People who experience migraine can suffer from debilitating pain. Could the answer be found in a root crop that grows in the extreme climate where only few plants survive? Has something that the Incans consumed 2000 years ago help migraine sufferers?
What is Migraine?
Migraine, derived from the Greek word “Hemikrania” means “half a skull. It is aptly named as it affects half of the head. Migraines can be mild to severe with persistent pain from the temple towards the area behind the ear. People with migraine can experience sensitivity to light and sound as well as feel nausea or experience vomiting. Some people with migraine might experience “aura” which is an unusual visual or auditory sensory experience. Migraines can last for several hours with intense pain and discomfort, and even last for up to 3 days.
What Causes Migraine?
It is believed that the causes of migraine are stress, irregular sleeping pattern, sedentary lifestyle and allergies. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can also contribute to migraine headaches. As migraine usually involves dilation and contraction of the blood vessel, nicotine and red wine, which can cause constriction, can also affect and cause migraines. Low estrogen and progesterone levels can also lead to migraine. Other stressors might also cause or trigger migraines.
Migraine and Hormone
Modern conveniences including fast food and exposure to chemicals and pollution can lead to problems in the endocrine system. This leads to fluctuations as well as deficiencies in the hormone levels of a person. It is interesting to note that women are three times more likely to experience migraine than the opposite sex. Low progesterone levels are often the leading cause for women who are aged 35 and over. Excessive exposure to estrogenics or xenoestrogens (from plastics) can disrupt the homeostasis of the endocrine system. This can lead to migraine and changes in the hormone levels.
Maca and its Nutritional Role
The maca plant thrives in the Andes Mountain at 14000 feet elevation. The plant is an adaptogenic and restorative type of plant helping the body to adapt to stress and other hormonal imbalances. The maca has phytonutrients, which include minerals, amino acid, vitamins, fatty acid and fiber. The plant can help the endocrine system encouraging it to increase production of the hormones. The maca also helps the hypothalamus and pituitary glands regulating and bringing balance to other body glands such as the thyroid, pancreas, and ovaries, adrenal and testicular. This helps the body to increase the hormone production and thus reducing the occurrence of migraine.
Maca is also available in powdered form and can be mixed with food, cereal, yogurt or smoothies.