A new study in the American Journal of Medicine examines the potential impact of caffeine on migraine headaches

By Maria Pasquini
August 09, 2019 01:04 PM
coffee migraine
Credit: Getty

If you suffer from migraines, you may want to reconsider that extra cup or two of coffee.

A group of Harvard researchers published a new study in the American Journal of Medicine on Thursday examining the potential impact of caffeinated beverages on triggering migraine headaches.

For the study, researchers asked 98 volunteers who suffered from “episodic migraines” to track their intake of caffeinated beverages, “the timing and characteristics of each migraine headache,” as well as a variety of lifestyle factors. The majority of the participants were women.

According to NBC News, participants who drank three or more caffeinated beverages were 1.4 times more likely to suffer from a migraine that day, while those who consumed five or more servings had 2.61 times higher odds.

Researchers noted that while there did not appear to be a statistically significant association between having one or two caffeinated beverages and experiencing a migraine that day, anything extra could increase the risk.

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In the study, 66 percent of participants wrote that they consumed one to two caffeinated beverages a day, while twelve percent reported having three to four. The remaining 20 percent did not typically consume any caffeinated beverages.

“In patients with episodic migraine, one to two caffeinated drinks were not associated with getting a migraine on the same day,” lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky told NBC News. “These findings would suggest that you limit yourself to no more than two servings a day of caffeinated beverages.”

Dr. Laurie Knepper, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh and the UPMC Headache Center, told NBC News that she wasn’t “surprised” by the results of the study

“We certainly counsel our patients to limit their intake of coffee to 8 to 12 ounces a day,” Knepper told the outlet. “It’s a good study and I’m not surprised to see that three or more servings set off migraines.”