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Migraine Solutions that Count

Migraine Solutions that Count

Do you suffer from debilitating migraines or know someone who has? Here are some vital migraine solutions that count. If you aren’t a migraine suffer then it’s not truly easy to understand what it must be like to suffer in silence. Imagine what it must be like to have nasty migraines that stop you from working, sleeping soundly, having extreme sensitivity too light, noise and nausea and to feel like your head is in a vice.

You can’t look after your children or head to work, you are literally taken out of life for as long as it takes to pass. Here are some serious solutions that count……

Migraine is a common neurological disorder affecting between 10 and 20% of the population. About 50% of affected individuals have an immediate family who also suffers.

It is well documented that triggers for migraines can be different for each person however there are some know common culprits – foods containing tyramine and phenylethylamine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and additives, caffeine, sulphites, nitrites and tannins to name a few. And then there are those common lifestyle recommendations and new kids on the block – checking your SNPs.

migraine balance

Here we investigate a few….


Beer, red wine, sherry, and vermouth contain large amounts of tyramine, one of the most powerful migraine triggers. There are many theories about this. One is that alcohol dehydrates you. And it has certain chemicals that seem to set the stage for these headaches. But doctors aren’t exactly sure why. If you’re drinking, it’s always a good idea to alternate alcoholic drinks with water or spritzer and of course if alcohol is a known trigger for you then its best to steer well clear.

Artificial Sweeteners

The common artificial sweetener Aspartame can also trigger a migraine for some. Artificial sweetener beverages contain many additives and as the name suggests it’s ‘’ artificial” so not something recommended daily (if ever at all by a naturopath!).  Care needs to be taken when consuming diet drinks, sugar free lollies, low-calorie desserts, and other diet type foods. Always check the label before purchasing. It is found in foods such as NutraSweet and Equal. It’s best to test to see whether they are a migraine trigger for you.


People with sensitivity to caffeine can develop migraines after drinking larger amounts of black tea, green teas, coffee, coke and cola drinks and other caffeinated beverages. In its first instance Chocolate triggers migrainecaffeine has been known to stop migraines beginning however this has to be at the inception of a headache and does now work for every-body. That’s why you will see many — that’s why many over-the-counter migraine medications contain caffeine. So find out for yourself and test for your personal response to it. If a headache responds, then common sense prevails.

Common Additives

Common foods to avoid that contain additives areMany other food additives are also known to increase the chances for a migraine. Check labels carefully and avoid foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast extract, hydrolyzed or autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), sodium caseinate, and kombu extract (often used in Japanese foods).


A commonly found preservative added to deli meats, hot dogs & sausages (including soy types), salami & beef jerky, and cornbeef & bacon, and other cured, smoked, pickled, or canned meats is nitrites. They are commonly associated with triggering migraines. Choice nitrite-free varieties and most of all cook fresh unpreserved meats and best not to indulge when dining out.


Sulfites, another preservative, are commonly found in most dried fruits (including prunes, figs, and apricots), wine (white and red), and many processed foods. Check labels carefully to avoid this sneaky migraine trigger.


Black and Green teas, red wine are common sources along with red-skinned apples and pears, apple juice and cider. Tannins are plant compounds that provide astringency which means they have a ‘tightening effect’ on mucous membranes. They can cause irritation for some. Constipation can also be caused resulting from a high intake of tannins. Chronic intake may inhibit digestive enzymes.  Tannins can also impact iron absorption which is why many Naturopaths will recommend taking them separately to iron and away from other medications.

Tyraminefoods that trigger migraines

Those lovely leftovers may be causing you problems if you suffer from migraines. As tyramine content increases over time, especially if food is improperly stored, it is best to avoid eating leftovers. If you do need to store food, be vigilant about using airtight containers. These are commonly found in chocolate, aged and fermented foods including cheddar, blue, Brie, and all hard and “moldy”cheeses), soy foods, nuts, citrus fruits, and vinegars (both red and balsamic). As histamine has an accumulative effect on the body, if a person has allergic responses to histamine then ideally they need to keep their daily intake to 20mg/day or less.  Read more on Histamine foods and its effects on the body here.  

Consistency is Key

Skipping meals and dehydration are significant triggers for migraines. Experts recommend that everyone eat five or six small meals throughout the day. This is even more important if you have regular migraines. Studies show it can reduce headaches. As a bonus, it fires up metabolism and prevents weight gain, another link to migraines.Bed Ridden by Migraines

Genetics and Migraines

Genes commonly investigated that are implicated are those involving serotonin and dopamine metabolism, neurogenic inflammation, vascular function, and hormone regulation. Checking MTHFR gene can be useful in understanding your body’s ability to methylate, detoxify, build and breakdown neurotransmitters sufficiently. There are several factors involved including MTHFR, COMT, NOS and DRD genetic SNPS resulting in poor estrogen clearance, increased homocysteine levels and issues with dopamine and neurotransmitters as mentioned above.  There is evidence that high histamine and high homocysteine are implicated in migraines. What do you do about it? Folate deficiency is also linked to the onset of migraines.

What can we do to assist?

Supply the correct forms of folate or vitamin B12 to your body slowly along with healing your gut first, use moderate amounts of quality magnesium, and other vitamins. Whenever you are wanting to test your genes it is best to consult a professional from Gaining Health Naturally to assist. In clinical practice, I have found gut healing is essential, heavy metal toxicity could be implemented along with testing foods that are potentially your individual culprits that trigger you. Find out more here.

Read more on MTHFR testing here


Gaining Health Naturally Naturopathy Brisbane, Sunshine Coast Qld

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