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Oral bacteria's correlation with migraines

Researchers recently found a link between nitrate-reducing bacteria and migraines. The scientists from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Chicago found that migraine-sufferers have a significantly higher number of nitrate-reducing bacteria in their mouths in comparison with those who do not suffer from migraines.
Nitrates are commonly found in foods like processed meats and leafy greens. Nitrates, when chemically reduced to nitric oxide, serve as a powerful tool to dilate vessels in the cardiovascular system. Therefore, they are commonly found in cardiovascular medications to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
Knowing that many people receive headaches after eating certain foods – chocolate, wine, and other nitrate containing food – researchers used data from the American Gut Project to see if there was a correlation between migraine sufferers’ microbiome and their diet.
The researchers sequenced bacteria from 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples from healthy individuals. They split participants into two groups: those with frequent migraines and those without. While the actual composition and amount of bacteria in the samples did not differ between the two groups, scientists found that the genes expressed by the bacteria did. In the migraine group, bacteria encoded for enzymes nitrate, nitrite, and nitric oxide reductase in higher abundance relative to those in samples from the non-migraine group.
In the fecal samples, the difference was nominal, but still statistically significant, while in oral samples, there was a great difference.
These results are consistent with the finding in another study that 80% of cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs also experience severe headaches.
Scientists suggest that humans may have a symbiotic relationship with nitrate-reducing bacteria, which improves cardiovascular health. However, for some, too many nitrate-reducing bacteria may lead to migraines.
For more information: http://www.sci-news.com/biology/migraines-nitrate-reducing-oral-bacteria-04296.html

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