Migraines linked to high sodium levels in cerebrospinal fluid

Migraine, Headaches, magnesium and steps to cure

>How do I tell the difference between a headache and a migraine?
A migraine is a common and especially debilitating type of headache, usually characterized by neurological symptoms called an aura, one sided pain and/or nausea. More than half of migraine sufferers haven’t been diagnosed and may identify simply as having headaches.

In the Global Burden of Disease Study, updated in 2013, migraines were found to be the sixth highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability.

>>How do I know if my headaches are “chronic?”
There is a clinical definition of “chronic” (15 days per month or more) but it can simply mean headaches that are frequent, reoccurring or disruptive to your daily routine, family time and career goals. Not the once in a while headache you get from being dehydrated, but headaches that repeatedly make it hard to show up as your full, vibrant self for the things you want and need to do for the people you love.

Steps to a Cure

If I had to use one word to describe my approach to the successful treatment and elimination of migraine, that word would be “balance.” The approach involves an orchestrated and synchronized adjustment of the components and functions of several systems in the body to achieve that goal.

Those areas are as follows:

  • Neurohormonal system: This area includes the activities of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and glands that produce steroid hormones, namely the ovaries, testes, and adrenal glands. Our goal is to restore the hormones produced by these glands to levels that are appropriate for the individual.
  • Pineal gland: This gland balances the cyclic production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin, both of which are key players in migraine, so our goal here is to reset the function of the pineal gland.
  • Digestive system: Given that 70% of migraineurs also have some type of gastrointestinal disorder, restoration of balance within the digestive system is a critical part of the Migraine Cure.
  • Magnesium balance: Another factor in this part of the program is achieving a balance between two critical minerals, magnesium and calcium, since an imbalance between these substances is a crucial factor in migraine.
  • Sympathetic and parasympathetic systems: As we work to balance the four systems mentioned above, we are also simultaneously working toward a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which is the ultimate goal of The Migraine Cure.


Migraine headaches are recurrent, painful headaches often accompanied by nausea, photophobia (i.e., light sensitivity) and/or phonophobia (i.e., sound sensitivity). A migraine is often unilateral and pulsating, and may occur with or without an aura (Rakel 2011; Ferri 2012; NINDS 2012; Goldman 2011; NIH MedlinePlus 2012; Mayo Clinic 2011; D’Amico 2008; Univ. of Maryland Medical Center 2012).

About 23 million adults in the United States are reported to experience migraine headaches, and they are one of the most common complaints encountered by neurologists in day to day practice (Cutrer 2012; American Academy of Neurology 2012). Nonetheless, migraine disorder remains a commonly underdiagnosed and undertreated condition (Lipton 2011; Durham 2004; Moloney 2011; Diamond 2007).

Conventional pharmacologic migraine treatments often meet with limited success and may have intolerable side effects or be contraindicated with other common co-existing conditions (Chaibi 2011a; Magis 2011; Rothrock 2011; Sarchielli 2006).

On the other hand, avoiding migraine triggers such as intense emotional stress, poor sleep habits, and unbalanced hormone levels may reduce the occurrence of attacks (Shugart 2012b; Mayo Clinic 2011; Dzugan 2006). In addition, there are a variety of safe and effective natural treatment approaches available for migraine management (Schiapparelli 2010).

Upon reading this protocol, you will learn what causes migraine and how conventional medicine treats migraine headaches. You will also discover how to avoid common migraine triggers and read about natural options that can help you manage migraine headaches.

Migraine headache is often described as intense throbbing or pulsating head pain that interferes with a person’s ability to go about normal daily functioning (Rizzoli 2012; NINDS 2012). Migraine headache pain is often made worse by physical activity (Walling 2012).

Migraine sufferers frequently describe the pain as being limited to one side of the head (Digre 2011a). However, some people do experience migraines on both sides of the head (Digre 2011b). Migraine is commonly associated with nausea, as well as light and/or sound sensitivity (Cutrer 2012). Although migraine duration varies from patient to patient, a typical attack lasts for several hours, and sometimes persists for up to several (e.g. 2-3) days (Walling 2012).

Various physical and/or psychological changes sometimes precede the onset of a migraine headache by a few hours to a few days. This phase of a migraine is called prodrome. The experience of prodrome varies from person to person but can include such things as appetite changes, loss of balance, mood changes, tiredness, neck stiffness, and changes in alertness. The prevalence of a distinct prodrome phase is not entirely clear because studies have reported differing rates, but a significant portion of migraineurs indicate that they experience symptoms that predict the onset of migraine. Individuals who have experienced migraine preceded by prodrome in the past may be able to recognize an impending headache based upon their prodrome symptoms and plan accordingly for the next hours or few days by taking steps such as avoiding rigorous or stressful activity and ensuring that they have adequate stock of migraine relief medication (Rossi 2005).

Approximately 25% of migraineurs will experience a pre-migraine phenomena called aura, which is a neurologic abnormality causing mostly visual, but also other sensory and/or movement disturbances that manifests within a few hours of a migraine headache (Cutrer 2012; Digre 2011c). Most experts believe that migraine aura is caused by a phenomena in the brain called cortical spreading depression (CSD), a slowly progressing wave of excitability followed by long-lasting neuronal inhibition (Bogdanov 2011a).

Scientists have recently uncovered an alarming discovery: Migraines cause lasting brain damage that is closely related to the changes seen in seizures, strokes, and dementia.2,3 Indeed, having a history of migraines is turning out to be a risk factor for some of the most-feared chronic brain disorders.2,4-6

Current migraine treatments include drugs originally developed for treating epilepsy.7-9 Although these drugs are effective in the short term, they were never meant for long-term use, they are fraught with side effects, and they fail to address the underlying cause.7,9

As scientists searched for treatment alternatives to anti-epileptic drugs, they uncovered two ingredients that provide a therapeutic dual-action against the changes in the brain that lead to migraines.

By restoring chemical balance to the brain and improving brain blood flow, gastrodin and magnesium target the underlying mechanisms behind crippling migraine pain, providing safe and effective relief for crippling migraine pain.10-14

Getting to the Root of Migraine Pain

Brain imaging studies show that people with migraines have visible abnormalities that are similar to those seen in stroke victims and in people with dementia.15,16 And some large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that people with chronic migraines are at increased risk for strokes and dementia.17,18

An abrupt reduction in brain blood flow occurs during an ischemic stroke, and more gradually in the condition known as vascular dementia.19,20 Similarly, before and during a migraine attack, blood flow in specific brain regions begins to drop.21-23 In all three cases—stroke, vascular dementia, and migraines—the result is increased vulnerability of brain cells to dysfunction, degeneration, and eventually death.19-23

But brain blood flow disturbances are just part of the picture in migraine headaches. In addition to (and perhaps as a result of) those disruptions, people with migraines show a harmful imbalance in the brain’s excitatory and inhibitory chemical activity.4,24,25

The Migraine/Seizure Connection

Normally, your brain maintains a healthy balance between excitatory and inhibitory activity by modulating neurotransmitters such as GABA.

When you do not have enough GABA, you can end up with the uncoordinated electrical “storm” that presents itself as an epileptic seizure. We now know that a milder version of this process occurs during a migraine.3,26

Because the imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters is common to both migraines and to seizures, anti-epileptic drugs might appear to be a promising treatment option for migraine sufferers. Such drugs generally elevate the GABA-related activity in the brain, which has a calming, inhibitory effect.8,9 They also reduce concentrations of excitatory neurotransmitters, further restoring a normal balance.

The problem is that seizure drugs are loaded with adverse effects and were never meant to be used on a long-term basis for the prevention of something like a migraine.7,9 In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning that all anti-epileptic drugs are associated with increased risk of suicidal ideation and behavior.7

Fortunately, magnesium formulations and gastrodin work to improve cerebral blood flow and restore neurotransmitter input as do anti-epileptic drugs…but with a much better safety profile.11-13,27-32 The result is a natural treatment that has been proven to reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks.30

Reduce the Number and Duration of Migraine Attacks

Reduce the Number and Duration of Migraine Attacks

Gastrodin, originally extracted from the root of the orchid Gastrodia elata, has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, especially for disorders involving the central nervous system such as headaches and seizures as well as stroke and dementia.33 Now, these effects have been validated by modern science.

In one clinical trial, gastrodin was found to reduce the total number and the duration of migraine attacks—and was even more effective than the leading drug flunarizine.30Other studies have also shown that gastrodin has a higher overall effective rate when compared to flunarizine.34-36

How it Works

Studies show that gastrodin-based formulas improve brain blood flow, which is commonly reduced during migraines.12,29 In fact, due to gastrodin’s powerful effect on blood flow, doctors in China use it to treat stroke victims, whose decrease in brain blood flow is life-threatening.37,38

But perhaps gastrodin’s most exciting mechanism of action stems from its ability to modulate both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters: It raises GABA levels to normal by blocking the enzymes that break it down,11,27 and it decreases levels of excitatory neurotransmitters.28,39,40

Restoring this balance has been shown to be neuro-protective, even against the massive decrease in brain blood flow seen in strokes.28,33,39

Clearly, gastrodin’s multiple mechanisms of action make it an effective choice in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. But as we’re about to see, adding magnesium enhances the benefits of gastrodin for comprehensive migraine prevention.

Magnesium for Migraine Relief

Magnesium for Migraine Relief

Magnesium supplementation has been proven to be effective at preventing and reducing the duration of migraine headaches—with one dramatic study demonstrating a complete disappearance of pain in 87% of those given intravenous magnesium sulfate—and 100% of patients responding to treatment.41

And in another impressive study, 80% of patients receiving intravenous magnesium sulfate experienced complete pain relief within 15 minutes of the injection, along with complete elimination of hypersensitivity to light or sound.42

Doctors in hospitals and clinics have even started using intravenous magnesium sulfate to treat an existing migraine headache.41-44

Clinical trials have demonstrated the benefits of oral magnesium as well. One study found that 360 mg of magnesium reduced the number of days women experienced headaches during their menstrual cycles,45 a study of both male and female migraine patients found that 600 mg/day of magnesium in the form of trimagnesium dicitrate significantly reduced the incidence of migraine headaches,46 and another study found that magnesium supplementation reduced the irritation of facial and neck muscles that is common in migraines.47

In total, more than a half a dozen solid clinical trials have now demonstrated the utility of oral magnesium for preventing migraines and reducing their severity.45-51

How it Works

Magnesium for Migraine Relief

Magnesium is increasingly being recommended for migraine prevention—and for good reason.13,50,51 When it comes to treating and preventing migraines, the mineral magnesium is able to work hand-in-hand with gastrodin to improve brain blood flow and to help balance the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Studies show that up to 50% of migraine patients are deficient in magnesium during an attack, and that they have a high ratio of calcium to magnesium.13,52 This imbalance sets the stage for the contraction of brain blood vessels resulting in a reduction of blood flow.52

Researchers using high-tech Doppler ultrasound to measure blood flow velocity in a major brain artery have definitively proven that supplementation with magnesium does increase both brain blood flow and its velocity.48,53

Like gastrodin, magnesium also has beneficial effects on the balance of excitatory to inhibitory neurotransmitters. Magnesium is a natural blocker of the excitatory receptor on brain cells, so when ample magnesium is available those receptors don’t trigger the excitatory electrical impulse.54-56 This allows the brain to move into its more balanced, calm mode.


Despite the fact that migraine headaches affect around 18% of American women and 6% of men, mainstream medicine has yet to find a safe, long-term way to prevent this debilitating condition.1

Connie’s comments: When I have a headache, it usually goes away after I eat a healthy meal. My brother has a migraine when he turned 17 and from then on, he started to have mild dementia.

Stomach pain, skin issues, insomnia and headache should be monitored early on to prevent future chronic diseases

Health monitoring early on when we are young can provide a picture of our future health. Predicting our future health using data from wearables is a way of prevention.

The following symptoms can tell an underlying health issue that might become a chronic health disease if not managed early on or given attention to heal the body from these disrupting health issues:

Stomach Aches and Constipation

Constipation can be a sign that our digestive system is not functioning well. A regular bowel movement is important in cleansing our body from toxins.  The most frequent reason for abdominal pain are gastroenteritis (13%), irritable bowel syndrome (8%), urinary tract problems (5%), inflammation of the stomach (5%) and constipation (5%). In about 30% of cases, the cause is not determined. About 10% of cases have a more serious cause including gallbladder (gallstones or biliary dyskinesia) or pancreas problems (4%), diverticulitis (3%), appendicitis (2%) and cancer (1%).[1] More common in those who are older, mesenteric ischemia and abdominal aortic aneurysms are other serious causes.[2]

A more extensive list includes the following:


Our brain detoxes our body during sleep. Some medications can cause insomia.

Insomnia can occur independently or as a result of another problem.[2] Conditions that can result in insomnia include psychological stress, chronic pain, heart failure, hyperthyroidism, heartburn, restless leg syndrome, menopause, certain medications, and drugs such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.[2][3] Other risk factors include working night shifts and sleep apnea.

Symptoms of insomnia can be caused by or be associated with:


Headaches can occur when we lack sleep or have taken some medications or under stress.  90% of all headaches are primary headaches. Primary headaches usually first start when people are between 20 and 40 years old .[6] The most common types of primary headaches are migraines and tension-type headaches.[6] They have different characteristics. Migraines typically present with pulsing head pain, nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound). Tension-type headaches usually present with non-pulsing “bandlike” pressure on both sides of the head, not accompanied by other symptoms.

More serious causes of secondary headaches include:[5]

  • meningitis: inflammation of the meninges which presents with fever and meningismus, or stiff neck
  • bleeding inside the brain (intracranial hemorrhage)
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage (acute, severe headache, stiff neck WITHOUT fever)
  • ruptured aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, intraparenchymal hemorrhage (headache only)
  • brain tumor: dull headache, worse with exertion and change in position, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Often, the person will have nausea and vomiting for weeks before the headache starts.
  • temporal arteritis: inflammatory disease of arteries common in the elderly (average age 70) with fever, headache, weight loss, jaw claudication, tender vessels by the temples, polymyalgia rheumatica
  • acute closed angle glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyeball): headache that starts with eye pain, blurry vision, associated with nausea and vomiting. On physical exam, the person will have a red eye and a fixed, mid dilated pupil.
  • Post-ictal headaches: Headaches that happen after a convulsion or other type of seizure, as part of the period after the seizure (the post-ictal state)

Gastrointestinal disorders may cause headaches, including Helicobacter pylori infection, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroparesis, and hepatobiliary disorders.[8][9][10] The treatment of the gastrointestinal disorders may lead to a remission or improvement of headaches.

Skin issues

Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It tells a picture of our health. Age spots can show liver health.  Skin itching can occur when we ingested toxic food or medications. It is easily affected by our environment and lifestyle.

As skin ages, it becomes thinner and more easily damaged. Intensifying this effect is the decreasing ability of skin to heal itself as a person ages. Consult your dermatologist and internist for any skin itching, discoloration and abnormal growth. A teacher brushes off skin itching that she died of breast cancer.

Among other things, skin aging is noted by a decrease in volume and elasticity. There are many internal and external causes to skin aging. For example, aging skin receives less blood flow and lower glandular activity.

A validated comprehensive grading scale has categorized the clinical findings of skin aging as laxity (sagging), rhytids (wrinkles), and the various facets of photoaging, including erythema (redness), and telangiectasia, dyspigmentation (brown discoloration), solar elastosis (yellowing), keratoses (abnormal growths) and poor texture.[19]

Cortisol causes degradation of collagen,[20] accelerating skin aging.

Coffee and magnesium levels

Symptoms of poor magnesium intake can include muscle cramps, facial tics, poor sleep, and chronic pain. It pays to ensure that you get adequate magnesium before signs of deficiency occur.

But how can you know whether you’re getting enough?

According to population studies of average magnesium intake, there’s a good chance that you’re not.

Less than 30% of U.S. adults consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. And nearly 20% get only half of the magnesium they need daily to remain healthy.1 2 3

magnesium rda intake

Estimated U.S. Intake of Magnesium Recommended Daily Allowance


One method of assessing your magnesium status is to simply contact your health care provider and request detailed magnesium testing. Yet magnesium assessment is typically done using blood serum testing, and these tests can be misleading. Only 1% of magnesium in the body is actually found in blood, and only .3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not successfully identify magnesium deficiency.

What to do?

Fortunately, it’s possible to get a sense of where your intake may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.

Learn how to read your signs below, and find out what you can do to ensure magnesium balance and good health. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be at risk for low magnesium intake.

1. Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?

Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking soda with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.4 5 6

The average consumption of carbonated beverages today is more than ten times what it was in 1940.7This skyrocketing increase is responsible for both reduced magnesium and calcium availability in the body.8 9

2. Do you regularly eat pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?

sugar and magnesium depletion

Refined sugar is not only a zero magnesium product but it also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content entirely.

And sugar does not simply serve to reduce magnesium levels. Sweet foods are known by nutritionists as “anti-nutrients”. Anti-nutrients like sweets are foods that replace whole nutritious foods in the diet, yet actually consume nutrients when digested, resulting in a net loss. Because all foods require vitamins and minerals to be consumed in order to power the process of digestion, it’s important to choose foods that “put back” vital nutrients, and then some.

The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.

3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?

Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency.

Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium.4

Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.

4. Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?

coffee and magnesium loss

Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.

If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.

5. Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?

The effects of certain drugs have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.

6. Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?

alcohol and magnesium depletion

The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys. In studies, clinical magnesium deficiency was found in 30% of alcoholics.10

Increased alcohol intake also contributes to decreased efficiency of the digestive system, as well as Vitamin D deficiency, both of which can contribute to low magnesium levels.11

7. Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium or calcium supplements with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio?

Studies have shown that when magnesium intake is low, calcium supplementation may reduce magnesium absorption and retention.12 13 14 And, whereas calcium supplementation can have negative effects on magnesium levels, magnesium supplementation actually improves the body’s use of calcium.7

calcium and magnesium absorption

Though many reports suggest taking calcium to magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, this figure is largely arbitrary. The ideal ratio for any individual will vary depending on current conditions as well as risk factors for deficiency.

However, several researchers now support a 1:1 calcium to magnesium ratio for improved bone support and reduced risk of disease. This is due not only to the increased evidence pointing to widespread magnesium deficiency, but also concerns over the risk of arterial calcification when low magnesium stores are coupled with high calcium intake.

According to noted magnesium researcher Mildred Seelig:

The body tends to retain calcium when in a magnesium-deficient state. Extra calcium intake at such a time could cause an abnormal rise of calcium levels inside the cells, including the cells of the heart and blood vessels… Given the delicate balance necessary between calcium and magnesium in the cells, it is best to be sure magnesium is adequate if you are taking calcium supplements.”8

8. Do you experience any of the following:

  • Anxiety?
  • Times of hyperactivity?
  • Difficulty getting to sleep?
  • Difficulty staying asleep?

The above symptoms may be neurological signs of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Low magnesium is also associated with personality changes and sometimes depression.

9. Do you experience any of the following:

  • Painful muscle spasms?
  • Muscle cramping?
  • Fibromyalgia?
  • Facial tics?
  • Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements?

Neuromuscular symptoms such as these are among the classic signs of a potential magnesium deficit.

Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction.

Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation, and without it our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Calcium, on the other hand, signals muscles to contract. As noted in the book The Magnesium Factor, the two minerals are “two sides of a physiological coin; they have actions that oppose one another, yet they function as a team.”8

Chvostek’s Sign and Trousseau’s Sign are both clinical tests for involuntary muscle movements, and both may indicate either calcium or magnesium deficiency, or both. In fact, magnesium deficiency may actually appear as calcium deficiency in testing, and one of the first recommendations upon receiving low calcium test results is magnesium supplementation.

10. Did you answer yes to any of the above questions and are also age 55 or older?

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to low magnesium status. It has been shown that aging, stress and disease all contribute to increasing magnesium needs, yet most older adults actually take in less magnesium from food sources than when they were younger.

In addition, magnesium metabolism may be less efficient as we grow older, as changes the GI tract and kidneys contribute to older adults absorbing less and retaining less magnesium.15

If you are above 55 and also showing lifestyle signs or symptoms related to low magnesium, it’s particularly important that you work to improve your magnesium intake. When body stores of magnesium run low, risks of overt hypomagnesaemia (magnesium deficiency) increase significantly.


Magnesium’s impact is so crucial and far reaching that symptoms of its absence reverberate throughout the body’s systems. This makes signs of its absence hard to pin down with absolute precision, even for cutting edge researchers.  Doctors Pilar Aranda and Elena Planells noted this difficulty in their report at the International Magnesium Symposium of 2007:

The clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency are difficult to define because depletion of this cation is associated with considerable abnormalities in the metabolism of many elements and enzymes. If prolonged, insufficient magnesium intake may be responsible for symptoms attributed to other causes, or whose causes are unknown.”

Among researchers, magnesium deficiency is known as the silent epidemic of our times, and it is widely acknowledged that definitive testing for deficiency remains elusive. Judy Driskell, Professor, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Nebraska, refers to this “invisible deficiency” as chronic latent magnesium deficiency, and explains:

Normal serum and plasma magnesium concentrations have been found in individuals with low magnesium in [red blood cells] and tissues. Yet efforts to find an indicator of subclinical magnesium status have not yielded a cost-effective one that has been well validated.”16

Yet while the identification of magnesium deficiency may be unclear, its importance is undeniable.

Magnesium activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, translating to thousands of biochemical reactions happening on a constant basis daily. Magnesium is crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation.

Considering these varied and all-encompassing effects, not to mention the cascading effect magnesium levels have on other important minerals such as calcium and potassium, one thing is clear – long term low magnesium intake is something to be avoided.

Connie’s comments: I sometimes drink decaf coffee before I exercise and eat in the morning. I take 60:40 calcium:magnesium with Vitamin D and C in the afternoon and at night. And always choose whole foods rich in magnesium since I have difficulty sleeping and relieve muscle pain.

Email motherhealth@gmail.com for supplements personalized to your body composition. I get my supplements at Life Extension and I am a wholesaler.

Blood lipids, ceramides, migraines and Parkinson

Women who get migraines have different levels of certain fats in their blood than women who don’t get these headaches, a small new study suggests.

If confirmed, the new findings could lead to a blood test that could diagnose patients with migraines, the researchers said.

Currently, patients are diagnosed with migraines on the basis of the symptoms they report, said study author Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “In other words, there is no biomarker or blood test that can help us to differentiate” people who get migraines from those who do not, she said.

In the study, the researchers examined blood samples from 52 women with episodic migraines and 36 women who did not have any headaches. “Episodic migraines” means having migraine headaches up to 14 days per month; people who have more migraines than that are diagnosed with chronic migraines. The women in the study had headaches about six days per month, on average.

The researchers tested the women’s blood samples for a class of lipids that had previously been shown to play a role in regulating energy balance and inflammation, according to the study. [Ouch: 10 Odd Causes of Headaches]

The investigators found that the levels of lipids called ceramides were lower in the women with episodic migraines than in the women who did not have any headaches. The women with migraines had about 6,000 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of ceramides in their blood on average, compared with about 10,500 ng/ml in the women without headaches.

Moreover, it also turned out that women’s risk of migraines increased with higher levels of two types of a different lipid, called sphingomyelin.

These results suggest that the lipids examined in the study may be involved in causing migraines; however, further study of this question is needed, the researchers said.

In another experiment in the new study, the investigators looked at the levels of the lipids in blood samples from 14 participants, without knowing which of the women had migraines. They found that they were able to correctly identify, based on the blood test, the women with migraines and those who did not have any headaches.

“This study is a very important contribution to our understanding of the underpinnings of migraine, and may have wide-ranging effects in diagnosing and treating migraine if the results are replicated in further studies,” Dr. Karl Ekbom, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who was not involved in the new research, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study, published today (Sept. 9) in the journal Neurology.

However, the study had some limitations: All of the participants were women, and it did not include people with chronic migraines, who have headaches 15 or more days per month, Ekbom noted.

Previous research has linked migraines to lipid metabolism problems, such as hypercholesterolemia, a condition in which people have very high levels of cholesterol in the blood, the authors of the new study said.

A genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson’s disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4 to 7 percent of all patients with the disease) also alters how specific lipids, ceramides and glucosylceramides are metabolized. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Parkinson’s patients who do not carry the genetic mutation also have higher levels of these lipids in the blood. Further, those who had Parkinson’s and high blood levels were also more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia. The research was recently published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Cognitive impairment is a frequent symptom in Parkinson’s disease and can be even more debilitating for patients and their caregivers than the characteristic motor symptoms. The early identification of Parkinson’s patients at greatest risk of developing dementia is important for preventing or delaying the onset and progression of cognitive symptoms. Changing these blood lipids could be a way to stop the progression of the disease, says Dr. Mielke.

There is a suggestion this blood lipid marker also could help to predict who will develop Parkinson’s disease and this research is ongoing.

“There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but the earlier we catch it — the better chance we have to fight it,” says Dr. Mielke. “It’s particularly important we find a biomarker and identify it in the preclinical phase of the disease, before the onset even begins.”

Dr. Mielke’s lab is researching blood-based biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease because blood tests are less invasive and cheaper than a brain scan or spinal tap — other tools used to research the disease.