Migraines linked to bacteria in mouth

People who suffer from migraines have more of certain bacteria in their mouths

People who suffer from migraines have long complained that certain foods trigger the severe headaches. New research suggests the culprit might be the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers found that the mouths of people who suffer from migraines harboured significantly more of the microbes that break down nitrates found in certain foods.

These bacteria play an important role in processing nitrates so they can then be converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which widens blood vessels and improves circulation.

While this process is helpful for cardiovascular health, the findings suggest an abundance of these bacteria may break down nitrates more quickly, causing blood vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, triggering migraines.

Nitrates are naturally found in a variety of leafy green vegetables, and they are added to processed meat as a preservative and to improve flavour and colour.

Doctors have been telling people who suffer from migraines to avoid processed foods for years. Dr. Michael Zitney, who leads the Headache & Pain Relief Centre in Toronto, says this research strengthens their case.

“We have long since known that these kinds of foods can trigger migraines, but we haven’t really known how,” he says.

Link to cardiovascular research

The process of how nitrates break down into nitric oxide is well-studied in cardiovascular health.

Nitrate-containing drugs are prescribed to treat chest pain or congestive heart failure. But roughly four out of five cardiac patients who take the drugs report severe headaches as a side-effect.

The study’s authors hope these findings will help link existing cardiovascular research with migraines.

“It opens a full area of research and connects two areas of research that have not been connected before,” says the study’s lead author, Antonio Gonzalez, from the University of California San Diego.

Data collected from ‘citizen scientists’

This study was based on data from the American Gut Project, which crowd sources oral and fecal samples from so-called “citizen scientists.”

Researchers sequenced bacteria found in 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples. They found that the nitrate-reducing microbes were slightly more abundant in the fecal samples of people who suffer from migraines, but significantly more abundant in their oral samples.

Chronic migraines are frequent, severe, pulsating headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

It’s estimated that eight per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with migraines, although this likely underestimates their prevalence, as some people who suffer from migraines don’t seek professional help.

The study’s authors say they still need to determine whether the bacteria are a cause or a result of migraines, or are indirectly linked in some other way.

For now, Zitney says, the research suggests that some migraines could one day be treated by controlling the bacteria in our mouths.

“This may be just a glimmer of hope in terms of pursuing possible treatments,” he says.

The study was published earlier this week in mSystems, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bacteria-migraines-1.3811940

Throbbing headache?? Try these natural cures for relief!



You will be surprised at the number of things that can give you a headache in life. Annoying bosses, marital fights, cranky children, traffic or even the cell-phone yapping of a co-passenger is enough to make your head burst.

Physiologically speaking, headaches are caused by constricting of blood vessels or tension created in the muscles of the back and neck. They are generally a body response to stress but can happen due to congestion or infection in the sinuses.

When it comes to headaches, you don’t always need to rush for an aspirin. Simple, natural remedies can be surprisingly effective to alleviate you from the pain. We list a few for you to try.

Massage with essential oils
A good head massage is an age old Indian remedy that never fails to cure a headache. Rub your temples in a firm, circular motion. Dab a drop of thyme or rosemary essential oil and apply it into your temples.

You can also try putting pressure on the web of skin between the base of your thumb and your forefinger. Acupressure experts believe that this fleshy area is linked to the part of the brain where headaches originate. Do this for a couple of minutes till the pain resolves.

Hot water soak
Try soaking your feet in warm water! Sounds like a cure for tired soles? Yes, but it works on headaches too. A hot water soak draws blood to the feet and eases the pressure built up by blood vessels in your head. Add some mustard to the soak for added benefits.

Cold compress
A lot of people swear by the benefits of cold compress. Put a couple of ice cubes in a washcloth and press it against your forehead. Cold constricts blood vessels, and on shrinkage they stop pressing on sensitive nerves. Since headache pain sometimes stems from nerves in back of your neck, moving the compress to the muscles at the base of your skull is also effective.

Drink up
If you are having headaches try drinking a tall glass of water. A headache is often an indication that your body is dehydrated. If you aren’t a water baby, try having some ginger juice. The herb works as an anti-inflammatory, thereby relieving headache. Rosemary and Chamomile also help relieve stress and reduce headaches. Another effective remedy is trying strong black tea with a few bruised whole cloves added. Given that tea contains caffeine and cloves have anti-inflammatory properties, this brew might indeed be a great remedy to ease a throbbing headache.

Don’t starve yourself. Long hours without food can cause a drop in blood sugar causing headaches. Also, eating foods with high Vitamin E can help with headaches by thinning blood and easing out circulation. Almonds, avocado and wheatgerm are great bets for unblocking tension.

Magnesium supplements
Doctors believe people suffering from chronic headaches should keep magnesium in their medicine chest. 400 milligrams of it is enough to prevent migraines and these supplements are easily available at drug stores. If you want to route the natural way, try foods like pumpkin seeds, mackerel, dried figs, and dark chocolate which are high in magnesium instead of supplements.

Source: the med guru


Health and Happiness: Men beat Women

A new survey has found that men are more healthier as well as happier about their appearance than women who are more concerned about their looks, making them less happy.

Health and Happiness, a nationwide study of 2,000 men and women revealed that men reported a higher rate of happiness when it came to their weight, shape, appearance, and the way they are perceived by others.

However, the survey found women to be more self-conscious and slightly less satisfied with their happiness levels at around 49 percent.

It also said that women are much more likely to try dieting than men.

On stress levels, 60 percent of women felt anxious once a week or more while almost 60 percent of male respondents said they only felt stressed once a month.

Men rarely feel depressed as over 70 percent of them claim they rarely felt down or had mood swings, whereas half of women admitted to feeling low or unhappy at least once a month, if not more.

When it comes to wellness, men are again leading as almost half of them said they rarely got headaches compared to 64 percent of women who said they experienced them at least once a month or more.

Also, 70 percent of men said bloating and poor digestion would only occur once a month or less, while it was a daily or weekly problem for half of women.

Patrick Holford, leading nutrition expert and who conducted the research said: “The general perception is that women are more health conscious, but what this survey shows is that women do actually have more health issues to deal with, especially relating to digestion, mood, anxiety and sleep.”

“The results also show that respondents, regardless of their gender, considered the absence of disease to be an indicator of good health. But being healthy means more than that – it’s abundance of well-being indicated by good energy levels, a stable mood and a sharp mind, all of which achieve optimum health,” added Holford.

Source: Zee news

Stress Linked to Headache Frequency

German researchers have confirmed what headache sufferers have long suspected: The more stressed out you are, the more frequent your headaches.

For being so common, the exact mechanisms behind headaches can be somewhat mysterious. While the new data can only suggest an association with stress, “I would think that stress ‘triggers’ headache,” one of the researchers, Dr. Zaza Katsarava of University Hospital, University of Duisburg-Essen, told.

The study used data from the German Headache Consortium Study of 5,159 people age 21-71. These people answered questionnaires every three months from 2010 to 2012 about headache type and frequency and used a visual 100-point scale to state how much stress they experienced.

After adjusting for age, sex, drinking habits, smoking and so on, the data was clear. For those who reported “tension” headaches, each 10 point increase in stress was associated with a 6.3 percent increase in the number of days each month they suffered through a headache.

Migraine and mixed tension-migraine sufferers also showed increases with stress, 4.3 and 4 percent respectively, though Katsarava cautioned that because headache type was self-reported, some people who said they had migraines might have had tension headaches.

Those results jibe with other studies, like one from Ohio’s Xavier University released last spring in which researchers from the business school found that headache-related hospital admission increased significantly during the 2008-2009 recession.

Alleviating stress can be especially important for people who experience headaches, Katsarava said, because stress can create a vicious cycle. “Stress triggers headache, headache triggers stress. Because people are disabled, they can not manage their life and their duties.”

Headache treatment, she argued, should be include medical, psychological and behavioral approaches.

Source: nbc news