Migraine Prevention through Ketogenic Diet: More than Body Mass Composition Changes

J Clin Med. 2022 Aug 23;11(17):4946. doi: 10.3390/jcm11174946.


The ketogenic diet (KD) is gaining attention as a preventive treatment for migraine, which is sustained by many pre-clinical and clinical data. KD is also used for weight loss, and there is a relation between migraine and weight excess, but it is speculated that KD efficacy on migraine may go beyond this effect. We conducted a retrospective observational study on 23 migraine patients who received a KD and were evaluated at the baseline and then after 3 months both from a neurological and a nutritional point of view, including body mass composition analysis. We observed a reduction in monthly headache days (12.5 ± 9.5 vs. 6.7 ± 8.6; p < 0.001) and in days of acute medication intake (11.06 ± 9.37 vs. 4.93 ± 7.99; p = 0.008). We also observed a reduction in patients’ weight (73.8 ± 15.2 vs. 68.4 ± 14.6; p < 0.001) and BMI (26.9 ± 6.2 vs. 23.7 ± 8.1; p < 0.001) with a decrement of the fat mass (28.6 ± 12.5 vs. 20.6 ± 9.8; p < 0.001). Patients who responded to KD and those who did not had no differences with respect to weight or fat mass loss. These data corroborate the utilization of KD as a preventive treatment for migraine and suggest that the efficacy of such an intervention is not only due to weight or fat mass loss but probably relies on other mechanisms specific to KD.

Keywords: headache; ketogenic diet; ketones; ketosis; migraine.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.