Migraines: Common Triggers and Natural Approaches

Migraines: Common Triggers and Natural Approaches


– Hi, it’s Nicki here from
Happy Hormones for Life and today I’m talking about something that really effects a lot of
women, and that is migraines. Now, when I first started
working with women I couldn’t believe how many people said they suffer from this and
they’d suffered for years and that there was
really no solution to it and they were just
medicating when possible, but again, you know, with
migraines it’s often the case that the medications don’t really touch it and you just have to lie in
a dark room for a few days. It’s quite astonishing how
many women are suffering, or generally how many
people are suffering, not just women, but according
to NICE when I looked this up, there are an estimated 190, 000
migraine attacks every day in this country, in England,
just in England, and six million people suffer from
migraine in the UK generally. Women are much more susceptible than men and the age group 35 to 55 is
at the highest risk as well, and you know, we talk about
that age group, mid-life, perimenopause, and all of that,
so there is a factor there. Now, migraines differ
from normal headaches. They are much more intense
and they sort of cause a throbbing pain, usually
on one side of the head, and they can last from a
few hours to a few days. And most common symptoms being, you know, throbbing head pain or
light or sound sensitivity, dizziness, that kind of thing. So what are the main common
triggers behind migraines? Firstly you’ve got hormone changes. Often associated
with your monthly cycle, sometimes they’re called
menstrual migraines but not always, you don’t have
to have a cycle to get them. And what are the hormone
changes we’re talking about? We’re talking about the
dramatic drop in oestrogen just before your period
or during menopause or after menopause
which can really trigger the pain and the throbbing. You’ve also got low
serotonin, can be a trigger because serotonin helps manage your pain. So low levels of serotonin
can be caused by low oestrogen, so oestrogen has a role
in producing serotonin. Serotonin levels are effected by daylight, so if you’re stuck inside all day and not seeing any light, especially in the middle of Winter, or vitamin D. Vitamin D you need to produce serotonin. Low protein intake is
another one because serotonin needs tryptophan which is an
amino acid found in proteins. If you’re not having
much protein, you can, your serotonin can be affected. Nutrient deficiencies that
you need to produce serotonin, things like B6, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, folate, vitamin C, lots of nutrients needed
to produce that serotonin. Digestive issues, you
know, 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, so any
kind of gut health problems, digestive issues, we can get
low serotonin through that. Certain medications can disrupt it, hormone disrupting chemicals, VPA is known to disrupt serotonin, pesticides, phthalates in things like fragrance, synthetic fragrance, and prolonged stress. Lots of things can effect your serotonin, so that’s another factor. And then we’ve also got this thing, this inflammatory response. So when we have our cycle,
the body, when we bleed, the body sends and
produces a lot of things like prostaglandins they’re called, they’re inflammatory chemicals and they’re there to sort of heal, the body thinks there’s an injury going on so it goes in to heal it with these inflammatory chemicals and
that’s where we can get the muscle contractions and the cramps. So this inflammation
is not just localised, it can effect your whole body and we know that inflammation
can travel to the brain and we can get migraines just from that. So that’s the hormonal side of migraines. The second big one is inflammation. I’ve just mentioned
it, not just localised, but inflammation travels and inflammation can come from other parts of the body, so it may not be anything
to do with your cycle. So from the gut is one of the main areas where inflammation can happen, and we know that any sort
of underlying infections or change or imbalances in your gut flora can stimulate inflammation in the gut. And we know there’s a major highway from the gut to the brain
through the vagus nerve, and any inflammation in
the gut can be systemic, can travel to the brain and
cause inflammation in the brain which can then trigger a migraine. Food sensitivities is another area that can cause inflammation in the gut. So you know, things like gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, all kinds
of food sensitivities. So just, you know, need
to be aware of that and what’s causing symptoms
for you and seeing if you can, see if that’s a pattern
or a trigger for you. And of course musculoskeletal issues, you know, if you’ve had an injury to your back or your neck or whatever, that’s obviously an area
that can cause inflammation. The third biggest area, or biggest factor for migraines, of course, is stress. Because high levels of cortisol can alter your neurotransmitter function
and also increase tension and alter your central nervous system. So that is obviously another,
can be a major trigger for migraines, which you
kind of know about that, so. The next big area that I
look at when someone’s got a migraine issue is nutrient deficiencies. You know, we need a whole set of nutrients for our brain to work properly. As well as creating that
serotonin, we need nutrients to help with our brain function
and our nervous system. And many of these nutrients
can get very deficient as we get older, especially women over 40. Digestive absorption rates
go down, we don’t, even if we’re on the best diets in the
world which we’re often not, we don’t absorb a lot of
those lovely nutrients. So we need magnesium, we need B vitamins, we need omega-3, fats, vitamin D, CoQ10, B12 and folate and vitamin E are all really key nutrients
for the brain to work properly and you know, I’m finding a lot of women are deficient in these areas. So getting some supplementation and getting the right foods
in your diet can really help. If you want more information on this, I’m doing a blog on this so I’ll put more information about
the foods you can get, but I want to just get through
this quickly in the video. The next big area is toxins. We know that certain
chemicals and additives and environmental toxins
can really mess with our brain neurotransmitters,
but also trigger migraines. Things like MSG, food
additives, coloring additives, things like that, artificial
sweeteners are a big one. Pesticides on non-organic
fruit and veg, and that group of chemicals called
phthalates and BPA plastic. All really key triggers of inflammation, basically, and oxidative stress. And of course lastly, there
is a genetic component. We are, some of us are more susceptible to migraines through just our genes and what we’ve inherited from
our parents, hmm. (laughs) So let’s get on to the good news. There are some natural things you can do. We really to first of
all clean up the diet and make it as
anti-inflammatory as possible. So lots of anti-oxidants, fruit and veg, avoiding all the sugar, the refined carbs, the vegetable oils,
they’re really bad fats. Avoiding processed foods which are all cooked in vegetable oils, and we want to be staying away from those except for the healthy ones,
there are some out there. Alcohol and caffeine
as well can be triggers if you’re sensitive to that. We want loads of omega-3 fats in the diet. Omega-3 are anti-inflammatories, so we want lots of oily fish. If you don’t eat fish
you need to be taking an EPA DHA supplement which
I’ll come to in a sec. We want to keep our blood
sugar nice and stable to balance insulin and cortisol and keep those hormones nicely on track. If you’re estrogen dominant, you need to support your liver with
cruciferous vegetables, look them up, there’s a long list. And really supporting your liver, so getting that really
supported and working well. If you’re low in oestrogen, you really want to be trying to eat lots of phytoestrogens which are these plant based
estrogens in your diet like organic soy and flax seeds, they help to balance your oestrogen levels so you can avoid that major dip which can trigger the migraine. You want to be supporting your gut, so I would be avoiding anything you might be potentially sensitive to. So go gluten and dairy free for
four weeks, see what happens ’cause often that’ll just
take them out completely. Lots of probiotic foods as well, live cultures to really
keep that gut balanced. Stay hydrated, dehydration is a big factor in headaches and migraines so make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids. Manage your stress, easier said than done, but that is absolutely key, especially if that’s a trigger for you. Keep a journal as well
to track your patterns or your triggers, so when you have one, think about what you’ve
been doing that day or just before, look at
your own personal triggers ’cause they’re going to be
different for everybody. Get tested if you want to go deeper and really find the root cause. So we look at hormones, we look at gut, and we look at nutrient deficiencies and you can really find out
where the body is struggling and really go in and rebalance it so that we can get rid of that root cause. Good supplements for this, you want to be on a really good multivitamin with active levels of your B vitamins, especially B6 because that
helps you produce serotonin. You want to be on a really strong
EPA DHA omega-3 supplement, there’s some really good ones
out there with high levels, around about 1000 milligrams minimum of the combined of those two, EPA and DHA. You want vitamin D3 and K2 because they work to protect your brain. Vitamin C, especially if you’re stressed. Magnesium is a brilliant
one, it’s a relaxation so when you’ve got those
cramps and that inflammation, it can really help to relax those muscles. Citrate or glycinate are the best magnesium forms to be absorbed. CoQ10’s been found to be really helpful with migraines as well, and also you know, anti-inflammatory, you can’t get better than tumeric or curcumin for a general all-round anti-inflammatory supplement. I hope that’s been helpful. I know managing migraines
can be a full-time task, but I hope you’ve got some
things here that you could try and you know, if you really
get to the root cause you’ve got a much better chance of getting rid of them once and for all. See you next time.

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