DAO Enzyme: A promising key to treating migraines - Synlab

DAO Enzyme: A promising key to treating migraines

Published by Synlab on 13 March 2019
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The correct diagnosis of the causes of migraine leads to the treatment that can consistently improve the quality of life of affected individuals.

Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder that has a great impact on the family and social activities of the individuals affected by it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 12-15% of the population suffer from migraine, with women being the most affected. The disorder usually starts at puberty and primarily affects the 35-45 age group, although younger people can suffer from it, including children.


With different clinical phenotypes, this disorder can be caused by physiological, hormonal, behavioral, nutritional, and genetic reasons. The quality of life of the sufferers is negatively affected, becoming a public health problem with great social impact and high costs.


Histamine is a modulator present in some foods and a disorder in its metabolism can trigger the migraine. The metabolism of histamine is determined by the activity of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). This enzyme plays an important role in the histamine degradation in the intestinal epithelium, regulating its entry into the systemic circulation. DAO functional deficiency may be related to genetic factors or diseases that limit the secretion of this enzyme, especially inflammatory or degenerative intestinal disorders. Some medications may also reduce DAO activity.


People with low DAO activity may have accumulation of histamine in the blood, which results in multiple symptoms of which migraine is the most frequent.


Clinical studies developed by researchers from the Neurology Department of the Hospital General de Catalunya, Spain, concluded that 87% of the patients diagnosed with migraine have DAO enzyme deficiency, showing the relationship between the migraine etiology and the enzyme efficiency.


Other comparative study carried out with a placebo group aimed to evaluate the efficiency of the use of a supplement containing DAO enzyme as a preventive treatment of migraine. DAO supplementation was able to significantly reduce the duration of migraine attacks, leading to an improvement in the quality of life of those affected by it and indicating a new therapy approach in the preventive treatment of migraine without adverse effects in 100% of the patients. A decrease in the use of medication to treat migraine was also observed in the group undergoing the treatment with the supplement.


This treatment approach with DAO enzyme supplement leads to a reflection on the importance of an accurate diagnosis for the change of behavior towards a preventive treatment.


Approximately one-third of patients have never consulted a physician for headache, others ended up developing the disorder chronically due to delayed diagnosis, which can lead to incorrect and ineffective or even lack of treatment.


According to the World Health Organization, only 40% of people suffering from migraine are correctly diagnosed, and an accurate diagnosis can ensure an efficient clinical treatment based on restriction of histamine-rich foods and administration of DAO supplement enzyme.


Among all its innovative tests, SYNLAB laboratory has included MIGRATEST. This test evaluates the amount and activity of the DAO enzyme in the blood through radioimmunoassay.


The evaluation of this enzyme activity, offered by MIGRATEST, may enable patients with different symptoms to learn if their migraine is caused by the histamine and, with this information, they can benefit from a preventive and effective treatment of their disorder, resulting in the improvement of their quality of life.




SYNLAB offers a full range of medical laboratory services for practising doctors, clinics and the pharmaceutical industry. The SYNLAB Group is the uncontested leader on the European market for human medicine laboratory services.


Bibliographical References


Izquierdo-Casas J, Comas-Basté O, Latorre-Moratalla ML, Lorente-Gascón M, Duelo A, Vidal-Carou MC, Soler-Singla L. Low serum diamine oxidase (DAO) activity levels in patients with migraine. J Physiol Biochem. 2018 Feb;74(1):93-99. doi: 10.1007/s13105-017-0571-3. Epub 2017 Jun 17.


Izquierdo-Casas J, Comas-Basté O, Latorre-Moratalla ML, Lorente-Gascón M, Duelo A, Soler-Singla L, Vidal-Carou MC. Diamine oxidase (DAO) supplement reduces headache in episodic migraine patients with DAO deficiency: A randomized double-blind trial. Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb;38(1):152-158. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.01.013. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


Maintz L1, Novak N. Histamine and histamine intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1185-96.

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