Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

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Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:53 am

An update here. My cycle was a M every 10 days, dropped grains and it became a M every 14 days. Then decided to cut carbs to less than 20% of calories. Under that plan, Feb 1 was my last M treated with Zomig. With carbs less than 20%, (range between 10 - 13% of daily calories with only 1 day as high as 19% of calories) I've had headaches corresponding roughly to the 10 day cycle. A headache, not a M, on pain scale of 1 or 2 treated with Relafen.

I have been keeping my carbs low but my calories are steadily going up from a low in the beginning of 1000 cal a day to over 1200. Then yesterday I got a migraine scale 1. Did not take Zomig but was too ill to eat, could not read etc. But pain was very low. I am beginning to think it isn't low carb or low fat but maybe low calories and it doesn't matter what I eat as long as it's around 1000 calories and cal count automatically makes diet low fat and low carb.

Also, in this time span, listened to audiobook Grain Brain. I recommend this book as it does correspond to my recent diet attempt. Rate of glucose to brain seen as trigger for many neurological issues. Recommended dose of coconut oil 1 teas a day rather than 2 tbl a day as recommended elsewhere on the net. At the beginning I was doing 2 tbl a day of coconut oil but decided I was just eating too much fat. I will continue with low carbs and low coconut oil and hopefully low cal.

Even with low grade headaches and a M not treated with Z I'm in a much better spot pain wise than I was in January so will continue with this eating plan another month. I also recognize that season changes always intensified my M so could be season rather than food causing my low grade M.

Ah migraines, so mysterious and so powerful.






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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:45 pm

So mysterious and so powerful indeed! Thanks Cassie for the update and glad to hear you have significant improvement. I am doing grain free but not very low carb and think I see at least some improvement at this time but it is a bit too early to tell. We have only been home a little over a week and doing grain free is so much easier in my own kitchen and with stores that carry products with which I'm familiar.
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  ZomigMan on Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:22 pm

There could well be a link there between high carbs and migraines. Small intestine bacterial growth flourishes with a high carb diet. Once the bacteria levels get high they interfere with digesting and absorption. I believe there is a huge link between migraines and diet, as I have found a high number of food triggers. I also believe that there is a big link between migraines and the intestines, as when I get migraines I usually get nausea, and with really bad migraines I usually have to throw up a lot, even of there is nothing there to throw up. Also from the perspective of food triggered migraines, there is a high correlation between low MAO in the gut and migraines triggered by vaso-active amines like tyramine. Also the gut uses a lot of serotonin to produce the pulses that move food through the digestive tract, and serotonin levels are certainly associated with migraines.

That is my pet theory of late anyway... if it works for you great! I have SIBO now and I am changing to a low carb diet to help deal with it. I have to rid myself of my potato chip addiction... *sigh* I am running out of foods to eat.
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:12 pm

Hi zomig man
Just another update from me. I continue migraine free and now even headache free. My last headache/maybe migraine was March 8 following 4 days of higher carbs. It wasn't a Zomig event but enough discomfort to get me back on low carb. My last Zomig event was feb 2 and that was 2 weeks into my low carb diet so I think it may have taken 2 or 3 weeks of low carbs to calm my brain. My carb intake is rarely above 20 a day. That means no veggies except spinach and mushrooms. When traveling I live on omelets and salads.

Before low carb I thought I reacted to eggs, fat, dairy and wheat. Now that I'm really low carb I have 3 eggs a day with no reaction. I eat cheese and love it. My best snack is 1.5 oz of ham and 1 oz cheese. My fat intake is very high. 2 tablespoons a day of coconut oil does not cause a migraine. My sweet is sugar free jello. That means Splenda and food coloring is not causing a migraine. Before low carb I just knew that would cause a migraine but it doesn't for me as long as there are no carbs. So for my body, as long as there are no carbs, I'm not reacting to what I thought of as my triggers.

After 3 months of no migraine, I will start to investigate what damage this low carb diet may be causing. But first, no migraines for 3 months. And it took me about 2 months of trying to quit carbs before I was able to really quit.

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  tortoisegirl on Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:14 pm

I also have SIBO. It seems to be part of a group of commonly combined conditions like migraine & IBS. The data now seems to support a large percentage of folks with IBS instead or additionally having SIBO. Xifaxin, an antibiotic that stays in the intestines, works well for me; I do a course of 550mg three times a day for two weeks about once or twice a year.

Its crazy expensive (over $1,000), but thankfully my insurance somehow doesn't require a prior authorization or have quantity limits on it, even though its not FDA approved for this used (only for traveler's diarrhea), and a script of 44 pills would be unusual. Yet they do on some $20 generics...bizarre.

They think its an issue for me with the slow motility with the pain meds. I've made some diet changes, but my symptoms aren't currently so bad that I want to put up with trying low carb. I'm already quite a picky eater. I don't notice any link with the SIBO / bowel symptoms and my headache.

My husband does low carb to control diabetes and has done really well on it. Blood sugar way down, and cholesterol and triglycerides actually down too. There may be an initial spike, but its typical for those to go down, not up like folks would think. He eats a lot of the artificial sugars and such that would be a no-no for a lot of migraine folks though. Best wishes.

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:09 am

Cassie, I'm so delighted for you, those are wonderful results! How long have you been on very low carb? If I remember correctly you had been cutting down but because of traveling didn't really get very low carb till Jan or so?
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:24 am

I found this link to very low carb veggies. Am going to start concentrating on these myself.
http://www.dlife.com/dlife_media/diabetes_slideshows/lowest-carb-veggies?pageNumber=1
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:01 am

Hi Kim - The last 2 weeks of January I was consistently down to 20 g of carbs or less. Feb 2 was my last Zomig necessary M. Then all of Feb and most of March kept my daily carbs below 20. I was having all sorts of headaches, but not M, in mid to late Feb. There was a 4 day period in March when my carbs were in the low 50s and I had a headache that might have been a M level 1 or 1/2. Did not take Zomig as it was just nothing to even talk about when we are discussing real M. But, the headache after 4 days of higher carbs got me refocused and since then, it's been easier. So my last Zomig was Feb 2.

I think it took me about a month of consistently low carbs to get rid of the various head twinges, neck stiffness, or eye pain that M sufferers deal with. Those constant twinges aren't enough for medication but they are always present. I don't have that presence any more. With travel it is very hard to eat appropriately. LOL right, who doesn't know that. But, we just got back from a 3 day trip and I'm a little headachy but could just be lack of sleep. Anyway, life is better.

Cassie

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Reama on Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:21 pm

Really interesting. I wonder how low carb is necesssary? It probably varies from person to person (and even probably varies for any individual depending on what else is going on it their life). I might try this...I just got a book out called My Migraine Miracle (see the website www.mymigrainemiracle.com) which is basically a ketogenic diet for migraine, written by a neurologist that used to have migraines and obtained relief with a ketogenic diet.

My lipids run high, plus my gallbladder is not very functional, so I'm a bit afraid of high fat, but then again, migraines are a life destroyer.

Please post again as you get more experience with this, or as you experiment.

Zomigman, seems like this would help SIBO too. I wonder if SIBO is a migraine trigger?

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:15 pm

I was about 3 weeks into my low carb when I got the audio book Grain Brain. That book advocates low carb and high fat. I was never able to eat more than 60% of my daily 1000 calories in fat. Most of the time my fat was too low according to that neurologist. He has a web site explaining his brain healthy diet. Basically, the brain needs fat not carbs according to Grain Brain. He also advocates fasting but I declined that option. I think grain brain advocated 30 to 50 g of carbs per day but I'd been having success with 20 so kept that number as my goal. But, I do recommend the book as a different approach.

I also have to remember all the other times I thought I'd found the answer only to be hit with another M.

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Reama on Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:58 am

Yeah, I have lots of previous failed "solutions"....good for awhile, but didn't hold up.

I'll look at Grain Brain, too. Thanks!

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:20 am

Hi all - this is an update on my low carb experiment.

A Major Migraine hit 56 days after taking my last Zomig. I've just come out of 3 days of a Migraine bad enough that at the time, I considered that I'd rather than the Zomig treated M every 10 days than this monster every 56 days.

During this low carb time I did not count all the mini headaches or even a M that was a level 1 or 1/2 that I did not take Zomig to treat. But, going back to my calendar, a really bad headache 23 days into low carb, a headachy that could be counted as a 1/2 level M 12 days later, and then 22 days later a Monster M different from any I've had before. First day of MM symptoms were my typical, Zomig allowed me to sleep most of night but awoke with M still in place but shifted to back of head, right at brain stem. And, with the pain, no pounding but just constant pain. And like a hurricane, it sat there all day getting stronger and stronger. By night I started the 9 hours of exquisite pain and throwing up. Zomig did nothing. Next morning MM still in place but not as much in back of head but more forehead and eyes. I tried to sleep all day with little success. At night tried Zomig again and did not sleep but by next day no MM. Of course, threw up so much hard to eat anything for a day or so but now I'm back on the low carb diet.

But - compounding factors on my low carb experiment follow.

I've been consistently on less than 20 carbs for 2 months. And it appears the low carb is changing my frequency and possibly type of M. But, my history has been that during a crisis I get no M and the next day as life returns to Normal the M flares up. I think of it as No Migraines on a battlefield - with bullets flying and bombs exploding the survival mode of the brain does not allow M. Feb 2, 2014 I entered another battlefield.

Feb 2 my husband was placed in Hospice, DNR orders were put in place and we entered the final stage of a 20 year Cancer fight. By March we had pulled him out of hospice and are creating our own end of life care so the emphasis is more on life than end of life. His health crisis, our 'battlefield' has returned to calm. It is possible that instead of low carb changing my M frequency, it was the battlefield of Hospice crisis, pain management, and death's reality I had to absorb.

I will continue on my low carb diet, with Grain Brain recommended supplements and a trip back to my headache clinic (Diamond in Chicago) to see if there is any pain control for that Monster Migraine eating at my brain stem. I did consider taking some of my husband's pain meds but I was too sick to manage the crawl to find the pills etc.

Oh well. back to the experiment.

Cassie



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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Reama on Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:00 am

Cassie, I'm so sorry to hear this. I had no idea you were in such a difficult place with your husband's illness while trying to cope with diet changes and migraines at the same time. I'm wishing you both peace and comfort with everything you have to do.

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:10 am

Oh Cassie, I'm so very sorry to hear this and sending you many hugs. Will also be praying for you and your dh. Naturally I will continue to be interested in how the low carb experiment goes as I am doing low carb also but not as low carb as you are. The episode sounds scary, I wish one of us had been close by to help you.
As for rescue medications, I keep Imitrex, Fironal and Soma on my bedside table along with a bottle of water so I don't have to get up at night if I wake up with a migraine. The Fiornal and Soma are rarely used as Imitrex is enough most of the time but it is nice to have them for the 2-4 times a year that I may need them.
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:51 pm

Thanks Reama. My life is so out of control right now I may have good diet control because it's the only thing I can control. Lol. And, on the surface, we are handling this phase of cancer pretty good. 20 years ago drs gave up and told us no treatment options. We started doing research and found treatments from Europe, China, Japan, and on and on. Treatments were not FDA approved nor covered by insurance. America is so not the leading edge in medical research.

Lesson learned - do your research, connect with fellow patients, take a chance on wild treatment ideas.

Cassie

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:03 pm

Kem10 when I have a MM I throw up everything for hours. I hope to find another nasal spray or injection that my erratic heart beat and low BP allow. I also keep the water and pharmacy close by as well as barf bags. I've joked with my husband the next medical equipment we need to purchase is a mini freezer with gel packs for localized pain.

You have to laugh through all this. When it was over we joked about me throwing up and living on the 2nd floor bedroom bathroom and my husband throwing up and living on the floor of the first floor bathroom. What a team.

It's also funny how the memory of how bad it was gets softer as the days pass. A little sunshine, a pain free day and euphoria at pain relief is exquisite!


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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Mule Kick on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:44 pm

Hi Cassie,

I am so sorry to hear of your husbands battle. In your research, have you seen the Cancer Tutor site? http://www.cancertutor.com/ It is quite comprehensive, and helpful.  sunny
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:18 pm

Hi Mule Kick,
That's a great site. The best treatment options come from patient to patient sources. This is a good one.
Thanks for sharing.

Cassie

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Carb Blockers

Post  mxgo on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:14 am

After reading "Grain Brain," I had a "Serum Fasting Glucose" test, which was above normal range. My random glucose levels (without fasting) are fine. I know I eat way too many carbs. I cannot do the protein program.

In trying to figure out a program to reduce my glucose levels, I've been reading about carb blocker supplements that are specifically targeted for diabetics and also heard from a sister's friend that eating yogurt (unsweeten) the night before a test would level out these high spikes. I also read that some probiotics have carb reducing enzymes.

I think that I will try the yogurt program first, before I try out the supplement route. That said, has any body tried the supplement route, probiotics, or bought a glucose monitor to track their progress?

While, I don't have migraines, my headache is constant and the same medications are prescribed for people like me. And after reading this thread, I thought that lowering my carb intake, just might help. I know that going off wheat products has helped with my stomach.

Martin
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:06 pm

Cassie, just wondering how things are going for you. Sending hugs. So far this has been a pretty bad week for me with migraines daily for the whole week. The grain free thing doesn't seem to help just yet. I was remembering that a good number of years ago I went through a rather horrible emotional problem and ate very little for months. Oddly enough though it was a tough time emotionally my body felt the best it ever had in my life. Wondering if the ultra low calorie plan is really the answer rather than just avoiding grains, sugar and dairy.
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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Cassiej on Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:01 pm

Hi Kem
I'm still doing fine. We've been traveling for about a week now and I've managed to maintain low carb. I am driving around 6 hours a day and my neck always gets stiff which is a minor trigger. So far no headache.

When I first went off grain and dairy and was low fat, not low carb, I managed an extra 4 days between migraines with lots of head sensations, ice pick jabs and so on. 14 days without a migraine was wonderful. But, after about a month on low carb, high fat, there were no headaches, no head sensations, no light sensitivity etc. But, it took about a month for all head sensations to stop. Did not have a migraine but did have head twinges. I'll bet it took 3 months for me to really cut the carbs. When I started counting carbs in order to get below 20 g a day is when it really started working. I used the diet app My Fitness Pal to count carbs. To keep my willpower strong I used a diet hypnosis app from Mindifi, weight control. I listened to it over and over every night as I was falling asleep. The diet base for the app is more like Atkins which is close enough to low carb.

I was afraid traveling would throw me off track diet wise but as I drive I've been listening to Grain Brain and the message is very compelling. As with anything, it gets easier the more you do it. Without grains and carbs there is very little to eat so my calories at home are probably below 1000 a day. I'm eating more nuts and cheese on the road so calories a bit higher. I do recommend this approach.

Good luck to you.


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Update on carbs and migraines

Post  Cassiej on Sat May 10, 2014 7:55 am

Hi All - just an update on my recent experiment with migraines. I've been controlling migraines by eliminating carbs from my diet. Most days i consume less than 20g of carbs. I went 53 or 57 days the first time with out having to take Zomig. The second cycle I went 43 days before having to take Zomig. I still had headaches but not migraiines. And during the long stretch without having to take Zomig there might have been a M on pain scale of .5. The .5 M I just slept off.

Anyway, this is working for me. I think the first time I had to take Zomig while on this low carb trial was following a 4 day trip. The 2nd time, last night, may have been caused by too much dairy or, even by life circumstances. My MIL, at 96, may be passing soon. As she is no longer with us mentally, it will be a blessing. But, the family stuff that boils around settling of the estate is stressful to say the least. I'm going to drop dairy, again, from my diet and see if I can go beyond 50 days. The dairy, though high fat and low carb, still has an insulin spiking capability. So maybe, for me, it's the insulin spikes?

Wow! 2 Zomig incidents this year instead of a 3 day cycle every 10 days.

Cassie

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Re: Carbohydrates and migraine cycles

Post  Kem10 on Sat May 10, 2014 4:01 pm

Cassie it is such good news that you are finding a good solution for the migraine in your case. I'm sorry to hear of your mother in law's condition though. I wish I could say that I've gotten any good result from diet change so far but for me nothing seems to help at this point. I haven't yet reduced carbs to your level though. I was fairly low carb but was constantly constipated. Adding some grains back in helped but now am struggling with bouts of diarrhea. Oh well never give up is my motto so onward.
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