Most people who have migraines also experience nausea and vomiting during an attack, but what if that connection goes deeper – into the gut? What if there is a link between migraine and gut health and by taking care of your gut you may be able to better manage your migraine?
Some doctors are now saying that is a possibility. In fact, one study has found a strong correlation between migraine and microbes residing in the gut. Additional studies also support the link between migraine and gut health.
Have we been overlooking an important method of migraine treatment? Is there a more effective way to manage attacks? Could we drastically improve migraine by simply taking probiotics and changing our diet?
Not so fast. This research is still in the early stages. There is evidence that good gut health may help improve migraine attacks. However, there is also plenty of evidence that shows taking care of your gut will improve your overall health, so either way, it’s a win.
We talked to Danny Park, M.D., of StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine in the Chicagoland area and Section Head of Neurology at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago to learn more about migraine and gut health.
“Unfortunately, sometimes there are not a lot of studies that look into this,” says Dr. Park. “But there are some and there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence as well. More research definitely needs to be done.”
Here’s the skinny – and what you need to know.
What is gut health?
You have probably heard the term “gut health” and may have even used it in a sentence. But what is it really?
In a nutshell, it is the balance of gut microbiome (gut flora) that reside in the digestive tract. When they are well balanced, good health follows. When there is an imbalance it can cause a number of issues within your body.
There are around 100 trillion microorganisms, called gut microbiota, in your gut. These include viruses, yeasts, and bacteria. Many of these microbes are beneficial for the body and promote good health. There are some that the body requires in order to function at all. However, some of these microbes can be harmful and when they multiply, they can quickly outnumber the “good bacteria” in your gut. That is when things start to go wrong.
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