BPA (the toxin in plastics) and migraine.

Migraine headaches can be triggered by exposure to a variety of chemicals, including fumes, MSG, artificial sweeteners and many other. Now, scientists at the university of Kansas Medical Center published a study suggesting that BPA, a ubiquitous toxic chemical found in plastics, canned food, and ATM receipts, may be also involved in triggering migraine attacks. The New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof has been publicizing the dangers of BPA (bisphenol A) in many of his articles. BPA was recently banned from baby bottles and cups, but it is still widely used everywhere else and can be found in significant amounts in the bodies of 90% of the US population. It is not surprising that BPA could impact migraines because it can produce hormonal estrogen-like effects. Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men, with estrogen being the likely culprit.

The Kansas researchers hypothesized that BPA exposure exacerbates migraine symptoms through estrogen mechanisms. They studied the effect of BPA on female rats, in which a migraine-like state of increased sensitivity was induced. They studied changes in movement of these rats, light and sound sensitivity, grooming, and startle response. They also measured changes in genes related to estrogen and pain perception. After BPA exposure these rats had significantly increased migraine-like behaviors. They moved less, had an increase in light and sound sensitivity, altered grooming habits, and increased startle responses. BPA exposure also increased expression of estrogen and pain-modulating receptors. These results suggest that BPA may be also a contributing factor to migraines in humans.

This study has many limitations, with the main one being that it was done in rats. However, it is possible that BPA is one of many potential triggers which can make migraine headaches worse. However, there is little doubt that BPA is a chemical that should be avoided regardless of its effect on migraines.

1 comment
  1. cedric says: 12/03/201312:42 pm

    great news… for female sufferers. how about men sufferers? if BPA act on oestrogen hormone, can it triggers migraine for male patients?
    I’ve been reading this study all day on different sites and this one is the only one saing that actually the research have been done only on FEMALE rats.
    do we, male, need to avoid BPA or is it useless for us?

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