Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › Medical conditions and fasting › Migraine
This topic contains 24 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by NancyDrew 5 years, 4 months ago.
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9 Nov 13
Hello, I have started two weeks ago, found the fasting manageable (although I do feel very hungry the day after and probably tend to eat more than I usually would). In the second week I have suffered the longest and more painful cluster of migraines and I am not sure whether it’s a coincidence or if the fasting could have triggered it. Has anybody else experienced migraines? Also, should I do a fast today, the day after the last migraine, and not feeling 100% yet?
I’m no expert but from my basic knowledge your brain will revert to ketone bodies as energy instead of serum glucose during times of fasting. I also had headaches when I started 3 weeks ago but I was also dehydrated. It’s getting easier now but first week was a challenge.
I personally don’t think you should fast if you feel unwell. It’s tough enough anyway!!
10 Nov 13
Thank you Z, I didn’t fast afetr all and feeling better for it. I will give it another try tomorrow and monitor the migraine situation…
13 Nov 13
I fasted for the first time in months, from 1pm to 1pm. I do suffer from sinus headaches anyway, but also had a killer headache, the pain of which made me feel really sick and I had to come home from work or pass out. I didn’t think it was the fast, but now I wonder?
14 Nov 13
I don’t know about migraines, I have no experiences with them… But about headaches:
– Are you taking in enough water? When fasting I find that I need to drink almost double my usual amount to prevent getting chapped lips and headaches.
– Headaches can also indicate that toxins are being released by your cells (which is a good thing!) but are now running amock in your circulatory system for a bit, causing headaches. They should recede after a while of eating healthy.
As for the ketones, as long as you eat carbs on normal days your body won’t immediately shift over to ketones completely. It takes the human body around 3 days to reach full ketosis as far as I know. It even took me a bit longer when I tried I think…
Also keep in mind it’s easy to blame things on the diet that may or may not have anything to do with it 😉
18 Nov 13
I suffer from Migraines as well. I’m trying to avoid caffeine as it is definitely a trigger and I’m trying to up the amount of water I drink. I can’t do the whole day without food that many people do so I have 3 small things a day, or sometimes 2. I have a few wee low calorie snacks that I keep at work to revive me if I’m finding it too much of a struggle on fast days. I spend my whole day in front of a computer as well which doesn’t help so will try and get out on lunchtimes occasionally.
20 Jan 14
I have suffered with migraines since I was 4 years old and have them all the time. I am sorry but is disease is unlike any other because well meaning people think its a headache and offer solutions that are unworkable for migraine sufferers. The first 2 Times I fasted I got a 30 hour migraine and I came off the diet immediately then I realised that I can do it as long as I don’t get too hungry. I now do about 600 calls on fasting days and force myself to drink water all day long. It makes a difference. As soon as I get the jitters I eat because nothing is as bad as a migraine but no sugar or bad carbs on those days. So far so good. Wish u all well. In my first week properly doing it I lost 2lbs. If I lose a pound a week I’ll be happy.
21 Jan 14
I am a migraneur too, been suffering since I was a child too, but I have actually found the Fast Diet to help mine. Not at first, because I used to always get morning migraines when I would wake up hungry, so my early Fast Days were breakfast-heavy, but doing the fasting has actually broken my body out of that routine and now I don’t get migraines as soon as I’m hungry. I have fasted through a few migraines because I figure i’m in hell anyway, may as well lose some weight while i’m there, but if yours get work, I agree with Tiaramy, nothing is worth a migraine, you have to put your health first. I write a summary blog post each week about the Fast Diet and have talked about my health changes in my general page, if you fancy a read, I’d love to hear more peoples’ experiences and how it is effecting their migraines!
Good luck!! Meg
22 Jan 14
Thank you meg made. I actually got a migraine after this weeks fast but need to continue and find a way. . I would love to hear from others with this condition.
Having suffered from migraines for forty years it is frustrating to hear some people still think of them as headaches. I can assure you they are far far worse. Pain so severe that it makes you physically sick, disrupts your vision, impairs your thinking processes and makes you curl up in a corner and wish you could pass out because then you might get some relief. They are to be avoided at all costs.
So know what your triggers are and avoid them. That is true of any diet or life style. Suffers will know what triggers an attack so make sure that you avoid chocolate, or dairy products, or oranges, whatever the trigger. Get good quality sleep, keep hydrated and be sensible. So far I have not found that the fast diet has had any impact positive or negative on migraine attacks but it is early days for me. Some people have found a daily magnesium boost helps especially women. Research it first though to make sure it is right for you.
My triggers are red wine and artificial sweeteners (aspartame and sucralose) if I avoid those I can go years between migraines. I get the full on ones with the vision halos and hand/face numbness. Not something to play around with.
Be sure to not confuse a migraine with the dizzy sick headache you can get with dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance. I think quite often people mistake one for the other.
31 Jan 14
my first week i suffered with terrible migrane on the first fast then realised i need to drink more water. after this have been able to manage fine . also found it beneficial to have an early night the day i fast as well. no exercise on my fast day as this just doesnt work for me either as i feel exhausted.
3 Feb 14
I’ve also suffered migraines all my adult life and yes there is most definitely a difference between them a a headache. For me they were putting me to bed for 2-3 days at at time plus the first day I was violently sick for about 12 hours not nice at all.
However I have now been doing this WOL for 9 months and in that time I’ve not had a migraine at all I’ve had the niggly headache due to not enough water and I have had the occasional bad head but
2 paracetamol puts this right I can’t praise this WOL enough because that fact alone makes it so worthwhile.
♥ But I’ve also lost 50lbs in that time which is absolutely brilliant for me and has bought me additional health benefits making my life worth living unlike the position i was in a year ago.
4 Feb 14
i just started the fast diet precisely in order to get rid of migraine. there is a theory that migraine is due to an energy crisis of the brain (caused by insulin resistance or too many carbs on a regular basis), and the brain is not able to maintain the required blood sugar level. the theory is that by “relearning” to use ketons for energy, migraine can be cured for good because the brain can then use ketons whenever it needs them to maintain constant blood sugar.
if your migraine is caused by such energy crises then it is predicted that it will get (much) worse when you start fasting, but at some point, when your body learns to use ketons, should vanish.
i usually had a migraine every two weekends for many years since i was a child. i had two fasting days now with a heavy migraine each day, which is quite unusual for me, but seems to be as predicted. so i will keep going.
i got this information from a german site http://migraeneinformation.de run by Peter Mersch. he writes that his first days and weeks of low carb & fasting were like hell, but he has not had a migraine for many years. the theory is based on the book by wolfgang lutz “life without bread”.
according to the mentioned theory, fasting triggers a migraine because you induce an energy crisis in the brain. your brain is not used to working without carbs, but you can relearn to use ketons, which should then provide a long-term steady energy source for your brain.
Ketogenic diet as a possible treatment for migraine is also mentioned on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketogenic_diet
12 Aug 14
Im realy intrested in doing the 5:2 but ive had such succses with Topramite for my migraines that to scared to upset the balance. Ive had a migraine,sinus or bad headache everyday for as long as i can remember. But now i have a mirgaine once every two weeks klled with a triptan or a headache which is sorted with a nice coffee. So even with all the health benefits im scared witless to start the 5:2.
13 Oct 14
Hi guys 🙂 My naturopath told me to go on the 5:2 diet…. He totally rates it.. I suffer chronic headaches and the occasional migraine… So I had a few headaches the first couple of weeks of fasting… He told me that could be my body detoxing.. Also he said that because I am a coffee drinker (im talking one or two a day) i must drink coffee on my fast day because ur body becomes addicted to it… and to deny it means the headache train rolls on in… also he said i must up my intake of water because we get a lot of water from the food we eat so when were fasting and not eating we arent getting that extra water so drink up!!! And for those people that get really hungry on the fast days (that was me at the beginning) you need to have more protein the day before you fast and that will stop u becoming so hungry… i find having a nice chicken and veg soup the night before stops me getting as hungry the next day (im talking chicken and soup mix and red kidney beans and heaps of veggies…yummo) I also drink heaps of fruit teas and herbal teas to get me through… Hope thats helped some people 🙂 Good luck to everyone fasting, just think of the good you are doing to ur body 🙂
30 Dec 14
Hi – I know this is an old thread, but I joined this community just to see if I could find any research on this. I get migraines, and my GP and I have worked out that skipping meals is definitely a trigger for me. There’s a fact sheet here about that, and it seems fairly common.
I’ve been wanting to try Intermittent Fasting ever since watching Horizon as it makes so much intuitive sense to me, but I’m put off by migraine suffering. In fact I’ve recently put on weight partly because I’m so scared of missing meals and triggering migraines. If anybody has seen any fuller research on this I’d be very interested to read it.
In the meantime I’m starting 5:2 this week so will see how it works for me..
8 Jan 15
How did your first week go Ruffled? I have just started yesterday and a headache was triggered by early evening. It felt very similar to my migraines but not exactly the same. It did the usual thing of making me feel sick and was very unpleasant. I usually suffer migraines two or three times a month and have done for many years. Not always with the vision problems first but always enough to put me in a darkened room wanting to sleep to get past it. I have not managed to find a trigger. I am interested to see if this diet will help them.
Hi Maler – pretty positive for me so far. After two fast days I have had one migraine, but I’m not sure that it was directly triggered or not as it was a day after (and easily managed with a sumatriptan). So will definitely stick with it, everything else about the fast days was very positive for me, and I was surprised how easy it was to get through the two days. Good luck with it, I hope the headaches don’t mean that you can’t continue.
9 Jan 15
Glad it’s going well for you. I am hoping my headache was a coincidence as well. I have had as spell without one so I was due one I suppose. I am sure as my body gets used to fasting and reduced sugar intake things will improve.
30 Jan 15
I did my first fast day yesterday and I was really worried about migraine. I’ve been suffering form them for the last twenty years and have only managed to get them under control in the last couple of years with my GP’s help, mainly by keeping my blood sugar steady. I was starting to get into a habit of translating ‘steady’ as ‘constantly high’ and munching on oatcakes, muesli, cereal etc all day long – ok so they’re good carbs but still carbs.
So I started yesterday with some trepidation and with some triptans at the ready…
But amazingly yesterday was my first day in about a week with no sort of headache, and no signs of a migraine at all. I drank lots and lots of water and herbal tea (I put lime in the water, it was really tasty) and I think the fact that I made sure I did that really helped. I also didn’t skip lunch – I had a 200cal high protein lunch and then waited until supper for the last 150cal of the day. Skipping lunch is a major migraine trigger for me so I knew I couldn’t wait till dinner, which I skipped instead.
Hopefully my next fast day on Monday will also be migraine free. I’ve also learned to keep drinking and keep hydrated.
12 Mar 15
I suffer with migraine, which makes fasting difficult.
I get the worst migraines when I skip meals, at the same time there are days when I can go without food and will be just fine.
I sometimes wonder if this is related to my menstrual cycle.
So I just try to fast and when I feel the first signs of a migraine I postpone the fast day and start to eat something.
Drinking is really important!
My first week were fine, but the second week I had a few migraines, particularly towards the end of my fast days. I did some reading online and decided to up my fluid intake on fast days to almost double, with at least 8 oz of that being chicken broth. I’ve had no fast day migraines since, and I’m very prone to migraines with any changes in my sleep, diet, or hormones so that’s saying a lot for me. Good luck!
23 Mar 15
I’ve suffered migraines for the last 10 years and know pretty much now what triggers them and how to stop one before it starts up.
I don’t find the fasting affecting this at all in fact it has prob helped me have less migraines. My easy solution is water and plenty of it. If i drink loads of water i can stop a migraine in its tracks. No need for any pain meds.
I tend to drink a lot of water on fast days which obviously helps with this.
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