Knowing what triggers your migraines and a little understanding of why they start a migraine can help you avoid the pain of a headache. First you need to realize that there are both external and internal migraine triggers.
Internal Triggers. Because of your inherited the migraine gene, certain natural functions of the human body can trigger a migraine. Hormones top the list of internal triggers. Other internal triggers include the chemicals your body produces when get hot, see irritating lights, exercise, and when the weather changes.
External Triggers. Certain substances ingested or that come in contact with the body that can bring about a migraine attack are called external triggers. These triggers may vary for each person, but common triggers include smells, foods, various ingredients, drinks, prescription drugs, and even health fads such as probiotics. There are also triggers that appear to be universal to all people who get migraines (migraineurs) and they include red wine and MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Eliminating Triggers. Since it is virtually impossible to eliminate and avoid all types of migraine triggers, the best solution for a migraine-free life is taking a migraine preventive such as Tuliv Migraine Defense.
The NO Connection
Nitric Oxide or NO, is perhaps the most prevalent of all triggers and yet the least know about. Nitric oxide by itself is a vasodilator so powerful that can cause a headache even for a person who has never experienced a migraine.
NO combined with other substances turns into the chemical that causes migraines. For example, Nitric Oxide + Tyramine = Migraine (see more about avoiding tyramine below).
This can become complicated for migraine sufferers who try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as many products considered good for your health are actually migraine triggers. Probiotics supplements and programs, for example, are considered to be helpful for digestion and gastrointestinal health. However, probiotic products raise the level of nitric oxide in the body to the point where they can trigger a migraine headache.
Other factors that produce NO in the body include:
- Ferment products, yogurt, cheese, and similar food products
- Acidophilus and products containing acidophilus
- Viagra and other male enhancement products
- Vigorous activities such as exercise naturally elevate the level of NO and that is why migraines can occur about an hour after a person has finished a work out.
Other Factors Contributing to Your Migraines
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many women have been prescribed or use hormone replacement therapy (HRT), such as estrogen and progesterone, in attempts to control migraines or block the symptoms of menopause. Mayo Clinic migraine research studies, have demonstrated that adding hormones can actually result in an increase in migraine frequency and intensity. Unfortunately, since the connection between hormones and migraines is not very well understood by most doctors, HRT is often ignored as the cause.
Tuliv Hormone Peace is a safe and affective aid for menopause and does not add hormones to the body.
Headache is a common side effect of many pharmaceutical drugs. Birth control pills and other hormone-based contraceptives top the list of drugs that cause or contribute to migraine problems.
You should never take for granted that your doctor knows the side effects of a drug or that he or she has knowledge about how it affects a person with migraines. Just because it is prescribed by a doctor doesn't mean that it won't cause a migraine.
If you start a new drug and you get more headaches, do not be easily persuaded that the drug is not the cause of your new headaches. Read the information that comes with your prescription or go online to see if headache or migraine is a side-effect of the drug.
Ingredients, Foods, Drinks and Other Things to Avoid
Substances to Avoid - Click on individual trigger to reveal reason.
AcidophilusAcidophilus, found in yogurt and other products, can be a problem for some people who get chronic migraine headaches. If you are eating yogurt regularly, stop for ten days and see if that has an effect on the frequency or severity of your headaches. Trigger Reason: Acidophilus increases level of nitric oxide
AirborneAirborne and other cold and flu remedies containing glutamine and lysine.
Arginine, L-ArginineArginine is a precursor of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessel relaxation (vasodilatation). Arginine is an amino acid that is essential for children but not for adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people likely do not need to take arginine supplements because the body usually makes sufficient amounts. Trigger Reason: Elevates Nitric Oxide in body
Artificial SweetenersYou should avoid all artificial sweeteners and the products that contain artificial sweeteners as most can be migraine triggers. According to market analysts, by the end of 2007 there were nearly 5,000 products sold in the US containing artificial sweeteners. Read labels of drinks including bottled teas, flavored waters, sports drinks, etc. and avoid all artificial sweeteners.
Cheese - including cream cheeseCheese contains tyrosine which can be problematic. All aged and mature cheeses contain high levels of tyramine. Since it is impossible to know the exact tyramine content, all cheeses should be avoided. This includes, but is not limited to, cheddar, Swiss, blue cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, cheese spreads, cheese casseroles or any foods made with cheese. You may want to try "Better than Cream Cheese" by Tofutti
Colon CleansingMany colon cleansing products use acidophilus and other such ingredients that often trigger migraine headaches by elevating the level of nitric oxide in the body. For a quick and thorough cleanse you may want to consider buying a bottle of MagCitrate which can be purchased OTC at a discount or drug store (read label). .
Diet Drinks and Diet SodasProducts that use the words diet, no sugar, etc. should be avoided because these generally contain an artificial sweetener. You really have to read the labels of the products you drink, even those that sound healthy.
Exercise and Muscle EnhancesMany products that are sold as exercise or muscle enhancers contain high amount of ingredients on the trigger list that will cause migraine headaches. Products of this type include such products as, Xyience XNO is a product sold for “anyone who wishes to extend their muscle pump; signal muscle growth and speed recovery; and increase their strength, stamina and sexual vigor.” XNO increases Nitric Oxide (NO) – increasing NO can cause migraine
Fermented productsFermented products often trigger migraines, which is perhaps due to the higher levels of polyphenolic. Wines, especially red wines, aged cheese, yogurt, cream cheese and other similar products that contain tyramine.
Health FadsPeople to get migraine headaches should approach health fads with extreme caution as they can easily disrupt the balance of one’s system and trigger migraines. If you are wondering about supplements or other things you may be taking, please feel free to call and ask or use the contact form on the right.
Kampuchea TeaKampuchea tea is a fermented beverage prepared from a mushroom (Fungus japonicus). Although the drink is touted for its health-promoting properties.
MeatsMeats that are smoked, aged, pickled, fermented, or marinated must be avoided. This includes, but not limited to, meat extracts, sausages or prepared meats, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, frankfurters, bacon, bologna, liverwurst and ham as these contain tyramine and other additive that trigger migraines.
MSG - Monosodium glutamateMonosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a food additive that is commonly marketed as a "flavor enhancer". Unfortunately this ingredient is disguised by other names including sodium glutamate, flavour enhancer 621, EU food additive code: E621, HS code: 29224220, IUPAC, 2-aminopentanedioic acid, 2-aminoglutaric acid, and product names such as Ajinomoto, Vetsin, or Accent, sodium salt of glutamic acid. When you see the words “Natural Flavorings”, beware that these may actually contain MSG. For more information on MSG go to http://www.msgmyth.com
These products are often recommended for good health and to help avoid yeast infections. However, they can be very problematic for migraineurs because they increase the levels of nitric oxide in the blood flowing to the trigeminal-vascular system. A better alternative for avoiding yeast is our Tuliv product Ph Balancer
Proteinase enzymesConcentrations of tyramine and histamine are higher in cheeses made from milk with neutral proteinase. Enzymes, such as pepsin, trypsin, or papain should be avoided.
Protein Drinks, Bars and TabletsThese product often contain the amino acid L-tyrosine or have ingredients to boost Nitric Oxide levels in the body.
ResveratrolResveratrol contains the same a polyphenol found in red wine and can trigger migraines for the same reason.
Sunless Tanning ProductsSunless tanning products containing L-tyrosine.
Turmeric - good or bad for migraines?
Turmeric is part of the ginger family of plants and is harvested and ground to a powder and often used as spice in cooking, especially East Indian food, perhaps more so through the use of curry powder which contains turmeric.
In the dietary supplement world, turmeric or to be exact, curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammation properties. It has also has claims of being helpful for the relief of headaches.
It is thought that curcumin may have the ability to trigger the release of cortisone. Cortisone is the hormone released by the adrenal gland during stress.
Curcumin also increases the level of nitric oxide in the body and is often used for that purpose.
So, for the migraineur, Turmeric (curcumin) would appear to be helpful because it might be able to decrease the inflammation associated with migraines. However, it also causes an increase in the level of nitric oxide in the body, which is a bad thing for migraines as this is one of the chemicals needed in synthesizing CGRP, the chemical associated with migraines. Moreover, curcumin could also release cortisone, which is the hormone that triggers stress related migraines.
Our recommendation is to avoid Turmeric as it has the propensity to cause a migraine headache more so than to relieve one.
Nitric Oxide in Migraines Henry, LJ
Tyramine L-tyramineTyramine is a major component of what triggers a headache in the body. When combined with nitric oxide it creates a chemical called CGRP. CGRP is the chemical that causes the blood vessels of the trigeminal-vascular system to swell and put pressure on the nerve endings which results in the pain felt as a migraine headache. Protein-rich foods which have been fermented contain high levels of tyramine as do others including cheeses, fruit, processed foods, meat and fish, soy nuts and chocolate. Keep in mind that not everyone is affected by any one trigger. For a list of foods containing tyramine see
Tyrosine, L-TyrosineTyrosine (abbreviated as Tyr or Y) or 4-hydroxyphenylalanine is one of the 20 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. Tyrosine can be synthesized by the body to create tyramine (see above). Tyrosine is often found in the protein building drinks used as part of an exercise program. Be sure to check labels. This is one you should try to avoid.
Viagra and other Erection EnhancersViagra and other prescription erectile drugs expand blood vessels and cause headaches for those who suffer from migraines. OTC erectile enhancing products do this by releasing nitric oxide (NO) into the body which become migraine trigger. Many of these product contain L-arginine as the ingredient to increase NO which causes migraines.
WineWines, especially red wines, should be avoided as they contain tyramine and exacerbate the migraine syndrome.
Yeast, brewers and extractsThis group to avoid includes brewers yeast, extracts such as marmite, and fresh homemade yeast leavened breads. Yeast found in prepared foods, soups, canned foods and frozen foods, should be checked for the addition of yeast abstracts and should be avoided.
YogurtYogurt contains high levels of acidophilus. If you eat yogurt to avoid yeast, consider taking Coral Calcium or Tuliv pH Balancer to help balance your pH and avoid yeast infections. Probiotics – Often found in yogurt or supplements, probiotics increase NO (nitric acid), and many also contain tyramine. Try Tuliv pH Balancer to help prevent yeast without causing migraine.
Read Labels and Ask Questions
Learning to read labels can be one of the easiest ways to prevent migraines. Check the ingredients of everything you consume or put on your skin. Eileen suggests using the grandma rule: "If your grandmother didn't use it as an ingredient in her cooking, then why would you want to eat it now?"
Before ordering food from a menu or a buffet, always ask if any of the foods contain MSG. If the server doesn't know, then get up and leave—don’t take a chance. When in doubt, don't eat it, whether the food in question is a restaurant entrée or your best friend's favorite dish at the pot-luck dinner.
Repairing the Long Term Effects of Migraines
Migraines tax the body, and neck muscles and joints become tense, sore, and strained. Pain and tension are often misdiagnosed as the cause, rather than the result, of migraines.
To help with the after-effects of migraines, Migraine Defense contains borage oil, an ingredient used by the body to generate natural anti-inflammatories to relieve inflammation in the body. You can also order our Tuliv T-Ease product to increase these anti-inflammatory effects.
Triggers can be confusing
Sometimes it is difficult to determine what is triggering your migraines. For example, do you know why you may wake up at 4 AM with a throbbing migraine? We do. Call us toll free at 1-866-367-5953 or send an email to Questions@Tuliv.net.