Migraines have remained a complete mystery to researchers and medical professionals. Every time we think there is a new miracle drug, or research discovery, we are quickly reminded of this pattern of hope and despair. In attempt to create a drug for every human health problem we keep forgetting one important thing.
Chronic conditions do not play by the same rules.
Acute conditions, like infections, have a clear etiology, and a straightforward treatment. Researchers, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and us who inevitably contract such diseases, love this! We love easy, straightforward fixes to our problems, and, therefore, we carry this into all aspects of our lives. We try to oversimplify everything so that we can fix every problem quickly and easily.
But these expectations are not a reality in the majority of life's problems. Real problems have complex causes that require intricate solutions. This is the world of chronic health conditions.
Once again, a research team out of Berlin thinks they are the ones who will get to the bottom of migraines once and for all. They studied 180 individuals and found that migraine sufferers have elevated levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGPR) which they call "a protein associated with migraine pain."
But what is CGPR? It for one is not a protein that causes migraines. CGPR is a member of the calcitonin family of proteins which is secreted by the thyroid gland to help reduce the amount of calcium in the blood. It is a normal protein found in every human that has beneficial properties. Causing pain is not one of them.
To help support their hypothesis they looked at the most abundant group of migraine sufferers, menstruating women. Fluctuations in estrogen during this time can increase CGPR because estrogen increases the body's concentration of calcium. If we have too much calcium, likely during child bearing ages, then we will secrete more CGPR to lower the amount of calcium because too much calcium can be harmful. This is weak causation that CGPR causes migraines.
Menstruation and CGPR are causation, CGPR and migraines are a correlation.
So what does this mean for you? Expect more news about CGPR inhibitors for migraine prevention. Once again we want a quick and easy solution for a complex problem. Migraines are a chronic condition, meaning they have many different causes that vary from person to person. A drug will never be able to tackle all the causes of someone's migraines.
Be sure to stick around for the end of the commercial for all the side effects because heart disease will be at the top of that list. If you are blocking the actions of CGPR every day then you will have an increase in calcium in your blood which leads to atherosclerosis which leads to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. So if this is a must take prescription for you make sure to supplement Vitamin K to help shuttle all that extra calcium into your bones and make sure to supplement with phosphorus to balance your bone composition. Too much calcium and not enough phosphorous makes bones more brittle than strong. Hopefully your prescribing doctor is smart enough to see this.
But we are still missing the big picture here. The low hanging fruit.
CGPR is still not a cause of migraines, and there is a much better way of lowering CGPR than a drug. The body is a seesaw of chemicals. If one goes up too much, it is balanced by another to bring it back to neutral. Calcium is no different and is balanced by magnesium. So if calcium levels are too high, the best way to lower them, and, therefore, lowering CGPR, is to increase your blood magnesium levels. You can easily do this through diet, but for all of us who are looking for a quick and easy fix, we can supplement magnesium! Not only is supplementing magnesium good for your entire body, you don't have to worry about those minor side effects of heart attacks and strokes. Supplementing magnesium is just as easy as taking a prescription drug. It's cheaper, and doesn't require millions in research and development. There is a reason you have too much calcium in your blood, and the biggest reason why is because you have too little magnesium!
And imagine this, during migraine attacks there is a deficiency in magnesium! Those who regularly meet their magnesium intake needs have fewer migraines. Magnesium also helps balance serotonin levels which fluctuate during migraines. Many medications are also targeted at balancing serotonin levels during migraines.
One simple nutrient that helps take care of two major causes of migraines. Per the research.
I always like to address diet first but I have no problem with supplementing magnesium. My diet is great but I still take a little extra magnesium through supplementation every day for all its wonderful benefits. There are many different kinds of magnesium so one may be better for you than another. But a general rule of thumb is to avoid magnesium oxide which is the most common form found in stores. You won't absorb this form. Instead I reach for magnesium glycinate which is the most absorbable form. Migraine sufferers should start at around 400mg per day. Depending on how deficient you are you may need a little or a lot more. Start there and play with your dose to find what is right for you.