Migraines

by lydia on May 30, 2010

I used to get migraines, a lot! Now, I get the beginnings of one every now and again, but it never gets full blown like it used to. (see update below)  I wish I could say I have found a cure for migraines, and perhaps to a degree I have. A basic rule of thumb for migraine treatment is to eat real nourishing foods, namely magnesium rich foods,  with plenty of good quality saturated fats. Also, it will be key to get your blood sugar and sleep managed -namely by getting the body back to it’s natural circadian rhythm. This also helps hormones to get balanced -many migraines can be related to hormonal imbalances (especially for women).
Migraines are a signal from the body to the brain that it has reached it’s limit. Are you at your limit so to speak? Maybe you are and you don’t even realize it. The most common reasons for migraines are due to allergies, stress, decreased immune function or hormonal imbalance. Correcting these core issues should also resolve one’s issues with migraines.

Diet: For Migraines

When you ditch processed foods and eat real whole foods your body can finally draw from the Migraines nutrients you are providing it. Whereas before, if you were eating processed foods, you were not giving your body anything to work with, in fact you were fighting against the beautiful machine you have been given. I am finding so many health issues fall by the wayside the longer I feed my body wholesome nutrient dense foods. I believe a huge factor in obtaining migraine relief for women, is keeping your hormones regulated. Diet plays a key role in this as well. Especially a mineral rich diet from broth, vegetables, herbs and paired with good fats so we can then assimilate those nutrients properly.

Consuming coconut oil is one great way to regulate your hormones. I highly recommend every woman take coconut oil. Additionally, avoiding inflammation is key. To avoid inflammation you really want to steer clear of excess sugars, carbs and food sensitivities. Our bodies actually want to burn fat for fuel, not carbohydrates. Too much sugar in the blood stream is cause for inflammation. The same thing goes for chemicals, additives, preservatives, pesticides, heavy metal toxicity and foods that are completely stripped of all nutritional value. Your body will do it’s best to protect all your organs and inflammation will occur when you are not giving your body what it truly needs. It can manifest in various ways in various people. Migraine headaches can be one such way.

So if you are a regular migraine sufferer, consider your diet. It’s clearly not a pain medication deficiency you are suffering from, and often those don’t even work and even if they do, they are most likely harming your body in some other way. I used to pop ibuprofen like candy and had to take up to 4 just to take the edge off, and not even get complete migraine relief. Do you have any idea what that does to your gut, I sure didn’t!  Ibuprofen is very hard on your stomach, gut, liver and kidneys. Not to mention it has even been known to cause internal bleeding. Scary isn’t it?!  I am not here to instill any fear in anyone, but I really long to see people walk in greater freedom in their health. I truly believe in the power of whole real foods to nourish our bodies well. We do not have to accept these maladies as our fate. You can experience migraine relief through truly nourishing your body. I won’t claim perfect health, but I will say this, it is so wonderful to live in good health most of the time. I used to be ill all the time and now when I get the slightest pain of discomfort I really despise it. I have, thankfully, forgotten what it’s like to live with constant pain. Now I really focus on getting what my body needs to ensure annoying health ailments don’t pop up all the time.

Magnesium: For Migraines

One nutrient in particular that can really help with migraines is magnesium. I have been studying up on magnesium for the past year and I marvel at how crucial this overlooked mineral truly is. There has been more focus on calcium supplementation than on a proper balance of magnesium and calcium in our nation. Excess calcium without magnesium, can stimulate the cells located over your temple, which in turn can cause migraine headaches.  Getting more calcium than magnesium is very common in the American diet.  (Dr. Alexander Mauskop, author of ‘What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraines’ has proven the connection between migraines and magnesium deficiency many times over and has put magnesium treatment into practice at the New York Headache Center.)

Magnesium is somewhat hard to get in the modern day diet, so I honestly would recommend supplementation . Pain and stress alone increase your needs for magnesium, it’s very easy to get depleted in this soothing mineral. I have been supplementing with magnesium, and I believe it has helped me a lot with the chronic pain and headaches I used to suffer from. I honestly think migraines and hormone imbalances connect, and I also think magnesium deficiency leads to these symptoms.

From what I understand it takes quite some time for magnesium to get saturated to the cellular level. So supplementation is pretty important while you are repairing your body and working on a healthier real foods diet. One of these days I will do a full blown post on the benefits of magnesium. For now, I will try to highlight some of the benefits of magnesium for migraines.

In Dr.  Carolyn Dean’s book, ‘The Magnesium Miracle ‘, she highlights three things you need to know about magnesium and migraines. First, magnesium prevents platelet aggregation, which helps to avoid the thickened blood and tiny clots that can cause blood vessel spasms and the pain of migraine. Secondly, magnesium relaxes the head and neck muscle tension that makes migraines worse. Thirdly, magnesium, vitamin B2, and the herb feverfew are an important migraine treatment combination. In her book she has an entire chapter discussing migraines and pain and how magnesium plays a key role in their treatment. It’s a great resource for sure!

I am sure there is more that could be said about migraines, however at this time I am only sharing my personal experience and information I have gleaned. I hope this helps someone to consider fighting back and working with their bodies to reclaim health and freedom from migraines. (photo credit)

No More Migraines

Since the original date that I posted this, I have continued to see progress in my own life regarding migraine relief. I no longer get migraines at all and haven’t had even an inkling of hint of one in ages. I personally take between 375 – 1250 mg. of magnesium daily, while continuing to avoid processed foods completely, as well as foods that I seem to be sensitive to. My hormones seem to be getting more balanced and I am also now supporting my adrenals with a protocol that is working wonders.

Additionally, I consume as little sugar as possible. It is recommended by experts that one should take 3 to 10 mg. of magnesium per pound of body weight and the type you take matters. For further information on dosage and magnesium supplements, check out this wonderful article from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil May 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Hmm, I wonder whether I should try and get some supplement.I know you suggested it to me a while back…I started eating cocoa again for it. I don’t really know what else it’s in.

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lydia May 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Here is another document on magnesium content in foods; ( I know Elizabeth put one up on Facebook already)

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR18/nutrlist/sr18w304.pdf

Buckwheat looks promising – I’ll be including it in many recipes!! ;)

I’d supplement with it for awhile if you have chronic pain at all……..

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lydia May 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Oh and by the way, I don’t super love the list I put up. Reason being many of the foods listed are grains, legumes and nuts. All of which have phytic acid. Phytic acid prevents nutrients from being absorbed. It’s a plants way of fighting back ;) So, that said, all those foods mentioned are not going to be a good source of magnesium if it’s bound up in the phytic acid. Properly preparing these foods by soaking will remove most of the phytic acid so the nutrients can be absorbed. I suppose I will have to write on that one of these days. ;)

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lydia May 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Okay, I’m back with some more info! Here are some good sources of magnesium; (based on a 3 1/2 ounce serving of each food listed)

kelp -760 mg. (we sprinkle kelp on our food a lot!)
almonds – 270 mg.
cashews – 267 mg.
coconut meat, dried – 90 mg.
collard greens – 57 mg.
shrimp – 51 mg.
avocado – 45 mg.
cheddar cheese – 45 mg.
buckwheat – 229 mg.
dulse – 220 mg. (we use this too, it’s not as yummy as kelp though!)
Brewer’s yeast – 231 mg.
pecans – 142 mg.
walnuts – 131 mg.

there are more, but these were the foods we eat most and the highest carriers of magnesium.

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Phil May 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Righty-ho, thank you. Yes, I have had chronic muscle pain for years,still has sometimes laid me out almost foetal in agony…so kelp’s the daddy, then.

Thanks for putting that up. Bookmarked for reference.

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jul May 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Migraines are a big thing for me too, as you know, as well as chronic shoulder pain. I am not completely free from the pain, but probably about 90%. I get the pain and migraines back pretty quickly when I start eating artificial foods. I'm also supplementing with magnesium, usually just before bed.

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Patty May 31, 2010 at 12:07 am

Does Kelp have a strong taste? That sounds like something I'd like to do. Sprinkling it on foods, I mean…

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lydia May 31, 2010 at 12:11 am

Kelp is really mild, my kids love it, they call it green salt. I much prefer it, over dulse (ick!), it's also a good source of other minerals too, namely iodine!! Bonus!!

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lydia May 31, 2010 at 12:13 am

Jul, that's great that you are getting so much relief. I just had an inkling of a migraine yesterday which is what triggered this post, it never came full on, but today I am having residual neck and shoulder tension that is rather bothersome. I can only link it to the store bought ice cream I had this week, at least I think……….

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Amy Foote May 31, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Lydia-Our 17 year old son started getting migraines at 13. It was so awful to watch! He would vomit for hours, cry in agony. I started researching the migraine, magnesium deficiency connection and was lead to some interesting info. We started him on a product called migralief, a supplement made up of magnesium, feverfew and riboflavin. It had been the magic bullet for him. When taken consistently, he can go months without a migraine. Sometimes he will start to feel one coming on but they are not nearly as bad as they used to be.Just wanted to share our personal experience with migraines and magnesium. Great post!

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lydia May 31, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Wow Amy, that must have been so hard to watch. I am glad you found something that works for your son! And what a great piece of info to add to this post for others!! Thanks for sharing!!Is this the product you were referring to?http://www.migralief.net/

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Amy Foote May 31, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Lydia, yup thats the product. I buy it at our local drug store. I'm sure one can easily create their own version at home by simply taking each supplement on its own, but with a teenager the 2 caps a day works for us.

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carol August 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

This is very interesting! I have been suffering from migraines for 17 years. I take ibuprofin way to much also, unfortunately I found out the hard way about the internal bleeding. Went to the emergency room 3 days ago. I am glad my sister sent me this article. Gives me some new options. Thanks:))

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Lydia August 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Hi Carol!! I am so sorry about your ER visit for internal bleeding, that’s intense!! I hope you are healing up well! I too am glad you found this article too! I hope you find some relief from your ailments soon!!! Peace to you!!

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