Next time your indulgence in things like red wine and chocolate triggers a migraine don’t blame the food and drink. Heck, don’t even blame yourself. Instead, recent research suggests that the blame may belong to the tiny microbes shacked up in your digestive system… as if bacteria didn’t have a bad enough rap already.
The findings stem from a study published this week by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Chicago that discovered, as the title states, “Migraines Are Correlated with Higher Levels of Nitrate-, Nitrite-, and Nitric Oxide-Reducing Oral Microbes in the American Gut Project Cohort.” In slightly plainer English, some of the bacteria that live in our mouths process the nitrates found in items like wine, chocolate, processed meats and green leafy vegetables into byproducts that can lead to migraines and other tension headaches. Looking at 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples pulled from the American Gut Project, the scientists found that people who get more migraines also tend to have more of these bacteria in their mouths and gut.