Mitochondrial Dysfunction and it’s Potential Relationship to Migraine

I have been a suffer of migraine since I was a child and having turned chronic six years ago, I have spent countless hours researching potential factors that could be playing into this neurologic disorder.  Several years ago, I learned from my neurologists/headache specialist that migraine is actually a genetic disorder. Which means it is written on your DNA.  That doesn’t mean that all individuals with “migraine” written on their DNA are plagued with chronic migraine—it simply means that having it written on our DNA makes us PREDISPOSITIONED to be more susceptible for this condition.  There is more in depth information about genetics and migraine found at the American Migraine Foundation’s website.

But having learned this information, it made me really think—what other issues inside my body could be a factor in chronic migraine.  I am lucky and have an amazing headache specialists who is constantly trying to think outside the box.  He is a true gem, one that is not typically found in the sea of doctors that treat this disease.  I was recently chatting with my doctor and he suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction could be a potential factor in migraine.  I found this fascinating and thus have taken a much deeper dive into the scientific research that has been conducted on this topic.  The function of this piece is to introduce the basic ideas and to share resources with the migraine community—so that you too can be introduced to this research. 

So, buckle up to “NERD OUT” on cellular energy production! Disclaimer—I am by all means NOT a medical doctor NOR am I a scientific researcher.  I am simply a chronic migraine patient who is searching for non-pharmacological ways to improve my quality of life! 

Some research to ponder—according to study that was conducted in 2013 entitled Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Migraine, “In the 1980s, scientists first hypothesized a connection between migraine and mitochondrial (mt) disorders. More recent studies have suggested that at least some subtypes of migraine may be related to a mt defect” (Yorns & Hardison).  Moreover, there has been further research which indicates that:

“migraine is caused by mitochondrial dysfunction: impaired production of ATP from mitochondria. The best treatments for migraine are the treatments that improve mitochondrial function. In migraine, the failure of mitochondrial performance is endogenous: coming from within. Very importantly, inflammation can cause mitochondrial impairment, and mitochondrial impairment can cause inflammation.  However, the combination of inflammation with mitochondrial impairment is particularly devastating for the nervous system, strongly promoting pain, “sensitization”, migraine and seizure as well as neurodegeneration. Doctors are now realizing: To effectively treat these chronic pain conditions, we have to improve the patients’ nutritional status, and we have to specifically improve mitochondrial performance” (Vasquez, 2016).

So, I am sure you are sitting there asking yourself—OK SO how can I increase the function of a “potential” mitochondrial dysfunction??  

My doctor explained it to me in using non scientific terms (THANK GOODNESS—I told you he was a GOOD one!); and basically, there is a WAY to increase cellular function through increasing the functionality of the Pyruvate in your cells. Pyruvate is essentially one of the key pieces to help a cell function properly.  So, how do you “help” the Pyruvate in your cells to function more effectively?  Well, my doctor sent me to a website that allows you to purchase a direct derivate of Pyruvate called Pyrucet.  This derivative of Pyruvate is applied to my forearms once a day—I take 20 drops.  Since starting this I have noticed a significant increase in my energy, and feel as if the medications that I am on to help manage my migraine attacks are working more effectively.  I am in NO way endorsing that you run out and purchase this product, but rather want to share with the community another option to research and to discuss with your doctor.

Below are some links to some scientific articles, websites and other resources that I felt would help to enhance this information.  Take a look! This could be yet another way to fight the battle with chronic migraine!

DISCLAIMER—Discuss ALL medical treatments with YOUR doctor. I am NOT a Physician. This document was proofread and fact checked by my Headache Specialist prior to publishing.

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