Clinical test for diagnosis of migraine

Migraine should not be confused with a headache.
A headache is a very common and very generalised symptom among the population. there are 165 different types of headache. Migraine is only one of them and affects between 12 and 17% of the population.

Migraine is an illness and as such it must be treated by specialists. It is characterised by episodic attacks of head pain of moderate or grave intensity, pulsating, generally on one side of the head, which may last for between 4 and 72 hours. They are often accompanied by nausea, photophobia or phonophobia and vomiting becoming more intense with physical activity.
In some patients a migraine attack is preceded by neurological symptoms, generally visual, known as the “aura”.
This illness modifies the family, social and economic life of the sufferer, significantly affecting his working and non-working life, and tremendously affecting his quality of life.

Can migraine be caused by histamine in food?

Histamine is an essential molecule that is present in all foods in a daily diet to a greater or lesser extent. It is also synthesised by your body directly or alternatively induced by foods with a low histamine content. The consumption of foods containing histamine or with free endogenous histamine is not a problem in itself since, under normal conditions, the histamine is degraded and metabolised in the small intestine by the diamine oxidase enzyme DAO produced by the body. But when there is a deficit in the above-mentioned DAO enzyme, the histamine is not eliminated, and is stored causing a range of disorders, the most incapacitating of which is migraine. it is important to know that despite the fact that the symptoms are similar, this is NOT an allergy, but rather alimentary histaminosis.

Which foods contain histamine?

Those which have been subjected to processes of maturation or prolonged storage and others which behave as histamine liberators.
• Alcohol, especially red wine and cava sparkling wine.
• Cheese.
• Raw sausages (chorizo, salami, bacon).
• Fish, seafood and fish sauces.
• Certain vegetables (aubergines, tomatoes and spinach).
• Certain fruits (strawberries, pineapple and banana).
• Chocolate.

Reactions deriving from food histaminosis

When histamine accumulates and is not eliminated as a result of a deficit in the DAO enzyme, the appearance of a migraine crisis and other symptoms is not immediate . There is no direct relationship between the time of ingestion of foods with a high histamine content and the symptoms. Other reactions which arise apart from migraine are:

• Intestinal disorders(diarrhoea, constipation, swelling, flatulence)
• Dry skin or atopic dermatitis
• Back pain and/or muscular contractions
• Tiredness
• Overweight
• Discomfort, nausea, tachycardia
• Excess salivation when sleeping

The DAO enzyme test is a new diagnostic test to measure the level of the DAO enzyme.

Some people, often close relations, have or produce little DiAmine Oxidase (DAO) and this results in the excess histamine not being neutralised with migraine as a consequence. Furthermore, the use of drugs mostly inhibits the function of DAO, such as:

• Analgesics
• Anti-histamines
• Diuretics
• Antibiotics
• Anti-arrhythmics
• Anti-asthmatics
• Mucolytics
• Antidepressants
• Anti-rheumatics
• Tranquillisers

95% of patients with migraine have reduced DAO activity and in 49% of cases patients with migraine show a very limited activity level of the DAO enzyme. (1).
– Migraine is more frequent in women than in men and the level of activity of DAO is also lower in women than in men.
– During pregnancy, DAO activity can be increased by up to 500 times due to the production of DAO by the placenta, which explains the remission in migraine during pregnancy..

Enzyme test: Dao is an analytical test which is carried out in the laboratory using the ELISA method to measure the level of the DAO enzyme in the blood and thus to identify whether the migraine is caused by a deficit in DAO.


1 ml blood serum


You should fast for a minimum of eight hours prior to the extraction of blood. Some medicines inhibit the action of DAO. Consult your doctor in advance.


Normal DAO Activity> 80 HDU/mL (Units of degradation of Histamine)