Can having parasites be one of the causes of migraine headache? I guess it depends on who you talk to and what you choose to read. And then what you choose to believe.
I have been looking into this for years now. Having studied nutrition, it comes up again and again.
Our guts (digestion processing and health of) and our intestines are the first points of cause and hence the first thing we must consider in healing.
Here is some of what I have learned.
Parasites from raw food cause major digestion problems and are considered to be one of the causes of migraine headache by some doctors.
We all know pregnant women should not eat sushi, just for one example.
The raw or cooked food debate over enzymes and parasites has been going on for decades.
How do we know what to do, as laymen and women, to help reduce or eliminate our migraines if parasites are causing digestion problems and are one of the causes of migraine headache?
It's a big question.
There has been very little research done to test the effectiveness of natural remedies and supplements on migraines.
Feverfew and Butterbur are getting a lot of attention more recently. They didn't work for me, so I ask "what else is there?"
It is very important, if you feel like you might have parasites in your stomach or intestines, to see your primary health care provider for a consultation.
You might even notice worms in your stool. I know, too much information. Indigestion, soreness, tiredness, undigested food in your stool, gas and flatulence. Or migraines!!!!
Getting a proper diagnosis is fundamental to solving your problems. New tests and new medications are being discovered all the time. So, as usual, I urge you to seek proper medical attention now that you have read this.
Food for thought!
These are the best natural treatments for intestinal parasites that I know of:
• Sweet Wormwood (Artemisia annua)
• Pumpkin seeds
• Grapefruit seed extract
• Detox Diet
• Brown Rice
Of course, it depends on what kind of parasite you get diagnosed with as to the treatment. The macrobiotic way would be to eat a teaspoon of raw brown rice every morning for 10 days. Three times a day is better.
You can feel quite sick during the 'kill off' period.
I sure did on many occasions, but it worked a treat.
For more serious cases, a course of antibiotics may be required.
Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition states that: the parasites and microbes that raw foods often harbor can ”weaken one’s center, making digestion and assimilation weak."
"This in turn reduces the body’s ability to build life-essence” or as the Chinese call it Jing.
Jing represents the body’s vital essence derived from “reproductive essences” that are necessary for growth and immunity and it effects the mind and the spirit.
Pitchford provides three ways to remove the parasites and
microbes from your raw vegetables using apple cider vinegar, hydrogen
peroxide, and Clorox™ Bleach (and only Clorox™ Bleach). Interestingly
he says that cabbage is the only raw vegetable that does not “infest humans” and that “in most areas of the world, raw salad is a rarity.”
I am not sure if parasites are one of my causes of migraine headache, but I choose to wash all vegetables in ¼ cup of vinegar in a gallon of water before I eat them. Whether it is one of my causes of migraine headache or not, I’d rather be safe than sorry!
I won’t get right into the debate over raw or cooked foods as there are a huge number of points to cover and then consider. I would just like to pick out a few as they pertain to our migraine diet recovery plan which is all pureed and cooked food.
The age old assumption exists that raw food is good and cooked
food is bad. I want to know do the enzymes really get denatured and at
what temperature? I do like my soups and stews when I am not eating my
organic pureed meals.
According to Jon Barron, author of Lessons of the Miracle Doctors, and The Baseline of Health Foundation in his newsletter on enzymes and digestive health (he or a staff member at The Baseline of Health Foundation) says that “processing and cooking destroy enzymes in food”.
He points out that “any sustained heat of approximately 118-129 degrees °F (48-54 °C) destroys virtually all enzymes”.
When we were young we could bounce back from the imbalances that this
caused, but as we age our lack of enzymes takes its toll.
Enzymes rich foods ”actually ‘predigest’ in your stomach through the action of their own enzymes in a process called “autolytic” digestion. Before stomach acid enters the process, you can actually break down as much as 75% of your meal."
"Without that autolytic
digestion” your body over compensates by producing too much stomach
acid and added stress on the pancreas to produce large quantities of
digestive enzymes in order to process the denatured proteins and food.
He also says that “the less digestion that takes place before food
reaches the small intestine, the greater the stress placed on the
So Barron posits the idea that raw food has its own digestive enzymes and that cooking or heating denatures proteins and enzymes.
As I said, I will not enter the debate on raw food versus cooked food here, I will focus more on the research for cooked food as it pertains to our recovery plan. Here are some quick points on the pros and cons of cooked food.
Pros: heating increases the bioavailability of some nutrients – lycopene in tomatoes and glucosinolates in broccoli, for example.
Cons: heating breaks down all Vitamin B and C nutrients, along with destroying all fatty acids or can create harmful variations of the fats if burned, for example.
Barron cites an interesting study from the
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
regarding the effects of different cooking methods and its findings were that “water-cooking
treatments better preserved the antioxidant compounds, particularly
carotenoids, in all vegetables analyzed and ascorbic acid in carrots and
courgettes. Steamed vegetables maintained a better texture quality than
boiled ones, whereas boiled vegetables showed limited discoloration.”
Our recovery plan uses the steaming as the only cooking method, so it is nice to see some research findings to support our plan. The study concluded “moreover, our results suggest that for each vegetable a preferential cooking method could be selected to preserve or improve its nutritional and physicochemical qualities.”
Lets face it, cooked food just takes less energy to digest and if you are recovering from a chronic illness or a really long migraine, then perhaps this is something for you to consider and experiment with. Especially if you suspect poor digestion to be one of your causes of migraine headache.
These are all simple ways to help prevent an attack when you feel your early warning signals. Being proactive works for me:
• iherb.com supplements and herbs to help minimize the causes of your migraines
• Use ice packs, because ice just works best for stopping migraine pain
• Biofeedback for Migraines can help you avoid your next attack and set the foundation for a long preventing them in the future.
Causes of Migraine Headache References:
1. Barron, Jon (2009) Digestive Enzymes - Raw Food Newsletter. [Online], Available at:
Accessed Feb. 24, 2012. Material originally published at
www.jonbarron.org. Copyright © 1999-2011. Baseline of Health® Foundation. Used by
permission of the Baseline of Health® Foundation. All rights reserved
2. Barron, Jon (2003) Choosing Your Digestive Enzymes Newsletter. [Online], Available at: http://www.jonbarron.org/enzymes/natural-newsletter-digestive-health-part2 Accessed Feb. 24, 2012.
3. Pitchford, P. (2002) Healing with Whole Foods (3rd ed.). North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA. pp. 572 and 643.
Migraine Causes: A Medical Mystery
Causes of Migraine Headache - Can They Be From Parasites?