Hydrate with Migraine Minerals to Prevent Migraines
Electrolytes are a marketing ploy. Electrolytes are nothing more than minerals that become electrically charged when dissolved in water or digested by the human body. Don’t let this moneymaking scheme discourage you from understanding how powerful minerals—and yes, subsequently electrolytes—truly are.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we look at electrolytes, let’s look at water. What do studies say about migraines and plain old water?
A small water-deprivation study in 2004 found most people eliminated their headaches (not migraines) within thirty minutes of consuming an average of sixteen ounces of water (study link). The study speculated water might play a role in preventing migraines, specifically by decreasing migraine hours.
A 2005 study of actual migraine sufferers found that increasing the daily water intake by one and a half liters resulted in a headache reduction of twenty-one hours in a two-week period (study link).
Dehydration is one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers (research link) and research shows that increased water intake reduces headache hours.
But simply drinking more water does not cut it. We need to completely eliminate the dehydration trigger and the migraines that come with it.
Why does dehydration trigger migraines?
Histamine, also a migraine trigger, is released to stimulate thirst. This increases inflammation (a major migraine trigger) so that your body says, “I feel like shit, maybe I need some water” (study link). This is tough love. Your body doesn’t want you to feel like shit, but without the stimulus for water, you would be dead in about three days.
Hydration is also necessary to remove the toxic accumulation of many headache triggers, such as biogenic amines, glutamate, acetaldehyde, ammonia and hundreds of other compounds.
Fun Fact: Antihistamines and painkillers can block the histamine thirst signal leaving headache patients at risk of dehydration.
How do we obtain minerals to prevent dehydration and migraines?
Minerals provided from tap water and natural foods provide enough electrolytes to restore hydration even under the extreme circumstances of exercised-induced dehydration (study link). Yes, water combined with natural meat, fruits and vegetables could solve this problem.
However, this presents a massive problem in the United States because not all tap water provides enough minerals and distilled water can be void of minerals altogether. As a result, most Americans do not get proper hydration from drinking plain old water (study link). In addition, most of us eat processed foods that don’t contain enough natural minerals. Many commercial crops have low mineral content (study link),
This must play a part in the 8 percent jump in headache-related emergency room visits for every nine-degree rise in temperature (study link).
As a firefighter, I regularly responded to dehydration medical emergencies and our basic, life-saving protocol is to administer an intravenous salt-water solution (saline). We don’t just have someone drink a lot of water. In fact, rapid water intake without minerals can be dangerous. A fraternity pledge in Chico, California, tragically died from the ritual of drinking gallons of filtered water during intense exercise (news link). This is because without electrolytes, cellular hydration does not take place. Cellular hydration is where migraines come in to play.
The most powerful success of hydration for migraine sufferers.
Magnesium sulfate is part of an intravenous treatment created by Dr. John Claude Krusz that is 97.5 percent successful at stopping chronic headache or migraine pain (study link). Success was measured by a reduction of pain by more than 50 percent or the ability to return to work. This level of success is not produced in the typical emergency room, where they are more likely to accuse a migraine sufferer of seeking drugs and send him or her home in pain.
What is magnesium sulfate?
Magnesium sulfate is better known as Epsom salt or magnesium salt. That’s right, electrolytes. You’ve probably heard of the popular “Epsom salt bath” to treat migraines and limited research actually confirms Epsom salt baths can raise magnesium and salt levels in the blood (research link).
Wait, I thought salt was the devil?
Disproven. The salt myth was disproven in 2005. A number of studies have shown that restricting salt does not lower the risk for heart attack or stroke in people with normal or even high blood pressure (study link). Check out Chris Kresser’s research-backed article, “Shaking Up the Salt Myth” (Article link). Kresser suggests that 1.5–3.5 teaspoons of salt per day is healthy.
Obviously, people should check with a doctor before consuming piles of salt because certain conditions or medications could make salt dangerous.
What about migraines, magnesium, and salt?
Salt and magnesium are required to regulate glutamate, serotonin, calcium and cellular hydration. This translates into migraine prevention, and it’s the reason magnesium is recommended for all migraine patients (study link).
Will a pill fix it?
One study found that 600mg of magnesium (an ultra-high dose that may be unsafe) resulted in a 42 percent reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks (study link). Of course, a deficiency of magnesium could be the sole cause of a migraine, but it is only one part of hydration.
What about something stronger?
Anti-seizure medications (Topiramate) and some antidepressants (Amitriptyline) prevent migraines by blocking four migraine pathways: sodium channels, calcium channels, GABA, and excess glutamate (research link, study link). However, these popular prevention medications have low success rates for treating migraines. Hydration does the same thing by naturally regulating sodium channels as well as calcium channels to prevent an excess of glutamate, inflammation, and migraines.
Please tell me there is a pill?
Jonathan Toker was a professional triathlete who happened to have a PhD in organic chemistry and is the inventor of Saltstick caps. Saltstick caps are well known to athletes as one of the most powerful ways to prevent dehydration. A 2015 study even found that athletes who consumed twelve Saltstick caps during a half-ironman competition finished the race twenty-six minutes faster than those who only used sports drinks (study link).
Saltstick Caps contain the essential electrolytes that I refer to as migraine minerals.
Saltstick Caps contain (amazon link):
215 mg sodium (also contains chloride)
63 mg potassium
14 mg calcium
22 mg magnesium
100 IU Vitamin D (to help absorb calcium)
To be clear, sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium (and Vitamin D for absorption) and magnesium are essential electrolytes that prevent dehydration and migraines. I simply recommend this brand because it is reputable and comes without additives and sweeteners—a rare find.
Many people have tried supplements, but most do not have all the main electrolytes and many are fake because the FDA does not regulate supplements. You may not need the hydration of a triathlete, but know that migraines can drastically increase the body’s need for salt and electrolytes.
No Supplement Will Replace Nutrition
You will still need nutrients from natural foods. Luckily, many organic crops still contain the same high mineral content of past fruits and vegetables (study 1, 2) and we know that tap water and natural foods provide enough electrolytes in even extreme conditions (study link).
However, we also know that processed foods with low mineral and water content, like pizza, are delicious but may deplete mineral levels (3-Day Headache “Cure” Link). In many cases, migraine sufferers have inflamed stomachs and won’t be able to fully digest minerals from natural foods. For this reason, and for all of the reasons discussed, I believe that natural electrolytes combined with electrolyte supplements will completely eliminate migraines for a large percentage of migraine sufferers.
Multiple studies in The 3-Day Headache “Cure” have shown complete remission of migraines and this success may be achieved from the addition of a couple of pills and some water.
Read about the Migraine Gene to make the best out of your migraine minerals.