Nutrition for Migraine Sufferers
Migraine headache sufferers have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal disorders (Dai,Wang, Wang, Kaye, & Sun, 2017). It is theorized that gastrointestinal permeability may be contributing to migraines by allowing contaminants to enter the bloodstream via the leaky tight junctions in the intestines. Tight junctions are spaces between the cells in our intestines which are usually sealed tight but can become leaky due to stress, poor diet, and our environment. Probiotics can be helpful to heal the tight junctions and diminish intestinal permeability. In one recent study, 40 patients were given probiotics for 3 months and 60% of the patients experienced complete relief from migraines (Dai,Wang, Wang, Kaye, & Sun, 2017). A nutritionist can help you determine the best probiotics to heal your digestive system and begin to diminish migraines.
Migraine sufferers also have a high incidence of food allergies (80-90%) (Pizzorno, Murray, Joiner-Bey, 2016). For this reason, it can be helpful to have your nutritionist help you with a food elimination diet to identify any food allergies, which may be triggering the migraines. Common food allergies which influence migraines are wheat, dairy products, tea, coffee, oranges, apples, onions, pork, eggs, chocolate, MSG, and beef (Lipski, 2012). Low blood sugar can also trigger migraines so food should be eaten frequently (Lipski, 2012).
Supplements and herbs can be helpful with migraines and their symptoms. Magnesium and B Vitamins have been found to reduce the number of migraines in many sufferers. Another helpful supplement is CoQ10 which is needed for energy production and also as an anti-oxidant in the body. Several studies have found CoQ10 reduces or eliminates the frequency of migraines.
Herbs that have been helpful are feverfew and butterbur. The herbs should be taken as a preventative measure and consumed daily. Other interventions included acupuncture, massage, stress reduction and testing for hypothyroidism or candida or H.. pylori infections. (Lipski, 2012).
Silberstein, S. D. (2015). Preventive Migraine Treatment. Continuum : Lifelong Learning in Neurology, 21(4 Headache), 973–989. http://doi.org/10.1212/CON.0000000000000199
Dai, Y., Wang, H., Wang, X., Kaye, A., & Sun, Y. (2017). Potential beneficial effects of probiotics on human migraine headache: a literature review. Pain Physician. 20:E251-E255
Pizzorno, J. E., Murray, M. T., & Joiner-Bey, H. (2016). The Clinicians Handbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone.
Lipski, E. (2012). Digestive wellness: strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.