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Processed meats like bacon could be triggering your migraines

Migraine headaches

(NaturalNews) A common food chemical that is added to processed meats stimulates the growth of a bacteria that triggers migraine headaches, according to a recent study.

Nitrates, commonly found in lunch meat, sausage and bacon, are responsible for changes in the microbiomes of humans, and these bacterial changes can be the precursor to migraine headaches. Now, a landmark study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has investigated migraine triggers caused by bacterial changes in the mouth and gut.

Migraines caused by bacterial changes in the gut and mouth

Migraine headaches are vicious, and involve not just severe headaches, but also dizziness and nausea. They are known to affect 8 million people in Great Britain alone, most of them women. Over-the-counter pain medications provide temporary relief, but do not address the root causes of the problem.

The study's researchers found that regular migraine sufferers exhibit elevated levels of certain types of bacteria that process nitrates in their mouths and in their guts. The research was based on publicly available data from the American Gut Project, with University of California researchers analyzing 172 oral bacteria samples and nearly 2,000 stool samples from the database. They found nitrate processing bacteria in both the oral and fecal samples.

The sudden colonization of nitrate-processing bacteria converts the extra nitrates going into the body into nitrites and then into nitric oxide. Theoretically, the microbiome is adapting to the conditions taking place inside the body and protecting the person from the synthetic chemicals that are in their food.

When these bacteria finally convert the nitrates to nitric oxide, there are two polarizing outcomes. Nitric oxide helps promote cardiovascular health, but in excess, it triggers migraine headaches. For instance, patients who take nitrate-based drugs for hypertension commonly report severe headaches as a side effect. In fact, four out of five patients who get on these medications suffer with headaches.

Researcher Dr. Embriette Hyde remains unsure if the microbes' response to nitrates is the cause of the migraines, the result of the migraines or is involved in some indirect way.

Eliminating migraines may be as simple as changing the microbial terrain in the mouth. By limiting our intake of processed meats, the microbiome can adjust. As nitric oxide levels decrease, incidences of migraine headaches can naturally lessen.

Other proposed solutions include the development of a probiotic mouthwash that changes the bacteria profile in the mouth. Further research aims to influence the microbiome in a way that benefits cardiovascular health without triggering migraines.

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