Starting fifteen years ago, I was unfortunately involved in a number of car accidents which extended over a period of ten years.
My second accident in which I got rear ended resulted in an upper cervical misalignment issue the result of which was that my atlas impinged upon on my spinal cord.
The outcome of this trauma was that I started experiencing intractable pain and I went from being very active to not being able to sit down for more than 20 minutes without my back going into spasm and twisting out of shape.
Thus began a five year journey to try to determine a diagnosis – and to develop a therapeutic protocol that would help me to progress towards recovering my health.
Some of the readers of this newsletter were involved in helping me on this healing journey of discovery – and I thank them for their efforts.
The level of pain was so significant that I had to start taking opoids – which initially made me violently ill as I had never taken prescription drugs of this nature: I even ended up having to take Oxycocet – a slow release form of Oxycodone.
Needless to say, this created significant side effects in terms of brain fog, constipation – and I was unlucky in that there is a subset of the population that react paradoxically to codeine in that they do not experience a sedative effect but rather a stimulatory effect.
Most opoids are combined with caffeine: so I got versions of the meds without caffeine, but the stimulatory effects did not diminish.
This started impacting on my sleep so as a result I needed to start taking Zopiclone: the “little blue pill” – which is highly addictive, which is what happened to me over time.
After this accident, I started experiencing debilitating weekly migraine headaches: I experienced an aura the first time I got one but that was the only time.
A number of years ago, a prescription drug for migraines was developed which revolutionized treatment: Sumatriptan. A number of variations on this molecular configuration appeared on the market and this class of drugs is now referred to as “Triptans”.
And I was fortunate: Sumatriptan kicked in within sixty minutes and completely got rid of the migraine with almost no side effects. Mind you, it was costing me approximately $14.00 per pill – however when you are experiencing a migraine you would pay almost any price for relief.
I finally figured out what my issue was as a result of the accident, specifically that my atlas had become misaligned.
You may be familiar with the fact that there is a sub-specialty in the chiropractic profession – Upper Cervical in which the practitioner is certified through the NUCCA organization – National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association
Some of the readers of this newsletter specialize in this technique in their practices.
Upper Cervical treatments proved to be what I needed to resolve my significant, acute pain condition: it took time but this was the core issue.
This did not however resolve the frequency of my migraines: I was determined to figure this out because despite the fact that the Triptans worked well, I did not relish paying $14.00 a pill on an ongoing basis to resolve the symptoms of my condition – rather than the cause.
Like most who read this newsletter, I was familiar with all the potential food and drink compounds which could potentially initiate migraines so I put myself on an elimination diet – but that only accounted for approximately 10% resolution – as a result of alcohol.
I was fortunate at this time to develop a friendship with a local IFM (Institute of Functional Medicine) MD – Helen Messier. Helen was actually a faculty member with the IFM and she not only had functional medicine expertise but prior to doing her MD training she had done a PhD which gave her an expert understanding of genomics – and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms – genetic mutations).
With her guidance – and my own ability to review the literature and learn about health topics on my own, I developed a knowledge of this complex topic – rudimentary for sure but certainly enough to enable me to figure out what was going on with respect to the migraine headaches I was contending with.
I am sure most reading would now be familiar with methylation pathway issues – and some of the key SNPs related to this such as MTHFR – Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.
Here is a quick explanation from Chris Kresser on the functions of this key enzyme:
(MTHFR) is the rate-limiting enzyme of the methyl cycle; it is responsible for the activation of folate for the subsequent reduction of homocysteine to methionine (1) . Certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or variants of this gene, result in the reduced capacity of this enzyme (2). Indeed, MTHFR variants are associated with increased risk for many diseases, including depression, fertility issues, insomnia, and thyroid conditions (3).
This mutation is present in approximately 40% of the general population – so it is very common.
I was dealing with some of the consequences of this SNP – but there was also another issue: histamine degradation.
The specific enzyme that breaks down histamine is named: Diamine Oxidase – DAO.
It became apparent that I had some degree of deficiency in this key enzyme.
As a result of these two factors, it was initiating my weekly migraines –
A number of the practitioner grade supplement product companies provide formulations which are described as: “Methyl Donors and Accepters”.
A couple of products that I have used are supplied by Biotics Research and Xymogen.
The Biotics formulation is called: Oorganik-15.
I started taking this product on a daily basis and as well Xymogen have a product available which provides the enzyme that breaks down histamine: HistDAO.
I also started taking this formulation several times a week: I experimented to determine the minimally effective dosage as it is expensive: approximately $40.00 wholesale.
I also started taking taking an MTHF (methyltetrahydrofolate) formulation to make up for my methylation pathway issues.
And the results:
My migraine frequency decreased by over 95% overnight!
It changed my life – for the better of course.
One further biohack that I have since utilized which actually allowed me to stop taking the HistDAO is I got my metabolism to the state whereby it is metabolically flexible and I spend most of my time in a ketogenic state.
Ketosis can be beneficial for the prevention and mitigation of headaches.
So there you have it – my most significant personal biohack.
Will this protocol work for yourself and/or your patients?
It is hard to say however it is certainly an inexpensive biohack to remember that you can try…