After spending ten years in the emergency medical service and researching migraines fulltime for five years, including two years as the editor-in-chief for a large migraine website and three years writing a 500-page book on the subject, I have come up with the eight top ways to eliminate migraines.
You can also watch the amazing video for this article below↓
Number Eight: Exercise
Migraines are associated with increased levels of inflammation (study link). Regular exercise decreases inflammation levels (study link) and significantly reduces migraines in a number of studies (study link 1, 2). This is a problem for many migraine sufferers because exercise can temporarily increase inflammation and trigger a migraine, but studies show that gradually increasing exercise with proper warm ups, stretching, and cool downs is extremely effective (study link). For more, read my article on exercise here or watch my video below↓
Number Seven: Breathe Like a SEAL
Relaxation exercises such as slow breathing, biofeedback, and meditation have proven to be just as effective as the strongest medications at reducing pain as well as preventing migraines and chronic headaches (study 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Beat the largest migraine trigger, stress (study link), with Navy Seal breathing: a four-second deep breath in and a four-second deep breathe out for 1–10 minutes, multiple times per day. For more, read my article on relaxation exercises here or watch my video below↓
Number Six: D3
Low levels of vitamin D3 are also associated with chronic inflammation (study link) and inflammation raises glutamate levels in the brain (study link). Vitamin D3 prevents glutamate toxicity which is associated with the migraine aura and migraine triggers (study link). Vitamin D3 is also needed to synthesis serotonin (study link). Serotonin is a happy brain chemical used by many medications to reduce stress and migraines (study link). Get some sunshine.
Number Five: Ketones
Individuals with either migraine or epilepsy are more than twice as likely to have the other disorder (study link). While the ketogenic diet has been used for almost a century to treat epilepsy, it wasn’t until 2013 when a study found that more than 90 percent of patients experienced a reduction in migraine frequency and drug consumption (study link).
Ketones may work by blocking the high concentrations of glutamate that are found in both migraine and epilepsy sufferers (study link).
The easiest way to metabolize ketones is through consuming medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) such as coconut oil, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter. Do some research on ketones and fat myths (study links), and then speak with your doctor.
Number Four: Hydrate with Migraine Minerals
Dehydration results in a rise in glutamate (study link) and is a major migraine trigger, but water alone does not hydrate you without minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium (and Vitamin D for absorption) and magnesium. Consuming more water and vegetables may provide sufficient minerals (study link) or you can use a supplement such as SaltStick Caps (amazon link). Read the migraine-mineral article here or watch the video below↓
Number Three: Beat the Migraine Gene
Mutations of the MTHFR gene lower the conversion of folate (vitamin B9) to methylfolate and are associated with migraines (study link). This deficiency may limit your body’s ability to handle all migraine triggers. Eating an abundance of natural foods with folate (research link) will help, but many migraine sufferers may need to supplement with the bioavailable version of folate called methylfolate—the folate your brain actually uses—along with methylcobalamin (Amazon link). See the full article on the migraine gene here or watch my video below↓
Number Two: Eliminate Processed Foods and Eat Natural Foods.
Elimination diets that eliminate a number of processed foods are extremely effective at treating migraines (study links). Processed foods that are inflammatory or contain large amounts of glutamate should be eliminated (or at least limited) from your diet. These include milk, wheat, soy, corn, sugar, artificial sweeteners, food additives, and foods with high levels of biogenic amines (aged meats, wine, beer, aged cheese, pizza, and soy products). Read the full article here or watch the video below↓
Eating an abundance of vegetables will reduce all levels of oxidative stress (study 1, 2). A new study found that nearly all major migraine triggers accumulate oxidative stress and suggests migraines are a defense mechanism against this buildup (study link). Too much oxidative stress results in increases of inflammation, glutamate, and the risk of numerous deadly conditions (study link). Combining the top ways to eliminate migraines will lower total levels of oxidative stress and make you feel better than you ever have. For more on oxidative stress, watch the video below↓
Number one: Become a Migraine Expert
Individual headache triggers can wreak havoc on a migraine sufferer. Eggs, orange juice, nuts, shellfish, and mushrooms are severe allergenic headache triggers for some migraineurs, but not others. They are extremely difficult to find without knowing what to look for because it can be an average of two–three days before they trigger a migraine and they may combine to break the headache threshold (study links).
You may have a common migraineur deficiency of magnesium, sodium, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, or Vitamin D3. Maybe you have a condition associated with migraines such as jaw pain (TMJ), sleep apnea, neck pain, photophobia, low thyroid function, an MTHFR gene mutation, or one of many autoimmune conditions. Perhaps you do well with medications that boost serotonin or reduce glutamate, inflammation, or histamine. All of this information is critical.
Understanding how common headache triggers are linked will help find the root cause of migraine. For example, understanding that hypothyroidism is three times more likely in migraine patients will help you discover triggers that affect both conditions such as wheat, soy, perfume, varnish, or cleaning products (study 1, 2). You may then find that wheat—a top trigger of both migraine and thyroid dysfunction—was the source of all your problems (study link). For more, check out the full migraine guide here.
The first seven steps discussed will eliminate migraines and headaches for the majority of sufferers. This will raise your headache threshold and allow you to handle more individual headache triggers. Becoming a migraine expert will speed up this process, help you and your doctor find those individual triggers, and give you the best possible chance at eliminating migraines—forever. You will also feel incredible.