Migraine is common with 1 in 5 Australian women and 1 in 10 men regularly experiencing migraine at same stage in their lifetime. Migraines can start in childhood or adolescence but have a peak prevalence around the age of 35 to 45 years. It can be severely debilitating, often requiring time off school and work, and adversely impacting on daily activities and quality of life.

Currently, despite individuals commonly reporting dietary triggers for migraine (e.g. cheese, chocolate, alcohol or other specific foods), no dietary advice is given to those with migraine as part of usual treatment. Our review of research evidence suggests specific nutritional approaches could help manage headaches and indicates this warrants careful evaluation in a randomised controlled trial. 

Our aim is to determine which of two dietary approaches is more effective in reducing migraine frequency, severity and duration. In a cross-over trial, we will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of a ketogenic diet (high in fat, low in total carbohydrate, and moderate amounts of protein) monitored as part of medical nutrition therapy, compared to an ‘anti-headache diet’ we have developed based on our review of the research evidence (e.g. drinking an extra 1.5 litres of water daily, monitoring caffeine intake, eating consistently by having regular daily meal/snack times, avoiding fasting and avoiding alcohol). 

Outcomes and significance
Developing a feasible and effective dietary management approach for those who regularly suffer from migraine has the potential to improve their quality of life and reduce the number of days of leave needed due to migraine.

Researchers 

Prof Clare Collins, Neil Spratt, Rebecca Williams, Megan Rollo

Research Area 
Project type 
Project Grant
Year of funding 
2017