Our consultant research scientist, Angela A. Stanton, PhD, is a migraineur herself. She has dedicated decades to researching the brain and finding non-pharmaceutical migraine treatments.
Our mission is to create science-driven products that put effectiveness first. If it doesn’t help the body, we don’t want it in our products.
Have a question about the science behind it all?
Below, we Ask Dr. Angela, the founder of the Stanton Migraine Protocol, about the causes and treatments of migraines.
What is a Migraine?
Migraine is the result of an energy (voltage) shortage in the brain,caused by not having enough electrolytes. Certain genetic variances initiate electrolyte imbalances and mineral deficiencies. The direct cause of migraine is hidden in these genetic variances, which should allow the correct operation of voltage-gated channels of neurons, butcan’t. Both the electrolyte imbalance and migraine are symptoms of this underlying issue.
What Causes a Migraine?
Insufficient electrolyte balance: Migraines can be triggered by dehydration and sodium or salt deficiencies.
What Determines that Someone is Having a Migraine?
A true migraine starts with a hormonal disruption, resulting from overstimulation of the sensory neurons. This creates electrolyte dysfunction that prevents action potential in some parts of the brain, and results in what is referred to as cortical spreading depression.
Why do we Feel Pain When we Experience Migraines?
There are no pain sensing nerves in the brain, but we still feel pain thanks to trigeminal neuron receptors located on the meninges of the brain. This means the pain we feel as migraineurs is disconnected from the actual location that is causing migraines.
The Genetic-Brain Component
Are Migraines Genetic?
For migraineurs, genetic variances are similar, if not identical in some cases. Nearly all our symptoms and reactions to treatments are identical. So, what works for me may also work for you if we present with the same symptoms.
Dr. Stanton's research found that migraine genetic variances lead to one key problem all migraineurs eventually face: metabolic syndrome.
Why do Migraineurs Have More Receptors and Hyper Sensory Brains?
Genetics. The migraine brain has different voltage gated ionic channels for calcium, ATPase, the sodium/potassium pump, sodium channel, and potassium pump. This implies that all electrolyte regulation for a migraineur is different from a non-migraineur, in addition to glucose and insulin regulatory variances.
What Is the Difference Between the Brain of a Migraineur and a Non-Migraineur?
The brains of these two differ in the way their neurons work. A migraine brain’s sensory neurons are hypersensitive and hyper alert in comparison to the sensory neurons of a non-migraine brain. This heightened sensitivity is evident thanks to the presence of more receptors and neurotransmitters.
Regular human brains that have adapted and are able to reset electrolyte homeostasis have no trouble. The migraine brain cannot easily find electrolyte homeostasis because all associated voltage gated ionic pumps and channels are in their ancient forms, where carbohydrate consumption was too minimal to matter in electrolyte regulation.
A New Understanding of Hydration
What Does it Mean to be Hydrated?
Being hydrated and drinking water are only partially connected. Drinking only water can dehydrate you since it can enter the cells via osmotic channels through the membrane but larger elements cannot. Cells without sodium cannot retain water and remain dehydrated.
What are Some Important Minerals in Electrolytes?
Magnesium is a necessary mineral because it provides the key to opening sodium/potassium pumps. It also provides essential nutrients for mitochondria, which convert the food we eat into energy our cells can use.
Salt (sodium chloride) is vital for multiple cellular functions, most notably the generation of action potentials in our brains and generating hydrochloric acid in our stomach to digest food.
Calcium is a key for bone formation and brain functioning thanks to voltage-gated calcium channels, which help release neurotransmitters in our brain. It also helps stimulate the muscle functions that keep your heart beating.
Potassium helps muscles contract, regulates heartbeat, and helps your muscles and nerves function correctly.
What Doe Low Magnesium Level Mean for Our Body?
Magnesium is used by the cells like a key to open the pumps. If there is no magnesium inside the cells, even if there is plenty of water and salt, the pumps cannot open.
How Does Salt Impact Our Body?
Salt molecules break down into ions Na+ and Cl- and these, along with potassium, magnesium, and phosphate participate in what are called voltage-activated sodium/potassium pumps. These pumps create the voltage necessary for cells to function properly.
Possible Migraine Triggers
Can Stress Cause Migraines?
Yes. Our nervous system reacts to external stress and transmits it to internal organs, tissues, and cells through hormones.
Do Periods Cause Migraines?
Throughout the month, a woman’s hormone levels change drastically depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. Premenstrual symptoms vary based on how her body responds to the stress of the cycle. She may retain or lose water. The electrolyte status changes that are in response to hormonal variations can cause migraines.
To learn more, join Dr. Angela’s migraine Facebook group!
How do Nitrates Impact Migraines?
Nitrates cause problems for migraineurs because they lower their already low blood pressure, which sets off the cascade of events leading to migraines. While nitrates spell trouble for migraineurs, they can be life saving for hypertensive patients.
Is There a Migraine Diet That Helps Prevent Them?
What is Proper Migraine Nutrition?
Migraineurs can use glucose as energy just like everyone else; however, if they use too much, it can result in major electrolyte disruption, which can lead to a migraine. Breads, starchy sweets, and legumes should be avoided help prevent migraines.
A migraineur can eat things like green leafy salads, cucumbers, zucchini, avocado, and many similar foods. A migraineur’s diet needs to eliminate things like soft drinks, fruit juices, smoothies and even a slice of apple, which can contribute to migraines.
What are Some Migraine Triggers?
All foods containing carbs are migraine triggers. For example alcohol, sugar, and artificial sweeteners are major triggers for producing migraine headaches.
How does milk keep me hydrated and relieve migraine pain?
Drinking whole milk, which is full of electrolytes, is good for migraineurs and others alike. Few people realize that milk is a great source of electrolytes, protein, and good cholesterol.
What are some of the best hydrating options?
What is the keto diet and how does it impact migraines?
How can I help prevent migraines through my diet?
You should choose a limited amount of carbohydrates with low glucose content such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some types of fruits. You can discover more tips to prevent your migraines by reading “Fighting the Migraine Epidemic.”