Migraine and CAM?


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What is a migraine

A migraine can only be described as the worst headache you have ever experienced times ten.  It is not just a headache as other symptoms are often present, with the pain situated on the side of the head usually. 

Vision can be affected and a bad migraine can leave some suffers in bed for up to three days.  It affects adults of both genders with adolescents and pre-menopausal women being the most affected groups. 


A flickering-lights affect across the line of vision is usually the first indication that you are going to get a migraine with a pain usually sited over one eye.  Many complain of nausea and vomiting. 


There are many triggers for migraines and a lot of them are hereditary. Triggers include allergies, liver malfunction, constipation, hormonal changes and low blood sugar levels are often associated with migraine attack.  Another thing to note is that the lower the blood-sugar level, the more severe the headache tends to be. Smoking, because the carbon monoxide affects blood vessels in the body can bring on an attack.  Some people find certain foods can trigger an attack such as chocolate, alcohol, any food that is aged, cured, fermented, yeasty or pickled.  




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The following information does not constitute a prescription or recommendations — this is included for your information only.



As migraines have been linked to low blood sugar levels it is essential that your diet enables you to stabilise your blood sugar levels.  A diet high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels from dropping or rising too high is recommended.  Include in your diet the following foods: cherries, garlic, fresh pineapple, fennel, almonds, almond milk, and watercress.  Eat small, regular meals with high protein snacks throughout the day in order to safeguard against a drop in sugar levels. Never, ever miss a meal.  



Acid forming foods such as meat, cereal, bread and grains are best avoided as too are foods that contain the amino acid called tyramine.  This compound is found in: avocados, beer, cabbage, red plums, tomatoes, yeast, aubergine, potatoes, cheeses, canned fish and dairy products.  


Avoid alcohol, especially beer and wine.  Avoid spicy foods, aspirin, MSG, preservatives (like the ones found in 'fast meat products'; hot-dogs, pork pies and luncheon meats.) Some sufferers find great relief if they cut salt out of their diet 1.




The following information does not constitute a prescription or recommended dose— studies have been conducted using the dosages stated and are included for your information only.

The nutrients mentioned here are often recommended by Health -Care practitioners


EPA 2,3has been known to reduce symptoms.  Take as directed on label.

CALCIUM 4,5Minerals that help transmit nerve impulses throughout the brain and help regulate muscular tone. 

Take 2,000 mg daily.  

Take with MAGNESIUM 6,7,8 at a daily dose of 1,000 mg daily 9.




VITAMIN B3  (niacin - but do not take if you have gout, liver disorder or high blood pressure) 

Take 200 mg 3 times a day.  Do not exceed this amount. 

Take with NIACINAMIDE at 800 mg daily. The niacinamide will increase blood flow to the brain. 


COENZYME Q10 Improves circulation, especially the blood flow to the brain.  

Take 60 mg daily 


RUTIN Toxic metals may cause some migraines and this supplement removes such metals.  Take 200 mg daily


DIMETHYLGLYCINE Improves brain oxygenation if taken twice daily each dose at 125 mg. 


MULTIVITAMIN AND MINERAL FORMULA necessary for balance.  Take as directed on label.



The herbs mentioned here have historically been considered beneficial in the treatment of various conditions including migraines, along with the herbs mentioned in the previous section.  Therefore, health -care practitioners often recommend them.


EVENING PRIMROSE OIL  Is an anti-inflammatory and therefore keeps the blood vessels from constricting.  



FEVERFEW 9,10,11,12 has long been used in the treatment of migraine.  Feverfew reduces the duration, frequency, and the severity of migraine headaches.  Take as directed on label. 


GINGER 13 because it is traditionally used in the treatment of nausea it has been found to be beneficial to migraine sufferers.  Take 4 - 6 grams of powder a day or use 1.5 - 3 ml of tincture 3 times daily. 


The following herbs are also effective: Cayenne 14 Willow bark, Valerian , Mint, Gingko Biloba” 15Rosemary and Wormwood.  (Do not take wormwood long-term and do not take if you are pregnant).




Do not smoke and keep out of smoky atmospheres.

Have a head and neck massage once a week. 

Get tested for food intolerance's as they may well be triggering the migraine. 16,17,18,19.


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References: .

1. Brainard JB. Angiotensin and aldosterone elevation in salt-induced migraine. Headache 1981;21:222–26.

2. McCarren T, Hitzemann R, Allen C, et al. Amelioration of severe migraine by fish oil (omega-3) fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41(4):874 [abstr].

3. Glueck CJ, McCarren T, Hitzemann R, et al. Amelioration of severe migraine with omega-3 fatty acids: a double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr 1986;43(4):710 [abstr].

4. Thys-Jacobs S. Vitamin D and calcium in menstrual migraine. Headache 1994;34:544–46.

5. Thys-Jacobs S. Alleviation of migraines with therapeutic vitamin D and calcium. Headache 1994;34:590–92.

6. Gallai V, Sarchielli P, Coata G, et al. Serum and salivary magnesium levels in migraine. Results in a group of juvenile patients. Headache 1992;32:132–35.

7. Weaver K. Magnesium and migraine. Headache 1990;30:168 [letter].

8. Mauskop A, Altura BT, Cracco RQ, Altura BM. Intravenous magnesium sulphate relieves migraine attacks in patients with low serum ionized magnesium levels: a pilot study. Clin Sci 1995;89:633–36.

9. Facchinetti F, Sances G, Borella P, et al. Magnesium prophylaxis of menstrual migraine: effects on intracellular magnesium. Headache 1991;31:298–301.

10. Hepinstall S, White A, et al. Extracts of feverfew inhibit granule secretion in blood platelets and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Lancet 1985; I:1071–74.

11. Murphy JJ, Hepinstall S, Mitchell JRA. Randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. Lancet 1988;ii:189–92.

12. Johnson ES, Kadam NP, et al. Efficacy of feverfew as prophylactic treatment of migraine. BMJ 1985;291:569–73.

13. Palevitch D, Earon G, Carasso R. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) as a prophylactic treatment for migraine: A double-blind placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res 1997;11:508–11.

14. Srivasta KC, Mustafa T. ginger (Zingiber officinale) in migraine headache. J Ethnopharmacol 1992;39:267–73.

15. Levy RL. Intranasal capsaicin for acute abortive treatment of migraine without aura. Headache 1995;35(5):277 [letter].

16. Lamant V, Mauco G, et al. Inhibition of the metabolism of platelet activating factor (PAF-acether) by three specific antagonist from Ginkgo biloba. Biochem Pharmacol 1987;36:2749–52.

 Grant EC. Food allergies and migraine. Lancet 1979;i:966–69.

 Monro J, Brostoff J, Carini C, Zilkha K. Food allergy in migraine. Lancet 1980;ii:1–4.

Egger J, Carter CM, Wilson J, et al. Is migraine food allergy? A double-blind controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment. Lancet 1983;ii:865–69.

Hughs EC, Gott PS, Weinstein RC, Binggeli R. Migraine: a diagnostic test for etiology of food sensitivity by a nutritionally supported fast and confirmed by long-term report. Ann Allergy 1985;55:28–32.

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