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The following study indicates that there is a correlation between iron-deficiency anemia and migraines. While H. pylori infection is blamed, it is equally likely (and more likely to me) that H. pylori infection might only be a problem when there is an iron deficiency.
Minerva Pediatr 2000 Jan-Feb;52(1-2):29-45

[Helicobacter pylori infection in pediatrics. Present knowledge and practical problems].

[Article in Italian]

Pellicano R

Cattedra di Gastroenterologia, Universita degli Studi, Torino.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is acquired in childhood, earlier in developing countries, as a consequence the prevalence of infection is higher in developing countries (70%) than in developed countries (5-15%). H. pylori infection spreads from person-to-person, however the precise mode of transmission (oral-oral, fecal-oral or gastro-oral routes) is as yet, not known. Diagnosis of H. pylori infection can be performed with both invasive endoscopic-based tests, or non-invasive tests, mainly by measurement of IgG antibodies against the bacterium in serum samples or by measurement of 13CO2 in expired air (13C-urea breath test). In clinical practice endoscopy and biopsy is recommended before treatment to determine the presence and the degree of gastritis or ulcer. However, endoscopy is a complicated procedure in children and diagnosis of infection can be based on a non-invasive test. The association of H. pylori infection with recurrent abdominal pain seems evident in a subgroup of children with endoscopic features of gastritis, ulcer or hemorrhage. There is an increasing interest in the extraintestinal manifestations of H. pylori infection in children, i.e. iron-deficiency anemia, growth retardation and migraine, but this domain remains controversial. Since infection at a young age is believed to result in chronic atrophic gastritis and gastric cancer in adult life, it is logical to consider a future massive programme of eradication and immunization. Regimens suggested for H. pylori eradication are a combination of inhibitors of gastric acid secretion plus two antibiotics for 7-10 days.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is a copper-containing enzyme. The following study shows that MAO is low in persons who suffer from migraines, indicating that a possible copper deficiency is associated with migraines. Also the article states that MAO is low in iron-deficiency anemia.

J Clin Pathol 1981 Mar;34(3):292-302

Human platelet monoamine oxidase activity in health and disease: a review.

Sandler M, Reveley MA, Glover V

The most readily available source of monoamine oxidase in man is the platelet, although only the B form of the enzyme is represented in this site. Platelet activity is higher in women than in men. The enzyme activity is generally stable and is partly under genetic control. There is some evidence that individuals with low activity have a higher psychiatric morbidity than those with high activity. Despite some negative studies, the consensus of publication dealing with schizophrenia, migraine, and alcoholism find that mean platelet monoamine oxidase activity in the patient group is lower than in the controls. Values are raised in unipolar depression. Technical differences, or patient or control group heterogeneity, might well account for the absence of unanimity in the literature. A considerable degree of overlap between patient and control values, whatever the clinical diagnosis, appears to be the standard finding. Apart from these neuropsychiatric disturbances, platelet monoamine oxidase activity is raised in megaloblastic anaemia and reduced in iron deficiency anaemia. Although altered enzyme activity values may be linked to abnormal platelet populations in some of the haematological disorders discussed, in general the causes of abnormal platelet monoamine oxidase activity are unknown.

There is some suggestion in the literature that there is an association between sickle-cell anemia and migraines. The following is one of those.

: Med Hypotheses 1996 Jun;46(6):569-71 t

Migraine and sickle-cell disorders: is there a cause for concern?

Salman MS

Department of Paediatric Neurology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK.

Migraine and sickle-cell disease are common diseases, and may coexist in the same individual. Such a chance association is potentially dangerous because the two disorders may act synergistically to cause major neurological complications which may be permanent and contribute to the well-known mortality of sickle-cell disease. In theory, it is possible to minimize the risk of adverse sequelae of this combination of common maladies.
Subj: This Week In Health Issue
Date: 7/20/01 11:17:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: (InteliHealth Online)

Exercise And Migraines
An intense workout may be a real headache for migraine sufferers.
A Portuguese study presented at the International Headache
Conference in New York finds that a burst of intense exercise can
trigger a migraine hours later, The Associated Press reports.  In
the study, researchers looked at 21 women with a history of
migraine and 12 women who had never gotten these headaches.  The
women were all given an exercise test called a Wingate test,
which ramps up the intensity of a workout until a person can do
no more.  In the study, the women reached this limit in 30
seconds, the AP says.  The women who'd never suffered migraines
remained migraine-free after the exercise test, but among the
migraine sufferers, 11 of 21 developed a headache four-and-a-half
to five-and-a-half hours later, and the researchers say the other
10 may have been spared because they did not work out hard
enough.  The culprit behind the headaches may have been a spike
in levels of nitric oxide, which doubled in half an hour among
the migraine-prone women.  Nitric oxide, which can dilate blood
vessels, has been linked to migraines in previous studies, the AP
says.  The researchers say their findings do not suggest that
migraine patients avoid exercise, especially since migraine
sufferers who exercise regularly seem to have fewer and less
severe attacks, the AP reports.  The researchers say a slow warm
up before exercise may help migraine sufferers avoid the sudden
jump in nitric oxide levels.

From Dr. Mercola at

My experience is that most migraines reduce quite dramatically when the diet clears up. However, for a variety of reasons, there are a number of patients who do not follow the eating changes and their migraines don't improve.

Improving one's food choices is clearly the best option as prevention always is. Not only do the migraines improve but one's overall health also benefits.

However, there are people who do great at optimizing their food choices and still have migraines, but they are a minority. Migraine pain is quite severe, so it is helpful to have a full draw of help for the pain when it comes.

I generally find that IV magnesium aborts well over 75% of the headaches. Usually magnesium sulfate works quite nicely. One could use magnesium chloride, but I have found that most people have elevated chloride levels so I use magnesium sulfate. The magnesium causes the blood vessels to dilate and makes the person very warm; depending on how fast the IV is pushed. I usually use 1500 mg IV for the average adult.

This is far safer, more effective, and less expensive than the drug suggested above. But since it is not a drug, it will not be promoted. However, as mentioned above, improving one's food choices is the first choice.

From Dr. Mercola at


Migraines affects 26 million Americans, affecting their ability to function at work and at home. Migraine sufferers experience blinding pain usually accompanied by vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and an extreme sensitivity to light. Taking a high dose of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) every day may help prevent migraines. Vitamin B2 may provide an attractive alternative to existing migraine therapies due to its low cost, beneficial effect and lack of side-effects. Vitamin B2 is required for cells to efficiently use energy. When it is not available, the energy "powerhouses" of the cell, the mitochondria, cannot function properly -- and in some patients, this may trigger migraine. Previous reports have suggested that migraine patients' brains have reduced energy reserves between attacks.

Patients on vitamin B2 had 37% fewer migraines with a dose of 400 mg of B2 daily for three months.. The effect of vitamin B2 was most pronounced on attack frequency and the number of days with migraine headache, while it had only a marginal improvement over placebo in decreasing the severity of migraines. The effect of riboflavin begins after 1 month but is maximal only after 3 months of treatment. Riboflavin may work best for those who have moderate migraine headaches a few times a month.