Apr 06 2017

LCKL 070 – Migraines and How The Ketogenic Diet (May) Help

Do you suffer from frequent Migraines that leave you incapacitated and unable to function. Are you finding that they are becoming more and more frequent? If so, then I have good news for you. The ketogenic diet may actually help put a stop to these migraines.

  • What Migraines Are;
  • The Different Types of Migraines;
  • The Triggers of Migraines;
  • The impact that the Ketogenic Diet has on Glutamate Production;
  • The impact that the Ketogenic Diet has on hypoglycaemia;
  • The impact that the Ketogenic Diet has on Magnesium Levels;
  • The relationship between Gluten and Migraines;
  • The relationship between Food Sensitivities and Migraines; and
  • 2 Other Reasons why you may suffer from Migraines.
What are Migraines?3 Main Types of MigrainesWhat About Abdominal Migraines?Triggers of MigrainesHow The Ketogenic Diet Can Prevent and/or Treat MigrainesOther Causes of Migraines
  • Migraines are severe, painful headaches that are often accompanied by warning signs such as flashes of lights, blind spots, tingling in arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and even increased sensitivity to light and sound.
  • The pain of migraines can last anywhere from a couple of hours to days. I know my dad can have a migraine for almost a week, whereas when I get them I only have them for a few hours or so.
  • Although the cause of migraines is not well known, it is thought to be due to abnormal brain activity, causing a temporary alteration in nerve signals, chemicals and blood flow in the brain.
  • They are much more common in women than men.
  • Migraine without an Aura:
    • Most frequent type of Migraine;
    • Moderate to Severe Pulsating Headache Pain that occurs without warning.
    • Usually felt on one side of the head.
    • Can also include Nausea, Confusion, Blurred Vision, Mood Changes, Fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells.
    • Attacks typically last 4-72 hours.
    • These may repeat a few times a year to a few times a week.
    • Movement will make the attack worse.
    • May worsen with medications.
  • Migraine with Aura:
    • Visual Disturbances and other Neurological Symptoms which happen 10-60 minutes before the actual headache hits.
    • Usually last no more than an hour.
    • May temporarily lose part or all of your vision.
    • May occur without headache pain initially but which may strike at any time.
  • Migraine with Brainstem Aura:
    • Mostly in adolescent girls around period time.
    • Does not include symptoms of motor weakness.
    • Includes partial or total loss of vision, dizziness and loss of balance.
    • May also include ringing in the ears and fainting.
    • Throbbing pain comes on suddenly and is normally felt on both sides at the back of the head.
  • There are also Hemiplegic Migraines that cause temporary paralysis possibly lasting several days, Retinal Migraines which are characterized by visual loss or disturbances in one eye and Chronic Migraines which are headaches that occur on 15 or more days per month for more than 3 months with at least 8 of them being characteristic of migraines.
  • These are not headaches but are actually belly aches.
  • They often happen as a reaction to the same triggers as migraines.
  • They can hurt a lot and cause nausea, cramps and vomiting.
  • Kids of people who get migraine headaches are more likely to suffer from it.
  • About 2 in 100 children suffer from these migraines and more girls do than boys.
  • Also, kids who get abdominal migraines as children are more likely to suffer from migraines when they get older.
  • They are extremely rare in adults.

There are many known triggers of migraines which will vary from person to person:

  • Allergies and Allergic Reactions;
  • Bright Lights, Loud Noises, Flickering Lights, Smoky Rooms, Temperature Changes, Strong Smells and even Perfumes.
  • Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns/Irregular Sleep.
  • Smoking or Exposure to Cigarette Smoke.
  • Skipping Meals causing low blood sugar.
  • Dehydration.
  • Alcohol.
  • Histamine Intolerance (more information below).
  • Low Serotonin (more information below).
  • Hormonal Triggers such as PMS, Birth Control Pills or Menopause.
  • Foods containing Tyramine, MSG or Nitrates.
  • Other Food Allergies.
  • Medications like Sleeping Tablets.

Reason #1 – Reduces Glutamate

  • One major cause of migraines is Glutamate.
  • Ketones block high concentrations of glutamate, and therefore a ketogenic diet can have a beneficial effect for migraine sufferers.

Reason #2 – Reduces Hypoglycemia

  • Reactive hypoglycaemia caused from a sudden surge of insulin levels after you eat a meal high in carbohydrates is one of the reasons for migraine attacks.
  • The ketogenic diet will reduce the amount of carbohydrates and therefore will minimise the level of hypoglycaemia.



Reason #3 – Reduces Low Intake of Magnesium

  • Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral for many different reasons.
  • One reason is in the prevention and/or treatment of migraines.
  • If you are following a ketogenic diet correctly then you are also making sure that the nutrition you are eating is good quality. Therefore you should be consuming plenty of foods high in magnesium, like avocadoes, spinach, kale or almonds.

Reason #4 – Eliminates Gluten

  • Gluten is a protein that you can find in grains which can cause serious inflammation within the gut.
  • There are 3 different levels of intolerances, ranging from gluten intolerance, celiac disease (autoimmunity) or wheat allergy.
  • There is a very strong connection between Gluten and Migraines.
  • If you would like to learn more about Gluten then check out Episode # 032.

Reason #5 – Food Intolerances

  • There are many foods that you may be sensitive to which are eliminated on the ketogenic diet, such as:
    • Chocolate;
    • Red Wine – Alcohol causes increased blood flow to your brain and can result in dehydration, leading to headaches and migraines. Alcohol is especially prevalent in those who are suffering from cluster headaches.
    • Caffeine – Although some people say that their headaches gets better after drinking a cup of coffee, there are also those that it may also cause the headache when you come down from your caffeine high.
    • Cheese – Aged cheese is more likely to cause a headache. This is due to the tyramine content that forms as the proteins in cheese breaks down over time. The longer a cheese actually ages, the more tyramine it has. To avoid these headaches it is wise to avoid blue cheese, cheddar, gouda, swiss and parmesan.
    • MSG – Also known as monosodium glutamate it is something that is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods.
    • Nitrates from Processed Meats and Hot Dogs – These processed meats will cause you to get a headache. The nitrates and nitrites may dilate the blood vessels and trigger headache`s in some people.

Reason #1 – Histamine Intolerance

  • Histamine has been suspected to play a role in migraines for many years, since the 1950’s.
  • If histamine is an issue with you but you have tested negative to every possible allergen and you don’t seem to have any allergy symptoms then the histamine effect may be because of digestion or because of certain foods that are migraine triggers.
  • If you are finding keto is not working for helping your migraines then you may need to go on a histamine elimination diet for a while. If you would like a list of the foods you are and aren’t allowed on the low histamine diet you can sign up for our FREE Inner Circle and it will be included there.
  • Unfortunately many of the foods that are eaten in keto are high histamine foods so you must be creative for a certain amount of time. Download my list to find out.
  • If you have done the elimination diet but it is still not fixed then you may be low in the enzyme DAO. If you do not have sufficient DAO then your body will be unable to break down the histamine and will cause issues. You are able to get supplemental DAO from pig kidneys by taking it 15 minutes before eating.
  • So how do you heal histamine intolerance? By healing the gut. Therefore, check out my course “Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome” available on Udemy. Check out the URL in the shownotes, along with the unique coupon code.

Reason #2 – Low Serotonin Levels

  • Although not a primary cause of migraines, low levels of Serotonin have been implicated with migraine headaches.
  • As Serotonin is primarily found within the gut (approx. 90% of it), having Leaky Gut Syndrome can lead to low levels of this hormone and therefore contribute to Migraine Headaches. Once again, my course “Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome” is a great resource for sorting this out and eliminating your headaches.
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Please note that this information is not intended for medical purposes or to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. It is for informational purposes only to help guide you on your journey towards optimal wellness.


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