Is there a link between celiac disease and migraines?

By Jason Clevenger

Summary: A group of American researchers affiliated with a migraine clinic published an article describing the relationships between migraine, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gluten sensitivity. The authors present evidence that these disorders are related through the creation of a state of “hypervigilance” in the nervous system, which is associated with an exaggerated nervous system response to perceived future threats including episodic attacks of migraine and IBS.

The authors consider that these various diseases are linked by a nervous system genetically predisposed to becoming hypersensitive through repeat exposure to external triggers.

Conclusion: The association of celiac disease with other chronic conditions such as migraine suggests the existence of poorly understood connections between various components of the nervous system, including the portions of the autonomic nervous system that control the gastrointestinal tract.


[1] “The Bowel and Migraine: Update on Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome”, R.K. Cady, K. Farmer, J.K. Dexter, J. Hall, Current Pain and Headache Reports, Mar 2012, epub ahead of print.