Unraveling the Migraine-Corn Conundrum

Feb 14


Joy Healey

Joy Healey

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Migraines can be debilitating, and for some, the trigger might be as common as the corn in their diet. While comprehensive studies on the link between migraines and specific food intolerances are scarce, anecdotal evidence suggests that corn and its derivatives could be significant culprits. This article delves into the potential connection between corn and migraine episodes, exploring the historical context, personal accounts, and the need for more rigorous scientific investigation.

Historical Context of Corn as an Allergen

In 1979,Unraveling the Migraine-Corn Conundrum Articles the esteemed medical journal The Lancet identified corn as one of the top ten foods associated with allergic reactions. According to the study, corn was implicated in approximately 17% of allergic responses, placing it high on the list of potential allergens. However, the exact mechanisms by which corn might trigger migraines remain under-researched. Some theories suggest that histamine reactions, similar to those experienced with seasonal allergies, may be responsible. Others point to sulfites in corn-derived products like corn syrup and corn starch, or the impact of pesticides and genetically modified grains.

Personal Testimonies and the Elimination of Corn

Despite the lack of formal case studies, numerous individuals have reported relief from migraines after removing corn from their diets. One woman recounted that, despite a childhood allergy to corn pollen, it wasn't until adulthood that she linked her severe migraines to corn consumption. After eliminating corn from her diet, her migraines stopped, only to return upon accidental ingestion of corn or corn syrup.

Another individual discovered that excluding corn not only alleviated migraines but also improved symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). To raise awareness about corn's prevalence in American foods, she launched a website advocating for those with migraines to consider a corn-free diet.

The Role of Corn Syrup and Corn Starch

Many who suffer from "corn headaches" believe that corn syrup and corn starch, commonly found in breads, crackers, beverages, and sweets, are the triggers for their migraines. The Corn Refiners' Association has even produced television advertisements promoting the benefits and natural qualities of corn syrup, despite its controversial reputation for contributing to obesity in the United States.

The Need for Formal Research

The collective anecdotal evidence against corn is compelling, with numerous reports of migraine relief following the exclusion of corn from diets. What is needed now is a formal study to substantiate these claims and provide a clearer understanding of the relationship between corn and migraines.

Research by Grace Alexander


  1. Grant ECG. "Food, Allergies and Migraine." The Lancet. May 5, 1979; 966-969. 37344
  2. "The Corn Culprit"
  3. Corn Allergens
  4. "Pro Corn Syrup Ad (US)"

Interesting statistics and facts that are not commonly discussed include the prevalence of corn derivatives in processed foods and their potential impact on health beyond obesity. For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption is linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, the environmental impact of corn production, including the use of pesticides and water resources, adds another layer of complexity to the debate over corn's role in our diets.

To further explore the connection between corn and migraines, it would be beneficial to examine the broader implications of corn consumption on public health and the environment. This could provide a more holistic understanding of the potential risks associated with this common dietary staple.

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