The “Excitement” Behind Visual or Ocular Migraines

Visual or Ocular Migraine

If you or someone you know has ever suffered with visual or ocular migraines, then you need to read this life-saving information to make sure you never cause yourself to have one again!

As a chiropractor, I consult with patients who describe getting a painless “headache” where they lose their vision. It seems like a paradox to get a headache that isn’t painful though!

Patients who experience blindness should rule out stroke, infection or tumor. But with some prevention and a handy antidote, hopefully you will never need to go to the Emergency Room again for losing your vision due to an ocular or visual migraine.

Have you been told to stop eating chocolate, cheese and foods with nitrites but it doesn’t help you with your painless “headache” that causes you to lose your vision?

But were you ever told to avoid diet drinks, soup, salad dressings, sauces, gravy, cream sauces, steak sauces, gourmet foods or chips?

Why would that be?

Because a very basic chemical that is added to food to make it taste good or cut down on calories is HIGHLY toxic to nerve endings–aspartame, MSG and MSG-derivatives like autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, caesinate etc. This class of food chemicals is called “excitotoxins”. They “excite nerve endings to death” is what “excitotoxin” literally means.

But could food like that cause a migraine? It has been known since 1957 that MSG causes damage to the retinal nerves in mice. (1) And humans are five times more sensitive to MSG than mice are. In 1957, ophthalmology students studying eye disorders gave newborn mice MSG and discovered it caused widespread destruction in the inner layer of the retinal nerve. Adult mice also exhibited destruction, but not to the degree as the infant mice. For 10 years prior to the study large amounts of MSG were being added to adult food AND baby food, in the same quantities used in the study for mice which is why the study was being done.

A similar study by Dr. Olney in 1969 showed the same results but also showed widespread destruction of nerves to the hypothalamus and surrounding areas of the brain(2). Thanks to his efforts, food manufacturers began voluntarily removing MSG additives from baby food since infant nervous systems are four times more sensitive to MSG than adults.

So how does this affect your visual migraine? Patients I have consulted with were either gluten intolerant OR drinking diet soft drinks regularly.

One patient in particular was very stubborn about giving up Diet Pepsi. I had nagged her on and off for some time about it. Then at an appointment, she told me about going blind and that it was called an ocular migraine, or a visual migraine. She didn’t have any pain, but couldn’t see and that it was very frightening! She was only 40 and very healthy, not overweight, not a smoker, not a stroke candidate, didn’t have high blood pressure, very active with golfing and skiing and biking. At the hospital they did EVERY test imaginable including a PET scan to rule out stroke or any cardiovascular problem. They found NOTHING wrong. The vision eventually returned.

On her own she did some research and saw that aspartame could cause such a problem. At that time I didn’t realize how frightening of symptoms excitotoxins could cause—I didn’t know about it causing blindness! So my patient quit diet sodas and also started to use the excitotoxin-neutralizer we offer in our office called Complete Glutathione. The formula for it was taken from Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD’s research in the book, The Taste That Kills. It is manufactured by Nutriwest. The patient faithfully continued taking Complete Glutathione and abstained from any aspartame. And she didn’t have any recurrence of the “visual migraine”.

My babysitter would get a similar phenomenon. Only hers have quit since eliminating gluten from her diet. It is likely the gluten is similar enough to glutamate to create a similar effect in the brain. Or what is even more likely is foods with gluten also contain some amount of MSG.

Dr. Blaylock is the “Father” of uncovering and distributing information on the toxic, disease-causing effects of MSG, aspartame and their derivatives and has extensive references and chemical explanations in his book that are too technical for this arena. But if you are needing further explanation for yourself, your doctor or for a research paper, his podcast and his book, The Taste That Kills, are invaluable.

His book is chalked full of references that span decades of evidence pointing out the damaging effects of MSG and aspartame. Most neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, epilepsy, ADD, autism, cerebral palsy and Huntington’s disease are referenced in his materials and can be prevented by abstaining from excitotoxins and protecting yourself from accidental exposure with the nutrients in Complete Glutathione like n-acetyl cysteine, magnesium and manganese.

By reading labels and eliminating foods with the following ingredients, I believe you will be well on your way to reducing the frequency of visual or ocular migraines, as long as stroke, infection or tumor has been ruled out.

Depending on how sensitive or how frequently or severe your visual or ocular migraines are, be aware of the “aliases” that are frequently in packaged food.

Always Contain MSG:
hydrolyzed protein, plant protein extract, calcium caesinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and autolyzed yeast.

FREQUENTLY contain MSG:
malt extract, bouillon stock, natural flavoring, seasoning, broth, beef or chicken flavoring, spices.

MAY contain MSG:
carrageenan, soy protein, whey protein, enzymes.

Another use I have seen for Complete Glutathione is for toxic chemicals like red dye. I don’t know exactly what is in red dye, but a patient who claimed to be allergic to it, accidentally ingested some on a day I saw her for her appointment. She had the headache all day and was going to take some over-the-counter medication for it when she got home. I advised her to try the Complete Glutathione instead and it knocked it out.

And Dr. Blaylock himself never eats the sauces or creams on foods in restaurants because they are always laden with something to make the flavor “pop”. Be PARTICULARLY vigilant when you eat out. My PERSONAL observation is that most chain restaurants use an intolerable amount of MSG-derivatives and I will not eat there if I have had a bad reaction. Local, non-chain restaurants are more likely to use fresh ingredients and make creative dishes that are interesting and tasty on their own accord. Chain restaurants are more likely to ship in pre-made food coated with chemicals to improve the flavor.

In my opinion, the following restaurants are the biggest offenders of using MSG (and it’s not JUST Chinese restaurants–my husband or business partner and I feel horrible after eating the main dishes or appetizers from these places–brain fog, extreme fatigue, nervousness, diarrhea, stomach pain): Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Cheesecake Factory, Cheddars, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Outback

Some restaurants that don’t SEEM to use flavor enhancers (this is my own observation based on eating there and NOT feeling horrible afterwards): Mod Market, Whole Foods deli counter, Chipotle, Juicy Burger, Schlotzky’s, Five Guys, Taste of Philly, Jimmy John’s, Woody’s Creek, Maggiano’s (though they are part of Chili’s/Mac Grill, so they probably use something), PF Chang’s (seems like they would use something, but doesn’t affect me or hubby)

Also, to protect yourself, I cannot recommend Complete Glutathione strongly enough.

One time I got a gas station coffee and it wasn’t labeled as “sugar free”. But it clearly was a sugar-free coffee because within the hour I was in a horrible fog. It was difficult to concentrate at the seminar I went to and I had difficulty concentrating on the road when I drove home. I took Complete Glutathione when I got home and within the hour I was back to normal. It was incredible that one dose would leave a person feeling that way for hours. And I had quit aspartame-containing products for many years at that point. I shudder to think how it affects people who drink it daily or multiple times a day!

If you are prone ocular or visual migraines, keep this potent vitamin handy as an antidote. Don’t rely on Advil or Tylenol which won’t counteract excitotoxins–and go forward without “exciting” visual or ocular migraines anymore.

(1) Lucas DR and Newhouse JP. The toxic effect of sodium L-glutamate on the inner layer of the retina. Arch Opthalmol 58: 193-201, 1957.

(2) Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science 165: 719-721, 1969.

Russell Blaylock is the authority on MSG, aspartame and excitotoxicity—exciting nerves to death with acidic amino acids.

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Injury Prevention from a Vitamin?

Even if you’re not a health nut that takes a handful of vitamins everyday, chances are you’ve heard of “antioxidants.” These are chemicals that you need to consume (like Vitamin A, B, C & E) because your body can’t make them. After normal chemical reactions take place inside your body, there can be unstable products left over known as free radicals. Free radicals can do lots of damage to the cells, particularly DNA. So antioxidants neutralize free radicals as well as provide the substances for vital reactions throughout the cells.

But did you know there’s an important antioxidant that your body CAN make? It is called glutathione. And glutathione is perfectly adapted for cleaning up toxic elements in your body like mercury, lead and arsenic.

Mercury is considered the most toxic, non-radioactive element in existence (Neuroendocrinology Letters Vol. 26 NO. 5 Oct. 2005 p. 439-446) There is 25 ug of ethyl mercury in each (adult) flu shot (www.fda.gov); all American diphtheria & tetanus shots contain ethyl mercury (www.fda.gov). Arsenic is added to feed for chickens to fatten them up (USA Today 2005). There is considerable mercury released into the air via burning of coal and waste—300% more than before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. It ends up in the ocean which has caused virtually all fish stocks around the world to be contaminated with varying degrees of mercury (Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution 2007). So you’ve got insidious accumulations of heavy metals in your body.

Glutathione is the body’s #1 detoxifier and targets these pollutants for elimination. However, there is a “rate-limiting” factor for making enough of it. That means, there is one step that doesn’t happen because there isn’t enough quantity of an ingredient to make it happen. “N-acetyl cysteine” (NAC) is that ingredient. When NAC is combined with homocysteine, vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid, then you can boost your production of glutathione. One of my baseline recommendations is for patients to include boosting this antioxidant as a baseline for basic nutrition.

Nutriwest makes two products designed to boostglutathione. One is a tablet (Complete Glutathione, containing NAC) and the other is Complete Whey G, which is a protein powder with the necessary ingredients. You can’t just swallow glutathione, which is why you need the pre-cursors (those ingredients needed to make it.) Usage of Tylenol depletes glutathione. Overdosing on Tylenol for even a few days depletes so much glutathione, that it can lead to liver failure, which can be a grisly death.

Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, MD has reported that NAC is the antidote for Tylenol poisoning—the ingredient for making glutathione! Since exposure to heavy metals and toxins is so prevalent, it’s a very good line of defense for disease to include a supplement like this. It also helps clean up your body if you’ve consumed aspartame or MSG. Together, MSG and apartame are called excitotoxins — they stimulate glutamate receptors.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that makes the flavor “pop”. Dr. Blaylock says that excitotoxicity from MSG make animals grossly obese—MSG causes you to prefer carbs and sugar over protein-rich foods. (Health and Nutrition Secrets that Can Save Your Life by Blaylock, MD).

Nutrasweet is the brand name for the artificial sweetener,aspartame.

Excitotoxins can cause acute (sudden) stroke, hypoglycemia, trauma epilepsy or chronically can cause neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s Disease, AIDS, dementia, ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) and Alzheimers [New England Journal of Medicine 1994 330 (9): 613-622)] The authors of this study said excitotoxins literally cause neuronal death. Toxicity can occur within minutes of exposure, thus the acute onset problems just listed.

These authors also note that the SIMPLEST cause of excess glutamate is injury! This definitely has implications for chiropractic patients. In fact, in a study of brain-traumatized rats (yes, it sounds very cruel), NAC was administered after trauma and it significantly reduced neuronal decay, improving survival of the nerves. It only took a single dose within 15 minutes of the trauma for this improvement. The group that DIDN’T get NAC had extensive neuron degeneration. (Neurochemistry May 9, 2006) This supports my current recommendation for new patients to include Complete Glutathione as part of their protocol. I take it daily in one form or the other—tablet or powder—since I
might not have a bottle handy within 15 minutes of a new trauma or after unknowingly consuming MSG products.

I think it would be pretty handy as a preventative for future traumas because there would be
a steady supply of NAC in the system to prevent neuronal degeneration.

As for the chemical-induced
trauma from excitotoxins, you should know what ingredients are MSG-in-disguise. The following
ingredients that you find on food labels always contain MSG: hydrolyzed protein, plant protein extract, calcium caesinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and autolyzed yeast.

Other ingredients that FREQUENTLY contain MSG include: malt extract, bouillon stock, natural flavoring, seasoning, broth, beef or chicken flavoring, spices.

The following MAY contain MSG: carrageenan, soy protein, whey protein, enzymes. (The Taste that Kills by Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD)

Dr. Blaylock says he’s gotten lots of people off of their seizure medications just by getting them off of MSG and giving them magnesium; he says that most neurologists don’t know about this. His tips for blocking absorption of excitotoxins include the use of the following supplements: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, curcurmin, gingko, most flavonoids, magnesium, vitamin E as succinate (very powerful), antioxidants and B vitamin combos.

Complete Glutathione by Nutriwest contains Vitamins B1, B2 , B6, B12, Vitamin E as succinate, magnesium and zinc as chelate, alpha lipoic acid, folic acid & Vitamin C. I personally experienced brain fog first-hand after (accidentally) consuming a 20 oz. coffee product with Nutrasweet (aspartame). I was away from home for several hours and even had trouble driving home—it was an outright effort to concentrate. Within an hour of taking Complete Glutathione, I normalized!

The bottom line is that boosting glutathione will prevent brain/nerve damage if you have trauma; it will block the absorption of MSG and aspartame–excitotoxins that are known to cause neuronal death; and it targets environmental, medical and nutritional toxins from the body for elimination including mercury exposure from air, water, fish and vaccines; arsenic in chicken; and cadmium that is used in the hydrogenation of processed foods/oils.

Call our office to get Complete Glutathione and start protecting yourself from these chemical and physical assaults on the nerves!

Dieting to Death

You reach for a diet soft drink in the effort to prevent gaining weight while still enjoying the taste of your favorite cola. The zero calories on the label along with zero fat aligns with keeping your calorie intake lower so you can stay skinnier.

Unfortunately each serving of diet soda with Nutrasweet (aspartame) increases your chances of symptoms like headaches, dizziness, numbness, tingling, sleep problems and even cancer.

Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD explains the chemistry behind aspartame in his book, The Taste That Kills. The chemical known as aspartame which is the artificial sweetener in most name-brand soft drinks, breaks down into aspartic acid and methanol. Methanol is wood alcohol. Methanol further breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, the latter which is an embalming agent.

Aspartic acid causes injury to neurons due to overstimulation of receptors for amino acids and can lead to stroke, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, Hungtington’s disease, ADD, dementia, Alzheimers and Lou Gherig’s disease. (New England Journal of Medicine Lipton & Rosenberg 330((): 613-622 1994)

Methanol, the other by-product of aspartame in the gut, is wood alcohol. This is used as anti-freeze, solvent and fuel. A well-done study compared the effects of feeding rats aspartame and methanol in the water. Lab rats were fed aspartame over the course of their lives in an amount equivalent to what a human would typically consume, adjusted for the rat’s body size (20 mg/kg of body weight). They were allowed to die a natural death.
Rats who consumed the LOWEST amounts of aspartame had a 62% increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia.
Alarmingly enough, when another group of rats was fed methanol over the course of their lifetimes, their rates of lymphoma and leukemia increased by the same rate as rats which were fed aspartame. European Journal of Oncology (Vol. 10 No. 2 2005)

Dr. Blaylocks explains that because of the way mice and rats in the studies metabolize aspartame compared to humans, humans are actually 2 times more sensitive than rats and 7 times more sensitive than mice to having a seizure from aspartame.
A certain kind of vitamin that boosts your glutathione production can help neutralize the effects of aspartame on your nerves. I accidentally consumed a sugar free coffee drink that was mis-labeled. For the rest of the day, I was in a brain fog and couldn’t think or concentrate. When I got home I took some of that vitamin and within a short time I was back to normal, after struggling for hours.
The bottom line in my office is this: all patients are advised to eliminate products with aspartame. The FDA has reports of 92 different kinds of side effects from consuming aspartame. Patients CANNOT get better on ANY kind of protocol while using this chemical. Think about the extra drugs that people end up using as a result of medicating unknown side effects of aspartame. It is an EXTREMELY easy handling that all patients can do, even before they’ve had a chance to see the doctor. So you can guarantee that aspartame is NOT “Dr. Erica–Approved”.