Headache from food intolerances

About the Disorder

A route deserving attention, for those who suffer from headaches, is surely the relationship between headache and nutritional lifestyle. Everybody knows that headaches and migraines can be a direct consequence of a binge: fatty food, fried food and alcohol taken in excessive quantities overload the digestive and disposal systems of the organism, producing, in susceptible subjects, intense headaches in the following hours. It is also a well-known fact that certain foodstuffs are particularly “triggering factors”, such as chocolate, red wine, coffee, etc.

Knowing and eliminating “risky” foodstuffs does not however, ensure improvement. Very often, in fact, the “enemy” is not in elaborated, heavy, less digestible foods… but is hidden in everyday ingredients, even in those considered harmless and beneficial: precisely those foodstuffs towards which a food intolerance has developed without one even realizing it.

In order to understand how this happens it is necessary to start out from the fact that today’s foods contain pollutants, heavy metals, additives and pesticides. Day after day these “poisons”, together with drug abuse (in particular, antibiotics), stress and infections, damage bacterial flora and the intestinal mucosa, making them unable to carry out digestive functions properly,  discriminating between what is useful for the organism and what needs to be discarded, instead. An intact intestinal mucosa performs its filtering function efficiently, i.e. lets only nutrients pass through.

On the other hand, a deteriorated mucosa, similar to a “colander”, will let food macromolecules (fragments of not completely digested foodstuffs, therefore not exploitable as nutrients) come into contact with the lymphatic and blood systems, triggering a reaction of the immune system. The aggression of food macromolecules is not generally perceived as an immediate threat by the immune system (as happens with an allergy), so the reaction is slower and initially dose-dependent, meaning that in order for lymphocites to react with an inflammatory response, the attack must be a massive and prolonged one.

This explains why food intolerances develop towards foodstuffs that are most frequently ingested. When the immune system’s cells “memorise” the antigen, they put the system in a state of alarm whenever that specific foodstuff is intercepted, triggering the generalized inflammatory process: food intolerance symptoms can therefore involve different body districts, apparentely unrelated with the intestine.

This state of affairs does not leave the brain unaffected, either. In a study conducted in 2001, published in Neurology  (56(3): 385-388), an inflammatory state of the brain, revealing itself through headache, has been directly linked to intolerance to gluten. In cases analysed, researchers have seen that headache was caused by an inflammation of the nervous tissues and was closely dependant on intake of gluten. This shows that a persistent inflammatory process arising as a consequence of a food intolerance can even reach the brain.

 In a situation of this type, a latent and constant inflammation of the nervous cells makes the brain vulnerable, in a permanent state of alertness. So-called foodstuffs “at risk” (chocolate, coffee, etc.) can further destabilize in an already unbalanced system, making it look as if they were responsible for the headache. In addition, purifying mechanisms of the organism, represented in particular by liver and kidneys, become overloaded with work.

With an ongoing food intolerance, the number of unwanted substances that need to be eliminated increases. The workload for liver and kidneys becomes more burdensome and many toxins (undigested macromolecus, cytokines, etc.) remain in the bloodstream. All this further destabilizes the organism, aggravating the intensity and frequency of headaches.

Headache from food intolerance is usually characterized by pulsating pain, which is the typical symptom of a vasodilatation in the brain. The area involved is usually around the cheeks and eyes, but other areas of the head can be affected, as well. Pain can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and hypersensitivity to light and sounds. Headache attacks can last from a few hours to several days and can be severely debilitating, seriously compromising normal everyday activities.

The abuse of anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate symptoms not only does not actually solve the problem but also implies a number of well-known side-effects. Bearing in mind the special attention required to diet and lifestyle, nature can once again offer precious help with ingredients of proven efficacy.

 Nature helps you in case of Headaches from Food Intolerances 

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

In the correlation between food intolerances and migraine, eliminating the foodstuff (or foodstuffs) responsible for causing the inflammation might seem like the solution to the problem. But apart from the difficulty in determining, and therefore eliminating, the possible “guilty” foods, since the true cause of the inflammation is the intestinal mucosa’s loss of integrity and the passing through of food antigens and toxins, even though eliminating the foodstuff towards which one is intolerant may be useful, it does not actually provide a definitive solution to the problem itself.

While offering momentary relief, this won’t be long-lasting for sure: the damaged mucosa will let other molecules “leak through” , towards which the organism will develop new intolerances, with  headache reappearing. Instead, it is necessary to act on the root causes, starting from where the inflammation actually originated: the intestine, where “guilty” foodstuffs pass through. To this end, nature, combined with a correct nutritional lifestyle, can be of great help, particularly thanks to the extraordinary properties of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE).

GSE and headache from food intolerances   

 Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) proves to be particularly effective for its crucial role in solving food intolerances. First of all, thanks to ist selective antimicrobial activity it controls proliferation of microorganisms responsible for altering intestinal permeability (among which the much-feared Candida albicans), while safeguarding  physiological flora, essential in protecting the mucosa and preventing food intolerances.

 Secondly, it has a protective, reparative function towards the gastro-intestinal apparatus, accelerating healing of the mucosa’s lesions, at the origin of food intolerances and, in susceptible subjects, of the resulting headache symptom.

For all the above reasons, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone upon which an extraordinarily effective approach is based, to counteract causes at the root of food intolerances and, in susceptible subjects, of the ensuing headache symptom. The association and synergy of specific plant extracts enables to implement a complete approach that

tackles and solves the problem underlying food intolerances, with a systemic product that carries out the following functions at the same time:

  1. it restores integrity of the intestinal mucosa: only this way can access to the organism of food macromolecules and antigens be hindered, so as to prevent accumulation of toxins and development of inflammations;
  1. it optimises the intestinal “ground” and promotes correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, as well as facilitating digestive process of the pancreas;
  2. it promotes drainage of toxins and improves functionality of dedicated organs;
  3. in addition, it is necessary to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients on the one hand, avoiding food categories that alter the intestine’s permeability and, on the other, promoting intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients.

This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a definitive solution has been confirmed by recent studies.

  1. Restore integrity of the intestinal mucosa: only this way can access to the organism of food macromolecules and antigens be hindered, so as to prevent accumulation of toxins and development of inflammations;

Specific constituents

Grapefruit Seed Extract: thanks to its cytoprotective properties, GSE accelerates healing of damaged gastro-intestinal mucosa.

Centella: traditionally employed for its cicatrizing properties, Centella strengthens epithelial tissues, promoting their keratinization process; it stimulates growth of the epithelial endothelium and fosters the production of collagen, therefore ensuring  more effective wound healing. Moroever, it has anti-inflammatory, tonic, diuretic and sedative properties.

Asiatic acid and asiaticoside present in the phytocomplex are the most active complexes: asiatocoside, in particular, favours angiogenesis and stimulates synthesis of collagen. These properties make Centella essential to restore integrity of an excessively permeable intestinal mucosa.

Agar Agar: the high content of complex polysaccharides, agarose and agaropectin, justifies its internal use as an anti-inflammatory, with a soothing effect on the mucosa. Agar Agar is immune to the aggression of gastric juices and reaches the intestinal tract directly, where it covers the mucosa with a thin, protective layer,  indirectly promoting restoration of integrity.

  1. To optimise the intestinal “ground” and enhance correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, facilitating digestive processes in the pancreas:

 Specific constituents

Grapefruit Seed Extract:  thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal, pesticide and antiviral properties, it is the perfect remedy to directly combat pathogenic microorganisms (in particular the much-feared Candida), which are responsible for the alteration of the intestinal microbial ecosystem, causing in the long run injuries at mucosa level, worsening intestinal permeability and consequentely triggering  the onset of food intolerances.

Curcuma: from Curcuma rhizome an extract is obtained, rich in Curcumina, that has proven beneficial effects on the immune system: a team of researchers has discovered, in fact, that curcumina can reinforce the immune system making it more efficient in counteracting the attack of pathogenic agents. Curcuma also has a digestive function, since it stimulates biliar secretion, helping the digestion of fats. In addition, it also has an important antifungal action and  therefore works synergistically with GSE.

Fermented maltodextrins (enzymes): this is a special combination of purified, high efficiency enzymes, concentrated extracts obtained from fermented maltodextrins using cultured fungus Aspergyllus. These enzymes are active at a temperature close to that of the human body. They carry out their activity within a pH range between 3.0 and 9.0: in other words, they are the only enzymes that are active both in the acid and in the alkaline, as well as neutral tracts of the intestine.

Their action starts in the higher part of the stomach. This helps reduce the body’s secretion of digestive enzymes, reducing workload of the pancreas. These enzymes break down proteins as well as carbohydrates and fats effectively, ensuring that food macromolecules are split into their core constituents.

  1. To favour drainage of toxins and improve functionality of organs in charge: 

 Specific constituents

Milk thistle: characterised by extraordinary, antioxidant and detoxifying properties, its action affects the liver in particular; its use is essential to improve hepatic activity and purification of organisms that are “intoxicated” by food intolerances.

Curcuma: due to its particularly rich phytocomplex, it has always been employed as a remedy to solve liver problems. It has hepatoprotective, choleretic and colagenic effects, promoting the production and secretion of bile and, therefore, of digestive processes. In addition, it has a marked anti-inflammatory action in both acute and chronic cases. This activity, free of any side effect whatsoever, is essential in reducing the chronic inflammatory state which is inevitably sparked off by food intolerances.

Solidago: well known for its marked diuretic and purifying properties, it has an anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect on the urinary tract, contributing to maintain well-being of kidneys and bladder. Considering is properties in general, the draining action exerted helps eliminate toxins accumulated due to food intolerance.

  1. In order to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients… 

Specific constituents

PLANT PROTEINS: legumes (beans, peas, fava beans, lentils and chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, yeast and wheat germ.

CEREALS AND WHOLEWHEAT PSEUDOCEREALS: rich in vitamins, mineral salts, fibres, starches and proteins.

They can be divided into gluten-free cereals and pseudocereals (rice, millet, maize, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth) and in cereals containing gluten (barley, rye, splet, oats, wheat and kamut). 

ORGANIC SEASONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES:  the richest in vitamins, especially vitamin C, provitamin A and minerals (calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, etc.), antioxidants and fibres.

FISH: small fish and open sea fish (sardines, sea breams, sea basses, anchovies, mackerels), not more than twice a week.

OLEAGINOUS SEEDS: rich in vitamin E, group B vitamins, minerals such as phoshorus, copper, calcium, zinc; plant proteins, fibres, essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.

FIRST PRESSING OILS: rich in vitamin F, A and E vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6).

LOW FIXED RESIDUE MINERAL WATER: to be taken away from meal times and at room temperature: fixed residue levels should be below 50mg/L and with pH between 6 and 7.

Intake of the above listed components should be split and differentiated according to requirements of different times of the day (morning, midday, evening). This way, useful substances are provided in adequate quantities at the best time of the day to ensure their efficacy.

Besides, it is important to point out that when there are food intolerances it is necessary to rule out all foodstuffs that may damage the intestinal mucosa and rather opt for foodstuffs that promote intestinal eubiosis, essential for the definitive resolution of food intolerances and to maintain good health.