Can Probiotics Improve Migraines?
The gut, specifically the gut microbiome and its balance of probiotics, can benefit migraines. A 2020 study authored by M Arzani, found probiotic supplementation can lead to significant improvements in the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, as well as a reduction in the consumption of abortive medications.
Migraines are a prevalent and debilitating condition, often accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host, particularly by improving the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
What Is The Gut-Brain-Migraine Axis?
The Gut-Brain-Migraine Axis refers to the bidirectional relationship between the gut and the brain, specifically involving the influence of the gut microbiome and related factors on the occurrence and severity of migraines. The gut and brain communicate through signals, and gut bacteria influence this communication through neurological signals, hormones, and immune messenger signals.
According to the 2020 study authored by M Arzani, Probiotic supplementation can promote the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut, improve the integrity of the intestinal lining, and suppress the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) pathway, leading to a decrease in proinflammatory cytokine levels.
Probiotics could also interact with the neuroimmune system to enhance gastric emptying rate and alleviate gastric stasis, a common gastrointestinal complaint among migraine sufferers. These effects, combined with potential modulation of gut microbiota and gut-brain axis, contribute to the observed improvements in migraine frequency, severity, and the need for abortive medications in individuals receiving probiotic treatment.
How Can Probiotics Help With Migraines?
Taking a probiotic supplement can help restore and rebalance the gut microbiome, repair the gut barrier, and reduce gut permeability and this may help reduce the likelihood and intensity of migraines, improve mood, concentration, and focus.
Probiotics can help with migraines by improving the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is known as the gut microbiome. Probiotic supplementation has been found to promote the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), enhance the integrity of the intestinal lining, and suppress proinflammatory cytokine levels.
These effects, combined with interactions with the neuroimmune system, can lead to improvements in migraine frequency, severity, and the need for abortive medications. Probiotics may alleviate gastric stasis, a common gastrointestinal complaint among migraine sufferers. By modulating the gut microbiota and the gut-brain axis, probiotics contribute to the management of migraines.
Can Leaky Gut Cause Migraines?
Leaky gut can contribute to the development of migraines through its involvement in inflammation and the gut-brain axis. Increased intestinal permeability can lead to dysbiosis (changes in gut microbiota) and activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in the release of proinflammatory cytokines.
These cytokines, along with other immune mediators, can sensitize pain receptors and contribute to migraine pain. Alterations in the gut microbiota composition and increased gut permeability can disrupt the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, potentially exacerbating migraine symptoms.
Intestinal permeability also known as Leaky gut can occur when the gut barrier becomes weakened and permeable, allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream and potentially reach the brain, leading to inflammation. The graphic above shows this process.
Can H. Pylori Cause Migraines?
A 1998 study authored by A Gasbarrini, found H. pylori infection can be associated with primary headaches, particularly migraine without aura. The study found that 40% of the subjects with primary headaches were infected with H. pylori.
Eradicating the bacterium was shown to have a significant impact on reducing the frequency, intensity, and duration of headache attacks. In some cases, the eradication of H. pylori led to the complete disappearance of clinical attacks in 17% of patients.
Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17648 protects against H. pylori by co-aggregating with H. pylori cells and significantly reducing their load, as shown in a study by C. Holz. This interaction between Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17648 and H. pylori offers a potential option for combating H. pylori colonization, which can contribute to gastric conditions and potentially impact migraines.
Take Care Of Your Gut
Dr. Sara Mesilhy has a Master’s degree in Gastroenterology and holds a membership with the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. She completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at Cairo University and is currently part of the ProbioticReviewGirl medical team.