Thursday, September 24, 2009
Can Chocolate Help Menopausal Migraines ?
Chocolate used to get a bad rap when it came to migraines, but it seems that it isn't a villain after all. Since I get an occasional menopause related migraine, I was very excited to read about this study. It seems that dietary supplements of cocoa may repress inflammatory responses in the brain linked to migraines, suggests one study.
Results from a recent study indicated that consuming a diet enriched with 10 percent cocoa increased levels of anti-inflammatory compounds in the parts of the brain linked to migraines…..specifically the trigeminal ganglia.
Millions of people around the world suffer from migraines, with twice as many women as men affected by the complaint. In the US, about 36 million people suffer with migraine, more than either diabetes or asthma.
The headaches are sometimes preceded by flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms or legs, or anxiety. Suffers generally experience a pounding sensation in one side of the head and many undergo nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and noise. The symptoms are often severe and debilitating, lasting anywhere between four and 72 hours.
The study was conducted by researchers who fed rats a diet enriched with 1 or 10% cocoa for 14 days. After two weeks of feeding, the mice were given an injection of capsaicin to produce an acute inflammatory response.
Rats fed the control diet and injected with capsaicin expressed higher levels of the inflammatory proteins. The rats fed diets supplemented with cocoa were able to suppress the increased inflammatory response.
Additionally, rats fed cocoa-enriched diets were found to have increased levels of the anti-inflammatory proteins compared to animals on the control diet. The cocoa-fed animals also have higher levels of the anti-inflammatory molecule IL-10 in their neurons.
Although this is an early animal study, it shows promise in helping researchers understand more about how migraines can be prevented and treated. More research is needed in understanding why cocoa may help, however in the meantime I happy that I can have my chocolate cake and eat it too without getting a migraine.
photo by: ostwestwind