Migraine Headaches with Erin Knight: Rational Wellness Podcast 061
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Erin Knight speaks about how to cure migraine headaches with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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3:50 I asked Erin what are some of the more common triggers for migraine headaches? Her answer is that some of the more common triggers are weather changes, hormones, and food triggers, but she feels that the key to treating migraines is not to focus so much on the triggers, which can change, but to look at the body’s capacity to manage stress, which includes biomechanical stress, mental/emotional stress, and chemical and biological stress. Figure out how you can reduce your body’s stress load and heal, so you become less sensitive to triggers. We used the barrel or bathtub analogy that the immune is filled to the top and tends to react to lots of things, but if you can pour out some of the barrel, then it won’t be spilling over the top so often and causing symptoms.
6:40 Erin discussed how gut problems can be a factor leading to migraines. They can help to fill up the barrel. Leaky gut can lead to more toxins. Gut problems can lead to nutrient deficiencies. She likes to use the GI Map stool test.
9:41 Erin explained that the most common finding she sees on the GI Map test is elevated H pylori infections, which she addresses with mastic gum supplements and saccromyces boulardi probiotics.
13:32 Food sensitivities can be an underlying cause of migraines and she likes to do the ALCAT food sensitivity panel. Almost all of her patients do better when they eliminate gluten for at least three months.
19:01 Hormonal migraines are very common and she does the DUTCH (Dried Urine) test to analyse hormonal status.
23:58 Chiropractic can address some of the structural issues. Erin explained that there are three prongs to her approach to migraines: 1. mental/emotional stress, 2. biomechanical stress, which can be addressed with chiropractic, and 3. chemical/biochemical stress. Chiropractic can also help if they are under chronic emotional stress by relieving the tension in the muscles. Erin found that chiropractic worked, but she kept having to go back for adjustments weekly till she looked deeper and addressed problems with her gut, with heavy metals, and with liver detoxification and then she was able to hold her adjustments much longer and was able to just go in monthly or unless she fell off her bike.
25:40 What is the ideal diet for migraines? Erin said that she likes her clients to eat whole, organic foods with a lot of vegetables but not to get too stressed out over an overly complicated diet.
27:33 Should we skip breakfast, which is how many people are now practicing intermittent fasting? Erin explained that if you are having problems with blood sugar fluctuations, then skipping meals may not be such a good thing. She sees clients who are too busy at work to each lunch and they end up getting a headache from the roller coaster of their blood sugar crashing.
30:20 Magnesium is a very important supplement for migraine patients, since it can help with muscle spasm, sleep and constipation. Erin prefers to do Micronutrient testing to see what people really need the most. Test, don’t guess.
34:23 For those who are looking for the quick fixes for migraines, Erin offers her Quick Fix Checklist for Migraines Erin can be reached through her website, Engineering Radiance.com
Erin Knight is the founder of Engineering Radiance, believes that no one should miss out on life because of migraine headaches. Erin has her Masters in Pharmaceutical Engineering from the University of Michigan and advanced training in functional nutrition and nutrigenomics. Her website is https://www.engineeringradiance.com/ You can get her free Migraine Relief Checklist to help you with migraines https://www.engineeringradiance.com/migraine-relief-checklist/
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.
Dr. Weitz: This is Doctor Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness Podcast, bringing you the cutting-edge information on health and nutrition, from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast on iTunes and YouTube, and sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.
Hey, Rational Wellness Podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. For those of you who enjoy the Rational Wellness Podcast, please go to iTunes and give us a ratings and review, so more people can find out about the Rational Wellness Podcast. Our topic for today is migraine headaches. This is the first time we’ve talked about headaches in a very common ailment among Americans. Migraines are occurring at the rate of more than three million cases per year in the United States, perhaps more that are undiagnosed. Migraines are typically severe, recurring headaches, usually felt on one side of the head. They’re frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sounds, and/or sensitivities to smell. A lot of times, there will also be a lack of appetite, and there may be a change of bowel function.
Up to 30% of migraine sufferers experience an aura ahead of time, letting them know that a migraine is coming. An aura is typically a visible, or a sensory, disturbance, such as blurred vision, seeing flickers, or flashes of light, or lights that distort your vision, or wavy or a zigzag vision. There could be pins and needles feeling on one side of the face or one side of the body. You may feel like things are spinning. It’s generally not understood what causes migraines, or how to prevent them. And for traditional medical practitioners, they’re generally treated with pain medication once they start.
However, from a Functional Medicine perspective, we always want to try to find the root causes of problems, and migraines are no different. Which means that we want to find the triggers that will increase the likelihood of a migraine occurring, which usually means that we look for food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metals and other toxins, hormonal imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, et cetera. And these are similar to a set of things that we look at for many different conditions, trying to find those underlying root causes and triggers.
I’m happy that we have Erin Knight here with us today to help sort some of these issues out with migraines. She’s the founder of Engineering Radiance. She believes that no one should miss out on life because of migraine headaches. She has a master’s in pharmaceutical engineering from the University of Michigan, and advanced training in functional nutrition and nutrigenomics. Erin suffered from debilitating migraines for over a decade before uncovering the underlying biochemical causes. And she went on to reverse engineer what worked for her. This led to the development of her four-step migraine freedom process that’s now a blueprint for thousands of people looking for root cause solutions to their migraine pain. Erin, thank you so much for joining me today.
Erin Knight: Thank you. It’s an honor.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. So, Erin, let’s get right to the issue. What do you think are some of the more common triggers for migraine headaches?
Erin Knight: The things that people are most aware of tend to be things like weather changes, or hormonal migraines, and even food triggers. But, from a more holistic, functional perspective, the way I see it is that your body’s … has a certain capacity for managing stress. The stress can come from … biomechanical stress, mental/emotional stress, and then of course, chemical and biological stress. And if that starts to pile on, then it’s set off by one little thing that just is … the straw that broke the camel’s back, as they say.
Triggers can seem kind of random and frustrating to even track. So, one day somebody might be … just cannot do chocolate. Chocolate puts them over the edge and puts them to bed for a few days. And then, other times, maybe at a different time of the month or a different time in the year, they’re totally fine, and that just tends to make you feel a little crazy if you’re trying to really figure out what your triggers are and just avoid them all of the time. And if you look at it, instead of the sense of, okay, your body’s under a certain stress load, let’s lower that stress load and then build more resilience to those kinds of things, like weather change or jet lag, that we don’t have as much control over. Then, you can go around life being less sensitive to all those kind of common triggers and the things that people tend to be sensitive to. So, that’s how I work, and what I try to educate people on is really shifting their perspective instead of … chasing triggers or running away from triggers, just help your body heal and be stronger in general, and then you’ll be less sensitive to migraines.
Dr. Weitz: Sure. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the barrel metaphor, which is that your immune system is this barrel, and when it’s filled up to the top, any little thing will cause it to spill over, so you empty out part of the bucket by removing different things that stimulate the immune system, and then your body has enough room if there is a trigger or something that stimulates it, so it doesn’t necessarily enter into the point where you have symptoms.
Erin Knight: Yeah. That’s exactly it. And you mentioned … on the intro that the things that we help people with with migraines are really similar to the same things people would do if they had eczema, or autoimmune issues, or aches and pains and things like that, because really, it’s the same concept. The migraines are just the way that somebody who’s prone to migraines, our body expresses the fact that it’s overburdened and at its limit by having the migraine. Other people’s bodies are just genetically set up to express that through a different route.
Dr. Weitz: Right. In some of your writings, you mention that digestive issues can be one of the root causes of migraines. Not a surprise from the Functional Medicine perspective. How do you assess and test the digestive system?
Erin Knight: Any digestive issues will make migraines worse, because they’re filling up that barrel … I call it a bathtub full of stress, in a big way they can impede digestion and absorption, so you end up with nutrient deficiencies. They can be adding to the toxic burden that your liver has to process. If you have a parasite, and its metabolism is producing extra toxins that your body just has to process. And then, on top of that, the different digestive issues can just increase overall gut inflammation, systemic inflammation. So, any … lot of different ways that can go wrong and be a contributor, and we look at that … My favorite test at the moment is called the GI Map. It’s very comprehensive, and we can get markers on people’s enzyme status, how well they’re breaking down their food, gut inflammation, as well as looking for different bacterial balance, or infections, like H pylori, or parasites and things like that. So, it’s a lot of information and a lot of starting points. I haven’t found anyone yet that didn’t have something to work on. If somebody’s not feeling well, then they probably can trace it back to the gut, and that’s a good place to start for any investigation. We really recommend that. Everybody does that.
Dr. Weitz: We’ve been using that test a lot lately, also. And I interviewed Dr. David Brady [who helped create the GI Map test] about a month ago, and we discussed some of the parameters involved in designing that test, so I find that very helpful. What about SIBO? Do you find SIBO as an underlying factor in some migraines?
Erin Knight: Some, yes. Not as much. Just more like, if we’re not getting anywhere, or if somebody has obvious bloating issues or obvious symptoms, then we would talk about that. But, not necessarily the first thing to look at. But, gut health is a interestingly … it’s kind of a vicious cycle with migraines, because it may or may not have been the initial trigger, but if somebody’s had migraines for years or even decades, they might have been put on birth control to manage hormonal migraines, or they’re taking lots of lots Ibuprofen, like I did, and both of those are really destructive to our gut integrity and gut health, and it sets us up for more gut problems because we don’t have the same strong mucosal barrier, and healthy gut balance and things like that, that somebody should have, so then we’re more prone to getting infections, too.
I don’t think in conventional medicine, gut health is addressed very much for migraines. It may not be acknowledged, but it’s definitely our starting point. And what helps people realize that there’s more to the story, and that they have some room to heal.
Dr. Weitz: So, why don’t you give me a few examples of a few recent patients that you’ve worked with with migraine headaches, and you did the GI map, and what did you find and how did you address it?
Erin Knight: H pylori is pretty common. Like, maybe 50% of people will have that, and that impedes your digestion of your food, so it can lead to nutrient deficiencies and things like that. So, sometimes people with migraines are aware that they might be deficient in B vitamins, or magnesium, or this and that. But to backtrack, where do those deficiencies come from? If you have an overgrowth … So, H pylori is pretty common, and people argue whether it’s normal or not, but if it’s an active overgrowth, then it’s going to be eating … feeding on your stomach acid, if you will, and reducing that stomach acid’s availability to then digest your food, so that’s how it can impact that. And people always have the choice to take that information and go to their GI doctor, primary doctor, or we can talk with them about an herbal protocol to address that.
Dr. Weitz: What kind of herbal protocol? Would you mind telling us?
Erin Knight: So, kind of a first line of defense is I like to use mastic gum, and try to heal up the gut. Or sorry, the stomach mucosal barrier and things like that, and then also use probiotics like Saccharomyces boulardii, and things like that, at the same time. And then, if somebody’s not getting better, which happens occasionally, then sometimes the H pylori could be linked to heavy metals. So, we have to look a little bit deeper. If somebody’s had some dental work, or some kind of known exposure, or genetic impairment to their detox pathways and things like that, and that … if somebody’s fighting this H pylori, and it’s not getting better, not getting better, then we look … layer two. Or three or four, would be a detoxification and see what’s going on there.
Dr. Weitz: How will you assess for heavy metals if you suspect them?
Erin Knight: So, it’s not the first thing that I would do with somebody, but sometimes you do see … there are kind of obvious things, where somebody had got dramatically worse. Or even, their migraines just started a few months after having dental work. Or sometimes having their amalgam fillings removed, and then you’re like, hmm, we should talk about this. But, before even testing, ’cause there’s so many different ways to test, and none of them are really considered perfect, and then when you find that information, what are you gonna do about it? So, my first line of defense with really anybody is just work on gentle detoxification, and opening up the natural pathways, and supporting the body. That could be … There’s a whole lot of things. This is a core part of our program that we work on with people, but things like moving their limbs, making sure their bowel movements are regular, sweating, dry skin brushing, so you have to pay attention to our largest organ, which is the skin. Taking binders, correcting mineral deficiencies. So, there are a lot of things you can do to just help the body work better, basically, and do its own job better. I would rather do that than do some harsh, actively detoxification protocol. If somebody’s not responding, we have to look at that, then we can do … provoked urine test, or a hair test, and find something out. If somebody does have a really major issue, then I would connect them with a heavy metal specialist, because it can get pretty tricky to do that safely.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, cool. You say that food sensitivities can be triggers for migraines, and we’ve heard that certainly before. What types of food sensitivities do you find most commonly, and how do you test or screen for these?
Erin Knight: So, somebody’s listening right now and they have migraines, are probably more than aware of the migraine trigger food list. Like, processed meats, chocolate, red wine and those kind of things, and that’s not really what I’m talking about. They might actually find that they feel better if they avoid some of those foods, and some of them are just downright unhealthy, like MSG and things like that. They should probably all avoid MSG, but when I’m talking about food sensitivities, I’m talking about undigested proteins that are entering your bloodstream through your gut when they really should not, and then they create an immune response, ’cause your body’s like, “You don’t belong here. We’re gonna react to you.”
So, this wouldn’t normally happen because the gut is designed to really just absorb the smallest molecules and keep out larger ones, but if it’s been damaged by pesticides, by stress, or medications over years and years, then somebody’s gonna be more prone to this type of food sensitivity issue, and they could be getting chronic inflammation from reactions to even healthy foods, like chicken or broccoli, and things that aren’t on the typical migraine trigger list. And this is especially helpful, I think, if somebody has several migraines a week, or even daily headaches. Because that just means your body’s super inflamed, and we want to do anything that we can to lower it. Wouldn’t do it with everybody, but if somebody’s really chronic like that, then we could discuss and see if they think it would be something that they could integrate and actually make use of. It’s a blood test, so it’s quick and easy to find out what’s going on, and all it requires is somebody change up their diet for a few months. So, sometimes people have some hesitation around testing ’cause they think that they’re gonna get this life sentence where they can’t eat their favorite foods and things like that, which it’s not what it is. It’s just trying to lower the inflammation and let your body heal.
Dr. Weitz: So, which food sensitivity panel do you like to use?
Erin Knight: I like the ALCAT test. Sometimes a LEAP MRT, depending on what people have access to.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. I was just reading about two classifications of diabetes drugs, and they actually work by blocking certain enzymes to keep your body from absorbing carbohydrates. And one of those enzymes is the enzyme that allows you to digest gluten. So, we actually have patients who are gonna have an increased risk of gluten sensitivity as a result of taking one of the new classifications of diabetes medications. So, we talked about medications that can mess things up, but that’s just another example.
Erin Knight: Yeah. Since you mentioned gluten, a lot of people do feel better if they avoid gluten and dairy. You can do some testing for that, if you need to see it on paper, or you can just try it for a few months and see if you feel better. I know sometimes people don’t want to hear that, ’cause it’s a major lifestyle factor. But, I don’t think anyone died from not eating pasta for three months, so it’s worth a shot and see if it helps calm that inflammation and you feel better.
Dr. Weitz: What percentage of patients… what just happened? Little bit of a technical glitch. There we go. Okay. Okay.
Okay, good. You can hear me now?
Erin Knight: I can hear you now.
Dr. Weitz: What percentage of your patients do you think do better when they avoid gluten?
Erin Knight: Almost everyone. We do get a small indicator of that on the GI map, which can be motivating for people that have some hesitation to try it. But then, once they do, if they stick to it, they … that’ll be one of the top things that really helps them, and then that they end up sticking with because they found that it was a game changer. So, one thing that can go wrong there though is, some people think that, “Oh, I’m just gonna reduce gluten.” So, they’ll just have less. Or maybe just have it once a week or something like that. That is pretty much pointless, because the gluten is so irritating for people that are sensitive to it that it takes weeks if not months to recover from one tiny exposure. So, if you’re gonna do it, give it a real shot. Give it a real shot at working to know if it’s gonna work for you or not. And then, you can always try later, if you don’t believe me. You can try it in three months and see how you’re doing. But, if you have never given it a 100% effort and 100% elimination, then you don’t know if it’s gonna help or not.
Dr. Weitz: You wrote that hormones can be out of balance, and that this can be a factor in migraines. What types of hormones do you typically see as being a factor of migraines, and how do you assess and treat these?
Erin Knight: Right. So, hormonal migraines are very common, and this is one of the things that people tend to be really aware of. They’ll know, for example, that their migraines are correlating with their cycle, or that their migraines either got better or worse during pregnancy. But then, I’ll hear some crazy things like, “Well, they’ll get better eventually, when I get menopause.” Or, people go then to try to suppress all their hormones with birth control and things like that as a solution. But, I really hope to convey and let people know that there’s more that you can actually do.
What a common imbalance would be, and probably the most common, is estrogen dominance, which can either be too much estrogen or just relatively more estrogen than progesterone. So, low progesterone, which can be low from chronic stress and things like that. So, we can look at that really easily with at-home urine test called the DUTCH test. It’s a dried urine test that lets us look at, in a lot of detail, how your estrogens and other hormones are metabolized and processed through the body. So, we can see if it’s phase one liver detoxification that’s going wrong, or phase two. The methylation problems, and all this kind of things, can help us figure out, then, how to support the body’s natural hormone balance. Like supporting the liver, or looking more heavy metals and things like that, instead of just trying to tune, and play around, or fix your hormones with hormone replacement or birth control and things like that. We can actually figure out why they were off in the first place. And this can be something have been dealing with their entire lives, and they didn’t even know it was an option. So, I really … I’m excited to talk about the DUTCH test and all the information you can get. Is that something that you guys use also?
Dr. Weitz: You know, I haven’t. I’ve been mostly testing hormones either with blood, or 24-hour urine, and done a little bit of saliva. I haven’t done the DUTCH test. But you’re really happy with the results you’re getting?
Erin Knight: Yeah. You can really … you can really get in there. I’ll show you sometime, if you want to look at an example, and it’s fascinating also, the things that I would have missed on a saliva test that I find out on the dried urine test. It’s really been around for a few years, I think. As things evolve, we’re able to help people be even more specific with their protocols, and more holistic with this testing.
Dr. Weitz: Right. I know other urine testing, you can get the metabolites, you can tell about the estrogen metabolism, which is really important. And then, because you can easily get different measurements at different times of the day, maybe it tells you about some of the fluctuations that occur?
Erin Knight: Yeah. The measurements throughout the day are especially helpful for the stress hormones, like cortisol and cortisone. Which, in functional training, that’s one of the core topics, ’cause we say, everybody has this stress hormone issue. But, not as much for migraine people. That’s not the most common thing that I see people dealing with. Occasionally, some adrenal issues or what have you, but mostly it’s more in the sex hormones.
Dr. Weitz: And what is the issue that you see most commonly with migraines and sex hormones?
Erin Knight: There’ll be clues that … For example, if the estrogens aren’t clearing well, then we have to question why. And, if the liver’s busy detoxifying other things in our environmental pollution. Or toxins and toxic products in the household, or beauty products, or whatever else. Or, from parasites. Then, it’s not as capable of processing the estrogens correctly. Or even alcohol can slow down that process, ’cause you’re body’s like, oh, I’m always gonna prioritize the alcohol, and it puts estrogen on the back burner. So, it can help bring to the forefront the importance of cleaning up some of those common-sense things. But, once you see it in front of you, how it’s affecting you, how this plays a role even in cell health. Long-term avoiding cancer and things like this. So, I test myself regularly, even though I’m not getting migraines anymore, just because I want to have that all working and balanced, just give myself the best chance for healthy aging. Avoiding problems and having a smooth transition as my hormones change over the years and things like that. So, I think being proactive, it’s a good thing to take a look at.
Dr. Weitz: Interesting. As a chiropractor, we’ve treated plenty of patients with migraines. Some with great success, and others not quite as much. And we’re using a structural approach. We’re particularly focusing on the joints in the upper part of the neck, and those suboccipital muscles that connect directly to the dura mater, and have you found structural issues to be a factor in migraine patients?
Erin Knight: Of course. That’s one of the three prongs, if you will. There’s mental/emotional stress, biomechanical stress, and then this chemical/biochemical stress. So, by the time somebody comes and talks to me, they’ve probably already seen a chiropractor, but if they haven’t, then I highly encourage that they go see one. And it can be a great tool to either fix them completely, if it was maybe some kind of a structural issue to begin with, or car accident, or whatever else. Or, a relief, too. If somebody’s under this kind of chronic stress, then you can be out of alignment more often, which is my experience. I found that chiropractic helped a lot. But, I have to go regularly. I would go every month for probably close to 10 years. And my chiropractors would get frustrated with me, and then the insurance just stopped paying, and they’re like, “Why don’t you get any better?” And it wasn’t until that I really looked deeper in the gut health, and supporting my liver, and getting rid of heavy metals and things like that, that I was able to hold alignment for months, or just go in occasionally for maintenance or if I fell off my bike or something like that. Which I think is how it’s intended to work. I mean, you tell me, is that … That’s kind of the goal of chiropractic, right? Is to get somebody where they can hold an alignment for a few months.
Dr. Weitz: For sure. What do you consider the best, most healthy diet? I don’t know if there’s an ideal anti-migraine diet. But, what do you consider in the range of all these healthy diets out there, or is it depend on each person? I’m sure it’s gonna be some variance, but … among the healthy diets, do you tend to promote a vegetarian diet, or a Paleo, or a ketogenic, or what?
Erin Knight: Well, I’m glad you asked that. ‘Cause there’s a lot of arguing back and forth about different diet philosophies, but it really doesn’t need to be that complicated, in my opinion. I think the best thing is just to go really simple. Eat whole foods, eat organic with lots of veggies. Like, veggies in the forefront and then whatever else you add. And sometimes people, especially it seems like people with chronic problems like migraines are desperate, so they go reading on the internet, and go finding healthiest complicated detailed diets, and that causes them more stress than I think it even helps. Like sure, some of them can be really healing in some sense, but if it’s causing you so much stress on a daily basis, you’re gonna have to weigh that.
And it doesn’t have to be that complicated, because a really healthy diet can be simple and delicious. So, that’s my philosophy, as some people need more fat, some people need more protein and all that kind of thing, is a little bit individual in what we work with people on, is to really tune in to how they’re feeling with different ratios. Even different timing of meals and things like that, and starting to listen to clues like your energy level. Not just headaches, but your energy level, your sleep, your focus at work, how your stomach feels, and once you start to really listen to that, I think it … will give you the motivation and the feedback to find what works for you.
Dr. Weitz: What about the timing of meals?
Erin Knight: Yeah. What about it?
Dr. Weitz: I don’t know. We’re hearing so much these days about the timing of meals. You know, we went from you should eat every three hours, you have to eat as soon as you get up. The most important thing, you have to eat breakfast. Everybody skips breakfast. And now, we’re back to skipping breakfast is the best thing you can do. So, what about the timing of meals?
Erin Knight: I do find that kind of entertaining, because … I wonder if … I’ve done that a little bit more recently, and I’m like, why?
Dr. Weitz: 30 years ago.
Erin Knight: I save so much time.
Dr. Weitz: When I first got into this, you have to eat breakfast. That’s why you’re fat, you’re skipping breakfast. Now, the key to anti-aging is skipping breakfast.
Erin Knight: I know, and it saves you hours a day, and increases your productivity ’cause you don’t waste time making breakfast. But, in seriousness, I talk to people first and see … ‘Cause there’s a big portion of people who find that blood sugar crashing will cause their migraines. And if they’re in that cycle of unstable blood sugar, and we’re trying to heal some of the reasons for that, which again, go back to your liver, and hormones, and stress and all that stuff. So, if they’re still in that healing phase where all that’s unsteady, then I wouldn’t really push to skip meals, because I would rather just get it under control.
What I do see as an even more common a problem is people are so busy with work, they forget to each lunch. I used to do that. You’re so busy, you forget to eat lunch. You’re working at your desk, or in the lab, and then it’s like three o’clock, and all of a sudden it’s … that just brings on the headache freight train. So, kind of being conscious of taking care of yourself is layer one. And if you’ve got everything under control, you want to go to phase two and look into intermittent fasting or all these more advanced things, then go for it. We can talk about that. But I think layer one is just making sure somebody’s getting the nutrients that they need out of whole, healthy foods, and avoiding that roller coaster of … blood sugar crashing, which it sounds so simple to people, probably, that are living in this health bubble, but I still talk to people too that think having a granola bar or a banana as a snack is a good idea, but the fact is, something like that could really spike your sugar for a little bit, and then it will crash again. So, we spend more time talking to people about having well-balanced snacks with fat and protein, or even a mini meal instead of worrying about whether or not they should try intermittent fasting. That’s later. Let’s worry about the basics first, in almost every case.
Dr. Weitz: So, what are your three or five favorite supplements for migraine headaches?
Erin Knight: Magnesium is a big one. Sometimes, I have people write me. They write about magnesium, or heard me talk about that, and they’re fine now. So, they just wrote in for my newsletter, and they’re like, “Well, I followed your advice, and now I don’t have migraines anymore.” I’m like, that is so fantastic that it was so simple.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great.
Erin Knight: It’s really bad for business, but it’s really good for you. So, that’s probably number one.
Dr. Weitz: I can say, not too many of my functional medicine patients come in, I give them magnesium, they say, “I’m all better,” and that’s it. I wish it was that easy.
Erin Knight: But, yeah. Yeah, definitely not always, but sometimes it is. And the thing is, we’re just chronically deficient, and it solves a lot of issues with muscle tension, sleep, and helps people sometimes if they’re constipated, which leads to this toxic stuff circulating in your body. So, it helps with a lot of different things, and a lot of the different root causes. After that, I would just tell somebody to … Sorry to do more testing, but I would tell somebody to test, don’t guess. Because otherwise, you can waste a lot of money on different supplements and trial and error to find something that’s working for you, and the stuff that works for quote-unquote “all migraine people,” like B vitamins and things like that … When I look at people’s SpectraCell Micronutrient reports, they will have … everybody has a different pattern. And I don’t think it’s … I think it’s kind of a waste of time to try to throw supplements at the problem, instead of figuring out what they are.
Dr. Weitz: So, you prefer SpectraCell Micronutrient versus Genova NutrEval?
Erin Knight: That’s good, too. It depends where somebody lives. ‘Cause the SpectraCell’s only in the US, as far as I know.
Dr. Weitz: Oh.
Erin Knight: In Australia and stuff like that, then the NutrEval. But, I think that one is a little pricier.
Dr. Weitz: It depends.
Erin Knight: Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: If they have insurance that qualifies, it’s about 200 bucks.
Erin Knight: Okay. Yeah. But, anyway, the point is just to look at your nutrient status, and then you can fill that gaps, ’cause … CoQ 10 is another example that’s recommended a lot of times, and can be very effective for people. But, the amount I test and find that you’re not deficient in that at all, then you can save your money that you were gonna spend on that and work on something else instead.
Dr. Weitz: There you go. Okay. I think those are the questions that I had prepared. Do you have any other pearls of wisdom for migraine headache sufferers? Or for practitioners dealing with patients with migraines?
Erin Knight: I’m curious to hear from your end too, because we were starting to talk about chiropractic a little bit, but … Since you’re doing both the functional approach and the chiropractic approach, do you find that there are all those people that don’t really get better until they address the underlying issues with their gut health, and hormones, and things like that?
Dr. Weitz: Oh, sure.
Erin Knight: Then it’s the magic switch, or?
Dr. Weitz: I would say, of the patients that I see chiropractically for migraines, probably half of them get significant relief, but then of those, maybe half of them, just the chiropractic alone is enough. The other half are gonna need some sort of nutritional intervention, and then the other half of the patients who don’t respond to chiropractic, most of those will respond to some sort of nutritional intervention if they’re willing to hang in there and go through some experimentation. A lot of them want the quick fix, which when you deal with Functional Medicine, takes a little bit of time to sort things out.
Erin Knight: It does. It does. We get that all the time. ‘Cause we’re so used to getting medications for migraines, and if somebody really wants to look at the root causes, it takes several months if not longer. But, if somebody is looking for the quick fixes, I have a gift I could share with them. Is that okay?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, of course.
Erin Knight: It’s called the Migraine Relief Checklist. And maybe you can put that in the notes, or if you just click on my website you can find it. https://www.engineeringradiance.com/migraine-relief-checklist/ Erin’s website is https://www.engineeringradiance.com/
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. Sure, I will. Sure.
Erin Knight: It’s called the [inaudible 00:34:38] the fastest, most natural things that somebody can do. And it works best if you layer it. So, we have a whole principle thing that walks you through. So, if somebody having a migraine, or doesn’t feel very well … I don’t know about you, but when I don’t feel well, I just kind of lay there on the couch. And I don’t even want to think about what I should be doing. I don’t even drink water, unless I have it written out for me. So basically, it’s like, when you don’t feel good, you grab this, and then you don’t have to think so hard about what to do. You just follow the instructions. So, that’s the idea behind it.
But, we have essential oils, meditation tracks, and different things that work if you’re layering them. And, it’s very interesting. Usually, people need to get four or five working for them. Pick four or five, and trial and error them. But, that combination is what will be able to shut off a migraine, believe it or not. Just from natural things like that. So, it’s really … I love hearing the stories of what works for people, and what their combination is. But that’s the quick fix. I still want people to find the root causes, and heal their bodies so that they can live a long, healthy, happy life. But, in the meantime, there’s plenty of natural alternatives to support their nervous system and calm that down, and really stop a migraine before it gets out of hand. So, that’s my gift if somebody listening has migraines.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. Thank you, Erin.
Erin Knight: Okay.
Dr. Weitz: For joining me today. And, I’ll talk to you soon.
Erin Knight: Thank you.
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