Migraines and Carbs

Shaun Waso
Get Into Ketosis | Low Carb | Pain Relief | Sugar

Published with the approval of the author: Dr Angela A Stanton, PHD

I’ve been receiving inquiries about migraines and have also received feedback from individuals following a low-carb diet. They reported experiencing varying degrees of relief. From mild improvement to complete cessation of migraines. However, I’ve always found it challenging to comprehend or provide a clear explanation for this phenomenon.

Here is a snippet from Dr. Stanton’s response to a query regarding the influence of carbohydrates on individuals dealing with migraines. It clearly explains the relationship between carbohydrates and migraines.

Dr Stanton writes:

Many scientists come up with all kinds of suggestions as to the cause of migraine but it is not a mitochondrial dysfunction, and, in fact, I don’t even classify migraine as a disease.

Migraine is a carbohydrate intolerance as a result of the physiology of what happens when glucose enters the cell and not as a mitochondrial issue in terms of oxidative damage. Rather, the physiology is that as glucose enters the cells–be it by the assistance of insulin or sodium transport–sodium and water leave the cell. This causes problems because this changes the electrolyte osmolality and reduces sodium at the voltage gated sodium and sodium-potassium-ATPase channels in the brain. 

The reason why this is important for migraineurs and not others is because the migraine brain has a different anatomy. It is an ancestral brain in that the sensory neurons have much more connections between each other. So if you place two people in the same room, one a migraine sufferer and one not, the amount of light the brain of the migraineur receives is much more than the brain of the non-migraineur. Same with odours, sounds, and touch and even the taste for some migraineurs is enhanced. 

Therefore, given the higher sensitivity to the outside world with light, sound, odours, etc., the migraine brain simply uses more salt for more neuronal communication. There are significant differences in voltage potential, amplitude, frequency, etc., associated with the sensory neurons in a migraine brain vs a non-migraine brain. 

Since ketones have absolutely nothing to do with electrolyte imbalance and increasing sodium, and since the cause of this electrolyte imbalance is not enough sodium, it has absolutely nothing to do with the mitochondria either, therefore migraine doesn’t benefit from ketones. What it benefits from is the cutting of carbohydrates out of the diet and the increase of salt. 

The cutting of carbohydrates will lead to ketosis at some level–depending on what the carbs are replaced with. Most migraineurs replace carbs with animal protein rather than fat; they get on the carnivore diet with increased salt. This heals them metabolically, allows a small level of ketones only, but they end up migraine and medicine free. 

I recommend that you move your patient to the carnivore diet. I also recommend not using non-caloric sweeteners because migraineurs have such an active insulin that even the smallest amount of non-caloric sweeteners will cause a sugar crash. 

They need to add salt into every cup of water they drink–most of us end up taking salt in capsules as a result. I have been a migraine sufferer since my early teens and am completely migraine free (as long as I follow my protocol to the T), and also medicine free. 

As for fibromyalgia: I have a fibro Facebook group as well and move members who join there on the migraine protocol and the fibro flares stop as well. Fibromyalgia is not comorbid with migraine but the underlying mechanism must be similar if the same change in lifestyle completely prevents it. It is the hypersensitivity of the peripheral nerves, so perhaps the mechanism is the same as migraine only specific to the peripheral nerves. 

The conditions that appear to be comorbid with migraine are EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) with most migraineurs in my Facebook migraine group of almost 15k members having it. Also Raynaud’s Syndrome seems to be showing up a lot more often than in the general population.  

I hope you find this helpful.

And anyone interested specifically in migraines to get help, I have a Facebook migraine group with nearly 17k members now where we provide help to everyone: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MigraineSufferers

It’s free for all members. ☺️We welcome everyone.

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