In recent years, a new, heightened emphasis on the importance of “gut microbes” and “probiotics” has entered the public’s collective health consciousness. In addition to the rise of fermented, probiotic-friendly foods/drinks like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha, significant advancements in the study of “gut health” have mapped convincing links between it and the immune system, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.

In a 2019 study, published in the preeminent headache journal Cephalalgia, a team of researchers found evidence that demonstrates the “beneficial role of probiotics in alleviating the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks.” Celebrated as the “largest-ever trial of its sort,” the experiment conducted by Dr. S. R. Jahromi and colleagues at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences has shown that ‘gut-friendly bacteria [can] significantly improve several symptoms of migraine headache.”

One notable metric cited that over the course of an 8-10-week treatment period, patients with chronic migraine disease saw a 45% reduction in attacks versus those in the placebo control group.

In the meantime, what can you do to improve your gastrointestinal microbiota diversity and overall gut health?

As mentioned above, recent popular sources of probiotics have come in the form of fermented foods and beverages like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Understanding that fermented foods can be high in tyramine and can trigger migraine attacks in sensitive individuals, it is recommended that those looking to improve gut health focus on consuming plenty of prebiotic fibers, like asparagus, apples, leaf vegetables, and whole grains, or consider a premium, high-quality and multiple strain pre-and probiotic supplement.