Patients with episodic migraine who drank three or more servings of caffeinated beverages daily were more likely to have headache by the end of day, according to findings recently published in The American Journal of Medicine.
“Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that migraines can be immediately triggered by weather or lifestyle factors. ... However, there has been limited research to prospectively evaluate the immediate effects of potential triggers,” Elizabeth Mostofsky, ScD, of the cardiovascular epidemiology research unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues wrote.
“Based on our a priori hypothesis about the biological effects of caffeine, we aimed to evaluate the role of caffeinated beverages as a potential trigger of migraine headaches,” they added.
Researchers reviewed the electronic diaries of 98 patients (mean age, 35.1 years; 86 women) with episodic migraine. These documents contained at least 6 weeks of data on caffeinated beverage intake, other lifestyle factors and the timing and characteristics of each migraine headache.
Mostofsky and colleagues found that the patients had higher odds of headache on days when they drank three or more servings of caffeine. They also noted that the associations found varied based on oral contraceptive use. Researchers lacked the data to ascertain if the association varied by beverage type.
Patients with episodic migraine who drank three or more servings of caffeinated beverages daily were more likely to have headache by the end of day.
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“Additional research is needed to examine the potential effect of caffeine on symptom onset in the subsequent hours and the interplay of sleep, caffeine, anxiety, environmental factors and migraine,” researchers wrote.
Mostofsky and colleagues’ findings are one of many studies that Healio has reported on that show health benefits and consequences that could stem from drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee.
Communicating with patients about the implications of research into the risks and benefits associated with food can be challenging for primary care providers.
Jamie Stang, PhD, MPH, RD, an associate professor within the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, provided tips on how primary care physicians can reap the most benefits from food studies.
“Systematic reviews and meta-analyses use data from multiple studies and thousands of patients to come to their conclusions. PCPs can be more confident in the results because it’s more likely that the association was not just by chance. It’s also more likely that someone with the same background as the patient was included in the study,” she told Healio Primary Care.
“The reality is, people eat diets, not nutrients. We don’t just eat omega-3 fatty acids, we don’t just drink coffee. PCPs can do a disservice when they take information about a single nutrient and try to apply it to all components of health,” Stang added.
Healio’s Nutrition Resource Center has articles that provide the latest information on how diet affects all aspects health all in one place. Bookmark this page as a valued resource for nutrition updates. – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.