Just started visiting and saw an old thread about the diet and migraines. Wondering how some people have done with low carb diets and their migraines. I'm currently on Topamax and not doing well even at 100mg. Leg cramps and paresthesia have seem to become the norm. I've been told they could stop after a time, and because 100mg. doesn't seem to be working, I can gradually up this dose to 200mg. Before this med, I was on a beta blocker. Even during vigorous exercise, I couldn't get to a heart rate above 100. After 7:00-8:00 at night, I wasn't much good to my family. Won't say more about that. Take Imitrex which seems to be helping less and less, and also giving me muscle ache and weakness. Age 51. Female. Still have regular cycles. Have been on a gluten free diet for over a year which has seemed to help some. No MSG. No soda. No peanuts. Recently cut the chocolate. Moderate coffee, wine and dairy. Organic when possible. Disc neck problems for over 12 years, other than that, no major health issues. Tried Atkins once, but didn't feel real great with it. Tired of feeling like this...
Histamine could be the trigger. A histamine free diet changed everything for me. And with the link below comes another person, who suffered for 20 years and got rid of the migraine because of a histamine free diet.
Your low blood pressure could also be caused by a high histamine level. Histamine dilates blood vessels.
I used to be a regular migraine sufferer. Going primal has made a huge difference for me. I have gone from several a week to having less than 5 since April. It really has made a massive difference! The difference to Atkins is to eat cleanly. The more rubbish and chemicals the more likely I am to have a migraine. Try to limit carbs as that can cause attacks. I eat safe starches but always with fat to reduce the blood sugar effects. I also supplement with Vit D and Magnesium and have regular Epsom salt baths. I also try to keep up my sleep to 7-8 hours as I know that is a trigger. One of my biggest triggers (my monthly cycle) has also gone. Try cutting out the coffee. Instant coffee always gives me migraines (whilst ground coffee doesn't). Good luck and I hope your migraines improve!
I don't know where you live, CJ, but I and at least one other PH commenter are affected by weather. When I lived in Wisconsin--eating SAD--I suffered 2-5 days of severe migraine per week. When I moved to southern Nevada, still on SAD, I enjoyed a drastic decrease in frequency of attacks and the ones I still had were triggered mostly by driving/being outside in bright sun.
EDIT: While in Wisconsin, I went through all the prescribed medications and all they did was move my attacks a little farther apart while making them even more severe. And taking all that crap made me very sick and I felt like I was drunk half the time and couldn't think.
Since I began ancestral eating last April, the frequency of migraine has pretty much become zero. I can sit outside for a little while but usually have to seek shade while others are still sitting happily in the sun, but I don't have a migraine attack later which is pretty miraculous for me.
So, you may want to log weather vs. attack frequency to see if you are responding to weather in addition to food.
Bottom line: I eat moderate carbs rather than low; I'd say it has helped to reduce my migraine but if I were eating this way in Wisconsin I believe I'd still be having frequent attacks because my dominant trigger is weather rather than food.
EDIT: CJ, you need to check out Paul Jaminet's new post. He mentions migraine may indicate difficulty using glucose in the brain and says a ketogenic diet may help. I'm not full-time ketogenic, but I have been thriving on IF and I frequently go 18-24 hours between meals feeling great.
I'm currently trying the Jaminet's instructions on ketogenic diet. I have tried so many things, and when initially giving up grains and sugar, I went from 3-4 migraines per month to one. I'm hoping The Perfect Health Diet can help get rid of the one. Have you kept a migraine log to identify your triggers? I used one to figure out mine, and avoid all triggers as much as possible. Hormonal fluctuations are my last main trigger, hence the ketogenic diet as an attempt to correct hormone balance.
For me, eliminating caffeine made a huge difference. I also don't tolerate fermented foods, so wine & vinegar are both out as is cheese.
Be careful with the Imitrex. It can have a "rebound" effect - you take it, feel better, but if you take it again too soon, your headache comes back. Neurologist David Buchholz (author of "Heal Your Headache") says "too often" is twice a month. That was definitely true for me. I also get rebound headaches with ibuprofen, which I now avoid for other reasons as well.
What about hormone levels? Have you had yours checked?
I have migraines; the imitrex-type drugs never worked for me. What has worked- cutting out onions (so- the salsa would be a no-go for me), chocolate, and soy. Beer/wine/nitrates are a trigger, too. I also started taking magneium glycinate- 400mg per day at least, up to 800 mg per day- and that's been pretty damn fantastic. Adding Effexor also helped a bit; another ssri (or even an epilepsy drug) might be of similar use.
That's all I got for now. Good luck.
Migraines can have different triggers - so that's a definite maybe.
My wife gets migraines if she eats any amount of MSG. I rarely get migraines, and haven't had one in more than two and a half years. I can say I've had no migraines at all after switching to paleo.
General headaches - I used to have headaches on a very regular basis. For years I kept Excedrin in my desk drawer, as I'd have headaches several times a week. Since switching to paleo I have had almost no headaches. It was a noticeable change the first week and it's been consistent. Something I was eating was obviously causing them. I couldn't tell you what - I switched from the SAD to paleo and ate all kinds of garbage.
I was having hairloss on Topamax. Are you still eating Gluten Free starch products, like GF Bread, GF crackers, GF cereals etc? I've noticed a significant reduction in headache when I went completely starch free with Paleo Diet. I mean no bread, crackers, noodles, rice, potatoes etc. I hope you can find your answers!
Certain foods can definetely trigger migraines. Cheese and wine are pretty common ones, but really it can be anything.
This might sound odd but do you chew much gum? That constant clenching and chewing can cause headaches too.
I have pretty much had a constant headache for six months. I'm working on it now and have actually had some "clear" days. Lots of great suggestions, but I would definitely get rid of all processed foods and gluten free breads. I am really sensitive to msg and other additives. I tried upping carbs (fruit) a little to help, didn't seem to work much and then I increased fat. I think that's helping. I'm still working on it and trying to find my right balance, but I think and hope you will figure yours out! Some supplements may help...keep doing searches on here. I'm feeling so much better and sleeping better after a few weeks. Best to you!
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