

There are many ways that probiotics work within the body. One way they work is by doing gut repair, which includes reducing inflammation in the intestines. This can then reduce symptoms associated with diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

human figure with healthy intestines and probiotic pills

Another way they work is by boosting immunity by increasing the production of natural killer cells that help fight infections.

Reduce Brain Inflammation

Probiotics are bacteria that live in our bodies and contribute to our health. They’re found in yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods as well as supplements.

They can help keep our digestive system healthy by crowding out harmful bacteria and helping us digest food. But they also have an effect on brain health: they reduce inflammation in the brain by stimulating the production of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a growth hormone that helps neurons grow, repair themselves, and create new connections with other neurons. It’s been shown to have antidepressant effects when administered to mice, so researchers are looking into whether it could help with migraines as well.

Other Probiotics Benefits for Brain

Probiotics can help with both migraines and gut health in several ways. First, they help regulate the body’s immune system and reduce inflammation. Second, they improve the absorption of nutrients in the gut. Third, they help to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your intestines.

However, there are several other benefits of probiotics for the brain as well:

Probiotics can reduce depression by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters that regulate moods, such as serotonin and dopamine. They also lower stress-induced cortisol levels. Probiotics may improve memory and learning ability by stimulating nerve growth factors in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Can a Plant-based Diet Help With Migraines?

YES. A plant-based diet is one that focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables) and avoiding processed foods (e.g., candy bars). It can also include things like grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

a bowl of sliced vegetables

People who follow this type of diet often choose to avoid animal products as well—including meat, eggs, and dairy products—because they believe that these foods aren’t healthy for their bodies.

A plant-based diet is often touted as a way to reduce inflammation in your body, which includes migraines. Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury or irritation like an infection or an allergy.

It’s normal for your body to experience some level of inflammation when you’re injured or sick—but if you’re experiencing chronic inflammation, it could be causing pain in your body, as well as contributing to other serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes mellitus type 2.

No Headaches: Direct Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

Which Probiotic Is Best for Migraines?

The best probiotic for migraines is one that has multiple strains of bacteria in it. This will give you the best chance of finding the strain that works for you. The more strains, the more likely you’re to find one that will help with your digestion headaches.

You should also look for probiotics that have been tested by reputable companies that know how to test for effectiveness and purity. This will ensure that you get a product that works as well as possible and doesn’t have any harmful contaminants in it.

There are several products available in the market, such as the tried-and-tested Optima, which you can easily mix in your food or drinks to give you the recommended dosage of probiotics that your body needs.

If you would like to read more on the benefits of probiotics and how long you would need to incorporate this into your diet and lifestyle, check out my post on “how long does it take for probiotics to work”. I have also written a post on good probiotics for women as a response to a request sent in by one of my readers.

Can Probiotics Make Migraines Worse?

MAYBE. It’s hard to say for sure without doing a clinical trial on it. But there’s some anecdotal evidence that probiotics may play a role in migraines.

small pills and white medicine bottle

One reason why it’s difficult to tell if probiotics can make migraines worse is that there are different types of migraines.

Some people with chronic migraine experience headaches whenever they eat certain foods while others experience no symptoms with those foods—so it’s possible that the causes of these two types of headaches are different enough that a treatment like probiotics would work for one but not the other.

Can Probiotics Trigger Migraines?

IT’S POSSIBLE, but there’s no sure way to prove this. Although it’s not clear exactly how probiotics work, they’re thought to promote healthy gut bacteria, which in turn helps to regulate your immune system and reduce inflammation.

It may be that certain strains of probiotics can trigger migraines in people who are already susceptible to them. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be caused by changes in brain chemistry or blood flow.

For more insights on conditions and how probiotics relate to these, I invite you to check out my posts on “can probiotics cause acid reflux” and “weight gain with probiotics”.

Conclusion

Although opinions about the positive or negative effects of probiotics are conflicting and inconclusive, most practitioners agree that probiotic supplementation is not harmful and may help balance out some factors that lead to migraine attacks. However, everyone’s body is different.

Those familiar with probiotics claim that in the case of eliminating chronic headaches, consistent use over time can yield beneficial results. Until there’s more conclusive evidence on their effect on migraines, it remains as important as ever to remain skeptical and wary of any claims made regarding the effectiveness of these products.

Keep checking in for more information on how you can live your best life! BE SUPERHUMN!

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