Specific Health Concerns


Migraine Headaches

A Vascular Headache

Migraines are vascular headaches that occur when there is uneven dilation of the blood vessels. Imagine a garden hose that is narrower in some places and widens out in others and then becomes narrower again. As the water flows through the hose it will meet resistance in the narrower places and then flow with ease in the widened place only to "hit" the narrow places again. This is exactly what occurs with migraine headaches when the blood vessels of the head dilate unevenly. The blood flows through the narrow passages and then will enter a place where the blood vessel has dilated. This does not produce pain because the flow of the blood is not impeded. It is when the blood continues on its path from the widened area into another narrow area that pain is produced. The blood continues to travel through the vessel but now it must go through a smaller space. When the blood "hits" this smaller space there is literally an impact. The same amount of fluid must now squeeze through a more narrow space. This creates pressure on the blood vessel wall which in turn can produce pain. Oftentimes, migraine sufferers can actually feel a throbbing or pulsating, a bonging pain that is rhythmic. This is the impact of the surge of blood on the narrowed vessel that occurs with each beat of the heart. This vessel has now become inflamed and possibly distended due to the onslaught of blood trying to enter a narrow space from a dilated space. The result is pain.

So Let's Get Those Spaces Even!

If we could make the blood vessels even—a consistent diameter that does not fluctuate or when it does change it would dilate or constrict evenly across the length of the blood vessel—then that would solve our problem! Yes. That is correct. That is exactly what prescription medications are designed to do. But interestingly enough, the mechanism of action of these medications is to cause vasoconstriction.This means that the blood vessels will narrow. This can work because the dilated portions of the vessels now become just as narrow as the already constricted parts of the blood vessel and there is no traversing the wide portions to the narrow portions. This means no surges of blood impacting the vessel wall thus an alleviation of the pain. Sometimes this won't work because the vessel walls are already so inflamed and distended that the narrowing helps, but cannot take away the tenderness of the already damaged tissue. That's where the anti-inflammatory/analgesic drugs come in (like aspirin). Overall, however, vasoconstriction will bring some if not total relief. But let's think about this for a minute...

Vasoconstriction—A Temporary Fix

Okay, we have the blood vessel at an even diameter throughout its length. This prevents further damage to the walls by not allowing surges of blood to hit and injure the wall. But the vessels are constricted—narrowed, which means an overall higher blood pressure. It also means that certain substances that are vasoconstrictors will have to be continually manufactured to maintain this constricted and even state of affairs. What if the production of these vasoconstrictors falls off? The vessels will begin to dilate and the possibility for uneven dilation becomes a consideration. Please note that if we have surges of vasoconstrictors this adds to the uneven dilation problem and can set up vasospasms. The blood vessel walls go into spasms because of the conflicting messages—dilate—no—constrict—no—dilate—no—constrict. What will it be? With different hormones telling the blood vessel wall different messages, a spasm can occur, which is painful.

What Does the Body Want?

Constricted or dilated blood vessels? What does the body prefer to have? If our blood vessels are wide and open, blood flow is easier and blood pressure drops. Blood can more easily access all areas without the need for the heart to pump as hard. It is easier on the whole body if the blood vessels are dilated to allow easy access of the blood to the tissues. Therefore, when the vasoconstrictive substances are not present or not present in such large amounts, the body will try to return to its preferred state. This can be likened to a default. Everything goes back to the default unless otherwise stated or chosen.

So Where are We Going?

I'm trying to get us to go forward instead of backward. When we use vasoconstrictive substances to relieve the pain of migraines or to "prevent" migraines, we just continue to make the possibility of future migraines a reality. We are staying in the backward state. At some point in time, your body will try to return to the default—that of evenly dilated blood vessels. To get to this point, dilation will have to occur. If it occurs unevenly, we're back to migraines. So we dump into our bloodstream more vasoconstrictors and here we go again—it's the merry-go-round routine. When will we ever allow the body to go to the default and healthy state? My goal is to help you achieve even vasodilation, to help you get off the spinning merry-go-round of vasoconstrictors, to fully control and conquer migraines through healthy, body-friendly methods.

Why are Vasoconstrictors Bad?

Let me first say, that vasoconstrictors are not always bad. They perform a role and a function in our bodies. In fact, they help us accomplish good things. But their use is for certain times and situations. They are not the default. They are tools that will help you in life. But you are not always in need of wearing your carpenter's belt. You are not always on duty needing to employ your tools. You have times when the pressure is off. In fact, you need times when the pressure is off, when you are not expected to perform, when you must rest, relax, and wind down. These are the times when your body will return to the default state and begin vasodilation.

Is that Why I Get Migraines on My Days Off?

You betchya. (Sorry, just couldn't resist that typical Wisconsinite phrase). A typical pattern for migraine sufferers is that they do well (suffer no migraines) during times when they are expected to perform. But as soon as the pressure is off, here comes the migraine. The reason for this is that during times that we must produce, the times when we must perform, the times when we have to be all and do all, we produce certain neurotransmitters and adrenal hormones to enable us to accomplish the tasks at hand. These substances are potent vasoconstrictors. Because the blood vessels are narrowed and there is no dilation going on—we will have no pain. But as soon as the pressure is off, the body will say, "Whew, free of those vasoconstrictors for awhile, let's dilate and return to good health and circulation." If the dilation process happens unevenly, then we have the pain of the migraine.

So What Do I Do?

Help the blood vessels to dilate and to dilate evenly. Notice that this is just the opposite of how we currently are trying to treat migraines. When will we learn to help the body, instead of always following the path of continued destructionBefore I address exactly what we must do to help the body to heal, prevent, and control migraines, I need to cover some general information on migraines so that you will better understand how the Plan for Healing (at end of article) can be helpful to you.

Migraine Pain

Migraine pain is usually severe and throbbing, with tender distended scalp arteries. The location of the pain is usually but not always over the temple on one side of the head. Sometimes the artery can be seen pulsating at the temple. Sudden head movement or exertion worsens the symptoms. The pain can last for hours or up to days. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound can also accompany migraine. The pain can be so severe as to incapacitate a person, causing them to lie still in a darkened room until the episode subsides.

Who gets Migraines?

It has been documented that migraines usually run in families. About 23 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, 75% of these being women in their reproductive years. 5% of all children suffer from migraine. Migraines in children are often less well-defined and usually do not last as long. Migraine typically occurs once a month, although some people may have them as often as once or twice a week.

Migraine Classification

Migraines are classified as either classic or common. Classical migraine accounts for 20% of all cases Classical migraine is preceded by lightheadedness, flashing lights and a super-sensitivity to noise. Normally classic migraine sufferers are forewarned of the attack by an aura, light flashes in various forms, sparkles or geometric light patterns. They may lose the vision in one or both eyes, have tingling in the fingers and tongue, mild confusion, and slurred speech. The aura is followed by a pounding headache. The aura stage usually lasts 10 to 40 minutes. The aura is caused by the constriction of blood vessels.

Common migraine is accompanied by nausea, a general feeling of ill-being, and sometimes depression and irritability. Common migraine sufferers usually lack the warning aura. Their head pain normally involves the entire head, not just the temple or one side of the head.

Migraines that become complicated can cause a paralysis of eye movement, weakness or paralysis of the arms and legs, vertigo, tingling, blindness and even loss of consciousness.

Only Migraines

I am addressing migraines in their classical and common forms. The overwhelming majority of vascular headaches fit into this classical and common category. Vascular headaches caused by tumors, blood clots, swelling of the brain, fever, carbon dioxide retention, hangover, early post-concussion states, and diseases of the blood vessels can be helped by employing the Plan for Healing that I outline below, but they are a different issue altogether.

Triggering Events

Certain events are known to trigger migraines. They are menstruation, fatigue (physical or mental), stress (physical or mental), exposure to bright lights, iron deficiency, low blood sugar, B complex deficiency, oral contraceptives, withdrawal (even temporary withdrawal) from caffeine (found in coffee, tea, or cola drinks). In migraine-prone children, exercise or vigorous sports can precipitate an attack because of the production of neurotransmitters necessary to perform these activities and the subsequent lessening of neurotransmitters which trigger an attack. The role of foods as triggering agents of migraine is also well documented.

Food Triggers

Consumption of certain foods or food additives have been documented to trigger migraine headaches. In fact, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 migraine sufferers would benefit markedly from avoidance of certain foods or food additives. In one study of children with migraine, the 88 children studied improved so substantially (93% improved) that the authors entitled their study, "Is migraine food allergy?" [1] [2] These substances are MSG (monosodium glutamate—a flavor enhancer used commonly in Chinese cooking), aspartame (NutraSweet), alcohol, red wine (especially Chianti), champagne, cheddar cheese, chicken liver, pickled herring, canned figs, nitrites (used in cured meats such as sausage, salami, hot dogs, bologna), sour cream, chocolate, shellfish, fatty and fried foods. These foods mimic the action of certain neurotransmitters that affect vasoconstriction and vasodilation and can therefore precipitate an attack. Lactose (a sugar found in dairy products such as buttermilk, cottage cheese, cream, ice cream, milk, yogurt) has also been indicated as a possible trigger to migraine.

Why Do These Things Trigger Migraines?

When we eat something or do something, neurotransmitters (hormones) are produced. Neurotransmitters will cause vasoconstriction and vasodilation. Some neurotransmitters cause the constriction of the capillaries and the dilation of the arteries, while others cause the dilation of the capillaries and the constriction of the arteries.

Cluster Headaches

A discussion of migraines would not be complete, unless we address cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are a variant form of the migraine headache. Unlike the classical and common migraine, there is normally not a family history of migraines. Also cluster headache sufferers are usually men over 40 years of age. These headaches are sudden and severe. They occur in clusters, often at night, sometimes two to three times in a 24 hour period and continuing in this type of pattern for days or even weeks. An individual attack lasts around 30 to 90 minutes. During the attack the pain seems to center around one side of the face or head or more specifically one eye. The pain is often compared to being stabbed in the eye with a red-hot poker. Other symptoms that can accompany cluster headaches are sweating, tearing, runny nose or congested nasal passages. The episodes resolve on their own without treatment, although vigorous exercise or the inhalation of pure oxygen has alleviated the pain in some individuals. Many persons report that the triggers to an attack of cluster headaches are alcohol, stress, glare, or eating specific foods. After a series of attacks a person can be free of them for weeks, months, or even years. It has been noted that many persons with this type of headache have unusually high copper levels in the body. Copper levels can be lowered by zinc supplements. If you suffer from cluster headaches, apply the Plan for Prevention below to prevent future episodes. If you are currently in the middle of an episode, apply the Plan for Pain Management (see end of article).

A Miracle Cure?

Maybe. There is a nutrient that has had a tremendous effect on migraines. This is one of the omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It has a direct effect on several areas that can affect migraines. Firstly, EPA makes the blood less viscous (or sticky). When the blood is not as sticky it can flow through the vessels more easily with less resistance. Secondly, it lowers the kidney's output of renin. Renin is a vasoconstrictor and adds to the problem of uneven dilation. Thirdly, EPA causes us to produce prostaglandins (a hormone-like substance) that reduces inflammation of the vessel wall. But most importantly, EPA causes the production of thromboxane A3. Thromboxane A3 is critical in helping to control migraines. Let me explain.

Thromboxanes

In the blood stream we have tiny particles called platelets. They are called platelets because their shape resembles that of a plate. Some of these platelets are more fragile than others. Just as some of the plates in your kitchen are more fragile than others—some are Correll ware, some are china. Those that are more fragile can easily break or crack. When these fragile platelets break or crack they will leak out a substance called thromboxane A2. This substance causes other fragile platelets to break open and spill even more thromboxane A2 into the blood. Thromboxane A2 causes the blood to become sticky. When this occurs, the blood will begin to aggregate, or thicken, eventually forming a blood clot. Additionally, thromboxane A2 is a strong vasoconstrictor (narrowing the diameter of the blood vessel) and causes spasms in the blood vessels as it calls for constriction. This is critical knowledge for us to understand in controlling migraines. It is the narrowing and spasmodic activity of the blood vessels that are responsible for the vast majority of migraines. Add to this the thickened nature of the blood and you have increased pressure on the vessel walls which compounds the situation, causing possible inflammation of the blood vessels which increases the incidence and pain of migraine.

So What Makes These Platelets so Fragile?

Platelets are made fragile by the consumption of omega 6 fatty acids. The more of the omega 6 fatty acids that we eat, the more fragile the platelets become. Please understand that some omega 6 fatty acids in our diet are very beneficial. However, when we overdo the omega 6 in contrast to the omega 3 fatty acids, that is when the problem develops. It is very important to understand that the omega 3 fatty acids have the balancing effect on thromboxanes. Omega 3 fatty acids cause the production of thromboxane A3. Thromboxane A3 causes the platelets to be more like the Correll ware than the china. Platelets with thromboxane A3 don't break or crack as easily. When they do break or crack open they are not as sticky as the platelets that leak out thromboxane A2, therefore the blood does not thicken as much. Thromboxane A3 is also less of a vasoconstrictor than thromboxane A2. Because the omega 3 fatty acids cause a less fragile platelet, we will have less vasoconstriction, less spasms in the blood vessels, and blood that is not as thick. All of these factors help control migraines.

No, You Won't Bleed to Death

It is important for you to understand that the production of the A3 thromboxane is desirable. It does not cause your blood to become so thin (or not sticky) that your blood will no longer clot. In fact, it is the preferred state of the platelets. They will still break open when needed. They will still cause your blood to aggregate and form clots when needed. They will still cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels (which help stop bleeding) when needed. Our problem in migraines (and many other conditions that involve blood viscosity), is that the platelets are overreacting to situations that do not call for clotting. You are not bleeding but the platelets are still breaking open. It is because the platelets are so fragile that it doesn’t take hardly any stimulus and the platelets break or crack. The platelets are too fragile because of the low intake of omega 3 fatty acids and the high intake of omega 6 fatty acids.

Let's get Balanced

Yes, yes—the bottom line is that if we balance our fatty acids, we won't have these overly sensitive fragile platelets. The standard American diet is full of fats that result in these fragile platelets. It is basically devoid of the good omega 3 fatty acids that result in healthy, less fragile platelets. We need to balance our fats. Some people may only have to increase or add the omega 3 fatty acids (specifically EPA) in their diet. Some people may not only need to add the omega 3 but to decrease the other fats in their diet, both omega 6 and saturated fats. Please see the different Plans outlined below for specific recommendations in how to balance your fats.

How Low Blood Sugar Impacts Migraines

As the blood sugar falls and is not replenished, the body will produce certain hormones to trigger the release of stored sugar from the liver. These hormones are potent vasoconstrictors. Remember we are trying to minimize the amount of vasoconstrictors in the blood stream. When we do this, migraines will be less of a problem, if a problem at all. So we must keep the blood sugar levels from rapidly dropping off. We do this by eating high protein meals regularly. We also accomplish this by not eating many sweets and never eating them by themselves. That means no more brownies in the middle of the afternoon.

Important Helpers

There are other nutrients that are important in helping to control and alleviate migraines. They are the B complex vitamins which are integral in regulating the amount of norepinephrine (a vasoconstrictor and a neurotransmitter hormone) and in promoting dilation of the vessels; iron—any deficiency whether with or without anemia causes headaches; calcium with vitamin D has been shown to be helpful in reducing the pain of migraine headaches associated with menstrual periods; vitamin A and zinc has proved helpful in helping migraine sufferers.

Let's Talk About Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for the health of the smooth muscles. A deficiency in magnesium is associated with spasms of the muscles, including the smooth muscle in the lining of the blood vessels. Being marginally deficient in magnesium can make a migraine sufferer more prone to headaches. It is interesting to note that in industrialized societies marginal magnesium deficiencies are common. Both men and women can have migraines as a result of low magnesium, but women are especially prone to low-magnesium headaches at the time of their menstrual periods and during the latter part of pregnancy.

Caffeine has got to Go

The greater your caffeine intake, the greater your chances of having headaches. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (remember we're trying to avoid these!). For people consuming 240 mg daily (about 4 to 5 cups of coffee) as compared to non-coffee-drinkers, the relative risk of having headaches is 30 percent greater for men and 20 percent greater for women. If you decide to stop your caffeine intake, you may likely experience withdrawal symptoms which include migraine headaches as well as irritability and rapid heartbeat. Withdrawal can take from 10 days to 2 weeks, although often a withdrawal headache will begin 18 hours or so after ceasing caffeine intake and peak 3 to 6 hours later. Caffeine can be found in coffee, soft drinks, and tea. To wean off of caffeine without experiencing withdrawal see the Plan for Healing below.

What about Feverfew?

Feverfew is a herb that has been reported in helping the pain of migraines. I hesitate to even mention feverfew in this article because it is not something that I recommend. But I will mention it because some of you may have read about it and therefore I need to address it. Feverfew, although claims say it is a serotonin antagonist, works for all intents and purposes as a vasoconstrictor. Yes, it can therefore help alleviate some of the pain of the migraine, but it appears to work in the same way as the migraine prescription drugs do—by vasoconstriction. This just perpetuates the problem. At some point, vasodilation will have to occur. We need to be reducing our intake of vasoconstrictors, not increasing the intake. Therefore, I recommend that feverfew be used in the same way as the migraine medications—for severe and intolerable pain. It will not correct the cause—only give temporary relief and actually continue to perpetuate the migraine condition.

Current Drug Therapy

Standard medical treatment for migraines fall into two categories: 1) prevention and 2) pain relief during acute attacks. The mode of action for the vast majority of these drugs is vasoconstriction. If you have been reading all the material I have presented thus far, you will recognize that this is the wrong way to go about correcting the situation. By causing the vessels to constrict we will only continue to perpetuate the problem. In other words, you will always continue to suffer from migraines. They won’t just go away someday. Yes, you may see temporary relief, but at some time the body will attempt to return to the default state of dilation and the result will most likely be uneven vasodilation, causing spasms in the blood vessel wall. This means another migraine headache.

In Summary

I have given you a lot of information. Hope I haven't given you a headache by reading this lengthy article! Let me quickly summarize for you my approach to healing migraines. Then read the Plan for Pain Management, the Plan for Healing, and the Plan for Prevention below for specific recommendations on how to proceed.

1. Wean off of vasoconstrictive substances (this includes controlling blood sugars).

2. Promote even vasodilation.

3. Reduce inflammation naturally.

4. Minimize vasospasms.

How Long Until I See Results?

Treating migraines naturally may take a period of time. However, it is the way to go. By correcting the cause instead of just treating the symptoms, we will achieve the ultimate goal of healing, not just temporary pain relief. Expect your headache symptoms to disappear or diminish substantially within 4 months to one year.

Plan for Pain Management

This is what you do while you are implementing the Plan for Healing and waiting those 4 months to one year to pass and you have a horrible headache right now! If you are on a blood thinning medication, follow only the Plan for Healing and disregard this Plan for Pain Management.

• Do not consume any omega 6 or saturated fat. That means the only foods that have fat that you will be eating are almonds, walnuts, fish, avocados, flax seed, EPA capsules.

• Do consume 9 grams of EPA** daily. Do this by eating fish (see table below) or taking EPA capsules. This is a goodly amount of EPA but it is only necessary to take in this amount during a migraine attack. Please note that only EPA will do. The omega 3 fatty acids from almonds, walnuts, avocado, or flax will not do. These have ALA, the precursor fatty acid to EPA. During a migraine attack, they will not be nearly as effective as the pure EPA available only from fish or from the capsules. If you decide on the capsules, take 6 capsules three times daily. I highly recommend an EPA product* that is from the purest cold water fish source available.

• Take a calcium-magnesium** supplement which includes vitamin D. Take these two minerals together. They work synergistically in calming vasospasms (the main source of your pain). Take 4 tablets of the recommended product calcium magnesium* product three times daily. Because each tablet contains smaller quantities of these minerals, they will be quickly absorbed and utilized by the body. Higher potency tablets are not well digested and much (if not all) of the mineral content will not enter the bloodstream. Important: Do not take the calcium magnesium at the same time as the EPA tablets or when eating fish. These minerals will bind with these fats in the intestinal tract and render them partially ineffective. Take the calcium-magnesium at least 90 minutes before the consumption of any of the EPA capsules or fish.

• Do not feel like a traitor if you have to resort to the injections, sublingual or other medications to bring you relief from this headache. Yes, they are potent vasoconstrictors, working against what we are trying to accomplish, however, you must realize that it may take time to wean you from these drugs and to stabilize your cranial blood vessels. Hang in there. We can conquer these headaches in time.

Sources for EPA:

High EPA, Moderate EPA, Low EPA

Note: These categories are based on a 3 1/2 oz. Pompano serving size. High EPA equates to 0.9 to 2.6 gms; Shark Moderate EPA equates to 0.3 to 2.0 gms; low EPA Sheepshead equates to 0.1 to 1.0 gms.

High EPA, Moderate EPA, Low EPA

Plan for Healing

• Avoid all perfumes, scented laundry detergents, scented deodorants, sachets, popourri's, scented candles, air fresheners—all things that are perfumed. These things cause vasoconstriction through the stimulation of the adrenal cortex.

• Withdraw from caffeine. Do this by calculating your total daily caffeine intake. Then reduce by 25% for two weeks. After two weeks, reduce another 25% (of total original caffeine intake) for two weeks. Then reduce 25% more for two weeks. Then no more caffeine.

• Do not use or eat anything that has artificial sweeteners.

• Do not smoke or be around cigarette or cigar smoke.

• Avoid MSG (monosodium glutamate—a flavor enhancer used commonly in Chinese cooking), alcohol, red wine (especially Chianti), champagne, cheddar cheese, chicken liver, pickled herring, canned figs, nitrites (used in cured meats such as sausage, salami, hot dogs, bologna), sour cream, chocolate, shellfish, fatty and fried foods.

• Never consume carbohydrates alone. Eat them with protein foods.

• Eat protein foods 3 times daily. You may still have complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, pasta, breads, grains, etc. However, protein needs to be the major food in meals. Good sources of low fat proteins are: the white meat of chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, low fat diary products, soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, red meat (limit to 2 serving per week because of high saturated fat content). If you would like to supplement your protein needs, I highly recommend a protein product** made from soybeans. One serving of this protein supplement can be substituted for the protein necessary at one meal. One serving is equivalent to 1/4 cup of the recommended protein powder.

• Limit saturated fat servings to two per week (red meats, dark meat of poultry, fried foods, foods made with hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cottonseed oil, high fat diary products).

• Avoid stress.

• Consume 1 cup of cooked legumes five times weekly. Each cup is equivalent to approximately 12-20 grams of fiber. Legumes are essential in detoxifying the liver. This is important because recirculating toxins can set off a migraine. If you are unaccustomed to a high fiber diet, a sudden increase in fiber can cause gas or intestinal distress. In this case, start slowly and work up to the recommended amount. If legumes are distasteful to you, use a soluble fiber** supplement instead. One tablespoon of the supplement equals 5 grams of fiber.

• Take 3 grams of EPA** daily. This is fish oil. In healing, we need to use the EPA instead of the precursor ALA to see results. Once results are achieved, eating foods rich in the omega 3 fatty acid ALA will be acceptable. 3 grams of EPA are equal to 6 of the recommended EPA capsules or eating 2 servings of fish daily. See chart above for types of fish to eat.

• Take 4 B Complex** vitamin tablets daily. These will help to control blood sugars as well as reset the adrenal system by regulating the neurotransmitters or hormones that affect vasoconstriction and dilation.

• Take a calcium-magnesium** supplement which includes vitamin D—1200 mg calcium, 750 mg magnesium which is 8 tablets of the recommended product. Spread the tablets into 2 or 3 servings during the day.

• Take 15 mg zinc** daily or one tablet of the recommended product.

• Take 1 teaspoon liquid multi-vitamin** daily to provide the needed amounts of vitamin A and iron.

• Take 400 IU Vitamin E** daily or 1 capsule of the recommended product.

*Technically fruit is a complex carbohydrate, but because of the high sugar content, I include it in this list as it has a negative effect on blood sugar levels which are important to control in healing the migraine condition.

**All products mentioned and highlighted are available to order through this site.

Plan for Prevention

If you do not have migraines and want to avoid them, or if you haven't had a migraine for several months, implement this Plan for Prevention. Those who have Cluster Headaches should apply this plan, unless you are currently suffering an attack. If you are currently suffering, go to the Plan for Pain Management.

• Avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners, perfumed products and tobacco. If you are addicted to caffeine, withdraw slowly to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. To withdraw: calculate total caffeine intake. Then reduce by 25% for two weeks. After two weeks, reduce another 25% (of total original caffeine intake) for two weeks. Then reduce 25% more for two weeks. Then no caffeine.

• Limit simple carbohydrate servings to 2 per week. Only consume these two servings with a protein food. Simple carbohydrates include sugary foods, alcohol, fruit*, fruit juice, soda.

• Limit saturated fat servings to two per week (red meats, dark meat of poultry, fried foods, foods made with hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cottonseed oil, high fat diary products)

• Eat one serving of the omega 3 fatty acids daily. See chart below.

• Take a multi-vitamin with iron** to equal twice the DV (Daily Value) on a daily basis or 4 tablets of the recommended product.

• Take a calcium-magnesium** supplement which includes vitamin D—500 mg calcium, 300 mg magnesium or 3 tablets of the recommended product.

• For those that suffer with cluster headaches take 15 mg of zinc** every 2 days or 1 tablet of the recommended product every 2 days.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods

Choose one of the following to meet the omega 3 fatty acid requirement for one serving (Serving Size for Adults):

*Technically fruit is a complex carbohydrate, but because of the high sugar content, I include it in this list as it has a negative effect on blood sugar levels which are important to control in healing migraines.


[1] Mansfield, L.E. Food allergy and migraine: Whom to evaluate and how to treat. Postgrad Med 83(7):46-55, 1988.

[2] Egger, J., et al. Is migraine food allergy?: A double-blind controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment. Lancet 2:865-9, 1983.



- A Note About the Plans for Healing -

You will notice that the Plans for Healing on my various articles as published on my web site include the use of supplements (in the majority of cases). I have included them at this time because most of the people that access my web site, I never have the opportunity to speak to personally. Therefore, I cannot address each person's particular situation as it warrants. The supplements will certainly help, however, be aware that food alone can cure, without the use of supplements.

In fact, it is my goal to be able to see healing with food alone. In my private practice, where I counsel clients individually, it is only occasionally that I might recommend the use of supplements. Food is powerful. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food." That is also my philosophy.


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Contact Karen at Karen@KarenHurd.com or the office phone (715) 877-3510.

All material provided on the KarenHurd.com website is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information given should not be regarded as a guaranteed cure or a statement that the recommendations can assuredly reverse a health condition. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

© 2014 - Karen R. Hurd, Last Updated: June 16, 2014

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