Hackers-I finally convinced my 80+ year-old grandma to go gluten-free in an attempt to lower the frequency of her lifelong, debilitating migraines. She went gluten-free and has been eating Paleo in general since December 1st. Well so far, she has had the absolutely worst month of her entire life and she is desperate for some answers. She is willing to stick it out if she knows how long she needs to endure this pain. I know there are no absolutes, but I am looking for any time frame from previous migraine sufferers who were helped by gluten-free. How long did it take? Also, any other tips for migraines. For instance, she asked me if corn had gluten and I told her no, so she had some corn chips. Could the inclusion of corn be making things worse or just the withdrawal of gluten or ??? Anything will help, thank you.
ADD: Overall, she is "healthy," slim, exercises and watches what she eats, but typical low-fat, whole-grain stuff. Since quiting gluten, she is eating meats, salads, fruit, etc., which is her normal fare, minus the gluten. She is underweight and doesn't ever eat much at all.
Double ADD: I should note that previously she has gone on strict elimination diets to narrow down the possibility of any foods causing or contributing to her migraines. No dice. The only thing she never tried was eliminating gluten.
When I first went Paleo (and by default gluten-free), the first month was brutal. I don't know what it was; at the time I assumed it was blood sugar changes, but I don't know. All I know is that I was wretched with migraines, sometimes so bad all I could do was cry. I even considered going back to my SAD diet.
By the end of month two, though, it cleared out, gradually improving over those weeks, and now I only get a small one maybe once every month and a half or so. I still don't know my exact triggers, but often when I've had restaurant food I have a little migraine for 2-3 days.
I hope she feels better soon. Migraines are pure hell. :/
Ancestral eating has definitely not aggravated my migraine. I'd have to say it's worked the other way, although storm fronts are a more powerful trigger for me than food.
Other than weather-triggered attacks, which were dramatically reduced by moving from Wisconsin to Nevada, the only migraine I've had since I started ancestral eating in April was in August when I foolishly ate some wheat-based foods. I handle stress much better than I did on SAD and my need for Advil has pretty much disappeared.
My best guess is the stress of trying to change her eating habits is a more likely trigger than the food itself. If she is able to relax about what she's eating and focus on doing things she enjoys and watching/reading things that make her laugh the migraine may just ease up.
Annie, being a migraine sufferer myself, I only have one thought: you have to find the trigger of your grandmas migraine.
Very often histamine is the devil. If your grandma passes out with a certain food, this sounds like an anaphylactic shock to me. I once experinced this myself with smoked salmon: total collaps because of an histamine overdose.
If someone has a specific food intolerance, he/she has to avoid those foods, which contain the devil (like histamine). I could not help my migraines until I found out: this is all about food intolerances (gluten etc.) BUT also histamine.
A paleo diet will not help if one suffers from special food intolerances. http://thatpaleoguy.blogspot.com/2011/04/histamine-intolerance.html and watch this too http://www.migracalm.net/eng/triggers.html
The best example of a paleo fail concerning migraine is the probiotic trap: don't do sauerkraut, because it's very high in histamine and really really makes heavy migraine !!! http://naturalhealthperspective.com/editorials/sauerkraut-trigger-headaches.html
I used to get frequent migraines. I stopped eating gluten seven years ago, and had 2 migraines in the first week, but then they completely and unexpectedly went away. I don't think many people are as lucky though.
Robb Wolf's co-host in his Paleo Solution Podcast, Andy Deas's wife had severe migraines and was on the highest dose of Topamax (?200 mg/day) and she was eventually able to stop all medication - slowly dropping the dose on ketogenic Paleo!
See Pages 1-3 of Episode 8 in the Written Transcript
Corn chips might be gluten free, but they can also be produced in a shared facility. Can she read the labels; they are awfully small! That may be too much gluten exposure for her. It was for me at first but doesn't seem to be as much of an issue now.
I'm posting this on a couple websites, just because I really feel people should try going gluten free if you get as many migraines I did. And at least the result for me has been immediate. I'm only 25, pretty healthy, and started getting migraines when I was 21:
I have had migraines for the last few years, I've had to take about 22 migraine pills a month, which is the max amount I could get my insurance to pay for. I would get them at first between 1-3 times per week, and then consistently 3-4 times per week for the last couple years, then these last few months almost everyday. I went to a nuerologist and got an MRI to make sure nothing was wrong with me. They couldn't explain why I was getting them, but they had a feeling i was grtting rebound migraines because of the amount of migraine meds i was having to take, but like most people I work and I can't work with a migraine so I would take them as necessary. I am now day 8 on a gluten free diet and I have not gotten a single migraine. I know that seems like a very short time to say going gluten free has helped, but it's been 4 years since I have gone even 4 days without a migraine and I couldn't be happier! I had a few friends suggest going gluten free, but I always refused because I didn't want a diet restriction, and I love bread, and pizza and being able to eat what I want. I suggest to anyone having migraines to cut out gluten and see how it can help!
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