High caffeine consumption increases the risk of migraine headaches

In the U.S., nearly 87 percent of the population consumes on average 193 mg of caffeine on a daily basis. In a new study, a team of researchers found that consuming three or more daily servings of caffeinated beverages, or three times the average amount, could increase the risk of developing headaches either on the same day or the following day, among patients with episodic migraine.

“Based on our study, drinking one or two caffeinated beverages in a day does not appear to be linked to developing a migraine headache, however, three or more servings may be associated with a higher odds of developing a headache,” researchers stated.

The findings, released in The American Journal of Medicine, focused on the examination of 98 adult sufferers of episodic migraines. The participants were instructed to document their caffeine consumption and the onset of any migraine episodes for a total of six weeks, twice a day. Researchers then compared instances of migraine episodes on days they consumed caffeine to the days with no consumption.

According to the findings, on average, participants suffered from five headaches per month, with 66 percent of them consuming between one and two caffeinated beverages per day; 12 percent consumed larger quantities: at least 3 cups per day. In the six-week study, participants suffered from 8 headaches on average, with a consumption of at least one caffeinated beverage on one day throughout the study.

Throughout the study, the results were consistent even after taking into account several factors including stress, physical activity, sleep, and alcohol consumption. The results suggest that caffeinated beverages will only pose a high risk for migraine headaches if one consumes at least three servings of caffeine per day.

“To date, there have been few prospective studies on the immediate risk of migraine headaches with daily changes in caffeinated beverage intake. Our study was unique in that we captured detailed daily information on caffeine, headache, and other factors of interest for six weeks,” said Suzanne Bertisch, M.D., lead researcher of the study.