Looking for headache cures that aren’t paracetamol or other medically prescribed fixes? Nutritionist Rick Hay recommends the best natural supplements for headaches
Did you know that there are 200 types of distinct headaches, with 95 percent of them treatable. They’re a pain quite literally and we seem to look for over the counter paracetamol, aspirin and ibroprofen to solve the problem. Painkillers have been in the spotlight over the past few years and not for good reasons. A new study by Dr Tommy Lundberg from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has shown that ibroprofen can prevent muscle growth from exercising when taken excessively. Not to mention the addictive nature of pain relievers such as these. Indeed, taking painkillers can sometimes lead to headaches of withdrawal to painkillers themselves!
What many people don’t know is that there are many natural supplements available to help prevent the severity and frequency of headaches before they arise. Here nutritionist Rick Hay’s best supplements for headaches proven by science.
‘Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies in the UK. It helps with migraines that may be triggered during the menopause, this is often due to a lack of magnesium in the diet and levels that tend to drop during menopause. BioCare’s Magnesium Malate is a key headache reliever. Magnesium itself helps reduce muscle spasms and tightness and it’s also used to help with the nervous system for relaxation and to help decrease depression and anxiety. This supplementation is a good idea if you want to reduce severity of headaches, help with relaxation, decrease anxiety and promote hormonal regulation.’
‘You may be familiar with cinnamon and its use in weight management because it helps to regulate blood sugar levels which will prevent your energy going up and down. Cinnamon also contains salicylates which are pain relievers. When you combine the properties of blood sugar regulation with pain relief you could help to reduce headaches. Bio Health do a cinnamon bark supplement that may help you reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.’
‘Methylsulphonylmethane, also known as MSM, is a supplement being studied for its ability to help reduce
pain and research about MSM’s ability to decrease inflammation and it’s a pain reliever as well. Often pain is caused by inflammation so if your headache is part of the inflammatory process MSM is going to be a supplement of choice. Naturally ocurring sulphur compounds help to cleanse through the liver and sometimes if your liver is a little bit sluggish that can be the result of a headache that leaves you feeling a little below par.’
‘Camomile is a botanical that has had hundreds of years of traditional usage to help reduce anxiety, aid low level depression an promote a feeling of wellbeing. As we research this herb more we’ve found out that it has a modulating effect on neurotransmitters and neurohormones. What this means is that the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and increased and this leads to a decrease in the severity of migraines and headaches. You may of heard of GABA and GABA receptors in the brain, camomile has the ability to bind to these receptors, leading to the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps with better sleep, so if you’re going to wake up feeling refreshed after a good nights sleep you’ll be less likely to develop one of those tension headaches.
Zingiber Officinale or also known as ginger is another key supplement that improves blood circulation to the brain which helps to maintain a supply of oxygen. Ginger also reduces inflammation and with most headaches caused from inflammation this is another key supplement. These can both be found in Healthista’s Night Food.’
Healthista Night Food, £18.95, available at Healthista shop contains ginger and camomile
‘5-HTP is another supplement that may help to reduce the severity and frequency of headaches. This time it’s all about serotonin, if you have abnormal levels this can be the cause of common migraines. 5-HTP helps to raise the serotonin levels, decrease anxiety, decrease depression improve mood and cut down on migraines and headaches.’
Migraine Awareness Week runs from September 3rd – 9th
Rick Hay is an Anti Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista. Find out more at rickhay.co.uk. Follow Rick @nutritiomalphys
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