Eating Away Migraines


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Throbbing pain, nausea, vertigo, vomiting … these are just some of the symptoms that those who have migraines may experience. Epidemiological studies show that about 12 percent of the population worldwide experiences migraines. Could changing your diet lower your risk for migraines?

Twenties, thirties, forties … that may seem young, but migraines don’t discriminate when it comes to pain.

“It’s very common in people that are in their most productive years of life,” explained Teshamae Monteith, MD, Chief of Headache Division at University of Miami.

Starting a new job may seem exciting but could result with migraines. Other triggers include changes in your sleep pattern, hormonal changes, changes in the weather and stress. The National Institutes of Health reports that foods high in omega-3, the fats found in fish, and low in omega-6, found in many vegetable oils and seeds, can help prevent headaches. Recent research from Harvard says this type of diet can cut down pain from triggers. Dr. Monteith, who wasn’t part of the Harvard research, also agrees.

“There are non-pharmacological interventions that could be tried. Getting regular sleep, not skipping meals, maintaining hydration,” informed Dr. Monteith.

According to researchers at National Institute on Aging, Americans now eat about twice the amount of omega-6 that our ancestors ate which is abundant in pastries, crackers, snacks and other processed foods. The molecules made when the body digests omega-6 fats are linked to pain processes and are known to trigger pain. A person whose diet is full of omega-6 is more likely to experience painful migraines!

Contributors to this news report include: Jenna Ehrlich, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.

REPORT #2899

BACKGROUND: A migraine is considered a neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom is a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. A migraine likely gets worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells, and may last at least four hours or even days. About 12 percent of Americans have this genetic disorder, and research shows it’s the sixth most disabling disease in the world. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning it isn’t caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning there’s no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue. Up to 80 percent of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially between the ages of 15 and 55.


FOOD TRIGGERS AND PREVENTION: Recent studies and research suggest food and diet play a role in migraines. Chemicals in some food that may trigger a migraine attack are chocolate; nitrate-rich foods, such as cured meats and hot dogs; monosodium glutamate (MSG); artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame; tyramine, a chemical found in fermented foods, aged cheeses, and some kinds of fresh-baked bread; and alcoholic beverages like wine and beer. Therefore, changes in eating habits can help. Things like limiting sodium and fat or trying a low glycemic diet. The National Headache Foundation suggests trying a low tyramine diet. Certain foods contain high amounts of minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids that may help prevent migraine. Magnesium may offer relief and can be found in dark leafy greens, avocado, and tuna. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help and include fish such as mackerel and salmon, and seeds and legumes. Research also shows going keto may help reduce migraine attacks. This means eating foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat, like seafood, non-starchy vegetables, and eggs.


POSSIBLE GAME CHANGER FOR MIGRAINES: A recent breakthrough in migraine treatment was approved by the FDA of a new class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies targeting calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). These drugs prevent migraines before they happen by stopping the release of proteins that cause arteries, veins, and parts of the covering of the brain to swell. However, they don’t work for everyone. “This really is the first designer drug for migraine prevention, and for some people, it’s going to be really helpful,” said Kathleen Digre, MD, a migraine specialist with University of Utah Health. The FDA has also recently approved three devices available by prescription. Two of them use electric impulses to stimulate different nerves in the head and scramble pain signals, and the third uses a magnetic pulse to interrupt brain activity linked to migraines. “These devices are for people who can’t tolerate medications, or who have contraindication to medications,” said Digre.


* For More Information, Contact:

Kai Hill, Public Relations



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