Migraine Trigger: Glutamic Acid and Glutamate

Migraine Trigger: Glutamic Acid and Glutamate

Eight reasons why glutamate and free glutamic acid are migraine triggers:


1. MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) increases oxidative stress and is a known migraine trigger (study link).


2. Chinese Food Headache

MSG even has its very own IHS headache classification, 8.1.5.1, previously termed “Chinese food headache.” A migraine triggered by MSG is classified as a “MSG Induced Headache”.


3. Glutamate is Part of the Migraine Pathway

The latest research shows that glutamate is released from the trigeminal nerve and is part of the mechanism that triggers migraines (study link).


4. Chronic Inflammation

MSG induces chronic inflammation (study link).

Inflammation increases oxidative stress and is associated with migraines (study 1, 2).


5. Morbidly Obese

MSG is fed to rats to make them morbidly obese.

Obesity raises migraine risk by 81 percent (study link).


6. Migraine Drugs Block Glutamate

Anti-seizure medications that block glutamate are used to treat both migraine and epilepsy sufferers (study link).


7. Glutamate Increases at that Time of the Month

Glutamate levels are elevated during a menstrual cycle when migraines are more likely (study links).


8. Ketones Block Glutamate and Kill Migraines

A 2013 study found that the ketogenic diet reduced migraine frequency in 90 percent of patients (study link).

The ketogenic diet uses ketones to block high concentrations of glutamate (study link).


What is glutamic acid and glutamate?

Glutamic acid becomes glutamate after digestion. They are essentially the same thing.

In nature, glutamic acid is usually bound to long chains of amino acids. This allows for a slow digestion that prevents migraines.

However, processing foods can free the glutamic acid and create a rapidly digestible “free glutamic acid.”


40 Glutamate Food Additives

There are over 40 food additives that are chemically similar to monosodium glutamate and may trigger the same response (research link).


Natural Glutamate is Great, but Processed Glutamate is Dangerous

Glutamate is widely accepted as the most important neurotransmitter for brain function. Learning, memory, and reading this sentence is made possible by glutamate.

However, glutamate in a high concentration results in over exciting the nerves and cellular death.

It’s called “excitotoxicity” and plays a role in triggering migraines (study 1, 2).


These Glutamate Rich Foods are a Problem:

Foods that contain significant amounts of glutamic acid include cheese (especially aged cheese), eggs, milk (especially low-fat milk), wheat, sourdough bread, soybeans, soy sauce, tofu, corn, yeast, and many processed foods.


Glutamate is Extremely Dangerous in Moderate to Large Amounts or When Combined with Other Headache Triggers.

Avoid processed foods with high concentrations of glutamate and food additives with glutamate.


This is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Read the disclaimer.

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