The Headache Prevention Cookbook: Eating Right to Prevent Migraines and Other Headaches
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Beyond these, migraine increases the risk for other physical and psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Overall, migraines drastically reduce quality of life. It would be nice if all migraines were caused by the same thing, and people could simply avoid whatever that was. Unfortunately, migraine triggers are as diverse as the people who experience them , and even the same person may find that their triggers are unpredictable, causing a migraine sometimes, but not always.
Some migraine sufferers are able to identify dietary or environmental factors that trigger an attack , such as sensitivity to dietary histamines, sulfates or sulfites, monosodium glutamate MSG , other additives and preservatives, or changes in barometric pressure.
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Some migraines may also come about due to acute hypoglycemia. Individuals who are sensitive to histamines and tyramines may find an attack brought on by consuming aged or fermented foods. Often, people replace gluten with gluten-free bread, crackers, cookies, pasta, cereal, and other foods that still present a supra-physiological and highly insulinogenic dose of refined carbohydrate. In one study, out of patients with metabolic syndrome, migraine prevalence was estimated at Study subjects who were insulin resistant were 3.
As noted earlier, some migraines are accompanied or preceded by sensory disturbances or tingling or numbness in different parts of the body. With this in mind, migraines are better thought of as neurological phenomena as opposed to severe headaches. Some of the possibilities include:. Combined with the association between migraine and metabolic syndrome, the similarities between epilepsy and migraine point toward the ketogenic diet potentially being helpful for those with migraine.
Anecdotes about people freeing themselves from migraine abound on low carb and ketogenic forums, but the body of clinical scientific research on this is pretty small. Nevertheless, there are plausible mechanisms by which a KD might reduce or prevent migraines:. In both cases, remission of migraines coincided with following the diet, and migraines returned during periods when they went back to their usual higher-carb diet.
However, even when they started eating more carbs, their migraines were reduced in frequency, intensity and duration.
In the intervention group, 45 subjects followed a very low-calorie KD for one month, followed by a 5-month standard low-calorie diet. The other 51 subjects followed the standard diet for all 6 months.
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In the KD group, attack frequency, number of days with headaches, and amount of medication used were significantly lower after the first month on the diet. That subjects on the standard diet improved at all might be due to the low-calorie nature of the diet. This might have induced beneficial metabolic changes, although not as substantial as those from the KD. If you experience migraines, and medications and other interventions have failed you, you truly have nothing to lose by giving keto a go.
Can the Ketogenic Diet Help with Migraines? | KetoDiet Blog
Considering the reduced quality of life migraineurs experience at the mercy of these disabling attacks and the lack of effective preventive strategies, the KD is certainly worth trialing. Do you like this post? Share it with your friends!
Notify me when new comments are added. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that since I started Keto I noticed two improvements to my health. One was my hands felt better, the Swelling of my finger joints and arthritic pain have lessened dramatically.
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I knew this, and when the pain in my hands was getting unbearable, I would cut out breads for a week and my hands felt better, but the swelling never disappeared. I would assume that was because I never fully cut out all grains. I am an optician and metalsmith so my hands are important to me. The second improvement was no migraines. It has been almost 3 months and not a one. I would average 2 a week, and this is the biggest benefit of Keto for me. Loosing weight is a just the icing on the cake!
Thanks for letting us know. I used to get at least 1 migraine a month until I went Keto. I had two at the beginning of May, but that was likely because I ate some small amounts of off-plan food while on vacation. Now that I am home and back on plan - back to no migraines! It was definitely a surprisingly delightful side effect of Keto. I love hearing things like this.
If you know anyone else who gets migraines, spread the word! I wish I could say that being Keto has helped me with my migraines, but no. I just had a week-long bout with a good week and then 4 more days. I think part of the problem with mine is that most actually start as severe muscle tension and then that triggers the migraine and I am stuck with both types of headaches and these last for 3 days usually.
I vomit and get diarrhea often with my headaches as well as the extreme pain and light sensitivity. Anything that causes knots in my neck, shoulders, and even mid-back will trigger a headache and then the migraine. I have been doing yoga now for several months and nearly every time, the day after the class, I have a headache, so strengthening or attempting to strengthen those muscles is not helping.
My Zomig medication aborts the migraines, but only gives me hours of relief and then it comes back. So if I take the Zomig in the morning, the headache returns around and I can't take more Zomig that soon, so I have to wait the 24 hours and so on for 3 days. So now I am in the situation where I am using the Zomig too often and will be rebounding. I am hoping my Neuro and I can come up with a treatment plan for the time it takes to be off all pain meds to break the medication rebounds I read weeks.
I'm sorry keto hasn't been effective for you. Keto is only factor. There's a lot more to what can trigger a migraine as I'm sure you are only too aware , and Dr. Stanton really covers a lot of helpful material in the podcast. She also has a very active Facebook group for her Stanton Migraine Protocol.
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After dealing with debilitating migraines for years I stumbled into a "diet solution" while trying to address some temporary side effects from an antibiotic by using the Wahl's protocol. Having experimented with several diets since then I will say that for me, a clean ketogenic diet eliminates almost every trigger - the one exception being aged cheeses.
I went from taking Immitrex about once per week to a few times a year This is great, Mike! I wish more people knew about this approach! It's not a magical cure for everyone, but it does seem to help most in at least some way. Then the came back with a vengeance. Since then I have cut out cabquick,luncheon meat, Davinch's syrup and all the other bad stuff I ate in the beginning. I have been following Dr. Eric Burg's healthy Keto with intermittent fasting. To treat more severe ones, which still come occasionally, I use imitrex.
I found that it is often better if I can wait until before going to bed to take the imitrex, because sometimes it drains me, leaves me with no energy. I have taken it without waiting and been ok sometimes, too. Seems to be a matter of knowing what my body can handle when. I get better at it over time. Whether the name is changed or not, there is more to consider than diet.