Headaches – Chemical Causes and Solutions

Headaches are a huge problem for a lot of the population. Estimates vary from 50-60% of adults experiencing headaches that have a negative impact on their lives. An often overlooked cause of headaches and migraines are chemicals in our environment and chemicals we ingest.

Chemical stress is a huge category too, with many specific examples of possible causes, from inadequate water, to food, hormones or other chemical products. Certain foods can trigger headaches, including wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. Sulfites in cured or processed meats, sulfites in wines, alcohol, and MSG.

Hormone changes that occur during female menstrual cycles can cause headaches, as can hormone medications such as birth control pills and menopausal support therapies.

Other stimuli that can cause headaches, and migraines in particular, include bright lights, loud noises or strong smells. Even large changes in the atmospheric pressure that occur with weather changes, can cause headaches.

High blood pressure, low blood sugar, low levels of vitamin B, vitamin D, or magnesium.

Here are a few natural solutions for headaches

Feverfew – herb taken daily as a preventative measure, takes 2-3 months to begin experiencing changes in length of migraine-free time periods; doesn’t stop a migraine that’s already started.

Magnesium – 500-1000 mg/day seafood, garlic, kale, broccoli, spinach, basil, nuts

Calcium – 500-1250 mg/day broccoli, eggs, almonds, organic organ meats (ie. liver)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 1000 mg/day to 4000 mg/day coldwater fish like salmon, cod, seabass, olive oil, avocados, ground flaxseed

Medications – the top ten prescribed drugs in the United States list headaches as a side effect; including Zocor, Prilosec and Amoxicillin

Dehydration – one quart of water per 50 lbs of bodyweight; 150 lb woman: 3 liters, 200 lb man: 4 liters; exercise? Add half a liter or more

Ginger – 1-4 grams/day can be capsules; raw, steeped in tea

Try making a few of these changes, even just consuming more water, and see if these decrease your headaches. Drink up!