MIGRAINE HEADACHES

Russell Setright

The word migraine is French (mígrân), however, it is derived from the Greek word, "hêmikrania ", which means half the head. Migraine headaches usually only affect one side of the head at a time.

The migraine usually starts with interference to vision in one eye, seeing zig-zag patterns, shooting lights, or having blind-spots. It then can progress too pain, accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, tingling and numbness in the limbs, and these symptoms may last up to 18 hours.

 Research suggests that migraines may be due to changes in your brain's blood vessels, caused by disturbances in the chemical serotonin, produced by nerve cells. Sufferers have abnormal levels of serotonin, causing dilation and contraction of blood vessels. Migraines can be hereditary, with women suffering more frequently than men, with attacks usually occurring just before their menstrual period. Allergies and hormone imbalances are major triggers of migraine headaches and may be caused by liver malfunction. Reduce the dietary intake of salt and acid-producing food such as meat and whole wheat. Fried and greasy foods should also be avoided as well as hot dogs, luncheon meats, foods high in monosodium glutamate, oranges, hard cheese, chocolate and red wine. These have all been attributed to precipitating migraine attacks.

The diet should consist of unprocessed foods as these will reduce your exposure to potentially allergy-causing additives. Vitamins B12,  B1, B6, B3 folic acid may also help reduce migraines by balancing serotonin levels. Up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C taken daily, will lower blood histamine levels and reduce allergy response. Also, low intakes of the mineral magnesium have been associated with an increase in migraine headaches.

Vitamin supplementation has been shown to significantly reduced homocysteine, a protein in the blood that when elevated increases the incidence of migraine headaches and heart disease. Supplementing with B vitamins was found to reduce the  severity of headache in migraine sufferers and reduce migraine disability compared with the placebo effect. 

Migraine attack has been associated with magnesium deficiency. Published  studies investigating the effect of intravenous and oral magnesium on acute migraine attacks and the prevention of migraine were evaluated in a Meta-analysis of 21 trails. The results found that  oral magnesium alleviates the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Once a migraine strikes, it is very difficult to alleviate the pain. The answer lies in prevention. Studies have found that the herb feverfew could be the answer. Feverfew has a long history of treating various aches and pains, arthritis, high blood pressure, skin conditions, fevers, inflammation and headaches.

These studies have confirmed that feverfew is effective in reducing the incidence of migraine headaches. This was convincingly demonstrated by a definitive double-blind trial published in the Lancet, 1985 using capsules of freeze-dried feverfew powder at a dosage level of 50 mg per day. The results indicated a significant protection against migraine attacks in those patients taking the herb. Other clinical studies have confirmed this finding, even with patients who had failed to respond to modern medical treatment.

There is only one variety of feverfew, which produces this result. This is Tanacetum parthenium (the synonym is Chrysanthemum parthenium). Only this species ensures the highest concentration of active herbal constituents. Feverfew quality depends on optimum harvest time and the part of the plant used. The herbal extract should be derived from leaf before budding to retain maximum potency. The leaf has an extremely bitter taste, which is overcome by taking the herb in a guaranteed potency feverfew capsule.

The efficacy of feverfew is now proven, and this, in conjunction with dietary modifications, may be one of the best measures against migraine headache. Feverfew however, is not a pain-relieving herb, and will not help you once your headache has begun.

 Vitamin D3 may also help a meta analisys of 8 studies with over 3,000 people foind that A significantly greater mean decrease in pain score was observed with vitamin D3 supplementation compared with placebo in people with chronic pain. These results suggest that vitamin D3 supplementation could have a role in the management of chronic pain and migraines.

SUPPLEMENTS
Blackmores REME-D
for Migraine-Headache may assist in reducing the frequency of migraine-headache attacks with regular use.

Fish oil 1000                                                     one capsule three times daily.

Bio Magnesium                                                one tablet twice daily

(Magnesium 400mg)

Vitamin B plus C complex                              one twice daily

Vitamin D3 1000                                              as required

References

 Menon, Sarasa; Lea, Rod A. et al Genotypes of the MTHFR C677T and MTRR A66G genes act independently to reduce migraine disability in response to vitamin supplementation   Pharmacogenetics and Genomics: October 2012 - Volume 22 - Issue 10 - p 741–749

Effects of Dietary Folate Intake on Migraine Disability and Frequency.  Headache, Volume 55, Issue 2 February 2015  Pages 301–309

Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Pain Physician 2016; 19:E97-E112 • ISSN 2150-1149

Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Pain Physician 2016; 19:415-427 • ISSN 1533-3159

  Copyright Russell Setright 2016