In a new study, researchers found that drinking too much coffee may raise the odds of triggering a migraine headache.
They found drinking three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day is linked to a headache on that or the following day in people with migraine.
The research was conducted by that a team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Migraine is a headache disorder affecting approximately 1.04 billion adults worldwide.
Despite the widespread anecdotal belief that caffeinated beverages may trigger migraine headaches and relieve headaches once they have begun, there is limited scientific evidence.
Common anecdotal evidence also suggests that migraine can be immediately triggered by weather or lifestyle factors, such as sleep disturbance and skipping meals.
Approximately 87% of Americans consume caffeine daily, with an average intake of 193 mg per day.
Whereas some behavioral and environmental factors may only have potentially harmful effects on migraine risk, the role of caffeine is particularly complex because the impact depends on dose and frequency.
It may trigger an attack but also has an analgesic effect.
In the new study, the team examined data from 98 adults who suffer from episodic migraines.
Participants completed electronic diaries twice a day for six weeks reporting on their caffeinated beverage intake, other lifestyle factors, and each migraine headache.
The team found that participants typically experienced an average of five headaches per month; 66% of them usually consumed one to two servings of caffeinated beverages daily, and 12% consumed three or more cups.
During the six-week study period in 2016-17, participants experienced an average of 8.4 headaches.
All reported having caffeinated beverages on at least one day during the study, with an average of 7.9 servings per week.
These findings suggest that the impact of caffeinated beverages on headache risk was only apparent for three or more servings on that day.
Patients with migraine did not experience a higher risk of migraine when drinking one to two caffeinated beverages per day.
The team concludes that drinking one or two coffee in a day does not appear to be linked to developing a migraine headache, however, three or more servings may be linked to a higher odds of developing a headache.
The lead author of the study is Elizabeth Mostofsky, ScD from the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit.
The study is published in the American Journal of Medicine.
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