I have started a blogging assignment on migraines and later hopefully on other illnesses as well that connect to hormones. I published part one of a three-part article on migraines, what causes most and what to do when one gets them or prevent them in general. Because migraines connect to hormones (in the brain we call them neurotransmitters), I will be writing these special articles on the blog HormonesMatter. To be sure you understand, migraines are not caused by hormones directly; the lack of hormone development is the one sending the pain signal.
Please visit my article and also browse among the many other articles by members of the blogging team. The blogging team is made up from varying levels of professionals, from those who fell victims of some drug to MDs and PhDs. Most of the articles link to scientific literature that you can find. In mine there are some as well plus also a video on how the cells drink using sodium-potassium pumps in their membranes to “drink” and maintain a healthy productive life. Each cell is precious so handle with care!
Comments both here and there are welcome!
About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.
Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--physiology, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention, and treatment without the use of medicine. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage dependent channels, gates, and pumps (chanelopathy) that modulate electrolyte mineral density and voltage in the brain. In addition, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other variants, such as MTHFR variants of B vitamin methylation process and many others are different in the case of a migraineur from the general population.
Migraineurs are glucose sensitive (carbohydrate intolerant) and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on her hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease.
As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her helping over 5000 migraineurs successfully prevent their migraines world wide, all ages and both genders, and all types of migraines, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to make it easy to follow up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017.
Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in Economics with dissertation in neuroscience (culminating in Neuroeconomics) at Claremont Graduate University, fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, certification in LCHF/ketogenic diet from NN (Nutrition Network), certification in physiology (UPEN via Coursea), Nutrition (Harvard Shool of Public Health) and functional medicine studies. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently power weight lifting and kickboxing. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day), she paints and photographs and loves to spend time with her family of husband of 45 years, 2 sons and their wives, and 2 granddaughters.
Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook, LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelaastantonphd/ and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DrAngelaAStanton/
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I have a degree in Biochemistry and have suffered from migraines for 30 years. I recently had free time and decided to investigate known migraine associated substances ie. Histamine, Adrenalin, Magnesium and sodium. I am 54 years old and quite fit and healthy with no other problems but did drink a lot of water. I tested Antihistamines, beta blockers and Magnesium separately, for about 3 months,on myself. I normally have 10-12 migraines/month usually on waking so it was easy to test the results.
These tests did not have any effect on my migraines until I started 2-3 tea spoons of salt + water per day. The migraines stopped within the first week and i have had none for whole month. I conclude that Anxiety and drinking too much Water loses too much sodium. This causes brain swelling at night and then face and head pain on waking, I hope this may help some people.
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Salt is simply an electrolyte you use more of when you have a migraine-brain that has hyper sensitive sensory organs. What you are suggesting: “I conclude that Anxiety and drinking too much Water loses too much sodium. This causes brain swelling at night and then face and head pain on waking” is not fully correct.
Anxiety is already a symptom of low salt. Please read why here and here. Drinking too much water dilutes your electrolyte and reduces sodium concentration. It does not cause your brain to swell (there is no such physiological mechanism that more water = swollen brain).
Swelling, if visible on the outside, is called edema and that is caused by carbs taking water and sodium out of cells and leaving you puffed up with water outside of cells and dehydrated at the same time. So have some salt before you go to sleep and both anxiety and puffiness will be gone.
Hope this helps,
I find my migraine is very often triggered by exercise. I am a regular swimmer and it depends how hard I push myself in training and push my blood lactate levels up and reduce my oxygen levels together with high pulse rates I usually wake up during the night with a migraine or it brings on one during the day.
Because of this I tend not to push to hard as I now know what will happen and try to avoid this trigger. Have you heard of any other cases of exercise induced migraine? Or do you think there is something else underlying causing the migraine?
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Very good comment and question! Thank you! What you describe is the classic case of dehydration. I think most migraines hit at the wee hours of the morning around 3:30-4:30; quite annoying. I have a theory for this but let me first explain why you have migraine the first place. When you work out under water, you do not necessarily feel that you sweat! But you do! You sweat as much if not more than that of a person who exercises out of water! Thus your hydration is probably off.
Try this: take a StaltStick capsule (215 mg sodium, 63 mg potassium, 350 mg chloride, 11 mg magnesium, 22 mg calcium and 100 IU D3) with a glass of water before you start your workout. Then when you finish your workout, if it is indoors take 1-2 more of the same, if outdoors on the sun take a stronger salt tablet or just simply take a large pinch of salt and swallow that with a glass of water like medicine (I used to do this before I discovered the pills). It also matters how long you work out for. If it is more than an hour, stop after one hour and take a pinch of salt and a glass of water and then continue. Eating salt on its own is a… well… acquired taste shall we say… but as a last resort, placing a few salt crystals under your tongue and after melting drink up a half a glass of water shall do the trick. I have a little case of salt by my bedside for the morning awakening but I got smarter now and I just end my days with salt and a glass of water before sleep and I never have migraines anymore. 🙂
As for why in the morning: in addition to the fact that you did not replace the salt that you lost from exercise, your brain is very active at night. Your brain is dreaming and emptying junk that builds up during the day–it resets to a start-up state every night. It needs a ton of energy to do this and the brain’s energy is only possible to activate if it has enough voltage. Read the article I just wrote on the hormonesmatter.com blog on this and how salt is required to open the “energy machine” by opening the sodium-potassium pumps. Thus you probably use up all your salt by the time morning arrives from all the brain activity and you need to add more. I recommend you try to take some salt and water before you go to sleep and keep salt and water bedside. If you awake for a migraine, take salt and water immediately. You will hear crack-pop if the migraine is in the area of the brain where it is audible for the inner ear–this is like an engine cranking up for the first time huffing and coughing.
Warning: salt is one migraine solution for those who are dehydrated for lack of enough salt (typically those with very healthy lifestyles!). The other group of migraineurs who eat enough salt and drink enough water but still have migraines are likely short of potassium, the other half of the sodium-potassium pump. Please make sure you know which to take and when. The instructions for that can be found in my book “Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines – An Insider’s View“.
My next article on the hormonesmatter blog will be on the brain regions where migraines reside and their associated specific migraine symptoms and causes.
Hope this helps!