10 Things That Will Change the Way You Think of Migraines
Updated: Oct 14
1. Migraines are an energy deficit syndrome in the brain that can be triggered by oxidative stress, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hypometabolism (abnormally low metabolism).
2. Migraines are an adaptive response. When energy in the brain bottoms out, a migraine is brought on to force you to conserve energy.
3. Between attacks, a migraineur’s brain has 20% less ATP (cellular energy) on average than a healthy person.
4. The migraineur’s brain is hyperexcitable. There is an ancestral advantage. They will be the first alerted to danger. They are sensitive to sounds, sensitive to light and they have an increased sense of smell in the hours before a migraine attack.
5. A migraineur brain encodes detail continuously, which is energy demanding. A healthy brain encodes change.
6. Your genetic phenotype may be more susceptible to migraines. Neanderthals were less adapted to carbohydrate metabolism. Neandertals were better at fat and protein metabolism.
7. Ketones (made from fat) reduce inflammation and hyperexcitability, and provides the brain with an efficient energy source. Ketones are produced during the state of ketosis, when you have no more glucose to burn and you are burning fat. Talk to your integrative physician should you choose to adopt a very low carb diet, a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting.
8. When you take triptans and potent pain killers for migraine, you still have an energy deficit in your brain. Drugs mask the symptoms.
9. Increasing oxidative stress in your cell’s mitochondria (the cell’s battery) means that you are making less ATP (cellular energy). Blue light in the eye or through your skin increases oxidative stress. Oral contraceptives and the low estrogen premenstrual state both increase oxidative stress. Exercise increases oxidative stress and can trigger migraines.
10. A migraine attack can sometimes be aborted when the migraine is first detected, using high dose BHB exogenous ketones with magnesium.
These are gleaned from the work of Elena Gross, PhD. Gross has had debilitating migraines since she was 15. Now, she is a ground-breaking migraine researcher.
Find a Functional Medicine practitioner near you. https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/
Disclaimer: I am not a physician. I do not diagnose or treat illness. Work with your integrative physician for your medical decisions.