• Dr. Kate Ricciardi

How to Manage Migraine Naturally - A Beginners Guide

When you hear migraine, you think head, headache, brain, pain.

Have you ever thought about how your gut might be affecting migraine?

There has been links made between our gut health and our brain. Think the gut-brain axis.

Over 17% of women experience migraines. Recent reports demonstrate an increased frequency of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in patients with migraine compared with the general population. (1,2)

We know genetics, hormones and environmental factors can be involved with migraine, but let’s take a look at the impact of food and inflammation on migraine. The vagus nerve links the gut and brain. The gut is considered the "second brain" due to the number of important tasks that occur there, including the vast majority of the immune system and neurotransmitters.

When someone is experiencing a dysfunction in the gut, it impacts the normal use, metabolism of nutrients, it can cause leaky gut and affect hormones and release inflammatory chemicals into the blood. Those that suffer from migraine have alterations of neurotransmitter metabolism detected in biological fluids. (3)

In functional nutrition and in functional medicine, there is a lot more focus on interpreting the science, evidence and putting the pieces together, instead of just making decisions based off of a study or just focusing on one part of the body.

So, when you look at the role the gut plays in migraine, due to it's connection to the brain and the role that we know serotonin plays, and how a significant portion of serotonin is made in the gut...we can begin to put the pieces together of how gut health (aka the microbiome) is important for managing migraine.

There is the standard list of food triggers to avoid for migraine, but there is a way to dig a little deeper for a more customized approach, focused on inflammation. There is a way to determine what foods can be causing inflammation within the gut, for the individual. When those foods are removed and replaced and the gut can begin to heal, it can have a lasting impact on reducing inflammatory chemicals in the blood, improving the health of the gut, microbiome and having a big impact on migraines. A customized approach is beneficial for the individual to get the answers she needs.


World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Sep 28; 22(36): 8149–8160.

Published online 2016 Sep 28. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i36.8149


Aamodt AH, Stovner LJ, Hagen K, Zwart JA. Comorbidity of headache and gastrointestinal complaints. The Head-HUNT Study. Cephalalgia. 2008;28:144–151.


J Headache Pain. 2017; 18(1): 20.

Published online 2017 Feb 13. doi: 10.1186/s10194-016-0711-0

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     Dr. Kate Ricciardi, DPT RDN CLT     919-797-9296       rdnutritionconsulting.com      info@rdnutritionconsulting.com

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