Migraine with or without an aura can be a debilitating condition. It can be frightening too, with sensory loss, vomiting, and other scary occurences.
Conventional medicine often is helpless, and prescribes strong medication that doesn’t look at the root cause of the condition, yet can have serious side effects making the patient more ill in the long run. And maybe even worst, the patient more often than not leaves the doctors office with that horrible feeling of being “doomed” to have it forever. However, luckily with functional medicine, there is definitely something that can be done about this. With functional medicine, we look at
What is actually causing the migraine? What factors in the patient’s life create the migraine, that can be changed?
Like a Sherlock Holmes, we dig deep into the underlying cause of the migraine, and then even deeper on how to fix these underlying imbalances by taking out these factors, and giving the body the capacity to heal itself.
First, I would like to give a brief overview on what migraine is. In your body, migraine is related to both neurological (nerves, brain, spinal cord!) and cardiovascular (blood vessels in heart, brain, and the rest of the body). Science is discovering new things every day, but it appears that migraine is a misfiring of both these systems, where different parts of your brain get overstimulated, followed by a intense fatigue in that same part of the brain. This seems to strongly be related to several factors:
- Mitochondrial functioning: your body’s power engines that are present in most cells of the body. Without them, we simply don’t have energy to fuel the different body functions, such as of the brain, muscles, and overall feeling of energy and taking on the world.
- Toxicity, inflammation and hormonal imbalance in the body: there is a strong correlation between toxicity, inflammation, hormones and migraine. We will dive into why we might become toxic and inflamed in a minute.
- There is a gene that makes some of us more prone to migraines. However, the newest research shows that no matter what genes we get, we decide with our lifestyle, diet and mindset which genes we turn on, and which not.
Toxicity, inflammation and hormonal imbalance are the root keys that can turn on the body’s migraine gene.
Unfortunately, the environment most of us live in these days, is pretty toxic. Pesticides and GMOs to grow our vegetables, antibiotics and hormones in the meat we eat, chemicals to enhance the taste of our food, to pretent something is sweet in sugarfree stuff, toxic chemicals in the cleaning products and cosmetics we use, the anti baby pill, and the prescription of chemicals by doctors to get rid of any ailments. Chemicals and un-natural stuff anywhere we look.
Our body really isn’t designed for that (yet- maybe in a few thousand years, we will have adapted? Who knows). So all these chemicals and pesticides are seen by the body’s defense army as invaders. Our body wants to get rid of it, and it does that by cranking up the fire to burn them- inflammation.
Hormones are omnipresent in our lives, with the animals we eat having been fed with hormones to grow faster, the drinking water having residues of the pill, and us feeding ourselves hormones. No wonder our hormones get out of wack, in people with a predisposition for it. Inflammation further destroys our hormonal balance.
With all these toxins going into our system, and especially the gut, we might go on to develop something called “leaky gut” – a condition where the intestinal lining has little open gaps, that allow food to pass into the bloodstream, that shouldn’t have gone in there. The body tries fighting these, by developing more inflammation, and food intolerances.
These toxins, food particles our bodies react to, and inflammation, all damage our body’s vascular, nervous and energy systems- turning on the gene of migraine.
Luckily, we can fix this! 🙂 Here are some first steps towards you getting rid of Migraine forever.
- Reduce the toxic and inflammatory load on your body
- Give the body and brain what it needs to thrive and turn off the migraine gene
Reduction of the toxic load and inflammation on your body
There is a strong correlation in migraine between unnatural foods and migraine.
Cut out completely:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial flavor enhancers (Maggi, ..)
- Non- organic sausages, bacon, salami, etc
- Non- organic meat, chicken
- Farmed fish
- Diet soda
- Non- organic cleaning products- washing powder, dishwashing, toilet cleaner, ..
- Non-organic cosmetics and parfume
- Anti-baby pill
Reduce significantly (at least 80% of the time):
- Non-organic dairy
- Non- organic vegetables and fruit
- Fat-free version of food
- Try positive visualization, and stress reduction techniques such as yoga, walking outdoors, morning and evening meditations. Seek help by a professional if you need guidance to get started with it.
- Muscle tension: By exercising and diet, see below
Give the body what it needs to thrive
An anti-inflammatory, blood sugar balancing, gut healing and migraine preventing diet:
A LOT OF:
- All sorts of organic vegetables
- Greens every day
- High quality fat such as avocado, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, wild caught fish (it wont make you put on weight!!)
- High quality protein such as organic chicken, organic meat, organic eggs (the whole one + yolk!)
- Organic spices such as turmeric and cinnamon
Some fruit, not much. 1-3 pieces/day max.
Add self made bone broth from organic bones (chicken or beef or whatever you have)
If you like alcohol, reduce it to max 3 glasses/week.
Add following supplements that have shown great effect in Migraine:
- Vitamin D3
- B 3 and B6
SLEEP: there is a strong correlation between migraine and unsufficient sleep!
Try getting at least 7 hours each night, better 8-9. If you have trouble falling asleep, take melatonin, a natural hormone that our body produces to sleep, for the first weeks until the body is back to its natural sleeping cycle.
Exercise: Gentle exercise, such as yoga and outdoors walking. This can be as little as 10 minutes every morning!
Source: the Functional Medicine University
If you would like help with implementing these changes, send me a mail, I would love to help you via skype, iMessage or emails on your journey.