Visit our Re-post guidelines
Discovering the cause of a migraine can be tricky. Triggers are not only difficult to find but often lead nowhere. A new study finds that certain heavy metals are linked to migraines, along with deficiences in certain minerals.
For millions of people, migraines can not only be severe, but also mysterious.
When a person tries to connect their migraine with something they might eat or do, they are looking for something typically called a trigger. This is not necessarily the cause of the migraine, but it might be related to the migraine – especially if it repeats itself prior to every migraine.
Better than a trigger is a metabolic diagnostic indicator. This could be, for example, a fasting blood sugar level, a high CRP level during a time with repeated migraines or some other diagnostic measurement.
The reason why diagnostic indicators can be more important than triggers is because diagnostic indicators can also allow us to understand the metabolic cause – and a possible solution for the migraine. This contrasts with a trigger, where a potential solution may only relate to removing that particular trigger, but doesn't get to the root of the problem.
Removing one trigger may lead to continued migraines following other triggers. This can be a never-ending process. This leaves some people dealing with migraines for decades without a solution.
But discovering a diagnostic indicator will help us determine a larger-scale strategy to remove the migraine.
Testing migraineurs for heavy metals and minerals
New research from Turkey's Yuzuncu Yil University has utilized a diagnostic indicator to discover the potential link between heavy metals, minerals and migraines.
The diagnostic tool is quite simple: A blood analysis using atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
The researchers tested 50 people – 25 of whom had been diagnosed with migraines. The other 25 people were healthy control subjects. None of those tested were taking any antioxidant or multivitamin supplements. Also, none smoked, or had an alcoholic addiction, abused drugs, had liver or kidney disease, a heart condition or inflammatory condition.
Those who suffered from migraines were admitted to the hospital and received a diagnosis and treatment program consistent with the recommendations of the International Headache Society.
Certain heavy metals linked to migraines
The researchers found that the migraine patients had significantly higher levels of certain heavy metals compared with the healthy control group. The heavy metals found in higher levels among the migraine patients were:
Cadmium: The migraine group had an average of .36 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl) compared to an average of .09 ug/dl among the healthy controls. That means the migraineurs had on average of four times the cadmium in their blood compared with the control group.
Iron: The migraineurs had an average of .97 ug/dl of this mineral – sometimes considered a heavy metal – in their bloodstream. Meanwhile, the healthy controls averaged less than half that amount, with .48 ug/dl.
Lead: The migraineurs had an average of 1.48 ug/dl of this heavy metal in their bloodstream. The healthy controls had an average of .70 ug/dl – again less than half the levels of the migraineurs.
Manganese: This is considered both a mineral and heavy metal – as are all of the above - depending upon the levels found. This and the others above are normally found in miniscule amounts in healthy persons. The migraine sufferers had an average of 2.30 ug/dl of manganese. The healthy controls had levels of .62 in their bloodstream. This means the migraineurs had nearly four times the manganese levels found in the healthy group.
Certain mineral deficiencies also linked to migraines
The research also found that the migraine sufferers had notable deficiencies in certain minerals. Here are the heavy hitters:
Copper: The migraine sufferers had an average of 4.63 ug/dl of copper in their blood. Meanwhile, the healthy group had an average of 8.90 ug/dl of copper. This means the healthy group had nearly double the levels of this important mineral.