Plant-Based Diet – Effective Remedy Against Chronic Migraine

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in the head (generally on one side), that can last for hours to days (4-72 hours) often accompanied by other symptoms like

, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and at times prodromal auras.

The migraine pain often worsens with movement or activity. It affects more than one in every ten people that is over 1 billion people worldwide.



Case of Migraine

The recommendation was reinforced after witnessing fruitful results in a man who was treated for severe migraine headaches without aura.

The man reported a history of migraine for more than 12 years along with 18-24 attacks per month over the past 6 months. The pain was sudden and intense at the onset with throbbing in nature, localized to the left forehead and temple.

Generally, the attacks lasted for nearly 72 hours, accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. The pain severity often scored 10-12 on a scale of 0-10.



Strategies Undertaken

Migraine is often implicated with systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. Hence, blood investigations were done to rule out any high levels of systemic inflammation. However, the man had a normal level of beta-carotene (53 µg/dl).

The authors report that this might be due to the daily consumption of sweet potatoes by the man. Although sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, they are relatively lower in nutrients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The man had tried several other strategies to bid the severity and frequency of his migraine. This included eliminating the potential food ‘triggers’ (like chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, and caffeine), trying out prescribed drugs (Topiramate and Zolmitriptan), and engaging in yoga and meditation.

However, all these efforts were in vain. The measures rendered little to almost “NO” symptomatic relief.



Plant-Based Diet

Although there are many drugs to help prevent or treat migraine attacks, emerging studies highlight the alternative impact of the diet with no significant side effects.

With these supporting contexts, the team advised the man to adopt the LIFE (Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday) diet – a plant-based nutrient-dense, whole food diet.

It was observed that the plant-based LIFE diet (loaded with rich dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, watercress, and kale) proved as a wonderful aid against symptoms of chronic migraine in just 2 months.



LIFE Diet

The man reported a fall of his migraine frequency to just 1 day per month along with a reduction in even length and severity of the attacks. There was also a significant rise in beta-carotene levels, from 53 µg/dl to 92 µg/dl.

The LIFE diet incorporates consumption of at least 5 ounces (by weight) of cooked or raw dark green leafy vegetables daily, one 32-ounce daily green LIFE smoothie, with limited intake of whole grains, oils, starchy vegetables, and animal protein (especially red meat and dairy).



LIFE Diet and Migraine

The LIFE diet helped the man stop all his migraine meds. Interestingly, the pain was also less with a relatively shorter duration when trying out certain ‘trigger/challenge’ foods like iced tea, salmon, or egg whites.

Moreover, the migraines stopped completely after 3 months with no recurrence in 7.5 years. There was a noteworthy improvement in even allergy symptoms, which curbed the need for the use of seasonal medications.

Earlier studies report that migraine headaches might be minimized with better control of allergies.




Study Limitations

Since the man was also HIV positive, the authors report that both HIV status and antiretroviral drugs might have been additional triggers for heightened risk of migraines.

As it was not feasible to further study the case by stopping the antiretroviral treatment, the study limitation mandated additional review.



“This report suggests that a whole food plant-based diet may offer a safe, effective and permanent treatment for reversing chronic migraine. While this report describes one very adherent patient who had a remarkable response, the LIFE diet has reduced migraine frequency within 3 months in several additional patients (personal communication),”
concludes the study team.



Facts on Migraine


  • Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent and 6th most disabling ailment globally that attacks 12% of the population including children.

  • In America, migraine affects 10% of children, 18% of women, and 6% of men.

  • Almost 1.2 million emergency visits in the U.S. are for acute migraine bouts and it affects someone every 10 seconds.


  • Migraine ensues most commonly among the age group of 18 to 44 years with 90% of patients having a family history of migraine.

  • Although average migraine attacks occur once or twice per month, more than 4 million people experience chronic daily migraines (at least 15 migraine days per month).


  • One in every 4 women suffers from migraines in their lives with 85% of chronic migraine patients being women.


  • Migraine harms the mental health of 71% of sufferers.

  • Despite existing disabilities, headache is underestimated, under-recognized, and under-treated throughout the world.




References:

  1. Headache disorders
    (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders)
  2. Raising Money for
    MIGRAINE RESEARCH – (https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/#:~:text=Nearly%201%20in%204%20U.S.,ages%20of%2018%20and%2044)
  3. Impact of migraine
    (https://migrainetrust.org/understand-migraine/impact-of-migraine/)

Source: Medindia



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One thought on “Plant-Based Diet – Effective Remedy Against Chronic Migraine

  1. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks , I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

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