Glucose regulation in headache: implications for dietary management

Expert Rev Neurother. 2002 May;2(3):311-7. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2.3.311.


Dietary factors are frequently cited as 'triggers' of migraine and other types of headache. A review of the literature indicates that two specific dietary factors frequently induce headache: fasting and the relatively mild reactive hypoglycemia that can follow large carbohydrate ingestions. The maintenance of serum glucose levels to supply the energy for the nervous system is a primary responsibility of the sympathetic nervous system. It is suggested that migraine and other headache attacks may, at least in part, result from or be exacerbated by the sympathetic nervous system activation required to provide a steady supply of serum glucose for brain energy needs. Dietary patterns that provide a steady source of serum glucose, while minimizing serum glucose fluctuations, are hypothesized to help prevent and/or treat migraine and other headache attacks.