Is Melatonin Giving you a Migraine?

Good Saturday!


Today's blog is a quick peek at the interaction between melatonin production, poor sleep, migraines and how to get on top of it all.  A number of my patients are chronic Migraine sufferers and interestingly - no the best sleepers either.  Most Naturopathic advice would have it that the lack of sleep is creating a toxic back up due to being awake at 'liver' time, therefore creating the headache.  That certainly would be a contributing factor, but there is more to this picture that needs a little air time.

There are literally thousands of chemical processes occurring in your body daily, but one very important one - methylation - is a driver of many detoxification steps, conversion steps and completion steps.  The conversion and completion steps relate to situations where - in the case of melatonin - methylation is the step required to produce melatonin from Serotonin (the sleep and feel good hormone that you start with at night).  Methylation is something that occurs right from the moment you are a fertilized egg!  It is present in just about every stage of development - even bacterial management. It is also an important step in the management of cancer - poor methylation is a feature of cancers.  But this is not why we are discussing methylation - we want those pesky migraines to disappear!

Because Melatonin (the sleep and youth hormone that keeps you in the lad of nod), relies on adequate and balanced methylation steps (you can both over and under methylate depending on your genetic make up and nutrient availability), and because increased Melatonin has been noted in the occurrence and frequency of migraine in persistent sufferers - it goes without saying that part of the migraine management plan needs to include a salivary test for Melatonin.  All the B6 and Magnesium, chiropractic adjustments, remedial massage or Epsom salts baths in the world won't help sort out a stubborn migraine pattern if the methylation of Serotonin to Melatonin isn't investigated and remedied.

In all my migraine patients, I have seen consistent raised Melatonin levels and interestingly - if the morning sample is raised - migraines often hit through the day, and vice versa - just my observation.  The question on your lips must now be - 'How do we manage Melatonin and Methylation?'  I'm stoked you asked!

Genetically, there is a flaw in the gene that governs methylation of folic acid and therefore a good marker of methylation in the body - in about 45% of the population - so the first step is to find out if that is you - specific nutritional support in the area of B6, B12 and Folic acid along with a selenium/methionine based nutrient (at the right quantities) would be the starting point.  Slow doses are necessary as altering methylation processes often creates a worsening of symptoms before an improvement.  Needless to say, this is a small price to pay for getting such a crucial step in your health back into balance.

Other ways to help Melatonin related migraines are:

1.  Herbal preparations of St Mary's Thistle, Feverfew, Turmeric and Ginger.

2.  Avoid high salicylate rich foods

3.  Keep an eye on your blood pressure (poor methylation increases Homocysteine and therefore may impact on blood pressure balances)

4.  The amino acid Glutamine can be quite helpful in helping to produce GABA which can also create Serotonin production - it is a calming neurotransmitter of the brain.

5.  Address any possible food allergies/intolerances as they may be contributing to your migraine through the immune system - which relies on a fine balance of methylation

6.  Drink plenty of filtered water through the day, but do not over hydrate as this can be just as problematic


Remember - a good night sleeps is a great youth promoter, and no one looks gorgeous during a migraine - check this chemistry out without doubt!


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