How Can Migraines Affect Glucose Metabolism?

How Can Migraines Affect Glucose Metabolism?

The developments in medical science show some of the most intriguing connections in the human body. The common knowledge you have now about how the organ systems work and dysfunction was not as prevalent before.

Yet, research from around the one still keeps surprising people and scientists alike. For example, research shows how getting a migraine is connected to diabetes type 2.

According to the research, people who get frequent current migraines are less likely to develop diabetes type 2 later in life. To find the underlying mechanism, the researchers observed a group of women for over 20 years.


Read the study here. 


To understand the study, it is important to know what migraine and type 2 diabetes are and why they happen.

What Are Migraines?

Migraines are a type of headaches. They are recurring and often cause moderate to severe pains. These can be throbbing and pulsing which occurs on one part of the head and even spreads to the neck.

When you get a migraine, you may also become more sensitive to sounds or light. In addition, nausea and lightheadedness along with weakness are also common.

There are various factors behind getting a migraine. These vary from person to person. Some people are genetically dispositioned to having migraines while others can have them because of the following reasons:

  • Medication
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Changes in surrounding such as moving to a harsher climate region
  • Loud noises
  • Using tobacco
  • Consuming caffeine
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Certain foods such as cheese, alcohol, and chocolate
  • Overuse of drugs and medicine

According to the statistics on migraines, women are more likely to have migraines than men. You are also more likely to have migraines if it runs in your family. Some mental health condition may also increase the risk. Examples include depression, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and sleep disorders.

What Is Diabetes Type 2?

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases around the globe. It is a lifelong disease in which how your body responds to glucose is affected. Around twenty-seven million people in the United States alone have diabetes type 2.

In type 2, the body makes enough insulin – a hormone needed to breakdown glucose in the blood for absorption – but the cells are unable to use it. This is also known as insulin resistance.

There are various factors behind the development of diabetes type 2 in a person. Unlike type 1, it cannot be passed down.

However, how your body responds to insulin can be dependent on genes. Other causes of diabetes type 2 include metabolic syndrome, obesity, beta cells destruction, problems in cell connection, and liver issues. Smoking, poor diet, stress, and no exercise may also increase the risk.

What Is the Connection Between Migraines and Diabetes?

The findings of research from the journal JAMA Neurology show the frequency of migraines decreases before the diagnosis of diabetes. The researchers in the study started by looking at data of over 65,000 women living in France from the E3N Prospective Cohort Study.

These women were also a part of a health insurance program and had filled information regarding their health and issues between the years of 1990-2014. Information on diabetes type 2 was also included in information from the insurance program.

After an analysis, the researchers found that the women who had frequent migraines showed a thirty percent decrease in risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although  Dr. Guy Fagherazzi of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France calls for further research, the study does reveal a mechanism that may explain this connection,

In consonance with a theory put forward by the researchers, this may be due to a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide. It plays a role in both glucose metabolism and migraines.

An editorial by doctors also supports this theory saying that it goes with what they have observed in clinical trials. However, since this was an observational study, further evidence is required to back up these claims.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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