headaches

  1. New numbers show gluten allergies are badly under-diagnosed

    The silent affliction causing misery in millions

    Celiac disease has been getting plenty of attention lately, and for good reason: Millions of Americans have this condition or other forms of gluten sensitivity, and most of them don't even know it.

    All they know is that they're miserable -- and even their own doctors often can't figure out why.

    New numbers from the Mayo Clinic find that 1.8 million Americans are battling celiac disease, but only 400,000 of them have been diagnosed with the condition.

    That may sound like a lot of people, and it is.

    But the numbers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology barely scratch the surface -- because tens of millions more actually suffer from gluten sensitivities without having celiac.

    For them, it can be even more of a challenge to get diagnosed and treated since mainstream medicine believes you either have full-blown celiac or you're 100 percent fine with gluten -- with nothing in between.

    And that's simply not the case.

    Between 30 percent and 50 percent of Americans have some form of gluten sensitivity... and they're routinely told gluten isn't the problem, especially when a celiac test comes back negative.

    So they keep eating the foods they can't handle, and they keep feeling worse. There are the obvious symptoms, like gastrointestinal pain, gas, and diarrhea, but also less obvious ones linked to gluten sensitivity, including fatigue, headaches, depression, Addison's disease, and more.

    Some doctors will try to treat those individual symptoms with meds for those conditions, and of course they'll get nowhere since the patient is still eating gluten.

    But at least they're trying -- other doctors will suggest all those problems are in the patient's head. And still others will just call it a "mystery disease" and claim there's nothing else they can do.

    Well, it's no mystery to me, and it's not in your head -- it's the gluten, and if you suffer from problems that can't be explained or diagnosed, then maybe you should work with a holistic doctor on a gluten-free period to see if the symptoms improve.

    In many cases, they will -- and if that's your story, you're going to have to learn to eat all over again.

    It won't always be easy, since going gluten-free can be so restrictive, but there's a growing number of diverse and delicious gluten-free products and recipes out there than can help make sure you still get to enjoy your favorite dishes now without having to suffer later.

  2. Low magnesium levels can boost your heart risk

    Cut your heart risk in half at dinnertime

    I recently had a patient who had been to doctor after doctor for her chronic migraines and fatigue and gotten nowhere.

    The first thing I did was order up a red blood cell magnesium test. Sure enough, she was deficient -- and once we boosted her levels, she was back to feeling like herself again.

    Amazingly, none of her other doctors had bothered with the test despite the fact that low levels of this essential mineral have strong links to both conditions -- and headache and fatigue are only the beginning.

    Magnesium is essential for heart health, and the latest research confirms that people with the lowest levels have a dramatically higher risk of death by heart disease.

    Researchers tracked nearly 60,000 healthy Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 79 for up to 15 years, and found that those with the highest magnesium levels had half the risk of death from heart disease.

    Other studies have found similar results, including one that found women with high dietary intake of magnesium have a 34 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death -- and women with high plasma levels of this mineral have a 77 percent lower risk.

    This is not just a statistical coincidence. Magnesium literally helps keep your heart beating. It can also lower blood pressure, slash levels of inflammation, and improve circulation.

    Like I said, it's essential for heart health -- and if that's not enough, it can also help prevent stroke, cancer, and diabetes, strengthen bone and muscle, and boost your immune system.

    That's still not even close to all it can do: As my patient learned, it can also fight fatigue and prevent headaches -- not to mention everything from lifting your mood to protecting your hearing.

    In fact, magnesium plays a critical role in more than 300 functions in the body, and we're learning of new ones all the time.

    The best sources of magnesium are the foods too many people no longer eat -- like fresh greens, especially spinach. You'll also find it in nuts, grains, and beans.

    But there's one place you won't find much at all, and that's in your multivitamin. Magnesium just takes up too much room in the capsule.

    If you're not getting enough from diet alone, don't rely on your multi. Add a magnesium supplement to your regimen -- ideally magnesium glycinate, a form that's most easily used by your body.

  3. A bad idea for migraines

    Botox, the infamous poison used by aging celebrities to freeze their smiles into place, is getting a second life -- this time as a migraine treatment.
  4. Don't try to poison your migraines away

    Common sense doesn't always prevail, especially when it comes to drug approvals. So it was a breath of fresh air the other day to see health officials use a little of it when they rejected Botox as a potential treatment for migraines.
  5. Soaking up the benefits of water

    It almost sounds like the benefits of some promising new blockbuster drug: Just a little bit can help lift mood, concentration and energy levels -- with virtually no side effects. Well, there is one side effect: You might need to pee a little more.
  6. Sex is safe for heart patients

    Just because you're a heart patient doesn't mean you have to miss out on some Valentine's Day romance. There's still one "do" you can do: If you can climb a flight of stairs without suffering chest pain or a bout of gasping, you can have sex -- even if you had a heart attack just last week, according to the latest advice from the American Heart Association.
  7. Rejected diet drug returns from the grave

    A "no" from the FDA never quite means "no" -- not when it comes to the agency's drug-industry pals, anyway. Case in point: The feds said "no" to the diet drug Contrave earlier this year over its potential for heart risk -- even after an FDA panel signed off on it.
  8. Migraine relief

    I recently came across a new remedy for migraine relief. It involves putting tiny amounts of feverfew and ginger into a little pouch, and then putting it under your tongue.
  9. Yin vs. yang in Parkinson's treatment

    Centuries before James Parkinson described the "shaking palsy" that would later bear his name, the Chinese were already treating the condition they called "the shakes" with a simple herb.
  10. Apnea in new heart risk link

    But now, researchers say that in addition to leaving you gasping for air in the night, sleep apnea could also be responsible for serious blood vessel abnormalities -- problems that can actually steal blood right from your heart.
  11. Diet soda linked to heart risk

    A new study finds that people who drink diet soda regularly could find a heart attack or stroke at the bottom of their next bottle.

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