*** Many headaches are caused from stress, either emotional and or physical. These stressors can produce tight muscle groups that can cause other events to occur such as: tension and strain at the insertion of the neck muscles into the base of the skull, placing un-natural pressure in that area; constricting blood vessels that eventually feed into the brain, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen the brain receives; pressing against nerves that feed into the skull area, thereby reducing healthy nerve conduction. The following list of suggested supplements will help address this issue.
Kava Kava: Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum) is an herb that has been used in the Fiji Islands for many years. There it is cultivated in large quantities, and the islanders use it as a social beverage, much like how we would use either coffee or alcohol. The effects of Kava Kava are a relaxation of mental stress while at the same time an enhancement of mental capacities. Kava Kava also helps to relax striated muscles. Striated muscles are the muscles that can be voluntarily moved such as arm and leg muscles groups, or neck muscles. Kava Kava does NOT affect smooth muscle such as the heart muscle or diaphragm muscle used for breathing. It is proposed that the reason Kava Kava enhances mental capacities is because relaxation of stressful situations coupled with relaxation of tense or spastic muscles such as the neck muscles, allows more blood flow to the brain. Additionally, by putting some of the stressful affects aside, anyone can think clearer.
Relaxing Herbs: Valerian Root is an herb that is used extensively in Alternative Care Medicine to provide sedative and relaxation effects, as well as sleep promoting benefits for many patients. Passionflower, which is more widely used in Europe than America, may help combat Parkinson’s disease. (Reference: The Herbal Handbook, by David Hoffmann.) Many other herbalists also agree that Passionflower may help combat Parkinson’s disease. Passionflower contains two reportedly effective anti-Parkinson’s compounds, harmine and harmaline alkaloids. (Reference: The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D., 1997, p. 353.) Passionflower has anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Lemon Balm and Skullcap are traditional herbs for calming the nervous system.
A good night’s sleep allows Alpha Brains Waves to become active, which is important for quality rest. Alpha brain waves are most active during the phase of sleep known as "Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or more commonly referred to as "Deep Sleep."
*** Some headaches can be caused from allergy reactions to foods. The following suggested supplements will support proper digestion and assimilation of foods, which normally will result in less allergy reactions to foods.
Digestive Enzymes: Must have a very high quality, bioavailable, preferably broad spectrum formula, for rapid and complete digestion of foods, to prevent developing possible food allergies. Raw food has intact enzymes that assist in the digestion of that food group. Cooking destroys enzymes. Our bodies also have enzymes that assist in digesting foods, however enzyme function diminishes with age. Failure to completely digest foods leads to incomplete assimilation of nutrients. The result is the development of a number of chronic medical conditions, food allergies included. Plant based digestive enzymes work at any pH; meaning once it is in your stomach, it starts working right away. Animal based digestive enzymes do not begin to work until after your stomach pH drops very low; thus any person with hypochlorhydria (a lack of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices), may never benefit from animal based digestive enzymes. Enzymes taken with meals will be used up in the stomach while they help digest that meal. Enzymes taken on an empty stomach will go into the blood stream intact. Blood conditions such as stacking of red blood cells (RBCs) like a stack of coins (RBC Rouleau), or red blood cells clumping together (RBC Aggregation), or accumulations of Uric Acid Crystals in the blood, can be greatly helped with a combination of Plant Digestive Enzymes and Antioxidants, taken on an empty stomach. (See our section on pain.)
Health NOTE: Individuals with extreme cases of Gastritis, Gastric or Duodenal Ulcers should begin their Enzyme Supplementation with very little (or no) Protease. Then slowly introduce Protease in approximately 4-6 weeks. This is due to the situation that Protease may temporarily have a burning sensation on individuals with these situations.
Intestinal Flora / Probiotics Replacement: Sometimes referred to as “Probiotics”. We must create a healthy environment within the Gastrointestinal Tract. Antibiotics destroy the friendly gut bacteria, allowing the naturally present candida bacteria to overpopulate, and then mutate into a mold, which penetrates the intestinal wall to infect the rest of the body. This process has the end result of a "Polysystemic Candidiasis Infection." (Poly meaning in many systems of the body.) Replacing friendly bacteria on a regular basis, but especially during and after any antibiotic use, is very important for the prevention of a candida overgrowth. A high quality, balanced, Intestinal Replacement product, should replace the delicate strands of the various acidophilus types of intestinal bacterium. This is essential during Candida die off so other Candida does not "refill" back into the empty spaces in the intestines. This should assist in combating digestive disorders, vaginal yeast infections, and helps the body resist diseases caused by "unfriendly" bacteria.
*** Some headaches can be caused by imbalances in blood sugar levels. The mechanism can be blood glucose levels that are too low, or worst yet are roller coaster blood sugar levels. The following suggested product will assist in these cases.
Blood Sugar Levels: Imbalances in blood sugar can contribute greatly to depression. Chromium is an effective and gentle supplement for assisting in balancing blood sugar levels naturally. If you are diabetic, or hypoglycemic, or hyperglycemic, or have diabetes in your family, you suffer a much greater chance of developing arteriosclerosis than someone who does not have diabetes. The diabetic suffers first from decrease kidney function, decreased eyesight leading to blindness, and decreased feeling in their feet, which eventually leads to open sores in their feet. The common cause is more rapid atherosclerosis / arteriosclerosis. Controlling blood sugar is very important for these patients. Approximately 16 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and several other million from hypoglycemia. It has been shown that many of these individuals respond very effectively with the use of herbs and nutritional supplementation, which can complement conventional medical treatment and assist against some complications of these chronic but manageable diseases.
Diet is a major factor in controlling blood sugar levels. This cannot be understated!
The herb Gymnema Sylvester has been used in India for over two thousand years to help balance blood sugar levels.
*** If you have been exposed to toxins of any kind, at any time in your life, there is a chance that free radical damages have occurred. One way free radicals can cause damage is by altering red blood cells. Red blood cells, when viewed under a microscope under dark field analysis, without any stains or other preparatory means, should be seen as individual cells that are nicely shaped, and not stuck together. Heavy free radical damage can cause visible red blood cell damage. The cell walls can be rough instead of round. Groups of cells can stick together so they have the appearance of many individual stacks of coins (called Rouleau). Red blood cells that are damaged or stuck together CANNOT carry the needed oxygen into the rest of the body. Headaches are a common result in these cases. The following suggested supplement is very effective. Therapeutic doses will have to be consumed for the first month, then maintenance doses thereafter.
RBC Rouleau and Aggregation: In RBC Rouleau the red blood cells are stacked together like a stack of coins. In RBC Aggregation the red blood cells are stuck together in large groups. Both conditions can occur at the same time, usually with Rouleau showing up first, then with aggregation as a complication. The problem with either of these two conditions is a severe lack of proper blood flow to the tiny capillaries feeding the brain tissue, and other parts of the body, like the Liver that must break down the body’s burden of toxins, or headaches will result. The blood cannot get to where it is needed. Plus, the blood is severely limited in its ability to carry adequate oxygen or nutrition to other parts of the body. Headaches that never seem to go away, may improve when addressing these two blood conditions. Detailed information is located in our topic Blood, and also in our topic Pain.
Antioxidants and Plant Digestive Enzymes, TOGETHER: Suggestion Only: Consume a MINIMUM of 2 (two) Antioxidants with 2 (two) Plant Digestive Enzymes BETWEEN MEALS, 2 (two) times per day. Suggestion: First thing in the morning before breakfast, and again immediately after getting home from work before eating dinner. Or as an alternative, take your second dose just before going to bed at night. The key points to remember are twice per day and on an empty stomach, and daily. The IDEAL is 3 (three) Antioxidants with 3 (three) Plant Digestive Enzymes, between meals, 3 (three) times per day. The healing properties of the synergistic combination of the Antioxidants with the Plant Digestive Enzymes, with no food in your stomach, will go directly into your blood stream. While in your blood; your red blood cells, your blood plasma, and any other factors present in your blood will be acted upon by these supplements. If you take these items with food in your stomach, then the Plant Digestive Enzymes will be used up digesting that food and the combined synergistic action of the Antioxidants with the Plant Digestive Enzymes will be lost. You must use the best quality products available or the desired action may not fully occur. When combining these two items as suggested, the synergistic actions will be magnified. It is the principle of one plus one equals three. (1+1=3) One Antioxidant has the action potential of one; likewise with the Plant Digestive Enzymes. But one Antioxidant taken with one Plant Digestive Enzymes together, has the action potential value of three. A good layperson analogy in this topic is the blood seems to be “sticky”, causing the RBCs to be grouped together. Using this suggestion seems to help eliminate some of this “stickiness, thus allowing the blood to have more normal properties.
*** Some headaches are caused from malnutrition. The following suggested supplements are suggested with this understanding.
Multi-Vitamins: High quality multi-vitamin / mineral formulas are needed to add the necessary "co-factors" needed for enzymatic pathways. Organic chemistry studies (a requirement for medical school students), demonstrates that all enzymatic, energy, and virtually all biological pathways in the human body, need many nutrients, or co-factors, to properly complete each pathway. Shortages of needed nutrients results in dysfunction of the organs for which those pathways could not be completed properly.
B-Complex: B vitamins have long been known as the "Anti-Stress Vitamins." B vitamins are essential in providing support against anxiety and depression. The more stress we have in our lives, the faster the B vitamins are used up. This is important to understand, as B vitamins are also critical in: energy production; maintaining healthy nerve function; liver detoxification processes; healthy skin and muscle tone; and are essential co-factors in hundreds of other chemical reactions with the body. Homocysteine levels, when elevated, can cause stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Homocysteine levels are reduced by proper amounts of B6, B12 and Folic Acid. B vitamins are important in the functioning of the liver and in energy metabolism. They are necessary for the formation of the red blood cells, numerous hormones, and specific neurotransmitters. Adding a full B vitamin complex, and or adding all the B vitamins separately, is part of the standard protocol in EDTA IV Chelation therapy. If high amounts of stress are present in your life, it is essential to increase the amount of B vitamins in your diet. You will not be able to get enough B vitamins in your food to meet your body’s physiological needs, when modern day stresses are prevalent in your life.
*** Some headaches are caused by a lack of magnesium. Calcium and magnesium must be in balance to each other. Calcium causes muscle contraction and magnesium muscle relaxation. In individuals where chronic muscle tension is common, these folks may need extra magnesium. Magnesium can be purchased separately in a heath food store, or the following suggested product will help assure your calcium and magnesium remain in balance.
Magnesium: Magnesium is needed for: processing calcium in the body; relaxation of all muscles including the heart during its relaxation phase of the heart beat which helps protect against a spastic heart muscle and irregular heartbeat; eases fibromyalgia symptoms; assists in lowering blood pressure by relaxing the muscle walls of arteries; and may reduce the severity of asthma attacks by allowing relaxation of chest wall muscles. Magnesium improves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and has shown to aid in reducing complications of diabetes. Magnesium is needed to counter the effects of stress and therefore extra magnesium is needed in times of stress. Magnesium is also needed in over 300 other biochemical and enzymatic pathways in the body.
***There are many, many, other potential causes of Headaches. It may be best to seek out help from an Alternative Care Doctor who can look objectively at all potential aspects of your health issues.
Headaches account for a large pharmaceutical business every year and have for quite some time. It seems like the more we industrialize, the more modern we become; and the more stress we live with, the more we suffer from bad headaches. A headache, like any kind of painful situation has a variety of causes: Mental, emotional and physical stress can give a bad headache. A poor liver can allow heavy accumulations of toxins, which will certainly cause many migraine headaches. Poor blood conditions can be the source of a migraine headache.
Chronic Constipation is also another potentially large cause of headaches, especially frontal headaches, and also especially migraine headaches. Habitual use of stool softeners and laxatives can become addictive, meaning your bowels may never be able to function normally, on their own, without these OTC (over-the-counter) products. It is highly recommended to seek out an Alternative Care Doctor who understands these issues and can address them correctly, meaning, “nourish” the bowels so they can function on their own, normally.
For more ideas, see also our section in Blood, and also in our topic Pain.)
The first of concern to most physicians should be; are there any kind of pathological process preceding those headaches, such as a brain tumor, aneurisms, or perhaps a pre-stroke condition? There are many things that can affect headaches, some that we are probably not even aware of. For instance, people that work in emergency rooms will tell you that there are some citizens in town that have multiple chronic migraine headaches. There are standing orders for narcotics at the hospital for those people. When one of them comes in with a headache you can expect that all of them will come in. They probably don't know each other but it seems there are other influences in our environment that cause people prone to certain kinds of headaches, to get headaches. These are an example of cyclic headaches.
Hormonal imbalances in women are something that can occur in life, especially later on in life; but can affect women at any age. These hormonal imbalances can, and usually do, translate into a source of migraine headaches. This is actually very common.
There are headaches caused by stress that are common. Some people have such poor stress coping mechanisms that they have headaches all the time and are constantly consuming aspirin or TYLENOL to mask the headache. Is the headache caused from a debauchery? Are they caused from being hit on the head?
The first approach to headaches would be to figure out what the cause is. Your doctor should do a neurological exam and see if there are any neurological findings that need to be ruled out. A person seeking answers to their headache should answer that problem first: whether there is something grossly wrong pathologically.
The conventional treatments of headaches using medications are narcotics that can block neuro endpoints. Different chemicals can be given. Headache medications work on several different principals: There are medications that vaso-dilate the cerebral arteries. Things like caffeine as well as several other pharmaceutical medications will vaso-dilate the cerebral arteries. I don't think the mechanism of aspirin is quite understood but aspirin does tend to diminish the sensation of discomfort surrounding a headache. Willow bark preparations work in the same way. Properly applied combinations of heat and cold (hydrotherapy) can redistribute blood from the brain down to the lower extremities. Hydrotherapy can be very specific for different kinds of situations.
In today’s fast pace life, there are combinations of treatment modalities that are very helpful in migraine situations. Acupuncture tends to be quite effective with a variety of headache types; however by itself it is not nearly as effective as it is with manipulation. Manipulation on its own can help a variety of headaches types but it’s not as effective as when in combination with other therapies. A lot of headaches in our society are from stresses in our fast paced lifestyle. You must address the underlying problem, which is usually neck tension. The neck tension then translates into the insertion points of the muscles of the Occiput, which then lock up the vertebra so that they don't move well. That subsequent nerve entrapment or irritation seems to cause a headache. People that are familiar with manipulation are quite aware that by manipulating the top vertebra in the neck they can relieve the headache, sometimes dramatically. If you have severe stress headaches and you haven't reduced your stress, your headaches will continue.
If you don't have acupuncture available, then herbal nervines such as Valerian Root or Kava Kava can be used. Stronger doses may be needed. A word of caution with Valerian Root; Valerian will tend to balance any sleep deprivations, regardless of the time of day. This can translate to a real caution when driving. If you suffer from a lack of sleep and take a lot of Valerian, you could fall asleep while driving!
Some of the most persistent headaches that I have seen are caused by metabolic processes that people had set up for themselves by the way they eat, or even a specific food they ate. By food allergy testing a person, sometimes you can uncover a food that is causing them to have their headaches. It usually ends up being a food that they eat every day, or at least as often as they have headaches. And it’s usually a common food, one that is easily available in our society.
For persistent headaches, please see your Health Care Professional!
DISCLAIMER This information is provided for Educational Purposes Only and has NOT been designed to diagnose, treat or cure any health conditions. Please consult a qualified Health Care Professional with Nutritional Training to diagnose your health conditions and avoid self-diagnosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not evaluated statements about these health topics or any suggested product compositions.