Insulin Resistance And Migraine Headaches

Give your brain a break—eat smarter by lowering your consumption of the starchiest (and most prevalent!) carbs. Try eliminating bread, cereal, pasta, rice, etc. from your diet for one week and eating more natural fats from animal and fruit (e.g. olives, avocados, coconuts) sources and see how your headaches change.

More common than most other neurological disorders, migraine headaches affect roughly 18% of adults in the US. A study of middle-aged women found that insulin resistance is associated with a two-fold greater likelihood of regularly experiencing a migraine.

A separate study in men and women found that insulin levels were significantly higher in people who experience migraines compared with non-migraine controls.

The Diet/Migraine Connection

Despite its association with insulin resistance, very few researchers have sought to determine whether carbohydrate restriction is effective in the treatment of migraine headaches and the limited evidence that supports the role of ketogenic diets in migraine therapy is almost an afterthought.

For example, one study reports that two sisters, who, in an effort to lose weight, adopted a carbohydrate-restricted, high-fat diet. However, both sisters reported often suffering from severe migraines (5–7 per month, over 72 hours, often accompanied with vomiting) and, with adherence to the diet, the migraines resolved. However, the migraines returned when the diet was stopped.

Importantly, this diet-migraine connection occurred independently of weight loss, which by itself is known to help reduce migraine severity.

Furthermore, an interesting case study reported the experience of the wife of a physician who had experienced migraines since childhood. For reasons unrelated to her headaches, she began a high-fat, carbohydrate-controlled diet and noticed almost immediate resolution of her migraines.

New Information?

Does this seem like new information? It must be. That’s why you’ve never heard it before, right? Remarkably, there are published reports from 1928 and another larger report from 1930 of improvements in migraine headaches with carb-restricted, high-fat diets!

Regardless of your strict adherence to a low-carb, high-fat diet, there still may be validity in scrutinizing carbohydrate consumption. People with insulin resistance who experience migraine headaches (remember—you may not know you’re insulin resistant) have a 75% improvement in migraine frequency and severity simply by restricting sugar in their diet.

Give your brain a break by managing your insulin. You’ll never know how much it may help you until you try.

Source: Article by Ben Bikman (

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