Alternatives & Traditional

Migraines start when the blood vessels around the brain constrict tightly.  These blood vessels then rebound vasodilate causing them to leak leading to inflammation.

There can be multiple triggers for migraines including dietary amines, allergies, hormones, bright lights, etc.  Therefore, anyone suffering from migraines should keep a migraine log to look for their trigger so the trigger can be addressed as well.  A migraine log consists of keeping a list of whatever was eaten, or drunk, what you were exposed to (fumes, pollen, etc.), if a woman is it near her menstrual cycle, bright lights, etc. prior to the migraine.  Keeping a migraine log though can help narrow down the possible causes.  For example do they come on after ingesting foods or beverages containing tyramines?  Are they triggered off by smells or bright lights?  Did you ingest anything you were allergic to within the previous couple of days?………….

The best supplements for migraines are magnesium, coleus forskohlii (aka forskohlii) and kudzu.  

Magnesium deficiencies are common and can lead to a host of problems, including frequent migraines.  An influx of calcium causes blood vessels to contract, leading to the initial constriction.  Magnesium is a calcium antagonist, and relaxes blood vessels to help prevent the initial vasoconstriction that precedes migraines.  For this reason the magnesium should be taken by itself, not with any calcium.  This includes with foods that may contain calcium.  

I recommend taking the magnesium on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before meals. Recommended dose is 300mg twice daily, morning and afternoon, on an empty stomach.  

If you take a calcium/magnesium supplement this is best taken at night before bed.  

Not all magnesium supplements are the same.  Magnesium oxide is the most commonly sold magnesium supplement due to being the least expensive form of magnesium.  Magnesium oxide though is poorly absorbed, neutralizes the stomach acid leading to various health problems and is used as a laxative because it burns the intestinal wall.  The best forms of magnesium are magnesium malate or citrate.  Magnesium itself as well as the acids used to make these forms of magnesium supplements, malic acid and citric acid, not only enhance absorption, but they also contribute to increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  ATP is the fuel that helps cells function and function properly.

Forskohlii and kudzu are both vasodilators to help prevent the initial vasoconstriction. Recommended dose is 2 capsules of either herb 3 times daily before meals, and in addition at the first signs of an impending migraine.

Forskohlii not only helps prevent the initial vasoconstriction, but forskohlii is also anti-inflammatory.  Forskohlii’s anti-inflammatory effects comes from fosrskohlii’s ability to block both inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

Kudzu is preferred if there are hormonal imbalances since it also aids in hormone balance.  

For hormonal induced migraines digestive bitters are the quickest way to help normalize the hormones.  When bitters come in to contact with the bitter receptors of the tongue they stimulate the receptors, which in turn stimulates the vagus nerve.  Vagus stimulation increases output of digestive secretions, which is how they got the name digestive bitters.  Bitters also improve liver function though where excess hormones are broken down in the body.   

Bitters are sold in health food stores under names such as  Chinese Bitters, Grape Bitters, Swedish Bitters, etc. 

Recommended use is ½ dropper full on the tongue three times daily before meals.  It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day when using bitters to help with removal of toxins, including excess hormones, being processed by the liver.

Bitters are not recommended though in the cases of peptic ulcer since bitters increase stomach acidity and if the gallbladder has been removed since bitters increase bile release.

Rice bran or oat bran can also help with hormone balance since they are both good sources of B vitamins needed by the liver to break down excess hormones.  These fibers also feed the intestinal flora, which also produce B vitamins for the body and further break down hormone metabolites.

I prefer rice bran since it also contains gamma oryzanol that helps with hormone balance.

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