Original

The Journal of Headache and Pain

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 153-159

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

High dietary caffeine consumption is associated with a modest increase in headache prevalence: results from the Head-HUNT Study

  • Knut HagenAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyDepartment of Neurology, Norwegian National Headache Centre, St. Olavs Hospital Email author 
  • , Kari ThoresenAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • , Lars Jacob StovnerAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyDepartment of Neurology, Norwegian National Headache Centre, St. Olavs Hospital
  • , John-Anker ZwartAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyDepartment of Neurology, Norwegian National Headache Centre, St. Olavs HospitalNational Centre for Spinal Disorders, St. Olavs HospitalDepartment of Neurology, Ullevål University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the association between caffeine consumption and headache type and frequency in the general adult population. The results were based on cross-sectional data from 50,483 (55%) out of 92,566 invited inhabitants aged ≥20 years who participated in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey. In the multivariate analyses, adjusting for age, gender, smoking, and level of education as confounding factors, a weak but significant association (OR = 1.16, 95% CI 1.09–1.23) was found between high caffeine consumption and prevalence of infrequent headache. In contrast, headache >14 days/month was less likely among individuals with high caffeine consumption compared to those with low caffeine consumption. The results may indicate that high caffeine consumption changes chronic headache into infrequent headache due to the analgesic properties of caffeine. Alternatively, chronic headache sufferers tend to avoid intake of caffeine to not aggravate their headaches, whereas individuals with infrequent headache are less aware that high caffeine use can be a cause.

Keywords

Migraine Headache Epidemiology Norway