The Relationship Between Migraines, Nutrition & Other External factors

Pathophysiological MECHANISMS

A migraine arises due to neuronal hyperexcitability caused by genetic or environmental factors. The usual forms of migraine are probably caused by polygenic inheritance. However, there is a very rare form of migraine called familial hemiplegic migraine and it is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. In this rare form, the auras are often of the motor type and the mutated genes encode ion transporters.
The common migraine with aura is an expression of a transient occipital cortical dysfunction, which starts with a visual or sensory disorder and spreads step-by-step until it results in a so-called cortical spreading depression.

IMPORTANCE of exogenous factors

Some of the factors that predispose and trigger migraines are known to the patient. These include:
anger, stress, or sudden relaxation situations (“weekend migraine”)
hormonal factors
dietary factors
sensory factors, such as flashing lights, striped decoration in a room, noise, odors.
climatic factors
In the case of overweight persons, the risk of developing a chronic headache is three times higher than that of a person with a normal BMI.

Nutrition as a key factor

According to the National Headache Foundation, certain foods can trigger migraines. Among the most cited here are: chocolate, alcohol (white wine), coffee, cheese, meat, meat products, glutamate, aspartame, etc. Some people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease (gluten allergy) are subject to migraine attacks after eating wheat products, but the migraine food trigger is individually different for all sufferers.

There is a strong suspicion that food intolerances are a major trigger for migraines and this is still being intensively researched. These studies, however, are currently delivering conflicting results – they neither provide clear evidence of a unique effect mechanism, nor do they enable the clear identification of specific foods as triggers for the onset of a migraine attack.
In 1984, Monro et al (1) put forward the hypothesis that migraine is an allergy.
Food allergies caused by immunoglobulin E (IgG) or by vasodilation due to a histamine intolerance are highly probable factors – but not all migraine patients suffer from an IgG-based allergy. The measurement of IgG by means of specific foods has been used since 2005 as a new marker to identify foods that could potentially trigger migraines (2,3).

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not all foods with a high specific IgG automatically trigger migraine attacks, because there are individual differences. A food IgG test can identify personal risk foods and support an elimination diet, although this approach is not without controversy. This realisation convinced the National Health Service (6) and the American Migraine Foundation (7) to recommend IgG tests on food allergies to potentially help migraine sufferers. This was followed by more studies, which investigated the relationships between specific foods as potential migraine triggers.


Although it is clear that the nature and the history of every migraine must be considered as an individual case, it would seem that nutrition and obesity have to be addressed when analyzing the origin and severity of migraine attacks. The American Migraine Foundation (7), for example, recommends the use of IgG tests on food allergies to help migraine patients. To obtain more detailed knowledge, however, the ongoing research must be continued. During the course of the Metabolic Balance® program, we have often observed a reduction in the frequency and intensity of the migraine attacks of our patients, due to our choice of foods and the patients’ subsequent weight losses.

Dr. Didier Souveton
Head of the Medical Advisory Board of Metabolic Balance

(1) Migraine is a food allergy disease. Monro J., Carini C., Bostroff J., Lancet 1984 Sep.29;2 (8405): 719-721
(2) A prospective Audit of food intolerance among migraine patients in primary care clinical practice. Trevor Rees,David Watson, Susan Lipscombe, Helen Speight, Peter Cousins, Geoffrey Hardman, Andrew Dowson. (2005), Headache, Vol 2 No.1 11-14
(3) Food allergy mediated by IgG antibodies associated with migraine in adults. Arroyave Hernandez CM,Echevarria, Pinto M, Hernandez Montiel HL. Rev Alerg Mex (2007); 54: 162–168
(5) IgG-based elimination diet in Migraine plus irritable bowel syndromeElif Ilgaz Aydinlar et al. Headache 2012
(6) action/assets/migraineandfood.pdf

10 Simple Steps to a Leaner Healthier You

You know there are no quick fixes when it comes to losing weight for the long term while also supporting your health.  The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to focus on adding in healthy habits. A healthy lifestyle is not about being on a ‘diet’, it’s about learning how to nourish your body so you can thrive – not feel deprived.  By making small changes you can live with, the better your chances are for success.  This is also the best way to get off of the diet roller coaster for good.

I’m sharing 10 simple but effective strategies you can incorporate to help you on the road to living a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.  Start with 1 or 2 habits at a time then build on those successes by adding 1 or 2 more. You can start with the simplest habit first and go from there if you like.  Don’t get overwhelmed – just start with ONE thing.  Write it down somewhere as a reminder.

Imagine if you were to incorporate even 1 new habit each month for a year – amazing things would happen!

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Let’s face it, when we’re tired we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day and reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled options and processed snacks.

Lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to inefficient body regulation of energy balance, metabolism and appetite. Abnormal leptin and ghrelin levels – hormones that tell your body it’s full – can go awry when your body isn’t fully rested.

To get more sleep, set a goal of what time you need to be in bed each night to get the 7-9 hours you need.   Try it this week and see what difference you notice, both in how you feel and your appetite.


 Most of us are juggling way too much and going through the day at warp speed, trying to get more and more done.  By having a high stress level, not only is it harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your waistline as well.

When you are constantly under stress, hormone levels, like cortisol and insulin are elevated.  The elevation of these 2 hormones can sabotage your weight loss efforts and actually cause weight gain.

So, while you may think you can “handle it” as far as your stress level goes, we aren’t meant to be under constant stress and it takes its toll. If you are doing everything right as far as diet and exercise but you’re under stress every day, you’re not going to see or feel the results you want.


 It’s common for people to think that when they skip a meal, they are ‘saving’ calories.   What happens though is it backfires and by mid afternoon or early evening, they’re starving.  Then they feel like they have no ‘will power’.  Our body needs fuel in the form of food to function, so when it’s deprived, it screams out for what it needs – food!  Willpower is no match and then they end up feeling guilty.  Skipping meals sets you up for failure and feeling guilty.

Eat 3 meals a day.  You’ll notice you get through the day with more energy and when you plan your meals out during the day, you can make healthier choices and will usually end up eating fewer calories day.  It’s much easier to make unhealthy choices when you need to eat something now and you just grab the closest thing you can find.


A really easy way to improve your health and lose weight is to trade out your soda (regular or diet), flavoured coffee drinks or other calorie or artificially sweetened beverage.  Studies show that even diet soda increases our appetite. So, while the drink itself may be zero calories, you end up eating more food to go along with it.

If you’re addicted to the caffeine, you may want to start out cutting your consumption in ½ for a week or so and see how you do. Decide what you can drink instead.  You can try unsweetened iced tea, water with fresh fruit or unflavoured carbonated water with a splash of fruit juice if you just need some fizz in your drink.

By trading out your sugar or chemical-filled beverage for water you’re giving your body what it needs – proper hydration.


 Our body needs carbs, but just the right kind. Refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, cereal and processed snacks are lacking in nutrients and leave us hungry again a short time later.  Complex carbohydrates from foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes contain fiber and nutrients that fuel us and help us feel full longer.


 FACT: Our body needs fat in order to function optimally.  The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, healthy hair, skin and nails, vitamin absorption and normal, everyday bodily functions.

Good fats promote several health benefits such as protection against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression, as well as reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Choose sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and extra virgin olive oil.

Another good source of healthy fat is coconut oil, which can be used for cooking and baking and it’s also great in smoothies.  A little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it. Just include a little fat at each meal to help you stay satiated longer.


Consuming enough protein is another way to improve your energy and stay satiated longer after your meal.  Our bodies require protein for cell renewal, stabilizing our blood sugar, and providing us the energy we need. Many foods contain protein, but some of the best sources include: fish, chicken, turkey and eggs, as well as plant sources like seeds, nut and beans.


 Exercise actually gives us energy!  Think about how you feel after sitting around for hours versus how you feel when you’re up moving around.  You just feel better when you’re active.  You don’t have to spend countless hours at the gym to reap significant benefits from exercise.  You can start with something simple like a 20-minute walk if you’re just getting back to an exercise routine.

Look at ways you can add more activity into your day – a short walk during lunch, another walk after work perhaps.  If you have taken a long break from exercising, don’t set yourself up for disappointment – have realistic expectations and be okay with feeling like a beginner again. It’s okay – just start where you are right now and build on it.


 Cooking meals at home allows you to control the quality, calories, and portion sizes of your food.  Do you notice how much food you’re served when you go to a restaurant?  When we have more food in front of us, we’ll eat more without realizing it.  Preparing meals at home saves money too.  Plan your week out in advance and see which nights you can cook at home. The crock pot becomes my best friend on busy days.   I look at my calendar for the week ahead and whichever days are hectic, those are crock pot nights.


 Keeping track of what you eat can be pretty easy thanks to all the handy apps we have available at our fingertips.  My favourite food tracking apps are MyFitnessPal and LoseIt.  You’ll be surprised what you discover when you start tracking.

For tracking, you also want to track the nutrients (or lack of nutrients) in foods.  Reading the nutrition label is key.   Look for foods that have the shortest list of ingredients and those that you recognize.  If it’s a long list of ingredients with words that are difficult to pronounce or you don’t know what they are, put it back on the shelf and look for something else.

START TODAY – Decide on 1 or 2 healthy habits to start with today.  When you start making choices based on the answer to the question:  “Is this going to feed my body what it truly needs?” on a regular basis, decisions shift, behaviors are changed, and you will feel much better.

I find that often, people want to live a healthier life, but they aren’t sure how to fit all the pieces together to make a plan or they don’t know where to begin.   It can be quite overwhelming!   Sometimes there may be other issues going on in the body that prevents you from losing weight.

In those instances, it’s great to have a knowledgeable advisor to explore and correct what is going on in your body that may be preventing your weight loss, or to walk you through a step‐by-step plan to implement healthier eating and lifestyle habits.

If you are struggling with trying to reach a healthy weight, contact me today to schedule your 30 minute free consultation to explore your options in achieving your health and fitness goals.

In health and happiness,

Marlisa Sucher, RHN, NNCP


Improve your Health and Wellness with Metabolic Balance


Finally after  three years of researching and testing various weight loss programs, I have found the program that is the most natural and effective in promoting health, wellness, and weight management. Thank you to everyone who participated in testing out these programs, I could not have done my research and testing without you.

Metabolic Balance is an innovative all-natural nutrition program that brings balance to your hormones, optimizes your health, and leads to a new invigorating lifestyle resulting in long term weight management. It is backed by over 25 years of scientific study and is managed by dedicated physicians and nutritional scientists.  I have completed the course and am now certified to offer Metabolic Balance.

The foundation of the program is that a unique truly personalized nutrition plan is developed for each client, based upon an in-depth analysis of their unique blood values, medical history, and personal likes and dislikes. This personalized nutrition plan will act as your “Road Map”, indicating exactly which natural foods you should eat in order to orchestrate the biochemical changes needed for reaching your desired weight and health goals.

This program is 100% natural – as you eat natural foods that are available in Grocery stores and Farmers Markets. There are no supplements, shakes or meal replacements – only real foods.  The program was developed in Germany by Dr. Wolf Funfack, M.D.

There are four phases to the Metabolic Balance program.  As a certified coach of Metabolic Balance, I gather necessary information, including blood analysis and health history, to create an individualized meal plan.  You will be educated and guided through all four of the phases until you realize your new healthy lifestyle and achieve your healthy weight goal.   This program has been used by over half a million participants in 13 countries.

Are you ready to reclaim your health and healthier weight goals?  Do you have difficulty losing weight?  Are you tired all the time?  Are diseases starting to creep up on you?  Contact me for your free initial consultation and to see if Metabolic Balance is right for you:  phone or text 306-539-3189  or   email me at

I look forward to helping you reach your goals.

For more information on Metabolic Balance checkout this video

Marlisa Sucher, RHN, NNCP

Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioner

Constipation Creates Poor Health

No one wants to talk about bowel movements, or admit they have chronic constipation.  According to the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology, approximately one million Canadians a year suffer from constipation.  Their definition of constipation is approximately 1 bowel movement every  2 to 3 days.

Healthy regular bowel movements are essential to a healthy body.  The bowels are like a sewage system.  If we don’t cleanse the system of toxins daily, they will enter the blood stream and harm the body.  Natural health practitioners believe that the bowel is the foundation of good health and having 2 – 3 bowel movements daily is important in keeping the bowel and the body healthy.

If you suffer from any of the following, you may be constipated:

  • dry, hard or lumpy stools
  • straining to have a movement
  • incomplete evacuation or feeling like you still need to go
  • a sense of difficulty in passing a stool
  • hemorrhoids

How Does Constipation Create Poor Health?

Constipation slows down the transit time of food.  Slow transit time becomes a problem because putrefied toxic material stays in the colon longer, allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall.  This is called autointoxication and may lead to many different diseases from headaches to  autoimmune disorders.

Slow transit time may lead to a build-up of toxic material along the intestinal walls.  This reduces the absorption of good nutrients and creates holes in the bowels which leads to a leaky gut.  Malabsorption deprives the body of nutrients that are needed for energy and vitality.  Many constipated people complain of fatigue and depression.

What Causes Constipation?

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Medications – anti depressants, pain medications, antacids, diuretics, cholesterol lowering drugs, antibiotics
  • Change in Routine – travel, sickness
  • Lack of Time – ignoring the urge to go
  • C.R.A.P. Food – Coffee, Refined Sugars & Starches, Alcohol, Processed Food

What Can You Do?

  1. Hydration:  The colon must be properly hydrated.  Peristalsis is the natural muscular movement of the colon.  When functioning normally, peristalsis moves food through the digestive system in less than 24 hours.  Drink plenty of water.  If extra support is needed, use magnesium hydroxide.
  2. Bulk:  Optimal intake of fibre is essential (30 – 40 grams per day).  However, the correct type of fibre is important.  You want a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre.  Both types are needed to correct constipation.  Using a psyllium fibre supplement may lead to more constipation because it is 97% soluble fibre.  This means it will absorb all the water in the digestive system creating more constipation.  Using a flax base provides a more balanced form of fibre.
  3. Lubrication:  Lubricating the colon is necessary for providing a smooth and gentle elimination.  The body uses EFA’s to lubricate the colon.  Our body does not make essential fatty acids.  They must be obtained through diet (such as raw nuts, seeds, and cold water fish).

If you feel your digestive issues are out of control, I can help.  Contact me here:  Email Me