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Migraine Headaches Part 3

It has been observed that alcohol was often reported as a trigger for migraines and this finding has been confirmed by most surveys which report that alcohol can act as a trigger in 17-34% of migraines. None of the participants stated that alcohol triggered 50% or more of their attacks.

Elimination diet studies in which participants ate only two foods considered to be low risk for triggering migraines and drank only bottled spring water for five days, then were instructed to add common foods back into their diet one by one and record their symptoms, showed improvement in all patients. The most frequent triggers were wheat (78%), orange (39%), egg (45%), tea and coffee (40%), chocolate (37%), milk (37%), beef (35%), corn and cane sugar (35%), yeast (33%), mushrooms (30%) and peas (28%). Another group of studies actually concluded that two thirds of migraineurs are actually allergic to certain foods! There may be an allergic mechanism in migraines!

Hunger was reported as a trigger by 57% of responders in a survey. Three quarters of migraineurs in another study had glucose intolerance as indicated by blood studies. Insulin resistance has recently been correlated with the duration of migraine attacks and the Metabolic Syndrome (hypertension, insulin resistance, obesity and dyslipidemia) with multiple migraine triggers. reports also suggest that obesity may be related to migraine progression, and weight loss may help reduce headaches among obese patients. BMI (body mass index, a measurement of obesity) has also been associated with headache severity and frequency as well as migraine symptoms.

Clinical benefits are described for natural therapies but no clear mechanism of action exists as of yet. In patients with recurrent headaches whose water intake was low, an increase in fluid intake resulted in significant improvement in migraine frequency and severity. The role of omega-3-fish oils has been studied and although no benefit is seen in several studies when compared to placebo, there was marked improvement from baseline. Omega-3s are potent energizers and anti-oxidants and may ease inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction seen in migraine.

Finally, select nutritional components that support easing migraine episodes have been identified to aid in decreasing the frequency and duration of migraine. RIBOFLAVIN, or Vitamin B2, acts as a co-factor in energy generating chemical reactions in the mitochondria as well as in the formation of glutathione, the body’s major antioxidant. Prophylactic treatment with riboflavin was demonstrated to both reduce migraine attack frequency and to attenuate the use of abortive anti-migraine therapy. BUTTERBUR has been used for hundreds of years to treat aches and pains including headaches. Numerous studies outline the benefits of butterbur for prophylaxis of migraines. FEVERFEW traditionally used as an anti-pyretic (lowers body temperature). It is anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory providing prophylactic relief for migraineurs. CO-ENZYME-Q10 is an essential component for mitochondrial function. It has been proposed that its assistance in cellular energy production and its antioxidant properties can reduce symptoms in migraine. Imaging studies suggest an impaired energy metabolism in the brain and skeletal muscle of migraine patients. The cellular energy production cofactor by Co-Q10 may thus be prophylactic for migraine symptoms.

As you can surmise, migraine is a very complex disability and medical condition. It is multifactorial in that most sufferers report multiple triggers. Stress is a trigger for most sufferers and food can trigger a migraine. Nearly half of migraineurs respond favorably to the natural remedies mentioned. If you or a person you know suffers from migraines, perhaps this is the time for lifestyle change in order to ameliorate and lessen your symptoms and the frequency of your headaches. We are here to help. Contact us for more information. And as always, thank you for taking the time to read…

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