Migraine and Diet

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 3;12(6):1658. doi: 10.3390/nu12061658.


Migraine is characterized by recurrent attacks of disabling headaches, often accompanied by sensory and motor disturbances. Clinical manifestations of migraine are influenced by dietary behaviors and dietary elements. Several dietary triggers for migraine have been identified, leading to the definition of strategies such as elimination diets, ketogenic diets, and comprehensive diets, mainly to help prevent migraine. Although inconsistency is present in the literature and no consensus exists, the available data are promising in supporting beneficial dietary interventions for some migraine patients. Several factors influence the net outcome, including age, sex, genetics, and environmental factors. Advancement in understanding the underlying mechanisms of migraine pathogenesis and how dietary factors can interfere with those mechanisms has encouraged investigators to consider diet as a disease-modifying agent, which may also interfere with the gut-brain axis or the epigenetics of migraine. Future work holds potential for phenotyping migraine patients and offering personalized recommendations in line with biopsychosocial models for the management of migraine. Diet, as an important element of lifestyle, is a modifiable aspect that needs further attention. Well-designed, systematic, and mechanism-driven dietary research is needed to provide evidence-based dietary recommendations specific to migraine. This narrative review aims to present the current status and future perspective on diet and migraine, in order to stimulate further research and awareness.

Keywords: diet; disease modification; epigenetics; headache; migraine; nutrition; triggers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ketone Bodies / administration & dosage
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / genetics
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Ketone Bodies