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The next time you reach for an extra cup of coffee, think twice. That’s because a new study suggests that upping your caffeine intake throughout the day may trigger migraines. That is especially true if you are already prone to headaches.

Does Caffeine Promote Migraines?

Between March 2016 and October 2017, researchers from Harvard accompanied a study on migraines. The 98 adults – 86 women and 12 men – suffer from episodic migraine, typically 0 to 14 headaches per month. Every day, the participants recorded their caffeinated drink intake. They also recorded other lifestyle factors, timing, and characteristics of each migraine headache.

“We compare the incidence of migraine-related pain among our participants. Also, we investigated the frequency of migraine attacks on days without caffeine and days with caffeine,” she added.

What were the study results?

The result? In the 4,467 observation days, participants reported 825 migraine cases. The probability that they get a migraine on a day with “higher” caffeine intake than usual increased. It was sufficient for the study participants to drink a third cup of coffee instead of the usual two cups.

“There was a nonlinear association between caffeinated beverage intake and the odds of migraine headache occurrence on that day. That suggests that high levels of caffeinated beverage intake may be a trigger of migraine headaches on that day,” she concluded.

“For patients who suffer from regularly recurring migraine attacks, the consumption of one to two beverages with caffeine per day is unproblematic. Consumption is not associated with migraine on the same day,” said the study’s lead author, Elizabeth Mostofsky. “This suggests that high levels of caffeinated beverage intake may be a trigger of migraine headaches on that day.”

One Cup of Coffee Increases Your Risk by 40%

“These results indicate that you should not limit yourself to more than two servings of caffeinated beverages per day,” Mostofsky added. So, Participants who consumed three or more servings of caffeine in one day – instead of the usual one or two cups – had a 1.4 times higher chance of having a migraine on the same day. For participants who consumed five or more servings, the chances of having a headache on the same day were 2.61 times higher.

The study seemingly confirms medical professionals’ suspicions that increased caffeine intake could trigger migraines, per the news outlet.

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Brad Mully
Brad Mully
Migraines from too much caffeine? Study finds clues!

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