Migraine Headaches, what causes them and what you can do

migraine headachesMigraine is a severe pain and is usually felt in one side of the head. You may also get other unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and cold hands and feet. Migraine does involve a degree of depressed blood flow to the brain which can be severe.

Migraine headaches alter a person’s normal functioning in school, at work and with family and social relationships due to the extreme pain that they cause.

There are two types of migraine, common and classic.

The common migraine occurs slowly, producing a throbbing pain that might last for two to seventy-two hours. The pain is severe and is often centered at the temple or behind one ear. Alternatively, it can begin at the back of the neck and spread to one entire side of the head (the word “migraine” comes from the Greek hemikrania, which means “half a skull”). It is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and tingling and numbness in the limbs that can last up to eighteen hours.

A classic migraine is similar to a common migraine, but it is preceded by a set of symptoms referred to as an aura, which can consist of speech disorders, weakness and disturbances in the senses of vision and/or smell. It often starts an hour or two before the headache starts. And aura can also consist of brilliant stars, sparks, flashes, or simple geometric forms passing across the visual field. The most common symptom is an inability to see clearly. Visual disturbances may last only a few seconds or may persist for hours, then disappear.

Migraines are fairly common – about 11 to 18 million Americans or up to 10% of the population. An estimated 8.7 percent are women and 2.6 percent of the males in the United States suffer from migraines. The may occur anywhere from once a week to once or twice a year, and they often run in families, but not necessarily.

What causes migraines?

The constriction of blood vessels in the head. But what pulls the trigger?

Any number of things can trigger a migraine in a susceptible individual, including allergies; constipation, emotional changes, hormonal changes, sun glare, flashing lights, lack of exercise, and changes in barometric pressure.

Low blood sugar is frequently associated with migraine; studies have shown that blood sugar levels are low during a migraine attack, and the lower the blood sugar level, the more severe the headache. A study involving 35 migraine sufferers showed that when a high protein, sugar-free regime was substituted for the previous heavy-in-refined-carbohydrate diet, they all were delivered of their migraines. Another study had 118 sufferers on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet distributed over six feedings, rather than three to keep their sugar level properly elevated. 90 days later, 85 of the sufferers were improved by at least 75 percent

Smoking can cause an attack because the nicotine and carbon monoxide cigarette smoke contains affects the blood vessels – the nicotine constricts them while the carbon monoxide tends to expand them.

Many different foods may precipitate an attack especially those which contain tyramine. Some of the most common offenders are chocolate, banana, beef and chicken livers, pickled herring, soy sauce, sour cream, cured meats such as ham, hot dogs, salami and beer, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red wine and certain champagnes), and any food that is aged, cured, pickled, soured, yeasty, or fermented. Some food additives – monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrate used to preserve bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami and various other types of sausage – are also activators of migraine, particularly when in tyramine-containing foods.

Once factor behind the higher incidence of migraine in women may be the fluctuations in the level of the hormone estrogen.

Migraines are 2-3 times more common in women than in men and the gender difference begins at puberty and often ends after menopause. Many hormone-related events exclusive to women, such as pregnancy, menopause, and the cycles of menstruation can trigger the onset of migraines.

Scientists are fairly certain that changing levels of female hormones contribute to migraine; however, exactly how these hormones work is still a mystery.

Approximately 60% of women who chart their migraine attacks will note that their headaches are partly or wholly synchronized with the menstrual cycle. The medical community divides these hormonal migraines into two categories.

1. True Menstrual Migraine– attacks that occur two days prior, during and up to three days after the menstrual period and at no other time.

2. Menstrual Related – attacks that occur during mid-cycle or around the time of ovulation. Many women with migraines who suffer from PMS believe their headaches are just another part of PMS.


The frequent use of over-the-counter painkillers may actually increase the likelihood of migraine attacks.

A study reported in the British medical journal The Lancet © found that when allergic foods were eliminated from the diets of migraine sufferers, as many as 93 percent of them found relief.

What can help to get rid of a migraine?

The prescription drugs available for migraines have a long list of side effects, some linked directly to angina (pressure, tightness or pain in the chest) heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death. Yet, some people to escape migraine pain will take drugs like these. In 2004 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article that states: “even amount patients who are treated, less than one third report consistently effective results with their current medication”.

The Solution due to the New Research

Have you considered supplementing with magnesium for migraines? Scientists in Turkey are convinced that toxic levels of heavy metals may be the root cause for these headaches.

The authors of the study from Yuzuncu Yill University looked at particiipant blood composition. They were searching for abnormal levels of heavy metals or glaring vitamin deficiencies and they found it. None of the 50 patients were on any sort of vitamin regimen, were all non-smokers, and in reasonably good health (no history of diabetes, heart disease, etc. Half of the patients suffered from chronic migraines.

The migraine sufferers tested with much higher counts of heavy metals (cadmium, lead and iron) and much lower counts of important minerals (magnesium, zinc and copper). It’s easy to diagnose acute toxicity (poisoning) from heavy metals = the signs are impossible to miss. It’s much harder to diagnose chronic toxicity since the singes are common across several conditions.

The use of Magnesium for migraines is a fairly new discovery. This mineral is readily available in several food sources that can provide more than enough for health.

Long term studies show that the amount of magnesium in the diet is only a small fraction of what it used to be. It has been known for a long time that magnesium is vital to have a health heart and artery system. Insufficient magnesium has been shown to cause the blood vessels in the had to spasm (constrict), which is often the direct cause of migraine headache,

As the amount of magnesium in the diet has dropped over the years, the number of people with heart, artery and migraine problems has continued to increase. In fact, there are now over 30 Million people in the US that experience migraine headaches.

Not all forms of magnesium are equal or effective in dealing with migraine headaches. Most forms of chemically isolated magnesium, normally available tin health food stores and drug stores (magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, magnesium lactate, magnesium aspartate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium sulfate and magnesium citrate) cannot be readily absorbed by the body.

In order to get even a small amount of chemically isolated magnesium absorbed in the body, you would have to take far more than your body can readily deal with and that usually results in severe diarrhea.

Pumpkin seeds, sunflower sides, spinach, navy beans, black beans, quinoa and cashews are packed with magnesium (as well as delicious) With just a few servings of these common food, you can get the magnesium you need in your diet.

Magnesium is good for muscle health, flexibility, and strong bones (and teeth). Helps you achieve quality sleep. Balances pH, keeps the body hydrated through electrolyte production, Lowers lactic acid and buildup that comes after a workout, Helps your body metabolize sugar more efficiently, helps the central nervous system, regulates bowel movements and improves proper enzyme function.

To actually find the cause of migraines is why the Turkey study is so important.


Magnesium gotten naturally:

Dr. Berg’s Magnesium

Read about this Magnesium for more information and to order.

Sign up to receive the MCVitamins Newsletter!

Up-to-date info on the latest health-related news happening in the world
(available in English only)

MCVitamins Affiliate Notice