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The migraine - gut - connection

We’ve been talking about IBS/IBD and the link to hormonal imbalance and what is leaky gut.

You remember my client who’s been suffering from migraines, constipation and IBS?

I wanted to explain today the link between migraines and our gut …..

A migraine is a condition of increased sensitivity toward our environment - that can be internal or external factors. You've heard me say before that there’s an intimate relationship between our brain and our gut.

How does it work?

Our gut bacteria will stimulate our vagus nerve to communicate to the brain. It will for

instance signal a lack of one of our important neurotransmitters, also known as our happiness hormone: Serotonin. As you know, 80% of our Serotonin is produced in our gut, but it is also produced in our brain.

This may impact our mood, depression, anxiety levels, but a lack of Serotonin also has essential roles in gut inflammation, immunity and regulating how quickly the food we eat goes through our intestines (peristalsis). Did you ever notice a difference in your bowl movements or digestion and a migraine attack?

Other signaling neurotransmitters include dopamine, and calcitonin gene-related peptide, CGRP (the gene that is targeted by migraine drugs such as the new anti-CGRP medications). Any disruptions to this link can lead to dysfunction, and is associated with multiple neurological disorders including anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s, and migraine.

So as you can see, our gut and our brain are tightly linked and if your gut is unhappy, the consequences experienced can be in the form of migraine. This is why GI disorders, such as IBS or IBD and migraine are often experienced together.

As I explained in last week's article, if the walls of our intestines become permeable or leaky, toxins and too large food particles will leak into our bloodstream and reach the brain where they will trigger an inflammatory response or immune activation.

With around 70% of our immune cells located within the gut, it’s not surprising that their response will cause body-wide inflammation and release signaling chemicals which can stimulate key cranial and facial nerves, and trigger migraine attacks.

The gut-brain axis can be influenced by several factors, including inflammatory mediators (internal messengers that promote inflammation), nutritional substances, and the health of your microbiome.

Don’t forget as well all the drugs most people are taking to manage their migraines: these have a huge negative impact on your microbiome and are damaging your gut lining.

As Hippocrates said: "All disease begins in the gut" - this is a true saying and restoring balance in your microbiome and improving your diet are definitely the most important things you can do for a migraine free life. And that's true for other chronic illnesses and auto immune disease as well by the way!

I can definitely say that these 2 things have made a tremendous difference in my life - going from migraines and headaches several times per months to.... well right now I could actually say none (but I don't want to jinx it ...)

If you want to learn more about how I can help you work through this, please do get in touch!

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