The strange connection between migraines and diabetes

When you’re in the middle of a migraine, it’s hard to imagine that something good could come from it.

After all, what could be the benefit of being stuck in bed, afraid of even the smallest source of light or sound, with a head that feels like it could split apart at any moment?

Well, there’s a surprise in store for you.

That’s because according to scientists, those migraines might just protect you against diabetes — and vice versa.

The migraine/diabetes connection

The fact that migraines and diabetes are linked at all seems rather unlikely. While migraines happen in your brain, diabetes is caused by issues with your pancreas. And there’s a lot of body separating these two organs.

However, a research team led by Thanh Do, Ph.D. noticed something interesting…

Multiple studies were discovering an inverse relationship between the two conditions. In other words, migraines made diabetes less likely. And diabetes did the same for migraines.

So they set out to find the answer to why these seemingly unrelated conditions actually were.

Luckily, they already had a good starting point…

The team knew that two peptides in the nervous system — calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) — play a role in kicking off migraines. And they knew that these very same peptides (plus one more that’s related called amylin) are also found in the pancreas.

In fact, these peptides can influence the release of insulin from the beta cells in the organ.

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That’s the insulin that is responsible for regulating your blood sugar. And in type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to it, which makes them unable to absorb glucose, resulting in higher blood sugar levels.

While the pancreas’ beta cells can initially compensate by boosting the production of insulin, if it goes on too long, they get worn out and eventually die.

So how could migraines guard against blood sugar problems?

In experiments in mice, the scientists were able to show that those peptides that cause migraines are protective against diabetes in two powerful ways:

  • When CGRP is up, insulin levels go down — which they say may counter the insulin resistance that causes diabetes.
  • And they found that the other enzyme, PACAP, regulates insulin in a glucose-dependent manner and promotes beta cell proliferation, to avoid the risk of wearing out the existing cells.

So basically those awful migraines could have a silver lining — diabetes protection.

Migraine help for chronic sufferers

Of course, while those terrible headaches might be helping your blood sugar, that doesn’t mean they’re any easier to live with.

Luckily, there are things you can do to ease them.

My favorite is a triple-nutrient cocktail that many have used to reduce the severity of their migraines or their number of migraine days each month. My colleague Margaret Cantwell also found a novel way to cut down on the frequency of hers with light.

Yoga has also been found to cut the frequency of migraines in half.

And there are even six additional strategies that I’ve used personally to help ease my own migraines.

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Sources:

How migraines protect against diabetes — Technology.Org

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.