A Natural and Epigenetic Approach to Migraines

Headache migraine people - Doctor woman stressed. Woman Nurse /

Migraines are a pain in the butt.  Or should I say head?

There are many reasons why people get migraines, but it differs from person to person.  A few of the common causes are: hormonal fluctuations, inflammation and environmental factors, along with the possibility of certain genetic mutations known as SNPs (pronounced “snips”).  Within the world of Personalized Medicine, I work with my patients to understand and eliminate the causes of their migraines so we can prevent them from occurring.  This is usually a combined effect of giving the body what it needs, taking out the trash (detoxification), and increasing vitality. In order to treat a person with migraines more effectively, one must first understand them. This means understanding the four phases which make up a migraine.  These include a prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome.  

  • The first categorization is called the prodromal phase.  This can vary from person to person but the symptoms usually consist of nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to noise, lights and odors. These early warning signs require prompt treatment to prevent a full blown migraine attack.
  • The aura phase usually only happens to about a ¼ of migraine sufferers. This phase can be scary as it usually consists of some type of distortion of vision such as flashing lights, floaters or spots, loss of sight, seeing a halo around objects, etc.
  • The next phase is probably the most common and consists of a severe headache.  This is usually the most crippling part of a migraine and the symptoms can affect the entire body. These headaches can last hours to days and can leave a person crippled from pain. These attacks can lead into vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and a whole host of other symptoms.
  • The last phase, and the phase that most people don’t think about, is called the postdrome.  This is when the headache is done but you feel mental exhaustion. The body is “cleaning up” post attack and this hung over, toxic feeling can last for a few days while your body returns to equilibrium.

When it comes to treatments, there are many roads to take, but one I’d like to touch upon now is epigenetics, which is the study of cellular trait variations that are caused by external or environmental factors and how they switch genes on and off and affect how cells read genes.  Let’s take a closer look.  

At the Center of Excellence, we know that a genetic mutation in the MTHFR gene C677T can increase the risk of migraines.   There are also about 100 other mutations that can play a role into the etiology of migraines.

Another cause of migraines is inflammation in the body.  Inflammation can be the result of many different things, but I usually like to start by looking at the food my patients eat on a daily basis.  A low lectin diet can play a role in preventing the perfect storm for migraines (especially with IL4 and IL13 mutations).

Besides modulating diet and genes, I usually prescribe an herb called Feverfew for long-term prevention.  This herb takes about 2-3 months to start working but with proper supervision, it can greatly reduce your risk of migraines.  

Another aspect that must be addressed in preventing migraines is fixing the problem from the inside out and making sure that the body’s built-in detoxification system is working properly.  This is necessary to prevent and heal from migraine attacks.  I always ask if my patients are pooping, peeing, and sweating regularly.  If this is not happening, it can make for a delayed healing time.

The last part of my philosophy is working on increasing vitality.  This especially holds true during the postdrome phase.  This is when I turn to Carob Extract to bring back some much needed energy.

I believe in individualized medicine and thus treat all my patients’ medical conditions differently.  I look at their entire DNA via our Opus 23 program and provide a low lectin diet with our SWAMI program. This combined with a tailored treatment protocol based on your presentations and history makes a tailored natural approach possible.  If you or a loved one is ready to start walking down the path of health, please make an appointment with me at the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine on the beautiful University of Bridgeport campus by calling the front desk at 203-366-0526 and asking for either the Opus (genetic) or SWAMI (meal plan) visit with Dr. Brody.