MigreLief | MIGRELIEF - Part 2

MigreLief Category

Learn How to Speak Your Body’s Language: Nutritional Deficiencies and Their Consequences

April 8th, 2020

Most people are aware of the short-term consequences of an unhealthy diet: weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tooth decay, etc. But in 2019, a group of doctors in the United Kingdom observed another complication stemming from a teenage boy’s junk food-based diet: blindness. In a case report published in the Annals of Medicine, researchers from the University of Bristol offer a cautionary tale for healthcare practitioners about the unexpected consequences of a deficiency-deprived diet, emphasizing the permanent damages it can cause to vision and the nervous system.

The patient, a 14-year-old boy at the time, was first taken to his primary care practitioner complaining of fatigue. Blood panel tests showed that he had a vitamin B12 deficiency but otherwise was in good health. His doctor prescribed B12 injections and nutrition counseling. By the following year, the teenager had begun to develop vision and hearing difficulties, but tests still came back normal. These visions disturbances continued worsening over two years until he was eventually referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist.

At 17, the boy was legally blind, which is defined as a central visual acuity of 20/200 or worse and was diagnosed with optic neuropathy – the name given to damage to the optic nerve from any cause. Optic neuropathy can result in complete blindness if left untreated. Through imaging and genetic tests, doctors were able to confirm that the teen didn’t have any hereditary conditions or lesions that were causing his vision loss. However, his vitamin B12 levels were still abnormal.

Upon further examining his eating habits, doctors learned that “since elementary school, [the boy] would not eat certain textures of food.” Subsisting only on a diet of chips, processed meats, white bread, and a daily portion of french fries. Doctors also found copper, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D deficiencies, as well as decreased bone density.

Nutritional deficiencies are a fairly common occurrence; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 10 percent of Americans have at least one deficiency. Globally, nutritional deficiencies affect an estimated 2 billion people, and in the developing world, these deficiencies account for a significant percentage of the morbidity and mortality rates among babies, children, and pregnant women.

When experts talk about “nutritional deficiencies,” they are usually referring to micronutrients. Nutrients are often divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients, as the name suggests, are the nutrients that we need in big amounts; fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are all examples of macronutrients. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are nutrients that the body needs in smaller quantities, like vitamins and minerals. Most of the micronutrients that humans need to survive can be found in food, with the exception of vitamin D, which the body produces after being exposed to the sun.

Because we only need small quantities of micronutrients, it can take a long time for the body to become completely depleted of any particular one of them. In the case of the teenage boy, his nutritional deficiencies became so severe over the course of at least six years, the authors say, that they eventually caused irreparable damage to his optic nerve.

According to a report published in 2012, the top five nutrition deficiencies in the United States were vitamin B6, iron (especially among women in childbearing years), vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin B12. The symptoms of a nutritional deficiency vary depending on the nutrient; iron deficiency (which often leads to anemia) can cause fatigue, headaches, and weakness. The symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin B12, which is common among vegans and older adults, can produce dizziness, nausea, weight loss, nausea, and shortness of breath. Research also suggests that people who suffer from migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).

In the case of the 17-year-old patient, even though doctors prescribed dietary supplements, his vision did not return. But that is not to say that nutritional deficiencies are irreversible or inevitable. According to nutrition experts at Harvard University, most people – except those with restrictive diets or specific health problems – can get all their vitamins and minerals through their diet. Strict vegetarians and vegans should consider supplementing with vitamin B12 and iron, however.

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet goes beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Severe nutritional deficiencies, like the one in the case study, can cause serious and irreparable damage to the body, and in extreme cases, they may even become fatal.

To meet nutrient needs, the CDC recommends choosing “a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups,” including a variety of vegetables like dark leafy greens, orange and red produce, and legumes. Additionally, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting the consumption of red meat – a valuable source of vitamin B12, iron, and zinc – to no more than three portions per week, and avoiding processed meats like ham, bacon, and salami altogether.

 

More Than a Headache: The Economic Impact of Migraines

April 8th, 2020

Migraine is a neurological condition that affects 12 to 15 percent of the entire world’s population. In the United States alone, it is estimated that every 10 seconds, someone seeks emergency care for a severe headache. Migraine is the most common diagnosis after a headache-related emergency visit. Even though migraines aren’t as publicized or talked about as other conditions, this disorder is more prevalent than asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy combined.

As is the case with other disabling conditions, the economic burden of migraines in the United States is significant. The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that more than 90 percent of people who suffer from migraines are unable to function normally during an attack. That means that every day, tens of thousands of individuals have to miss work or school as a direct consequence of migraines. In households with at least one migraine sufferers, healthcare costs are estimated to be up to 70 percent higher.

To calculate the individual and public expenditure for any particular condition or disease, experts use the concept of direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are the costs that can be attributed to healthcare services. Emergency room visits, lab tests, and diagnostic exams, and office visits are all examples of direct costs. Indirect costs, on the other hand, include short and long-term disability, absenteeism (missing work or school), and loss of productivity.

The Real Cost of Migraines

Based on the frequency of the attacks, migraines are divided into two broad categories: chronic and episodic. Chronic migraines are categorized as having 15 or more headaches, with at least eight meeting the criteria for migraine with or without aura, per month for a period of at least three months. Episodic migraines are defined as having 14 or fewer headaches per month, with at least one fulfilling the criteria for migraine.

Both chronic and episodic migraines pose a substantial economic burden, though chronic migraines are more disabling, and thus more expensive. In a research study published by the American Headache Society’s journal Headache, a group of researchers collected data from 2,143 chronic and episodic migraine patients using a web-based survey to understand the direct and indirect costs associated with migraines.

For the study, respondents were asked to provide information on the number of times in the past three months where they were admitted to the hospital, underwent diagnostic testing, visited the emergency room or urgent care, or visited their healthcare provider due to their headaches. Other questions included the number of days the subjects had to miss work or school because of headaches, and the number of days the participant saw their productivity at work or home reduced by half.

The results of the study confirmed the substantial economic burden of migraine headaches for American migraineurs, particular among those who suffer from chronic migraines. On average, episodic migraines had an annual per-person cost of $2,649. The vast majority of that expenditure came from direct expenses, including visits to a primary care physician, neurologist, and nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

As expected, the direct, indirect, and total costs were substantially higher in the chronic migraine group. Study participants in the chronic migraine group reported more primary care and specialist visits, more headache-related diagnostic testing, and greater losses in productivity. Chronic migraineurs were also more likely to miss work or school due to a migraine attack.

Comorbid conditions also drive up the costs for chronic migraineurs. According to the American Migraine Foundation, chronic migraine sufferers are at an increased risk of having at least one more chronic condition (comorbidity) like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and stroke. The annual per-person cost of chronic migraines was estimated to be around $8,243.

Other sources estimate that the collective cost of chronic and episodic migraines in the United States amounts to $36 to $41 billion annually. Medications and preventive migraine therapies also account for a significant portion of the total expenditure. In a 2005 study published in the Journal of Managed Care, abortive medications in the triptan class of drugs accounted for the highest medication costs of migraines.

Migraine continues to be somewhat of a mystery in the medical community. It is believed that nearly half of migraine sufferers are never officially diagnosed with migraines, which means that the cost of this neurological condition could be even higher than estimated.  

The Big Bang Theory of Migraine

April 8th, 2020


Do you remember how old you were when you got your first migraine? For many, these debilitating headaches begin during adolescence or their early twenties, though migraines can really start at any age.

It is estimated that about 5 percent of school-aged children struggle with migraines, and in some cases, children as young as 4 years old may start experiencing symptoms. Before adolescence, girls and boys get migraines at a similar rate, but by the time puberty arrives, the incidence of migraine attacks among girls more than doubles that of boys. Experts aren’t sure why women are more sensitive to migraine headaches than men, but one potential culprit may be estrogen, the most abundant hormone in women’s bodies.

First Exposure to Estrogen Could be the Starting Point for Migraine in Some Adolescent Girls

In a study presented last year at the American Headache Society 61st Annual Scientific Meeting, experts set out to understand why the prevalence of migraines among girls shoots up – and ultimately remains greater in adult women – after the first menstruation but stays the same among their male counterparts.

For the study conducted by a team of experts from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, 10 years of data from 761 teen girls between the ages of 8 and 20 were examined. The research team followed up with the participants every 6 to 12 months to determine if puberty was approaching or if it had already started. The team looked for thelarche (breast development), menarche (start of menstruation), and pubarche (growth of pubic hair) as the early signs of puberty.

When the girls were around 16 years old, they were asked to fill out a headache questionnaire to determine if they met the diagnostic criteria for migraine or probable migraine. Out of all participants, 11 percent were diagnosed with migraine, and 7 percent had probable migraines. The vast majority of girls (82 percent) did not meet the criteria for migraine headaches.

After comparing the onset of puberty and migraine diagnosis, researchers found that girls with migraine were more likely to have earlier menarche and thelarche than girls without migraines. Specifically, girls with migraine, on average, experienced menarche 5 months earlier and thelarche 4 months earlier.

According to Vincent Martin, MD, president of the National Headache Foundation and one of the co-investigators of the study, their results suggest “(…) that the very first exposure to estrogen could be the starting point for migraine in some adolescent girls. It may be the Big Bang Theory of Migraine.”

It’s hard to determine why some girls experience these changes sooner than others. Most of the time, puberty starts after the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to release hormones (estrogen in the case of girls and testosterone in the case of boys). In the case of early or precocious puberty, the brain may start sending out these signals earlier than it is supposed to. Other times, though less common, precocious puberty can happen as a result of a more serious issue like a tumor or thyroid problems.

While precocious puberty can rarely be prevented, treating any underlying medical conditions that may trigger it or using medications or supplements to lower abnormally high levels of hormones has been shown to help.

Can Light Therapy Improve Migraines?

April 8th, 2020

Green light

Some 5,000 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to find Egyptians sitting under shinning rays of colored light, hoping to find relief for all kinds of ailments. In special purpose-built rooms, colored crystals were strategically placed at different angles to allow sunlight to filter through them and shine different colors. These colors were associated with things like fertility, healing, protection, and more.

Light therapy, also called phototherapy (or chronotherapy when light is combined with colors for added benefits), has been around for thousands of years. But Egyptians weren’t the only ones harvesting the powers of the sun; experts have found evidence suggesting that ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Indian civilizations all benefited from chronotherapy. Now, new research shows that our ancestors were probably onto something when they decided to use concentrated sunlight therapeutically.

Light therapy has evolved quite a bit over the past five millennia. One of the first to study the therapeutic effects of light in modern medicine was an Islandic physician named Niels Finsen. In 1903, Dr. Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for curing skin tuberculosis (lupus vulgaris) after finding that light made him feel more energetic despite suffering from Niemann-Pick disease – a metabolic disorder that affects the body’s ability to metabolize lipids.

Years after Dr. Finsen’s discovery, NASA developed a newer kind of light-emitting diode (LED) that was more effective and stable than any previous LED technologies. LED technology – when using the correct wavelength and potency has been proven to be effective for wound healing, skin rejuvenation, pain treatment, and more.

Migraines and Light Therapy

Putting migraines and light therapy on the same sentence might sound like an oxymoron. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of migraineurs experience mild to severe photophobia (light sensitivity) before or during an attack, making light one of the most well-known migraine triggers. Blue light, like the one emitted from smartphones and other electronic devices, seems to affect migraineurs the most.

However, recent studies have shown that while certain light colors such as blue, white, red, and amber appear to exacerbate headaches and photophobia, one color, in particular, seems to reduce migraine severity and light sensitivity significantly.

A Green New Hope

Ever since phototherapy was introduced as a relatively safe and effective treatment for all kinds of afflictions, a rainbow of colored therapeutic light bulbs has emerged. For example, blue light is said to improve the symptoms of seasonal depression, and red light seems to be an effective acne treatment. Green, however, is the color of choice when it comes to treating a headache.

Green light is thought to reduce chronic pain, including pain caused by migraines, fibromyalgia, and other pain syndromes. In an animal study published in the journal Pain, green light was shown to reduce pain sensation in rats by up to 60 percent. In another study conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers, participants were asked to report changes in pain intensity during a migraine attack when they were exposed to different colored lights.

The results of the study showed that most respondents – nearly 80 percent – reported that high-intensity white lights significantly worsened headache pain. Every other color tested, including red, blue, and amber, also aggravated migraines. Green light, however, had no negative impact on headaches. In fact, researchers were surprised to discover that green light exposure reduced head pain in about 20 percent of participants.

While these studies present green light therapy as an interesting drug-free approach for migraine management, don’t toss out your preventive or abortive medications just yet. Currently, there aren’t many regulations in place for light therapy devices, and some commercial light therapy bulbs don’t offer the right potency to treat migraines effectively. More research is also needed to define the optimal wavelength and appropriate frequency of the treatment and to look into any potential side effects that may come along with it.

Is Your Migraine Medication Making Your Hair Fall Out?

March 23rd, 2020

Whether you have long or short hair, you probably lose a few strands every day while sleeping, showering, and combing your hair. That’s completely normal. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists, most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. But when you are shedding more than a few strands, or you start seeing bald spots around your head, it can be a side effect of a medication you may be taking.

Drug-induced alopecia is a type of hair loss triggered by medications. In most cases, drug-induced hair loss is temporary and reversible, meaning that your hair can grow back once you change the dose or stop taking the medication.

Why do medications trigger hair loss?

There are three distinct phases in the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen.

Anagen Phase
During the anagen phase, hair-forming cells grow and divide rapidly, pushing older cells upward from the root towards the surface. The anagen phase lasts between one and three years, and about 85% of all hair follicles are at this stage at any given moment.

Catagen Phase
Also known as the transitional phase, this is a short period in which your hair follicles receive signals that indicate that the hair should stop growing. This phase lasts a couple of weeks, and about one percent of all follicles are at the catagen phase at any given moment.

Telogen Phase
Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within 2 to 4 months after taking the drug. This condition causes the hair follicles to go into their resting phase (telogen) and fall out too early. People with telogen effluvium usually shed between 30% to 70% more than the normal 100 and 150 hairs a day.  At this final stage, the mature hair is no longer growing, so it eventually detaches itself from the hair follicle. The telogen phase is often referred to as the resting phase, and it lasts about three months. After the hair has stopped growing, it will eventually once the hair falls out, a new anagen stage begins again. About 10% of your hair follicles are at the telogen phase at any given moment.

Medications can trigger hair loss by disrupting the anagen phase by preventing new hairs from being formed, or the telogen phase by making the hair follicles enter the resting phase and falling off too early.

What types of medications can cause drug-induced alopecia?

  • Antibiotics
  • Anticonvulsants (example: Topamax)- Topamax / Patient/Info-Forums)
  • Antidepressants and mood stabilizers (including Prozac and Zoloft)
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Prescription anti-inflammatories
  • Retinoids (acne medications with vitamin A)
  • Some OTC and prescription antacids

How is drug-induced alopecia treated?

If you think you are experiencing drug-induced hair loss, talk to your doctor, or pharmacist about adjusting your doses or switching to a different medication. The best way for treating medication-induced hair loss is, where possible, stop taking the medication that’s causing it. Once you discontinue using the drug, it can take up to six months to stop shedding hairs and three to twelve months to see new growth.

Sometimes, changing or stopping medications may not be an option. In those cases, some prescription medications or topical treatments might help. Other options include hair transplant surgery, laser, and light therapy.

TOPICAL TREATMENTS

Some people have had success with the following products when applied to hair and scalp.

Nioxin shampoo and products for thinning hair – Often recommended for cancer patients who lose their hair due to chemotherapy, Nioxin can be found in many retail stores, beauty supply stores and online.

PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo (Infused with Argan Oil, Biotin & Natural Ingredients, Sulfate Free, All Hair Types)

Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth B-Complex Formula for Hair Loss (Removes DHT for Thicker Fuller Hair Anti Dandruff Formula with Zinc Tea Tree Oil Extract Jojoba Oil Argan Oil For Women and Men)

HOME REMEDIES FOR HAIR LOSS

Oil Mixtures  – The scalp contains glands which produce sebum, the skin’s natural oil.  The oil that the scalp produces is light and only keeps the skin lubricated and the hair waterproof.  Hair washings, wind exposure, and dead skin strips away natural causing frizziness, dry, itchy, flaky scalp and hair loss.  All of these can also lead to lack of hair growth.  Oil mixtures can be an all-natural solution for hair loss.  Here are some hair growth options:

Ginger Root & Coconut Oil for Stimulating Hair Regrowth – Purchase fresh ginger root from the produce department of your grocery store and a jar of coconut oil.  It will be solid but easily melts at warm temperatures or when heated.

Preparation:  Peel and slice ginger into small pieces to fit in a blender or food processor.  Blend to a pulp (do not add water) and then place the ball of pulp on a thick towel, wrap and squeeze the juice into a bowl.  Melt the coconut oil by placing it in a small bowl and then placing the bottom of the small bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water.  Never microwave the oil or it will destroy the beneficial properties.  Add the squeezed ginger juice to the coconut oil and mix with a spoon.  You may put this concoction in a plastic or glass jar, bowl or bottle for storage. Glass is best as you can place it in warm/hot water to melt each time you want to use it.   If you store it in a bottle with a dropper it is easy to apply with the dropper to you scalp.

You can also use a small paint brush or drizzle it on with your fingers.  Massage into your scalp.  You can tie up your hair or pin it back while the mixture stays on your scalp for  at least 2 hours before washing it off with cold water.  Shampoo and condition as normal.    You may also use it before bedtime, put a plastic shower cap on your head or lay your head on a towel when you sleep due to the slight oiliness.  You can wash out in the morning with your regular shampoo.  The great properties of ginger and coconut oil will nourish your hair, prevent breakage and stimulate hair growth. Use it regularly at least 3 times a week if  you have hair loss problems and don’t just want to stimulate your hair follicles, prevent dandruff and keep your hair nourished.  Here is a great online video with step by step instructions.  Ginger Root Coconut Oil Treatment Video.

ESSENTIAL OIL TREATMENTS – Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts.  Often, it takes several pounds of a single plant to make one essential oil bottle, which means that these liquids are incredibly potent and should always be mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, grapeseed oil or even olive oil.

Rosemary Essential Oil
 (herb) – Using rosemary oil for hair loss is one of the most effective, natural solutions.  Although it’s not clear how rosemary works for hair loss, applying it to the scalp stimulates the skin and increases blood circulation.   In addition to stimulating circulation, rosemary essential oil destroys any bacteria that could clog hair follicles.

Note: Never use essential oils full strength, directly on the skin.  Dilute with a carrier oil (jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil etc. – (3 tsp of carrier oil to 10 drops rosemary essential oil).

Rosemary for Daily Use – You may also use rosemary oil for hair loss on a daily basis through scalp massage and with daily shampooing. For a daily massage to stimulate new growth, add two drops of rosemary oil to one ounce of jojoba oil. Rub into the scalp for three minutes in the morning before showering. Another tip for nourishing your hair on a daily basis is to add rosemary to your shampoo or conditioner. Use one drop of oil for every four ounces of shampoo or conditioner. For hair loss, rosemary essential oil blends well with lavender, sage or peppermint. If blending, use half rosemary essential oil and half of your choice of another oil.

Hot Oil Hair Treatment – Once a week use a hot oil treatment for your hair and scalp. Combine 5 drops of rosemary essential oil with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small jar with a lid.  Warm the oil-rosemary solution by placing the jar in a bowl of  hot water (recently boiled) the oil is warm.  Comb through damp hair. Wrap a bath towel around your head to keep in the heat and let stand for 20 minutes or more.  The rosemary treatment and heat will increase circulation to the scalp and you should see an improvement with hair growth

Lavender & Other Essential Oils for Hair Growth –  This is a treatment that has been recommended for people with Alopecia areata (a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins).  This essential oil blend includes lavender, thyme, rosemary, cedarwood, plus the carrier oils jojoba and grape-seed (a carrier oil dilutes the essential oils and aids in the delivery of their healing properties without irritation).

To make an essential oil blend, mix the following:
3 drops of lavender oil
3 drops of rosemary oil
2 drops of thyme oil
2 drops of cedarwood oil
4 tsp. of grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp of jojoba oil

Mix the oils well before massaging the oil into your scalp. Apply to a small patch of your scalp before putting it on your entire scalp, to see how your skin reacts. If you do not have a negative reaction, massage the mixture into your scalp five minutes, being sure to cover bald or thinning spots. If the lavender oil becomes overwhelming to your senses, add a little more of one of the carrier oils (grapeseed, jojoba or even olive oil) to further dilute the mixture. Try not to dilute the oil too much, though, because you may lose the benefit. After you’re done, cover your hair with a towel. It’s suggested, that to see the best results, one should do this routinely for at least seven months. Apply before bed, and wash your hair in the morning.

NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS
Many people experience improvement (with hair loss AND migraines) with dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals & herbs)

Biotin – is a member of the B-vitamin family known as Vitamin B7 and helps with cell growth and blood sugar maintenance. It has been proven to help hair grow stronger and longer and it also helps strengthen your nails. It has even been shown to reverse premature graying.  It is especially important to the skin cells as they are frequently replaced due to their exposure to the outside environment. Biotin also protects the nervous system, preventing seizures, ataxia and loss of muscle tone.

Biotin is great for stress because it’s an important component of the nerves. Stress can cause hair loss so adding biotin to the diet gives protection both to the hair follicles and to the nerves that support their proper function. Check the supplement bottle for recommended dosage.  Many people start with 1,000 mcg. for hair loss  with a possibility of increasing up to 5,000 if they are not experiencing success at a lower dose.

Vitamin C – Free radical damage can block growth and cause your hair to age.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of hair structure. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.

Iron  – Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth.  Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women.

MigreLief – MigreLief is an effective drug free nutritional option for migraine sufferers without the hair-loss.

Does Topamax cause hair loss?

MigreLief is a dietary supplement containing ingredients known to be beneficial to migraine sufferers.  It comes in 3 daily formulas to maintain normal cerebrovascular tone and function and 1 fast-acting “as-needed” formula for on-the-spot neurological comfort.

MigreLief Original – Daily nutritional support for teens and adults with migraines
Children’s MigreLief – Daily nutritional support for kids age 2-12 with migraines
MigreLief+M – Daily nutritional support for women with hormonal/menstrual migraines

Note:  MigreLief+M contains the same triple therapy as Original MigreLief + 5 additional ingredients that help balance hormone and blood sugar fluctuations (well known migraine triggers).

MigreLief-NOW (fast-acting) on-the-spot nutritional support.

MigreLief daily formulas work by helping a migraine sufferer to maintain the normal cerebrovascular tone and function he or she enjoys on migraine-free days and by helping to maintain healthy mitochondrial energy reserves (the powerhouse of cells including brain cells).  Although many people experience benefits in as little as 3 weeks, MigreLief  (Original, Children’s or +M) should be taken for 90 days to achieve maximum effectiveness.  During this build-up period, MigreLief-NOW may be kept on hand at all times and taken “as-needed.”

For hair loss in general, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will promote hair growth. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep to regenerate cells and promote overall health is very important.  Foods rich in iron, vitamin A & D are known for supporting healthy hair;  spinach, bok-choy, carrots, sweet-potatoes, nuts, fish, chicken, and blueberries, to name a few, all will contribute to healthier hair.

Staying well hydrated while avoiding stress and other well known migraine triggers is key for migraine control as well.

Best Way to Build a Strong Immune System NOW!

March 21st, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it.   These are uncertain and confusing times for everybody, and it’s normal if you are finding it harder and harder to sleep at night. But getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever, as research shows that poor sleep is associated with increased vulnerability to infectious diseases and viruses.  Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

KEEP YOUR IMMUNE DEFENSE STRONG – GET SLEEP!  (Keep reading to get the list of immune system building supplements)

The Connection Between Sleep and Immunity

Sleep exerts a strong regulatory influence on immune functions. Every evening as your body shuts down for the night your brain goes through a series of predictable cycles of electrical activities known as the “phases” or “stages” of sleep. During these stages, your body fulfills essential tasks, like regenerating your muscles and tissues, consolidating memories in your brain, and strengthening your immune system.

When you get a full night’s sleep (i.e., you go through all the stages of the cycle and reach deep sleep), your immune system gets the chance to produce and release cytokines, a type of protein that acts as a chemical messenger and is secreted directly into the tissues and bloodstream. Cytokines bind to immune cell receptors and trigger an immune response targeting infection and inflammation.

An overproduction of cytokines can result in an auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system targets and promotes inflammation in healthy tissue. But when you don’t get enough sleep, and your body can’t secrete enough cytokines, you become more vulnerable to diseases.

Sleeping also increases T cell production, which play an essential role in protecting you against viruses. T cells contribute to the body’s immune response when a potentially harmful foreign body enters the system. These immune cells recognize pathogens then activate integrins, which are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. In fact, research has shown that quality sleep can increase your T cell’s ability to fight off infections.  In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

In addition to building a strong immune system, the benefits of healthy sleep include

  • Increases longevity
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects against cellular damage
  • Lowers risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • Lowers risk of obesity and reduces stress
  • Improves cognitive function and memory

The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers and school-aged children need about nine to 10 hours of sleep.

To learn more about getting a good nights sleep and sleep tips download our FREE Sleep E-book plus Insomnia Whitepaper.

If you are having difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, consider taking Akeso’s drug-free dietary supplement, “Sleep All Night” with 7 ingredients proven to help reestablish healthy sleep patterns and promote deep, rejuvenating sleep: Hops, Melatonin, Vitamin B-6, Zizyphus Jujube, Glycine, Valerian Root, and Magnesium

Buy Now or Learn More at MySleepAllNight.com  (Promo Code: BESTSLEEP20 for 20% OFF)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep and Stay Well

Practice good sleep hygiene to support healthy sleep and a strong immune system.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep and wake schedule.
  • Avoid alcohol in the last hour before bed.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine up to 8 hours before bed.
  • Don’t use screens (computer, iphone etc.) for an hour or two before sleep.
  • Take a natural sleep aide.

Related Article:  Fortifying Your Body Against the Coronavirus:Learn tips for staying safe, why drinking plenty of water is a must and discover why the following supplements and others are so important:

Vitamin C – 2,000 mg/day
Zinc  – 50 mg/day
Vitamin A – 900 mcg/day
Vitamin D3 1,000 – 1,500 i.u. daily
Elderberry Extract – 500 mg/day (increase to 1,125 mg day if you show symptoms of flu or virus

Pelargonium Sidoides Extract – (Commonly used for upper respiratory infections including bronchitis). P. Sidoides is marketed in the U.S. as Umckaloaba – 1 dropper full twice a day in 2 oz. of water or juice.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences

What can I take instead of Excedrin migraine?

March 17th, 2020

This is the question that migraine sufferers who have been taking Excedrin have been asking now that the production of Excedrin migraine has been discontinued until further notice.  According to the American Migraine Foundation, both caplet and gel-tablets of Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine will be temporarily unavailable as GlaxoSmithKline works to resolve an inconsistency in how the ingredients are weighed. They go on to say, that this could actually be the ticket to reducing your migraine attacks because taking over-the-counter or prescription medications too frequently can actually cause Medication Overuse Headache (recurring migraines).  Not only does overuse make the medication less effective over time, it also causes pain between attacks and may trigger more frequent attacks.  Lastly, overuse can cause episodic (occasional migraines) to be come chronic.What can I take instead of Excedrin Migraine?

 

If you suffer migraines, knowing and avoiding your migraine triggers is important.  Also, never underestimate the power of nutrition.  Many dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs) have  have been shown to be beneficial for migraine sufferers.  MigreLief formulas have been designed to nutritionally support migraine sufferers either daily (Original MigreLief, Children’s MigreLief or MigreLief+M) or on an “as-needed” basis,”fast-acting MigreLief-NOW.” Learn More

 

Fragmented Sleep Linked to Future Migraines, Study Says

March 3rd, 2020

fragmented sleep

Migraine sufferers are two to eight times more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances, and nearly half of migraineurs identify sleep deprivation as a trigger. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology shows how fragmented sleep – the act of involuntarily waking up throughout the night – can trigger migraine headaches up to two days later.

Investigators from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA conducted a prospective study of 98 adults who suffered from episodic migraines. For the study, participants were asked to log information on sleep, migraines, and other health behaviors in an electronic diary. In addition to self-reported data, researchers also analyzed data collected from a wrist actigraphy device.

Over the course of six weeks, participants reported 870 headaches, with an average of 8.4 headaches per study volunteer. The average sleep duration was 7.7 hours. Surprisingly, the results of the study suggested that neither poor sleep quality (not resting during the night) nor short sleep duration (less than 6.5 hours) were associated with migraine episodes.

On the other hand, investigators found that sleep fragmentation, measured both by actigraphy and self-reported data, was linked to migraines not the day immediately following the fragmented sleep episode (day 0 in the study), but the day after that (day 1).

In terms of why fragmented sleep seems to have a delayed effect on migraines, experts don’t have a definitive answer yet. However, authors hypothesize that “[I]t is plausible that fragmented sleep represents changes in hypothalamic control (…) that may portend a higher risk of migraine more than 24 hours prior to headache onset.”

Though the authors note that further research is needed to understand the relationship of migraines and segmented sleep, this study adds to the growing body of evidence about the protective effects of sleep in human health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults 18 to 64 years get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and adults older than 65 should not sleep less than 8 hours.

Download Free E-book (How to Sleep Better) and White Paper (Insomnia & the Risk of Chronic Disease, Alternative Treatments) – Click Here

Migraines – Scents & Sensitivity

March 3rd, 2020

smell-induced migraines

Even with so many advances in medicine and technology, trigger diaries are still one of the first things doctors recommend after a migraine diagnosis. That is in part because migraines aren’t fully understood yet, so biological markers aren’t a reliable measurement. The other reason is that learning to recognize migraine triggers has been proven to improve patient-physician communication regarding treatment options and outcomes.

Everyone has different triggers, but experts believe that some common offenders affect migraineurs more than others. For example, women are significantly more likely to experience migraines than men, and researchers believe that female hormones might be partly to blame.

Stress is also a common trigger. In fact, one clinical study published in the journal Cephalgia found that almost 80 percent of respondents identified stress as a major headache trigger. Odors and scents also play a significant role in triggering and sometimes worsening migraines.

What’s That Smell?

Scents are something we tend to take for granted. As long as they are not offensive or extremely potent, we rarely notice what our surroundings smell like. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t detect the scent around us. As unlikely as it may seem, the human nose can discriminate more than one trillion smells, according to a research study published in 2014.

Our olfactory sense has many purposes, like detecting hazardous agents and shaping our sense of taste. The things we smell every day also influence how we relate and interact with the world around us; different scents can change our mood, transport us back to a particular memory, or, in the case of migraineurs, trigger a headache.

It isn’t clear why scents can trigger headaches in some people. Experts know that when a substance releases its molecules into the air, and we breathe them in, they stimulate a particular type of cells high at the back of the nose, called olfactory sensory neurons. Migraine sufferers are known to be more sensitive to odors because their sensory neurons and pain receptors seem to be more easily aroused than on people without migraines.

Common Migraine-Triggering Scents

Osmophobia is the medical term to describe the intense sensitivity and aversion to scents. While osmophobia is categorized as an anxiety disorder, it’s most commonly seen as a migraine symptom than as a stand-alone condition. Many studies have been conducted to assess the prevalence of osmophobia among migraine sufferers.

A study published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research that surveyed 300 headache patients in Iran found that 84 percent of migraineurs with aura and 74 percent of migraine sufferers without aura reported that scents triggered some of their attacks. 50 percent of all respondents noted that osmophobia was present in all of their attacks. In another study, 75 percent of participants identified perfumes as a migraine trigger.

Perfumes are not the only smell-related migraine trigger. These are other scents that migraineurs should try to avoid:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Gasoline and gas fumes
  • Motor vehicle exhaust
  • Chemical cleaning products
  • Paint/Paint thinner
  • Incense
  • Campfire smoke
  • Certain types of foods
  • Nail polish/nail polish remover

Preventing Smell-Induced Migraines

Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of control over how the world around us smells like. One of the most common odor-related triggers, motor vehicle exhaust, is almost impossible to avoid, no matter how hard we try. At home, it is easier to manage smells by switching to fragrance-free products, using a fan to circulate stale air, going out for fresh air, etc.

Here are some simple strategies you can implement to avoid smell-induced migraines when you are not at home:

  • Ask your employer to implement a fragrance-free policy (here’s an example from the American Lung Association)
  • Use an air purifier
  • Use a migraine stick to block out smells
  • Wear a surgical mask or a nose plug
  • Keep a trigger diary to learn to recognize your smell triggers so you can better avoid them

Finding Your Triggers: Food & Elimination Diet

March 3rd, 2020

elimination diet

When you have migraines, knowing your triggers can mean the difference between avoiding a headache or getting one. Even though science is still not sure about what exactly causes migraines, experts know that everyday things like foods, drinks, sounds, smells, and medications can trigger one.

That’s why when people are first diagnosed with migraines, they are advised to keep a diary to record details of their daily activities. Trigger trackers help many migraine sufferers reduce the frequency of their attacks by helping them identify and eliminate potential migraine-inducing factors from their everyday lives.

Every migraineur has different triggers. For example, caffeine can be very polarizing among migraine sufferers: studies have shown that caffeine can be both a headache trigger and an inhibitor, so its effects vary depending on the person taking it. Another example is sleep; some people report getting a migraine after sleeping too little and others after sleeping too much.

But while some triggers are less common than others, different types of food remain at the top of many migraineurs list. If you think certain foods might be triggering your migraines, an elimination diet can help you get a clearer picture. Here’s how to do one.

 

Identifying Your Food Triggers

Contrary to popular belief, migraine food triggers aren’t always unhealthy, greasy, or sugary foods. Typical things you might frequently eat like citrus fruits, aged cheese, dark chocolate, eggs, apples, and onions have been known to trigger migraines. Still, since everybody responds differently to the substances they consume, the best way to identify the culprits of your recurring headaches is with an elimination diet.

 

What Is An Elimination Diet

Despite being called a ‘diet,’ elimination diets have nothing to do with weight loss. An elimination diet is the act of removing different food items or groups for a determined amount of time and then slowly reintroducing them to see how the body responds.

In addition to migraines, another reason why people might do an elimination diet is to look for sensitivities. In fact, elimination diets are the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies or intolerances like celiac disease and lactose intolerance.

Elimination diets are divided into two phases: elimination and reintroduction.

 

Elimination Phase

The aim of the elimination phase is to remove foods you think might be triggering your migraines. This phase should last at least three months, and the goal is to determine if your migraines have changed – e.g., they’ve become less frequent or intense – or if your symptoms remain the same or have worsened.

If you think certain foods might be triggering your migraines, but you don’t where to start, consider cutting out the most common culprits first, including:

  • Canned, cured, and processed meats
  • Alcohol and vinegar
  • Oranges, apples, and bananas
  • Chocolate
  • All dairy products
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Soy products
  • Eggs
  • MSG
  • Wheat
  • Nuts (including peanuts)

 

The University of Wisconsin has a comprehensive list of potential headache food triggers as well as migraine-safe alternatives to those foods. Read the list here.

If you know for sure that some of these foods aren’t triggers for you, there’s no need to eliminate them. It is important to point out, however, that you should replace any potentially triggering ingredients with healthy foods that are going to provide you with the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs.

During the elimination phase, it’s essential that you keep a trigger tracker. Cutting out possible food triggers doesn’t guarantee that you are not going to get migraines, but it will make it easier to pinpoint other potential triggers like lifestyle habits, medications, sleep changes, etc. if you do get one.

 

Keep a migraine diary and make sure to record every migraine attack, including its severity and duration, as well as any noteworthy information like your sleep quality, your stress levels, the weather, and any significant activities you may have done during the day.

 

Reintroduction Phase

 

The idea behind an elimination diet is to find how which foods might be causing your migraines, not to permanently expunge every potential trigger without figuring out how they affect your headaches. That is why during the second phase of your elimination diet, you are going to slowly reintroduce the foods that you eliminated, one by one.

Some experts recommend starting with the food or food group that you think is less likely to trigger a migraine. If, for example, you believe bananas might be safe to eat, try eating one banana a day for two or three days and see how you feel, but don’t overdo it.

It is important to wait at least two days before you reintroduce more food groups. Research suggests that sometimes, prodromal symptoms can precede the headache part of a migraine by up to three days, so don’t rule out a food item just because it didn’t trigger a migraine immediately.

 

A Word of Caution

Remember to eat enough food and drink plenty of water during your elimination diet. Extreme hunger and dehydration are known migraine triggers and can cause other health issues as well. Always consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have diabetes, are taking medications, or have a serious health condition.

Elimination diets are not foolproof, and while research studies have shown significant improvements both in the frequency and duration of attacks for people who have been able to identify their food triggers, not every migraine is caused by food.

The road to finding relief from migraines is not always a straight one, and not knowing what causes them can be extremely frustrating. Nevertheless, a combination of identifying – and avoiding – your triggers, while implementing a preventive strategy is key.