Does Your Headache Start in Your Gut?

Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycemia is a Major Cause of Headaches

Most of us have experienced the dreaded headache. A bad headache makes life harder and more stressful, and at times almost impossible to get through the day. Wouldn’t it be great to know what causes our headaches so that we could avoid the pain? Missed time at work? Missed time with loved ones?

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Many headaches suffers know that some headaches can be triggered by food sensitivities such as caffeine, chocolate, red wine and aged cheese. Chemical and environmental sensitivities such as perfume, laundry detergent and carpets to name a few, can also trigger headaches. Dehydration can be another factor, especially in the summer.

One thing that may come as a suprise is that many headaches can be caused by low blood sugar or mineral deficiencies, which are directly related to your ability to digest and metabolize the food you eat. This factor is an often overlooked by traditional medicine. 

 While anti-inflammatory pills may bring temporary relief, these medications do not get to the root cause, and can harm the stomach, kidneys and liver in the process. 

Let’s look at the cause of many headaches more closely.

Food is our fuel, right? But if we are not fueled properly, if we have food sensitivities or cannot digest and metabolize our food well, we suffer. Without being aware of it we start to lose our everyday ability to handle our blood sugar levels. When this happens it affects our sleep, our appetite and even our mental health. 

For example, some people may get to sleep easily, only to find out that they awaken later in the night and cannot get back to sleep. Many of these people experience this because they have a drop in blood sugar overnight as they fast from eating. And when your digestion is impaired, especially the ability to digest protein, your body looses its ability to convert protein back to sugar. This results in increased nighttime agitation, poor sleep, and headaches.

Protein also transports the mineral, calcium, in our blood. If you don't digest protein well, you develop a calcium deficiency, which tends to produce anxiety, restlessness, and headaches.

When your ability to digest protein or fat is compromised, there is a tendency for people to eat excessive amounts of carbohydrates for fuel. The problem with this is that you end up with rapid up and down swings in blood sugar. As you eat large amounts of carbohydrate, your blood sugar may rise rapidly, and then fall dramatically as insulin helps your cells absorb all the sugar. Falling blood sugar may cause shakiness, sweats, rapid heartbeat, irritability and headaches.

Consumption of excessive amounts of carbohydrates also causes the body's pH to become acidic because you loose your alkalizing minerals. Acid pH can produce muscle contractions in the neck, which again, can trigger digestion headaches. 

Eventually, people with a malfunctioning low/high blood sugar begin to experience insulin resistance and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which leads to a pre-diabetic state. 

In my clinical practice, 80-85% of headaches are the result of low blood sugar, and its companion, mineral imbalances.  Are you one of these people?  If you experience gas and headaches, or digestion headaches, scheduling a consultation with Dr. Patrick may be the best thing you have ever do to ease your headache pain.

For a Patient Success Story on Overcoming Headaches click here

Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, Internal Health Specialist, Founder of the Digestion Relief Center, in Chico California specializes in effective, natural relief for IBS, food sensitivities and digestive problems. Since 1999 Dr. Patrick has thousands of people from Chico, Redding and throughout  Northern California live healthier lives.

Published in the Chico Enterprise Record Healthbeat July 21, 2011.

2011, © Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved.

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