It was only when these participants drank three or more caffeinated beverages in one day that the risk of a migraine appeared to increase. A new study suggests that upping your caffeine intake throughout the day may trigger a migraine, especially if you're already prone to headaches. "Caffeine's impact depends both on dose and on frequency, but because there have been few prospective studies on the immediate risk of migraine headaches following caffeinated beverage intake, there is limited evidence to formulate dietary recommendations for people with migraines", she adds. Each patient had an average of five migraines a month, 66% had one to two servings of caffeinated beverages a day, and 12% had three or more servings a day. Associations varied by caffeine habits - among people who typically consumed less than one serving a day, even one or two drinks were tied to a same-day headache, for example - and by oral contraceptive use. To try to rule out such "reverse causation", the researchers examined the link between caffeine consumption on a given day and migraine headaches on the following day.
They also filled out twice-daily headache reports about the onset, duration, and intensity of migraines and provided information about medications, alcohol, activity, depressive symptoms, psychological stress, sleep patterns, and menstrual cycles.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from almost 100 adults who were diagnosed with episodic migraines, which means they experienced migraine headaches at least twice a month, but no more than 15 times a month. Participants reported their caffeinated beverage intake, other lifestyle factors, and the timing and characteristics of each migraine headache every day for at least 6 weeks to be included in the trial.
The study researchers found that, among people with periodic migraine headaches, consuming at least three caffeinated drinks a day was tied to a higher likelihood of experiencing a migraine on that day or the following day. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings, study author Suzanne Bertisch, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement.
So, while coffee is your go-to beverage nearly every day, beyond 3 cups can give you bouts of headache.
While some potential triggers - such as lack of sleep - may only increase migraine risk, the role of caffeine is particularly complex, because it may trigger an attack but also helps control symptoms, study author Dr Elizabeth Mostofsky said.
Researchers said those servings contain anything from 25 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, so they can not quantify the amount that is associated with heightened risk of migraine. The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health Award UL 1TR002541), and financial contributions from Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers.
Researchers reported no conflicts of interest. Dr. Buettner has received honorarium for consulting for Dr. Reddy Pharmaceutical. Migraine care specialist Sait Ashina, MD, a neurologist and Director of the Comprehensive Headache Center at the Arnold-Warfield Pain Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), presented the survey findings at the 61st annual meeting of the American Headache Society.
This story has been published on: 2019-08-08.
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