Like so many of today’s diseases, migraines are on the rise. While we still do not fully understand the process, we do know some basics. There are two components of the migraine to be concerned about.
Stage 1: Blood vessels leading to the head and brain go into spasm. This produces neurological symptoms called “aura” in many migraine sufferers.
Auras can include blurred vision, sudden weakness, tingling in the face, tongue or extremities, difficulty speaking, dizziness and a loss of balance. All of these can be confused with symptoms of a stroke.
Stage 2: Dilation of the same arteries that went into spasm is what causes the headache. While this stage produces the most devastating symptoms, it is Stage 1 that is most dangerous. In some people, the artery (in Stage 1), constricts so intensely that it causes a stroke.
Some people have migraines with little or no headache. They just have the aura. This is called a “migraine without migraine.”
Before resorting to powerful drugs laden with side-effects, one may want to try the following natural methods:
• Avoid all Excitotoxins.
Excitotoxins are compounds that bind to certain receptors and cause brain cell death. Avoid all MSG (Ajinomoto), aspartame (artificial sweetener), hydrolyzed protein, isolated protein, protein drinks, soy products and soy proteins. All of these are major triggers for migraine. (You will find these in abundance in readymade foods. Read ingredient labels carefully).
• Increase your Magnesium intake.
Magnesium naturally relaxes blood vessels. Vegetables and nuts are high in magnesium. In addition, taking a magnesium supplement (if you can find it) will accelerate the process.
• Migraines and Reactive Hypoglycemia are closely connected.
Low blood sugar depletes magnesium and increases brain excitotoxin levels (glutamate). Avoid all sugar, especially soft drinks. Include beans (and other proteins) in your meals to retard carbohydrate absorption. Avoid all potatoes except sweet potatoes.
• Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Eat foods rich in Riboflavin, such as almonds, dairy products, eggs, liver and shellfish. This can significantly reduce migraine attacks.
• Anti-inflammatory flavonoids are important.
Inflammation of blood vessels in the head and brain plays a major role in migraines. The best natural anti-inflammatories are: Curcumin (found in Turmeric) and Quercetin (found in apples, black & green tea and raw onions).
• Free radicals are closely connected to inflammation and excitotoxicity.
Oxidative damage can be contained by increasing your intake of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E (either in their natural forms from fresh fruits and vegetables or as supplements).
• DHA, (a fatty acid found in fish and flaxseed oils) reduces migraine attacks.
One tablespoon of fish oil or flaxseed oil daily acts as a potent anti-inflammatory (without the side-effects of painkillers). Keep these oils in the refrigerator.
• The 30 minute migraine miracle.
Drink 2 oz. of freshly-made celery juice whenever you feel a migraine coming on. Then lie down and rest. You should start to feel relief within 30 minutes. Drink some more juice later.