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Avoiding Migraines With Wheat-Free Diet

Posting Date: 10/17/2005

Q. I suffered from migraine headaches for more than 10 years. I saw several neurologists, but my intense headaches forced me to take early retirement. In the fall of 2002, I went from 3 headaches a week to almost non-stop. That November, I had only 3 days without headaches. I took migraine meds like Frova, Maxalt and Imitrex, but I mostly lay in bed in a dark room.

I was at my wit?s end. Then my family doctor suggested a gluten-free diet. Gradually my headaches became less frequent, and after several months I was 98 percent headache-free.

I feel I was given a new life! Please share my story so others can benefit.

A. Migraine is not often recognized as a symptom of celiac disease, but we have heard from others like you who suffered until they eliminated gluten from their diets. Celiac is more common than many physicians realize.

In this condition, sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) can result in symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, nerve pain, memory loss, osteoporosis, infertility, flatulence, diarrhea and digestive tract distress.

We recently spoke with Peter Green, MD, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. He confirmed that migraines can be a symptom of celiac disease. Anyone who would like a CD of this hour-long interview show may send $15 in check or money order to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. CD-558, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

Q. Thanks for the tip about Listerine as an antifungal agent. I tried it for chronic jock itch and it worked!

A. The combination of herbal extracts and alcohol in the original formula of Listerine seems to be effective against some skin fungus. Readers report success against dandruff and smelly feet as well as jock itch. Keep Listerine away from delicate tissue, though, as the alcohol could be irritating.