Hydration for Migraines
Dehydration is one of the most common migraine triggers.
There are numerous reasons why dehydration may trigger migraines.
A migraine trigger called histamine is released to stimulate thirst (study link).
Dehydration has been found to increase the migraine trigger glutamate (study link).
Glutamate increases inflammation, a migraine trigger (study link). And inflammation increases levels of oxidative stress—the largest migraine trigger. These are major migraine triggers that combine during dehydration.
Most People Don’t Know What Hydration is
While research shows that water consumption can decrease headache hours for migraine sufferers, water alone does not hydrate you (study link).
You need minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium (article link).
When dissolved in water or digested, these minerals are referred to as electrolytes or migraine minerals, as I call them.
Natural water and food contain these minerals.
However, most people drink filtered water that is void of minerals.
Processed foods often have low mineral content and may even deplete the body’s minerals during digestion.
Migraineur Guts Lose Migraine Minerals
In healthy individuals, minerals from tap water and natural foods provide enough electrolytes to restore hydration even under the extreme circumstances of exercised-induced dehydration (study link).
However, migraine sufferers are more likely to have poor digestion and mineral deficiencies (article link).
Dehydration can also increase gut inflammation, which could even further increase migraine risk (study link).
Migraine sufferers need less processed foods, more natural foods, and may need to supplement minerals.
How Hydration Prevents Migraines
Sodium is also lost during a migraine and new research suggests that salt may prevent migraines (study link).
Magnesium sulfate (magnesium with sodium) is part of the most successful intravenous protocol (97.5 percent successful) at stopping chronic headache or migraine pain (study link).
Hydration is the natural way to regulate sodium and calcium channels to prevent an excess of glutamate, oxidative stress, and migraines.
Don’t make the mistake of taking just one mineral.
You may have heard that magnesium can reduce migraine frequency by 42 percent or as much as the strongest prevention medications (study link). This is incredible, but common magnesium deficiency is rarely found in a hospital setting because a routine blood test can only show less than 2 percent of your body’s magnesium. The rest is found inside of your cells and bones.
In fact, “there are no accurate biomarkers to measure hydration status” (study link).
We are not able to accurately measure minerals or hydration. That’s a problem.
People are given one mineral when hydration requires numerous minerals.
Overloading on a single mineral can even deplete other minerals.
Migraine drugs look at regulating sodium channels or calcium channels (study link). But migraine drugs are targeting single channels without taking into account that numerous minerals are needed for this complex system to run. That could be why they are unsuccessful and come with side effects.
For these reasons, we need to make sure that we get all the essential minerals from a natural diet and consider supplements that contain a balance of minerals.
How to Hydrate
Mineral Water (learn more)
Vegetables and Water (learn more)
Mineral Supplements (learn more)
Salt (learn more)
When to Hydrate
Hunger is a logical response to thirst because natural foods carry the minerals needed for hydration.
It makes sense that water can suppress weight gain. A recent 12-week study found that people who consumed 16 ounces of water before eating lost 44 percent more weight than those who did not (study link).
Hunger is a huge migraine trigger and obesity increases migraine risk by 81 percent (study link).
Drink more water before you eat and throughout the day.
Make sure you get enough minerals as well.
Dehydration increases oxidative stress—the largest migraine trigger.
Stay hydrated with all the essential electrolytes to prevent migraines.
You can also check out my original article and video on hydration here.