Is Migraine a Brain Energy Problem?

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Key Questions
  • What is the definition of metabolism, and how might it relate to migraine?
  • What is a metabolic disorder?
  • What are mitochondria, and what role might they play in the potential metabolic origins of migraine?
  • What research or evidence supports the hypothesis that migraine could be considered a metabolic disorder?
  • How have some of the leading medical societies reacted to this theory?
  • What is oxidative stress?
  • What are signs of an insufficient supply of energy to the brain?
  • Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar/glucose levels fall too low. Is hypoglycemia more common in people with migraine?
  • How do migraine triggers, such as certain foods or fasting, relate to metabolic processes?
  • Are there any metabolic markers or tests that can predict or correlate with migraine occurrence or severity?
  • Are there any known genetic links between metabolic disorders and migraine?
  • Are there any specific populations or demographics that show a stronger correlation between metabolic disturbances and migraine?
  • What is the ketogenic diet, and what is ketosis?
  • Are there ways of getting the benefits of a ketogenic diet without all the restrictions?
  • What are the four steps to improve mitochondrial function and energy metabolism in migraine?
  • Are there any specific dietary recommendations or interventions that might help regulate metabolic imbalances and reduce migraine occurrences?
  • Beyond diet, are there any lifestyle changes that might help address the metabolic aspects of migraine?
  • Are there any potential risks or drawbacks in approaching migraine from a metabolic perspective?
Interview Notes
Treatments Mentioned
  • Air purifier
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Decrease blue light exposure
  • Diet
  • Exogenous ketones
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Multivitamin with antioxidants
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sleep
  • Stress reduction
  • Toxin-free water

Please note: The Migraine World Summit’s aim is to bring you a variety of perspectives and expertise, independent of bias or judgment. Alternative theories presented in this video have not been medically reviewed. Views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of the Migraine World Summit. Please always consult your health care professional and do your own research before making changes to your treatment plan.

Elena Gross, PhD

Brain Ritual

Dr. Elena Gross is a neuroscientist with a PhD in clinical research who has firsthand experience living with chronic migraine. The lack of tolerable and efficacious treatment options for migraine led her to pursue a MSc in neuroscience at the University of Oxford and a PhD in clinical research at the University of Basel, with the goal of having better understanding of this common and debilitating disease and ultimately improving clinical care.

Dr. Gross is passionate about the therapeutic benefits of ketosis and other nutritional interventions, the role of mitochondrial functioning and energy metabolism in brain health and neurological diseases (particularly migraine), as well as increasing our health span via disease prevention. She holds four patents, and is the founder and CEO of Brain Ritual. Her migraine research papers have been published in high-ranking journals such as Nature Reviews Neurology and Scientific Reports.

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Miles for Migraine is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the lives of people with migraine and other headache disorders, and their families, by raising public awareness about this disease, and helping to find a cure. Miles for Migraine produces fun walk/run events, typically a 2-mile walk and 5K and 10K races to raise money for migraine research. We also host adult education days, and a youth program for kids and teens impacted by migraine and other headache disorders.

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