The recent post on the connection between gluten, migraines, and scary white spots on brain MRIs sparked a lot of discussion, and a few questions. So I thought some follow up comments would help clarify a couple of things.
The Take Home Message from the Gluten & Migraine Connection Article
Just to be clear, the central thrust of the article is that the combination of a leaky gut and migraine headaches appears to be strongly linked to unidentified bright objects, or “white spots,” on brain MRIs, which are associated with an increase in the risk of stroke, dementia, and death.
This would suggest that, for the migraine sufferer, maintaining a healthy gut is especially important for long term brain health. Furthermore, gluten grains have been shown to cause leaky guts in ALL HUMANS (not just those with Celiac disease), avoidance of gluten should be considered an important part of maintaining a healthy gut.
And speaking of avoiding gluten, the single best thing one can do to maintain a healthy gut is to eat food that’s fit for a human. For more on that, check out the guide to “Eating Your Way To Migraine Freedom.”
Based on the evidence presented in the article, there are compelling reasons for me, as a migraine sufferer, to avoid gluten, regardless of whether or not doing so had any impact on my migraines themselves (fortunately it does, which makes avoiding it much easier!).
Avoiding Gluten for Migraine Protection
“I tried going gluten free but I still got migraines. I guess gluten is not an issue for me.”
This, or something along these lines, is something I hear from time to time.
Which is like saying, “I poured a foundation for a new house, but I still don’t have a house. I guess houses don’t need foundations.”
One of the biggest challenges we face in modern medicine is overcoming our tendency to look for, or desire to find, a smoking gun. We want to find that ONE THING that causes what ails us and fix that.
That one brain chemical we can tweak and feel happy again.
That one exercise we can do to melt off the belly fat.
That one pill we can take and stop having migraines.
And yes, it’d be GREAT if it were that simple!
We all (myself included!) desperately want to believe in the quick fix and the magic bullet – and once in a blue moon, it actually comes true (antimicrobials for specific pathogens, Vitamin D for Rickets, for example).
But the overwhelming majority of conditions that now plague modern humans are not the result of any ONE thing. They are complex, multifactorial problems that ultimately stem from us humans living lives far removed from our natural habitat. And migraines are no exception.
The downside is that these conditions won’t respond to any single intervention. Which is precisely why there’s absolutely no way our current health care system – a system that was designed to treat acute, single cause problems (a broken foot, an infected blister, etc.) – can ever fix them.
The upside is that the we already have what we need to impact these conditions profoundly – we don’t need to wait for the prescription “cure” that isn’t coming. But making a profound impact requires us to intervene at the root cause, systemic level.
Eat food fit for a human is a root cause level intervention, one that will have massive downstream consequences.
And following that one directive will address many of the factors – gluten being one of many – implicated in so many modern diseases.
Just as a pouring a foundation is a necessary but insufficient piece in building a house, the avoidance of gluten grains is a necessary but insufficient piece in building a fortress of protection against the Beast.[RELATED: Click here to read about how to build that fortress of protection in The Ultimate Guide to Migraine Freedom.]