Suzie Sawyer, Clinical Nutritionist, gives her SIX TOP TIPS on how we can manage this often-debilitating condition
The latest published data from the NHS and NICE reveals that there are currently 10 million migraine sufferers in the UK and an excess of 190,000 attacks every day. Women are affected more than twice that of men – up to 25% versus up to 10%.
These findings are also supported by a recent poll commissioned by the evidence backed Nature’s Way collection of traditional herbal medicines and plant-based supplements – www.natures-way.com which found that more than one-quarter (28.7%) of female UK migraine sufferers said that they experience migraine attacks at least once a week.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer from natures-way.com sees many people suffering from migraine in her clinic. She says “Among other common migraine triggers, diet, hormone fluctuations and exercise can also have a direct influence on the number and severity of migraine attacks. Knowing which foods trigger incidents is vitally important as well as taking regular exercise, particularly if you are sedentary for most of the day. All these changes to internal and external environmental factors can impact and irritate the brain of a migraine sufferer. Trying to control them as much as you can is key – it’s all about keeping to a routine and staying on top of your nutritional intake, as well a working on hormone balancing, which includes blood sugar control.
Suzie’s six quick fixes to control the frequency and severity of migraine attacks naturally
Keep a food diary – Knowing which foods to avoid, and indeed foods to consume more of, is a great way to get to identify what may be triggering your migraine attacks. It may be useful to test for any allergenic foods and eradicate them from your diet. Also, keep a journal of which foods you think are responsible. However, foods that trigger migraines will vary from person to person, and some individuals may not have any food-related migraine triggers.
Why not try this quick and easy to prepare high protein, blood sugar balancing vegetarian quinoa dish?
- Take a magnesium supplement – Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission. Evidence suggests that inadequate consumption of magnesium is associated with migraine. Bearing in mind that magnesium is widely deficient in the typical refined western diet and confirmed by National Diet and Nutrition Survey Data it’s time to supplement. Boost your magnesium intake with a daily dose of Nature’s Way Magnesium Complex Citrate Blend capsules. Alternatively, plug all your nutrient gaps, including magnesium, with a high potency multivitamin and mineral, Alive! Ultra Wholefood Plus range.
- Practise Yoga – Practising yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life. Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. A study found that people who practiced yoga for three months had a significant reduction in headache frequency, severity and associated symptoms, compared to those who did not practice yoga. There appears to be a causal relationship with stress and migraines so if yoga is not your bag, maybe deep breathing or meditation therapies may be helpful.
- Avoid strong pongs! – Strong odours like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches and trigger migraines. A study that involved 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odours, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches. This hypersensitivity to odours is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines. If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine.
- B-nutrient savvy – B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many important roles in the body. For example, they contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis and help turn food into energy. Some B vitamins may have a protective effect against migraine headaches. Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, (B12) and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce symptoms, , . Try Alive! B-Complex Gummies which can help plug any nutrient gaps, giving you renewed energy and vitality.
- Consider Feverfew – The herb Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) contains a wealth of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and other properties, including the ability to reduce production of histamine. Research suggests that the parthenolide compounds may also help reduce blood vessel constriction as well as acting on the brain’s serotonin system in a similar way to medications used to treat migraine. By inhibiting the production of inflammatory prostaglandins severity of attacks are reduced. MigraHerb® Feverfew Migraine Relief capsules is a traditional herbal medicine used for the prevention of migraine headaches and is suitable for vegans.
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 Consumer omnibus survey among 1,030 UK adults. Commissioned by Schwabe Pharma (UK) Ltd and Nature’s Way UK. Conducted by Perspectus Global. Published Summer 2022
 Margaret Slavin et al. Dietary magnesium and migraine in adults: A cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004.
 Emma Derbyshire. Micronutrient Intakes of British Adults Across Mid-Life: A secondary analysis of the UK National Diet ad Nutrition Survey. Front Nutr. 2018;5:55
 Anker Stubberud et al. Is there a causal relationship between stress and migraine? Current evidence and implications for management. J Headache Pain. 2021 Dec 20; 22(1):155
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449397/  Anil Pareek et al. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L): A systematic review. Pharmacogn Rev 2011 Jan;5(9):103-10