An American patient recovered from a migraine by changing his diet. According to a Finnish doctor, it is possible, but it does not help everyone.
An American man says she got help with her chronic migraine attacks by changing her diet. She says she has suffered from her migraines for more than 12 years. Within a month, he had six to eight crippling seizures that lasted for about 72 hours.
She treated her migraines with both prophylactic and seizure medications, but they were not always effective. Now she hasn’t had a single migraine attack or even a mild headache in seven years, says the 60-year-old photographer British Medical Journal Journal (BMJ), published in September. Also The Guardian magazine quoted the article.
What on earth happened?
The man says he has changed his diet to “balance the inflammatory state of the gut”. He says he practically added green vegetables to his diet, such as cabbage and spinach, as well as fruits, beans, oats and good fats. Among other things, he started drinking one of the green moths a day.
An inflammatory reaction to the body caused by diet has been studied in the past and its reduction has been found to lower at least cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Read more: Mild inflammation can cure a person for many reasons, and at worst, the result is a serious illness
Migraine in Finland more than half a million people suffer from it, a few percent of whom have more than 15 headache days a month.
Specialist in neurology Mikko Kallela has been treating migraine patients for years. He works at the Helsinki Headache Center and has studied the genetics of migraines at the University of Helsinki.
According to Kallela, the case report published in the BMJ is very credible, although it is rare that changes in nutrition would permanently help with some severe migraines.
“In my experience, changes in diet help for a while, but in severe migraines, the symptoms often return,” says Kallela.
Diet is scientifically difficult to study in the same way as the effects of drugs, but it is known that a healthy lifestyle also plays a role in the occurrence of migraine attacks.
“Personally, I recommend a healthy diet for migraine patients in accordance with the nutritional recommendations, not any special diet,” says Kallela.
According to him, migraine is a kind of upset of the body’s balance. The onset of a seizure may be due to poor sleep or excessive stress. The same problem may be associated with the diet to which the autonomic nervous system responds. When it recovers, the migraine disappears or at least gets better.
“The majority of people with mild migraines can do without the help of a doctor,” Kallela reminds.
The neurologist will meet of course, those with troublesome symptoms and seizures often. For every migraine patient, one always starts with what lifestyle changes could be made to make the migraine easier. Exercise and a healthy diet are always part of the treatment.
According to Kallela, for example, the majority of people with very severe migraines avoid alcohol because the alcohol metabolite acetaldehyde triggers migraines.
“The same substance causes a hangover. Sufferers of migraines are kind of more sensitive to hangovers, ”says Kallela.
Chocolate or other sweet cravings associated with migraines are believed to be a symptom of a migraine attack rather than chocolate itself triggering the attack.
“However, I also have patients who say that reducing sugar has relieved migraines,” says Kallela.
He doesn’t think there’s a certain diet that would make it easier for all migraine sufferers, but metabolism is known to matter. According to Kallela, anemia is perhaps the most typical deficiency that is known to trigger migraine attacks. Also, correcting thyroid failure with thyroid hormone, for example, also removes some migraines.
123 genes have been found in the background of migraines, of which a single gene causes little migraine. What kind of gene combination you happen to get contributes to how severe and what kind of migraine you break out to have. Therefore, treatment is not the same for all migraine patients.
For example, overweight is known to increase the symptoms of migraines, and weight loss is an important treatment for some. It is, of course, about healthy living, exercise and nutrition.
“I have had a patient whose migraine got better after obesity surgery,” says Kallela.
Adipose tissue secretes a peptide associated with the calcitonin gene (cgrp), which is known to increase in the blood during a migraine attack.
However, Kallela says that a large proportion of people with severe migraines need medication, either to prevent seizures, during them, or a new type of biological treatment given by injection.
A couple of years then a drug came to the Finnish market that prevents the transmission of pain-transmitting nerve signals and the expansion of blood vessels, thereby preventing the onset of migraine symptoms.
“The effect of biological inhibitors in migraines is based specifically on the inhibition of the effects of the cgrp peptide in the body,” says Kallela.
There are now three different medicines in use, and another is coming to market. By brand name medicines for sale are Aimovig, Ajovy and Emgality, whose active substances are erenumab, fremanetsumab and galkanetsumab.
According to Kallela, this antibody-based prophylaxis is the most significant help for migraines since the introduction of anti-migraine medications in the 1990s.
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