Do Food Sensitivities Cause Your Migraines?

There are many different causes of migraine headaches. One of the causes I investigate with patients is food sensitivities. In some cases, identifying food sensitivities that trigger migraines can be dramatic in helping prevent this dreaded condition.

Doctors are aware that certain foods such as alcohol, aged cheeses, and caffeine in coffee and sodas can trigger migraines in some people. But what about other foods that are not listed as common migraine triggers?

A study published in the Journal of Pain Research measured the IgG (delayed reaction) of foods for 89 migraine patients. In the patients with positive reactions (67 patients), the migraines they experienced were longer and more severe. In addition, blood inflammation markers were higher as well.

Food Sensitivity Testing Should Be Considered for Migraine Sufferers

It is important to realize the blood testing in this study was IgG. Many doctors order IgE testing for food reactions. The IgE testing looks for immediate reactions, while IgG tests for delayed reactions. Positive IgG food reactions are much more common than IgE. I often test patients with migraines and other chronic conditions for IgG and IgA (reactions in the mucosa, such as the gut lining). I only test IgE if the patient has experienced immediate reactions to foods. The IgG testing is generally much more helpful in identifying food sensitivities that cause symptoms.


Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at His clinic website is



Zhao Z, Jin H, Yin Y, Hou Y, Wang J, Tang C, Fu J. Association of Migraine with Its Comorbidities and Food Specific Immunoglobulin G Antibodies and Inflammatory Cytokines: Cross-Sectional Clinical Research. J Pain Res. 2021 Aug 5;14:2359-2368. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S316619