Migraine headaches are no jokes, sufferers know all about the debilitating pain and sensitivity to light and sound; now a new study suggests that the horrific head pain could be linked to bacteria in your mouth. Migraine headaches aren’t your average “brain pain,” they’re indicated by a horrible throbbing sensation that is akin to medieval torture, blurred vision and even flashes of light and sensitivity to stimuli.
As CNN reports, it is possible that a correlation or connection between migraine headaches and mouth bacteria exists. So much so that the majority of the 12 percent of unfortunate Americans who suffer from migraines may be able to look to their mouth and gut bacteria to determine their personal susceptibility to the headaches.
So how could mouth bacteria contribute to migraine headaches? Let’s check it out.
According to new research, migraine headache sufferers often have an overabundance of bacteria in their mouths. While every human in existence is the home to millions, billions and even trillions of microscopic bacteria – both in their mouths and elsewhere – migraine headache sufferers often host mouth bacteria that turn nitrates into nitrites. Research indicates that these particular mouth bacteria can be the foundation of a problem that can hobble the average life.
Ultimately, the mouth bacteria that is converted from nitrate to nitrite form may be a trigger for migraine headaches. This could be why so-called “nitrite-rich foods,” such as processed lunch meats, hot dogs, and certain sausages are known to trigger migraine headaches in many patients.
Indeed, people with excessive levels of nitric oxide in their blook are known to suffer more frequently from migraines than those without, according to research studies.
While a new mouth bacteria/migraine headache “link” has been discovered, it has yet to be established or confirmed. However, if the connection between mouth bacteria and migraine headaches can be unequivocally confirmed, the discovery could lead to countless new treatments (and even prevention) for migraine headaches. In short, it could be a life-changing breakthrough for migraine sufferers.
“One can imagine a targeted treatment, such as mouthwash or the introduction of a probiotic species. However, this will be really complex. It’s certainly a complicated puzzle.”
The study indicating a potential link between mouth bacteria and migraine headaches was conducted by the American Gut Project and published last week in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, mSystems. The study involved nearly over 2,000 participants, each of which had their gut bacteria (mouth or stool) analyzed by researchers. In addition to allowing scientists to research their respective bacteria counts, participants in the study connecting mouth bacteria and migraine headaches also answered questions regarding their personal history of migraines.
Ultimately, according to researchers, the bacteria found in the “guts” of migraine headache sufferers was markedly different than the bacteria found in people who didn’t report a history of the headaches.
People who regularly deal with migraine headaches were found to have a much higher concentration of bacteria that produce nitrites and nitric oxide in their mouths than people who didn’t report migraines. Further, the excessive bacteria were also found in their feces.
“While the link between migraines and nitrates has been known for a while, researchers still aren’t sure about the nature of this link. We know it depends on eventual formation of nitric oxide, but the exact mechanism hasn’t been established yet. This study is very preliminary, and while the findings are exciting, we need to confirm them in a larger, targeted cohort.”
If it is determined that a link between mouth bacteria and migraines exist, it could fundamentally change the treatment protocol for the nightmarish headaches. It could mean that sufferers are prescribed probiotics rather than painkillers.
At this early point in the study, it is unknown whether the relationship between certain gut bacteria and migraine headaches is more correlation or causation. However, the discovery regarding mouth bacteria and migraine headaches offers hope to millions of migraine sufferers in the United States, sufferers whose lives are often interrupted by seemingly random headaches.
[Featured Image by Maridav/Shutterstock]