Dairy consumption in relation to primary headaches among a large population of university students: The MEPHASOUS study

Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan:48:102269. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102269. Epub 2019 Nov 27.


Aim: To investigate the association between dairy consumption and primary headaches among a large population of university students.

Methods: Totally, 83,622 university students aged 18 years or older were included in the current cross-sectional study. Dietary intakes were assessed using a validated self-administered dietary habits questionnaire. Primary headaches were determined according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders-3 (ICHD-3) criteria.

Results: Totally, 9 % of participants suffered from primary headaches. A significant inverse association was observed between dairy consumption and odds of primary headaches (OR: 0.67, 95 % CI: 0.60-0.74). Such inverse association remained significant when potential confounders including demographic variables, physical activity, dietary factors, and BMI were taken into account; such that individuals in the highest category of dairy consumption were 19 % less likely to have primary headaches compared with those in the lowest category (OR: 0.81, 95 % CI: 0.72-0.92). Such an inverse association was also observed in women (OR: 0.79, 95 % CI: 0.68-0.93), but not in men. Stratified analysis based on body mass index revealed a significant inverse association between dairy consumption and primary headaches either in normal-weight individuals or those with overweight or obesity.

Conclusion: We found that dairy consumption was inversely associated with primary headaches among university students.

Keywords: Dairy products; Diet; Headache; Migraine disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Young Adult