Q: I am suffering from migraines and accompanying imbalance. It came on after a week in Venice but prior to that I was getting headaches for a few days, coming on a week after a period. I could plot them in my diary.
I had this imbalance last year too, headaches and imbalance and got checked out by a neurologist who recommended I take medication. I couldn’t face it as I reckoned I could beat it with diet and changing my lifestyle. I did and they all went away by Christmas last year. Trouble was I was feeling well so bad habits on the diet front and more wine have built up over the summer and I am back where I started.
I reckon Sutherlandia [FILISA] can help as it contains GABA which will help calm my poor excited brain down and help with stress.
Is there any chance I could order some from you?
A (by email)
A: I wonder if, as you have just been to Venice, you may be suffering from a condition called "disembarkment syndrome".
Disembarkment syndrome tends to occur just after someone has been on some kind of a trip that involved long exposure to movement. About two thirds of all sufferers first experience their symptoms just after getting off a long trip on a ship or boat. The remaining third have their first experiences after an airplane flight or long car ride. Studies also show that although some men experience this condition, ninety percent of sufferers are women, the average age of onset being about 44. The condition lasts, on average, about three years, though some patients seem never to recover.
Stress and lack of sleep can exacerbate the condition and, in your case you had been suffering from headaches before you left. But, as you have imbalance, I'm wondering if this could be the cause. Besides the general feeling of imbalance that is the hallmark of this condition, those suffering from disembarkment syndrome also get intense, migraine-like headaches and often, debilitating dizziness (which is why I thought of you) They have special difficulty handling any kind of ground motion. For example, when a person with this condition is standing on a crowded pavement and a truck or bus rumbles by, shaking the ground under their feet, these sufferers are much more likely to lose their balance or even fall. I don't know if this fits your symptoms?
Importance of GABA
You are quite right when you say that the GABA in Sutherlandia [FILISA] will calm your over excited brain and help with stress.
GABA (gamma amino butyric acid,) is made in brain cells from glutamate, and functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter – meaning that it blocks nerve impulses. Glutamate acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter and when bound to adjacent cells encourages them to “fire” and send a nerve impulse. GABA does the opposite and tells the adjoining cells not to “fire”, not to send an impulse.
Without GABA, nerve cells fire too often and too easily. Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, seizure disorders, and numerous other conditions including addiction, headaches, Parkinson's syndrome, and cognitive impairment are all related to low GABA activity. GABA hinders the transmission of nerve impulses from one neuron to another. It has a calming or quieting influence. A good example to help understand this effect is caffeine. Caffeine inhibits GABA release. The less GABA, the more nerve transmissions occur. Think what too much coffee feels like: that is the sensation of glutamate without enough GABA.
So GABA is essential for the proper function of your brain and the central nervous system, and has the effect of reducing excessive brain activity and promoting a state of calm.
For many people, the rush of daily life, with its problems, worries and external stimuli, can over-stimulate the brain to the extent that it can all seem too much for them. They feel anxious and overwhelmed, and wish that they could just go into a quiet corner to get away from it all. Most people have felt like that at some time, but the demands of life do not allow them that luxury. They just have to bear it and get on with life.
That is where GABA can come in. It can be used to bring your nervous system back to base, and make you feel more relaxed, calmer and more able to meet these challenges that life often throws at you. When you feel that you just can't relax or concentrate on what you are doing, GABA can help you. If you look around you and everybody else seems OK, without apparently feeling the stress that you feel, and then perhaps your problem is due to a GABA deficiency. GABA is the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, helps control neural excitability, as may be the case in migraine headaches.
You could also try taking magnesium which can be beneficial for migraine. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and is needed for normal muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, immune function, blood pressure, and for bone health. Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of magnesium for migraine and have had promising results. In one study, oral magnesium (600 mg per day) or a placebo were given to 81 people with migraines. After nine weeks, the frequency of migraines was reduced by 41.6 percent in the group taking magnesium, compared to 15.8 percent in the group taking the placebo. The only reported side effects were diarrhea in 18.6 percent of people and digestive irritation in 4.7 percent.Other studies have found that magnesium reduces the severity and frequency of migraine. Dyno mins is a great magnesium to take -- here's the link: Magnesium (Nutri Centre)
Also,several studies suggest that the herb butterbur helps to prevent migraines. The largest study involved 245 people with migraine took either butterbur extract (50 or 75 milligrams twice a day) or a placebo. After four months of treatment, butterbur, 75 milligrams twice a day but not 50 milligrams twice a day, was more effective than placebo for migraines: Butterbur (Nutri Centre)