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HeadWay, Issue #034 -- Gut Brain Therapy
May 23, 2006

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In this month's issue:

Gut Brain Therapy

It's your turn

Say what?! Menstrually related Migraines (MRM)

I'm looking for your ideas - what should we write about in HeadWay, Headache and Migraine News or on the website? Visit the HeadWay MailRoom, enter your password (nomoache) and leave your suggestions and feedback!

Gut brain therapy

In the past few weeks I've become more and more convinced that the basics are far more important when it comes to fighting migraine than most of us realize.  I'm talking about the basic care of our bodies - exercise, sleeping well, and eating a nutritious diet.

We all know that diet and migraine are related.  Whenever you read about migraine, it seems you're being told what foods to avoid that may trigger an attack.  But what if just eating healthier, improving your digestion, and getting the ingredients your body needs could drastically cut down your migraine attacks?

Oddly enough, this really came home to me as I read Headache Through the Ages by Seymour Diamond, MD and Mary A Franklin.  As I read about doctors' research on migraine throughout history, I learned that digestion and stomach problems have been connected to migraine in many ways for hundreds - even thousands of years.

One area of research in this direction is gut brain therapy.  I talked to Tom Staverosky from about his research.  Mr Straverosky is not alone in what he says about the connection between the gut and the brain.  What he says may sound new to some of us, but a growing body of research says he's on the right track.  And the ForeverWell products themselves are specifically designed with migraine in mind.

I asked Mr Straverosky to share why the products were created the way they were.  His answer helps us understand why supplements like this one may be a missing link in migraine care.  I'll quote the first part of his letter here, the rest you can read on the website.

Hi James,

I realize that when some people read our information they get the sense that we are saying that migraine is "caused" by digestive dysfunction or nutritional problems.  This sense that we are trying to say that if only people ate properly they would not get migraine is not accurate.

What I want people to understand is that we agree that migraine is neurological in its origins.  However what many people, including most doctors, sadly, do not realize is the level of neurological function that occurs in the digestive system.  This is where the work of Dr. Gershon (author of The Second Brain) and others is truly opening new doors of possibility.

There is an ever increasing level of information pointing to serotonin and its production and/or regulation as playing a significant role in migraine.  When I read in The Second Brain that 95% of the body’s serotonin is in the gut and not the brain I about fell over.  Furthermore all the neurotransmitters that regulate brain activity also play important roles in the enteric nervous system.

It is obvious to most migraine sufferers that there is a gastrointestinal aspect to migraine.  Whether you look at the nausea that many suffer, the acknowledgement that certain foods, drinks or additives can trigger migraine or the recent research on gastric stasis in migraine one cannot avoid the fact that there is a gut brain connection to migraine.

The Second Brain also gave me a clear picture of how little we truly understand about the role of any individual neurotransmitter let alone how they interact with one another.  What is the key to keeping them in balance?  What if the body is not making them in the proper numbers at the proper time to allow the neurological system to operate smoothly?  When you start asking these sorts of questions you become dismayed at the lack of understanding we have.

I'll let you read the rest of the article online.  He goes on to talk about the research he did into various aspects of digestion and gut health, and how the ingredients in this particular product were chosen.  Read the article here on the gut brain connection.

It's your turn

I've been trying to find more ways that you can be involved at  I've learned a lot from those of you who have left comments and suggestions in the HeadWay MailRoom.  Tens of thousands of people visit the website every year.  Wouldn't it be great if we could share our knowledge?

Forums and chats have their advantages, but also their disadvantages.  The information is sometimes hard to find, and they have to be moderated closely to keep spammers out.  My time is limited, and your time is limited too - it's hard to wade through all the information out there.

So here's the new feature on the website - it's called Community articles.  Here's how it works:

I will ask a question, and you'll have the opportunity to answer.  After a few weeks or so, I'll collect the best answers onto one page on that topic.  Then another question will be asked.  Simple!  But also powerful.

You can read more about it, and learn other ways you can be involved in the collective battle against migraine and headache, by visiting the Community articles page.  The first question is about sleep - check it out!

Say what?! Menstrually related Migraines (MRM)

Ok, so it probably seems pretty obvious what menstrually related migraines (MRM) are.  But some people don't realize that this is a specific area of study, and that an increasing amount of research is being done to combat these particular attacks.

You also may not realize that not all MRMs are the same.  For example, some women have an attack starting a day or two before their period (menstrual migraine) that improves after the 2nd-3rd day of menstruation.  Premenstrual migraine is when the attack begins 7-3 days before your period, ending when the menstrual flow begins.

Read more about Hormonal migraines.
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