Are citrus fruits contraindicated in people with migraine?

Can you eat citrus fruits or drink citrus juice with migraine?

What is migraine and what produces it?

Migraine is a headache of such intensity that it can paralyze normal life. For many years, the origin or cause of migraine has been unknown. It is estimated that it affects 12% of the population.

Photo of half orangePhoto of half orange

Migraine and food relationship

One of the strongest theories that is being considered in recent years is that migraine is closely related to the consumption of foods that contain or elevate histamine.

In this sense, it has been proven that the ingestion of citrus fruits, such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, kumquats or orange juice, can cause migraine in certain people, specifically, those who can not process histamine due to decreased enzyme activity. In 90% of the cases it is because the patients have a deficit of the DAO enzyme.

Can citrus be not eaten because they produce migraine?

This does not mean that citrus fruits produce migraine to all people. It should not be interpreted that citrus fruits produce migraine, but people with DAO deficit or who have migraines should try a diet low in histamine, within which citrus fruits are excluded.

Why do citrus produce migraine?

Lemon, orange and other citrus fruits carry histamine, which is not harmful in itself, since the body can metabolize and neutralize it, through an enzyme called “DAO” (by the acronym of DiAmino Oxidase).

It has been observed that some people have low activity of this intestinal enzyme, what produces that the histamine of the food is not neutralized, and that this one arrives at the blood, being able to produce histaminosis (high levels of histamine), which would unleash headache and migraines.

What is recommended to people to avoid having migraines?

  • In case of migraine, it is appropriate to consult with a specialist to determine the causes and the most appropriate treatment.
  • Avoid taking fermented and other foods rich in histamine while being treated treatment with medication.
  • It is recommended to eliminate progressively the drugs used against migraine and those that can produce it, since they block the action of the DAO (more information). In case of taking medications by necessity, which can not be withdrawn, it is advisable to follow more strict feeding guidelines to improve the effect of the medications to avoid migraine.

Migraine diet due to DAO enzyme deficiency

Migraine diet due to DAO enzyme deficiency

punto rojo More information on oranges.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

9 January, 2023

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