June 16, 2009
Don't treat your migraines, prevent them. A life without migraines is obtainable, I know. I was a migraine sufferer for 12 years and have been treating… preventing them for my patients for 15 years. The 95+% success rate achieved at my office comes from a combination of research, common sense and the hard work of my patients.
When I was a teen I suffered from terrible migraines several times a week. Like most of you I tried medications and bio feedback with little help. Regular chiropractic care offered relief, but my migraines continued. Relief came to me by accident, I was doing a food shopping and did not have enough money for everything. I had choice of eating or drinking my daily 2 liter bottle of Pepsi, I chose eating. Like magic my migraines disappeared over the next week. It took several weeks to recognize that soda, alcohol, etc. were causing my migraines, but once I eliminated them I felt great. Trigger foods are well documented but aren't the whole answer.
When I first started treating patients I was sure that a simple elimination diet was the answer for my migraine patients, but many did not respond. I was determined to find the answer to treating migraines. I did a review of thousands medical research articles on migraines and found the clues I needed. The best way to treat migraines is to successfully prevent them. In order prevent migraines I needed to determine the true underlying reason migraines occur.
They key to preventing migraines is realizing that they are caused by an overload of toxins in the body. A migraine can be seen as a really severe hangover caused not by alcohol, but all types of toxins from in and out of the body. The liver, the body's main system for eliminating toxins is overwhelmed in migraine suffers. The liver is not diseased, it just is not functioning fast enough to keep the body detoxified. Simple examples of a toxin can be alcohol, chemicals, caffeine, and drugs. Toxins also include hormones and chemical compounds the body naturally produces, but cannot detoxify fast enough. Toxins can even be foods if the digestive tract cannot break them properly, such as preservatives, artificial coloring and artificial flavorings This simple concept has lead to thousands of former migraine suffers living pain free. If toxins and slow liver function lead to migraines; then reducing the toxic load and increasing the livers function will prevent migraines.
Tracey T. was 40 years old and had been suffering with migraines for 13 years. She was taking Pamelor, Topamax, Esgic Plus, and Zomig with no relief. She was under the care of a neurologist, her 4th one, and getting a migraines daily. She was in good health overall and followed a healthy lifestyle; exercised and avoided alcohol and caffeine. She began her nutritional supplements, improved her diet and increased her water intake. Her 2 month check up showed that she had had only 1 migraine in 8 weeks and several mild headaches. She was working with her doctor to eliminate her medication and was now only taking 1, at reduced amount. A six month review showed that she was off all medication and doing great.
There are 10,000s of medical studies on migraines. The medical research I reviewed overwhelmingly supports a lifestyle change with nutritional supplementation approach.
Medical Research …. How it supports this approach
1. low B vitamins and Magnesium levels ……. needed nutrients in liver detoxification
2. woman 3x more likely to suffer with migraines …. woman produce more hormones to that need to be detoxified,
3. increase frequency and severity of migraines with menstrual cycle ……….the female body produce up to 4x as many hormones during a menstrual cycle
4. elimination diets helpful …. reduces toxin intake, less to detoxify so the liver can keep up with demand
5. medications cause 30-40% of headaches …… medications need to be detoxified by the liver, increasing the toxic load
6. triggered by smoke, perfume, etc….. smells are all chemical compounds that increase the toxic load on the liver
There are also two lab tests that support that prove that slower liver detoxification is associated with migraines. The first is a liver function test, this is not your typical blood test. A functional liver test will measure how long it takes your body to breakdown and detoxify different chemical compounds including; caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen. The second test in cutting edge genome scanning. Migraine sufferers have been linked to a genetic defect in liver detoxification.
The liver needs about 8 weeks of reduced toxic load and nutritional support to detoxify. When my patients start the process we ask them to keep a diary of every migraine, how severe it was and how long it lasted. Most patients start to see a decrease in the frequency or severity within 3 weeks and are migraine free by their 8th week. Woman can usually tell they are better by their 3rd menstrual cycle. You may find that the 1st and 2nd week are a little rough as you adjust to your new diet and the body dumps the toxins. The following are some guidelines to follow:
Lifestyle changes to Prevent Migraines I recommend that my patients shoot for 100% success. The more you limit the toxins entering your body the greater your chance of success. An elimination diet alone will not work for most migraine sufferers. You will need to take nutritional supplements along with your lifestyle changes to live migraine free. Life does not always allow you to stay within the guideline, do the best you can.
Avoid the following:
caffeine and deceffeianted coffee, teas and sodas
personal care products with heavy perfumes, switch to all natural cleaning products, switch to all natural
cigarette smoking or second hand smoke
alcohol – all forms
Consume the following:
60-80 ounces a day
High fiber foods; fruits, vegetables, grains
Nutritional Support: to promote increase liver detoxification
Cod liver oil
All natural multivitamin
Patients who are using OTC and prescription medication are slower to detoxify. Migraine suffers presently taking prescription medications should talk to their doctors. Together you can work out a plan to reduce and then eliminate your medications. Patients using medications on an as needed basis try to reduce the frequency of use, after a couple of weeks with new diet and lifestyle.
Questions and Answers:
Q: Why doesn't my doctor know this?
A: Doctors are trained to treat diseases, not dysfunction. Doctors are most likely causing 30-40% of all migraines from the migraine medication they are prescribing and the rebound effect they cause.
Q: Is your protocol safe?
A: The lifestyle changes and nutritional support recommend are very safe
Q: Can I continue on my medication?
A: Yes, continue on your medication and start the protocol when you are feeling better talk to your doctor
Q: Are there any side effects?
A: You may feel a little worse for 1-2 weeks, but it is worth it to be migraine free in about 8 weeks
Q: What kind and where can I get the nutritional supplements?
A: The nutritional supplements listed are available in any good health food store. My office use professional grade nutrients that are available only through healthcare professionals, they are not available health food stores.
I welcome your comments and questions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Dr. Steven Zodkoy
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Certified Nutritional Specialist
Diplomate American Clinical Board of Nutrition