Can celiac disease be the cause of migraines?

Anyone who’s ever had a migraine knows there’s no mistaking it for a common headache. Migraines are typically associated with more intense pain as well as other symptoms, such as increased sensitivity to light, sounds or smells and even nausea and dizziness. There are several underlying mechanisms that can cause migraines to develop, and one of those causes is celiac disease. In fact, one study found migraines are 10 times as likely to occur in people who also have celiac disease; in another study, 30 percent of celiac patients reported symptoms of migraines.

The findings aren’t all that surprising: Several studies dating as far back as the 1960s have linked celiac disease with neurological disorders, including ataxia, neuropathy and depression. While the association between celiac disease and migraines has been demonstrated, researchers are still not sure why migraines – and, in fact, all kinds of headaches – are more common in people with CD than in the general population. One theory is that the same autoimmune response that attacks the lining of the small intestine also attacks the protective membrane covering the nerves or even the brain cells themselves. Another theory maintains that the inflammation that occurs in celiac disease may be more widespread than previously thought, affecting the nerves and brain as well as the small intestine.

In addition to discovering a higher prevalence of migraines among those with CD, what these studies have also found is that when these people begin adhering to a strict gluten-free diet, their headache symptoms tended to resolve. Anyone who’s been diagnosed with CD knows the importance of following a gluten-free diet, but sometimes, adhering to what appears to be a gluten-free regimen isn’t enough. That’s because many important nutrients that are normally absorbed by a healthy small intestine can no longer be well-absorbed in people with CD. As a result, other symptoms related to nutritional imbalances can occur.

A simple solution would be to take supplements to make up for this lack of important nutritional elements. But again, these efforts can be thwarted, first, because many supplements are not formulated to be readily absorbable by people with CD, and second, because many supplements that purport to be gluten-free may be processed on equipment that’s been exposed to products containing gluten. The result: Many supplements labeled “gluten-free” actually wind up incorporating tiny particles of gluten that are sufficient to cause reaction in people with CD.

CeliVites from Gluten Free Therapeutics was specifically designed to avoid cross-contamination and to increase the bioavailability and absorbability of nutrients, making them the ideal supplement choice for people with CD or gluten intolerance. Founded by a mother of an adult child with CD, GFT is committed to providing nutritional alternatives to help people with CD lead healthier lives. See the complete line of CeliVites here.


This original article is made possible by Gluten Free Therapeutics. Our mission is to educate, inform, and provide the most effective nutritional products possible to allow those with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerances to heal their bodies. CeliVites complete line of superior gluten free supplements includes multivitamin/multimineral supplements, iron supplements, and calcium supplements for people living with celiac disease. All CeliVites products are designed to help you heal, restore and rebuild your body, because going gluten free isn’t enough! 


Comments ()

  1. Sonya says:

    I have not been tested for celiacs. Most of my adult life, I blamed my stomach issues on dairy. With all the information I started seeing in regards to gluten, I decided in March to cut out gluten from my diet. My stomach no longer hurts. I no longer have stabbing pain in my right side. A very wonderful side effect is that I have not had one headache or migraine since becoming gluten free. Prior to becoming GF, I had a headache every day of my life as long as I can remember. I had migraines at least once a month. I have been telling people this, but, this is the first article I have seen in regards to the correlation between gluten and migraines/headaches. Thanks for the information!

  2. Sue says:

    I was diagnosed with celiac about 3 years ago and have avoided gluten in my diet. It is very hard to eat out now. Even if you are so careful, there can be contamination. I do not have migraines but have bouts of sore muscles and lack of energy. I am convinced that the culprit must be the autoammune system.

  3. Linda McQuinn Carlblom says:

    I have had migraines and less severe headaches for about 10 years. I recently started going to a naturpothic Dr. who suggested I eliminate gluten from my diet. I had immediate relief from headaches. It’s been amazing. I used to have about 5 headaches a week. Now I seldom have any at all, and if I do, a simple over-the-counter medicine can take care of it. No need for my expensive prescription migraine medicine now. I’m so thankful!

  4. MissLeopard83 says:

    Most of my life, I’ve suffered from gastrointestinal malaise in some shape or form. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in my teens as well as migraines. I chalked the IBS up to bad diet or sensitive digestive tract and the migraines up to either family history or a side effect of the medication I was on at the time. Then, in 2012, I read about gluten causing multiple issues in people who have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I’ve never been tested (no health insurance), but I started myself on a gluten-free diet. I no longer suffer from migraines and the IBS has cleared up quite a bit. So many other things were resolved, as well, and I feel much better! I wouldn’t be surprised if there was, indeed, a link between gluten and migraines.

  5. Tania Ramsey says:

    I diagnosed myself after not getting anywhere with my doctors, including a neurologist and endocrinologist. Immediately I had fewer migraines and my bowel problems were greatly reduced. I saw additional improvements when I eliminated soy, oats and corn as well. The overly modified grains and plants are causing more harm than good. The wheat plant is now a mutant weed.

  6. Elinorina says:

    I suffered from migraines all my life (like, since I was a young child), as did my mom and my grandmother. When I was diagnosed celiac several years ago, and cut out gluten (well, 90% cut it out) magically my migraines went from weekly episodes (sometimes multiple ones in a week) to perhaps once every couple/few months. Magic…

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