Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sulfite could be behind migraines, too

As noted in my last post, I recently published a theory of excess sulfite accumulation being behind nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NPV) (online now at

It has so far proven very effective for myself and a friend to ameliorate nausea in pregnancy by avoiding sulfite compounds in/on food and increasing molybdenum intake. Molybdenum is used by the body in sulfite oxidase, an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of toxic sulfite to excretable sulfate. But our bodies can only make so much sulfite oxidase, so it's important to limit intake of sulfites. Molybdenum isn't a "now eat whatever you want" cure.

As I was putting together this theory, I started seeing similarities between morning sickness and migraines, specifically
1) both are quite involved with hormones,
2) both appear to be associated with similar food intake, and 
3) they share similar patterns of gradual onset and varied duration and intensity.

I realized that just as sulfite accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract could lead to nausea and vomiting, similarly sulfite accumulation in the brain could lead to migraine headaches. The brain damage experienced over time from migraine headaches lends support to the idea that migraines are caused by a toxic chemical in the brain. Because of recent research on endogenous hydrogen sulfide, we now know that hydrogen sulfide--a catabolite of which is sulfite--is a neuromodulator in the brain

A friend in her early 40s has been suffering terribly from migraines and, realizing that that all her migraine medications only made her feel worse, weaned herself off of the medications. Then about 3 weeks ago I told her of my theory's possible application to migraines and gave her some capsules of a 500 mcg molybdenum supplement (it was this one). She informed me this week that she takes molybdenum when a migraine starts coming on, and the migraine goes away. She feels better now than she has for a while.

If someone suffers from migraines, I think avoiding heavily-sulfite-treated grapes and other sulfite-containing foods would be a very good idea. It might also be a good idea to look at whether one's molybdenum intake might be too low. Molybdenum is highest in pulses, some whole grains (especially barley and oats), and liver (I'm not a fan of long-term high liver intake, though, due to its high retinol content); molybdenum naturally occurs in milk, too, but it's mostly found in the cream, which in large amounts poses its own health-related risks.

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