Migraines can be a debilitating problem. They not only affect the sufferer but all those around them as well. Businesses suffer with staff off work, kids suffer with parents unable to play with them or take them to school, relationships suffer with migraine sufferers not wanting to be touched. Everyone suffers with the consequences of migraine.
To many, Migraine is a mysterious form of headache, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Migraine is a complicated serious of events that involve neurological, physiological and vascular changes.
One of the biggest drivers of these changes is what is known as the trigeminovascular pathway. This pathway links the face, jaw, neck and brain together via your brainstem. When irritated it can stimulate these areas creating widespread changes to our neurology. These changes often result in migraines in susceptible people.
Whilst many see certain foods or other entities such as hormones as causes of their migraines, it’s more likely that these are triggers rather than causes. I explain the difference here in this short video: https://spinewise.com.au/?p=16431
Insert image – trigeminal nerve pathway
Solving your migraines
Whilst there are many medications that have been shown to have some benefit, re-establishing healthy function of the trigeminovascular pathway can help many people regain their lives. Doing this is often a complicated affair that requires thorough investigation of the components and developing a specific treatment strategy developed specifically for each person’s neurology.
That said there are many ways that you can potentially alter the function of this pathway using simple easy to obtain nutrients.
So what can you take?
- Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract is one that has just started being used in animal trials, but is showing some amazing promise in this neurological pathway.
When the trigeminal nerve is stimulated recurrently there are specific cells around the nerve body called glial cells that continue that stimulation even if the irritation is removed. Altering the function of these cells has been a challenging problem for neuroscientists for years.
In recent animal trials grape seed extract has been shown to alter glial cell activity in these individuals. As such it tends to reduce sensitivity to stimulation and may also help conditions such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia that have central nervous system sensitization as their basis.
We’ve seen great results clinically with patients who have elected to trial it for their migraines. Even at doses for 300mg per day it seems to be quite beneficial for some.
- Enriched Chicken Bone Broth
Bone broth has been used for centuries by various cultures but only recently has it started being investigated for its potential use in calming this series of neural pathways. Interestingly, it has been shown that using bone broth whilst weaning may have a preventative effect in offspring!
It has been reported that a high stress up bringing may promote sensitization of this mechanism in children predisposing them to future migraine. When enriched chicken bone broth is taken during weaning, this may provide a preventative function on the trigeminal system reducing the risk of future migraine.
In addition, enriched chicken bone broth seems to have similar effect this pathway. In a rat-based study, prolonged jaw opening created an increase in sensitization that was significantly reduced by using 2 weeks of enriched chicken bone broth prior to jaw opening.
As such it is possible that enriched chicken bone broth may have a positive effect on migraine.
- Cacao nibs
There has been a lot of confusion about the use of cacao and chocolate in migraine. Some have argued it can be a trigger, others have argued it does the opposite. There are potentially truths to both sides of the argument which we won’t go into here.
For now, we’re talking about cacao nibs, not cocoa or chocolate. Cacao nibs do have some amazing properties to it for migraine sufferers. It has been shown that cacao nibs have an amazing action that reduces certain biochemical markers that are involved in the stimulation or excitation of these neurological pathways.
More commonly known for its antiviral and immune properties than anything else, Andrographis has recently been discovered to have some amazing effects neurologically. In one study Andrographis was shown to reduce specific inflammatory markers in a key area known as the mesencephalon.
Changes to the mesencephalon are a key component of trigeminovascular dysfunction common in migraine sufferers. In the study researchers showed that Andrographis significantly reduced inflammatory markers associated with dysfunction. The finding suggests that Andrographis may provide some benefit to migraine sufferes and sufferers of chronic pain patterns such as fibromyalgia and temporomandibular dysfunction.
- Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)
PEA is a fatty acid made by the human body that belongs to a group of products in the endocannabinoid family. It is believed to stimulate the production of a neurotransmitter known as anandamide, the neurotransmitter believed to be the cause of ‘runner’s high’ and may also alter nitric oxide, a vital neurotransmitter involved in mgraine.
It is believed through the stimulation of anandamide, PEA is able to stimulate the cannabinoid receptors (receptor stimulated by CBD oil). As a result, it has been shown to reduce specific inflammatory markers neurologically resulting in reduced pain, inflammation, convulsions and even neuroprotection.
As such early studies have shown benefit on the use of PEA in the treatment of migraine.
Where to start
Migraine and the trigeminovascular pathway are complicated entities that require thorough investigation. Whilst there have been many substances that may play a role in assisting migraine sufferers, the above list is some of the key substances we see help those that have responded poorly to other forms of migraine treatment.
All the above substances are commonly available from various outlets without the need for prescription.
If you would like to learn more about support for migraine, call us on 9318 7758 or Book an Appointment with one of our highly trained migraine team by clicking here.