7 Ways a Ketogenic Diet Helps Squash Migraines
Ketones happen as a result of the body burning fat for energy versus glucose. A ketogenic diet refers to one that is low in carbohydrates, which will allow the body to break down fat faster in order to metabolize ketones.
Foods or ingredients that allow the body to make ketones are medium-chain triglycerides like:
- MCT oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil
The important factor about ketones is that they help rid you of migraines. Here are the top seven ways ketones squash migraines:
#1: Decreased Migraine Frequency
In recent studies, scientists have found that the ketogenic diet significantly reduced the frequency of migraines in 90% of patients. This completely dwarfs the effects of migraine drugs.
#2: Glutamate Inhibition
Glutamate is found in both epilepsy and migraine patients. Medications that work in epilepsy (anti-seizure drugs) also block glutamate production. These drugs have been used to treat migraines as well. Since about 500 BC, ketones have worked to help prevent seizures, but the ketogenic diet has only been popular for the last century.
#3: Processed Food
I have said many times that processed foods are bad for you, especially if you suffer with migraine. “Food-like products” are filled with preservatives, chemicals, and other triggers that could be affecting your migraine symptoms. Any diet that removes those processed foods, including the ketogenic diet, would be a good step to controlling migraine symptoms.
#4: Saturated Fats
Several studies have debunked the great saturated fat myth. There are plenty of saturated fats (and other healthy fats) in a ketogenic diet, which has been found to reduce bad cholesterol and help the body produce serotonin and vitamin D, both of which help prevent migraines.
#5: Hunger vs. Weight Management
Hunger is a major migraine trigger, so is weight gain/obesity. Some studies have found that weight gain and/or obesity increases the risk of migraines by 81%. Ketones help reduce hunger, while controlling insulin problems, promoting weight loss, and regulating glucose levels in the blood. Weight loss and sugar control are well-known benefits to adding MCT or coconut oil to your diet. Now, as you can see, they will help control migraines by helping you feel nutritionally satisfied, more energetic, improve cognitive functioning, and lose fat.
#6: Oxidative Stress
A recent study found that oxidative stress is tied to migraine triggers. In response to these findings, a new migraine medication has come out which blocks the peptide released during oxidative stress. This drug also prevents glutamate release, another migraine trigger. You don’t need to depend on medication, however. A ketogenic diet will do both for you, which indicates that ketones can not only treat migraine symptoms, but also determine the root cause.
#7: MCT Oil
Research has found that Alzheimer’s patients respond favorably to MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, especially with regard to memory recall. Like Alzheimer’s, migraine patients have white-matter brain lesions on their scans. Research in both diseases has found that ketones may help increase metabolism in the brain, even when oxidative stress and glucose intolerance is present.
Our minds and bodies need glucose and/or ketones to function and survive. We store about 24 hours’ worth of sugar in our bodies, but we’d all die of hypoglycemia if not for the ketones. Metabolizing ketones from fat leaves our body in a healthy state of ketosis.
Migraines indicate that the brain is not metabolizing glucose into energy properly, so the logical response would be to add ketones. In addition to migraine pain symptoms, the ketogenic diet can help reduce:
- Brain fog
- Oxidative stress
- Brain lesions
A ketogenic diet can also help:
- Block glutamate (a major trigger)
- Eliminate processed foods (a major trigger)
- Add more saturated and healthy fats to your diet
- Control your weight
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Improve cognitive functioning
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