Migraine Headaches

by Phillip Day

Profile and symptoms

Migraine headaches differ from usual tension headaches and are characterised by a throbbing pain, sometimes on one side only, sometimes preceded by ‘auras’ or ‘prodromes’. These are warnings occurring 10 – 30 minutes in advance that take the form of blurring, bright spots in the field of vision, loss of vision in a specific arc of the periphery, anxiety, haloes around light bulbs, psychological piques and numbness or tingling down one side of the body.

Migraine headaches occur when blood vessels in the lining of the brain constrict and then dilate, activating pain sensors in and around the meninges (lining). The brain itself is not involved since it has no sensory nerves. Any auras preceding an attack will usually clear as the headache develops. The patient will often be prostrated and experience nausea, vomiting and photophobia (sensitivity to light).

Causes

Migraines are thought to be caused by the body’s reaction to a number of stimuli that might trigger immune system complications. An abnormal microbial mass in the bowel flora produces toxins which can penetrate perforations in the bowel to escape into the bloodstream to trigger immune system reactions. Problems in the environment, i.e. chemicals in foods, GMOs, chemicals, EMF radiation, pollution, drugs, etc., are known to trigger migraines. Several clinical studies have shown that about 70% of patients with chronic daily headaches suffer from drug-induced headaches too.1 Many taking daily medications for whatever reason sometimes overlook the side-effects which can build over the short- to medium-term. The following are some causes for migraines:

  • Food sensitivities to items like cow’s milk, wheat, barley, etc. (gluten products), chocolate, eggs, shellfish, benzoic acid, cheese and food additives and colourings

  • Beer, wine, alcoholic beverages (localised dehydration)

  • Abnormal bowel flora producing toxins from fungi, yeast and bacteria

  • Low vitamin D-3 and magnesium serum concentration

  • General dehydration

  • Chemicals in food and the environment

  • Electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) given off by computers, TV, wi-fi hubs, pylons, mobile phones, mobile phone masts, wiring in the walls, etc.

  • Lack of earthing

  • Caffeine withdrawal

  • Stress

  • Low serotonin levels

  • Low melatonin production

  • Hormonal changes in females/lack of iodine

  • Exhaustion

  • Weather changes

  • Pollen and dust sensitivities

The water and salt connection

Water expert Dr F Batmanghelidj attributes migraines to the internalised environment resulting from chronic long-term dehydration and associated histamine inflammatory system:

In my personal experience, migraine headaches seem to be brought about by dehydration; excess bed covers that will not permit the body to regulate its temperature during sleep; alcoholic beverages (hangover) initiating a process of cellular dehydration, particularly in the brain; dietary or allergic triggers for histamine release; excess environmental heat without water intake. Basically, migraine seems to be an indicator of critical body temperature regulation at times of heat stress. Dehydration plays a major role in the precipitation of migraine headaches.

The most prudent way of dealing with migraine is its prevention by the regular intake of water. Once migraine breaks the pain barriers, a cascade of chemical reactions will stop the body from further activity. At this time, one has to take pain-relieving medications with copious water. Sufficient cold or iced water may by itself be able to cool the body (and also the brain) from inside, and promote closing of the vascular system everywhere. Excess dilation of the peripheral vessels might well be the basic cause of migraine headache.” 2

Commentary

There are three main types of migraines:

Common: Comprising around 80% of migraines. May be frontal or bilateral and usually last from 1 to 3 days. Auras preceding these attacks are unusual.

Classic: 10% of migraine sufferers experience classic migraines. Half an hour before the attack they experience auras. The attack will be mostly unilateral, lasting from 2-6 hours and accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Complicated: 10% of sufferers will experience complicated migraines, which are characterised by a preceding aura of variable effects. The patient may suffer from speech abnormalities, a type of palsy and other neurological complications.

Most commercial research on migraines results in predictable drug ‘solutions’ (pain killers and other modalities), which treat the symptoms, not the underlying causes. Physicians have found that removing certain foods can result in improvement in most cases, since certain trigger foods can provoke the excessive release of histamine. Histamine involvement also gives warning of chronic, long-term dehydration and the body’s efforts at drought management. Food control is known not to be the complete answer. Migraines seem to involve a more general malaise that can include improperly formed blood vessels (pre-scurvy),3 platelet disorders, where blood clumps and aggregates, and also a dysfunction in the levels of the neurotransmitter hormone serotonin, responsible for relaying chemical messages in the brain. Interestingly, all these are symptoms of chronic dehydration.4

Take action

Those suffering from migraine headaches may benefit from the following:

  • DIET: Embark on THE FOOD FOR THOUGHT LIFESTYLE REGIMEN. The diet should comprise a good selection of quality, beneficial fats, such as olive, avocado, coconut oil (2 – 4 tbsps per day), seeds (flax, sunflower, etc.), fish, marine oils such as krill oil, nuts (i.e. macadamias, walnuts, etc. Superfood juices such as mangosteen, noni, goji, etc., should also be consumed, along with Nutriblasts (veggie smoothies) and regular salads sprinkled with seeds and nuts. Avoid concentrated fruit juices which yield sugar and acid

  • DIET: After the fat scares of the previous sixty years, we are now told that the body needs fat, but the right kind. Healthy cells can power themselves on fat, cancer cells cannot, so in ketosis – the body’s ability to fuel itself on ketones, or fat units produced in the liver – we have a diet that discriminates against corrupted or damaged cells while nourishing healthy tissue

  • DIET: Prepare homemade fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, and consume a cupful a day as part of food intake to provide trillions of colony-forming bacteria to modify the gut flora profile (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements)

  • DIET: Ensure that suspected food triggers, especially wheat, are avoided and the diet is based on a four-day rotation system. Consult a nutritionist to design a suitable programme. If fungal problems are suspected, switch to THE ANTI-CANDIDA DIETARY REGIMEN, along with appropriate supplementation

  • DIET: Eat small meals, consumed three to four times a day, to even out blood sugar and reduce insulin production and inflammation. Carry out intermittent fasting, which means compressing your eating cycle into 7 hours, ideally between noon and 7 pm, to induce autophagy (immune system ‘reboot’)

  • HYDRATION: Drink half your own bodyweight in ounces of water a day. i.e., a 140 lb female should consume 70 oz a day, approximately, 8 – 9 glasses, as well as….

  • Organic, unrefined salt (Himalayan, etc.). Half a teaspoon per day. Before bed, set some addition salt flakes on the tongue and allow to melt

  • RESTORE NUTRIENT BALANCE: COMMENCE THE BASIC SUPPLEMENT PROGRAMME (see back of book), ensuring:

  • Vitamin C, 10 g per day (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C before taking)

  • Optimise vitamin D serum levels to 150 nmol/L (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin D-3 before taking)

  • Optimise iodine in the body. An iodine-loading test is advised. Supplementation is via Lugol’s Iodine Solution (15%) or Iodine Plus tablets (12.5 mg). Commence with 12.5 mg per day for adults for one week, then increase to 50 mg per day thereafter for two months, then review. Those under 16 can supplement iodine at the rate of .11 mg/lb/day (according to bodyweight). Important: read Lynne Farrow’s excellent book on the subject, The Iodine Crisis (www.credence.org). Also read A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Iodine before taking.

  • High potency vitamin B complex, 1 cap per day

  • Magnesium citrate, 500 mg, twice per day

  • Raw virgin coconut oil, 2 – 4 tbsps per day

  • Dried ginger, 500 mg, four times per day

  • TIP: Clear out toxic products from the home and replace with safe alternatives (www.modere.com).

  • TIP: Ensure artificial sweeteners, colourings and additives are avoided

  • TIP: Minimise exposure to electromagnetic frequencies. Get a radiation meter and conduct a scan of the property, if necessary, to locate problem areas

  • EXERCISE: Embark on a gentle aerobic exercise regimen which cycles heart-rate up and down for 20 minutes a day, four times per week; (biking, hill-climbing, stair-climbing, brisk walking, sports, etc.)

  • STRESS REDUCTION: Your thoughts affect your biochemistry. Prolonged periods of stress, whether personal or professional, suppress immunity and dramatically affect biochemistry. The body is designed to do this as part of the normal fight or flight response. When stress occupies most of your life, however, serious problems can result

  • EARTHING: Spend fifteen minutes a day barefoot on grass or a beach to allow a flow of antioxidant-acting free electrons into the body (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Earthing). It’s also worth getting a grounding sheet or bed mat to earth yourself while you sleep

  • REST: Maximise melatonin production by reviewing sleeping and lighting arrangements (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Melatonin)

Excerpted from The ABCs of Disease by Phillip Day

1 Mathew NT, “Chronic refractory headache”, Neurology 43 (suppl.3) (1993): pp.S26-S33

2 Batmanghelidj F & P Day, The Essential Guide to Water and Salt, Credence, 2008

3 Olesen J, “The ischemic hypothesis”, Arch Neurol 44 (1987): pp.321-2

4 Batmanghelidj & Day, The Essential Guide to Water and Salt, op. cit.