PDA

View Full Version : Nutrition, calories, avoiding hypoglycemia and migraines



bamueller
April 13th, 2009, 01:14 PM
I had a low blood sugar induced migraine last week after a typical master's workout. I've been swimming with the master's (in the fast lane) for almost a year, and I have not had any issues with migraines. I am 32, have had 5 migraines in the past 8 years, and all of them can be associated with exercise, and I am thinking nutrition. I followed up with a doctor's visit, and he said, "yep, this is a classic migraine."

Long story, I am freaked out. I am off to practice in one hour (during my work lunch hour) and I am nervous about having a migraine again. I know it is ridiculous, but I am not sure what caused it, other than perhaps not getting enough food in me prior to the workout. I want to be able to swim open water distance events from 2 miles to 6, but this "set back" has me battling mental games now.

Questions:
How many calories should I be consuming a day if I swim 2-4 times a week, 2,800 - 3,600 yards each time? Sometimes I run on off days.
What should I be eating/drinking prior to my workout to avoid sugar lows and maintain good health?
What should I be eating/drinking during my workout?
What should I be eating/drinking after my workout?

I have less than one hour until I am in the pool today, and I think I will start with chocolate milk and a PB&J sandwich, gatorade during the workout, banana immediately after, then lunch.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Ripple
April 13th, 2009, 07:39 PM
In his book The Brain Trust Program, neurosurgeon Dr. Larry McLeary recommends a twice-daily anti-migraine "cocktail" consisting of:

400 milligrams magnesium
1 gram taurine
100 milligrams coenzyme Q10
100 micrograms huperzine A (no idea what that is)
10 milligrams vinpocetine (nope, don't know that one either)

He also recommends a "ketogenic cocktail" twice a day which is:

1-2 tablespoons medium-chain tryglyceride oil (coconut oil?)
1-3 teaspoons flaxseed oil
50 milligrams eicosapentanoic acid (and no, I don't know where you'd get it)

You could probably get some relief just with the magesium, co-Q10, and flaxseed oil alone. I fixed my hot flashes with that combo, and apparently the brain cells are doing something very similar in both situations.
Remember that fat is your friend if you are doing long-distance events. The peanut butter is a good idea as it will make the food you eat stay with you longer. A small cup of coffee (providing it doesn't trigger your migraines) can release triglycerides for fuel if you drink it half an hour before the swim.
Start your swims slow and warm up for at least 15 minutes so that you don't burn off all your glycogen at once. If that isn't possible on your lunch hour swims, then do at least one long (90 minutes or more) swim a week at a slow aerobic pace to teach your body to burn fat so that you won't burn up glycogen so fast. The "fat burning zone" is sneered at these days, but if you want to do long endurance events, you still need to do them to avoid hitting the wall in the middle of a race.
Hope this helps.

bamueller
April 13th, 2009, 10:33 PM
I appreciate your response. I am not really sure what some of those elements, compounds (ingredients) are, but I will ask the pharmacist. I am willing to give it a try, and read the book as well.

As for my first swim since my migraine, it was fine, with one exception. I did not finish up my workout as scheduled on the whiteboard at the pool. I was supposed to get in an extra 6-200's. Mentally, I was thinking about "don't overdue it," rather than just swimming. The mental game is tough right now.

ALM
April 13th, 2009, 10:52 PM
I had a low blood sugar induced migraine last week after a typical master's workout. I've been swimming with the master's (in the fast lane) for almost a year, and I have not had any issues with migraines. I am 32, have had 5 migraines in the past 8 years, and all of them can be associated with exercise, and I am thinking nutrition. I followed up with a doctor's visit, and he said, "yep, this is a classic migraine."


My first thought is, are you sure that low blood sugar is the culprit? Five migraines in eight years is approximately one migraine every 18 months. It seems like you'd be having them a lot more frequently (especially during the past year) if low blood sugar caused by exercise was the cause.

That said, if you really think it's blood sugar, then generate some data to back up your theory. That's what I did. Buy a blood glucose monitor (you can get the One-Touch Ultra Mini for $20.00). Then you can start testing your blood sugar before you swim and after you swim. Pretty soon you'll have an idea of how high it needs to be at the beginning of your workout so that you still feel good by the end of the workout.

Oh, and a tip about the blood glucose monitor. The monitors are cheap; the strips are expensive - about $1.00 per strip. I found that my diabetic co-workers were a great source of strips. Their health insurance paid for them and they always seemed to have more strips than they could ever use (or would ever use). They'd give me their strips that were past the expiration date. For my purposes I didn't care if they were that accurate.

Anna Lea

ourswimmer
April 13th, 2009, 11:50 PM
My first thought is, are you sure that low blood sugar is the culprit? Five migraines in eight years is approximately one migraine every 18 months. It seems like you'd be having them a lot more frequently (especially during the past year) if low blood sugar caused by exercise was the cause.

That's my first thought too, especially since you are describing pretty typical workouts rather than multi-hour endurathons. Have you considered simple dehydration as a possible culprit?

nYcSurfer
April 14th, 2009, 08:36 AM
Before your most recent migraine, did you do anything differently? What was the time frame of your practice and your migraine? What did you eat? Did you have a glass of red wine? Did you do anything differently?

I suffer from migraines rather often, 1 per month, about. Mine are sometimes so bad that I can't open my eyes cause any amount of light hurts my head more.

But, I agree with the above posts... I do not think this one had anything to do with your practice. Regardless, proper nutrition is still important!

bamueller
April 14th, 2009, 12:10 PM
My doctor seems to think it could have been a few things that could have caused it, but I like to think hydration and nutrition are the culprit. I had the migraine last Thursday. A week prior, my wife and I had child number two. Sleep, stress, and the daily routine has been interrupted considerably since the baby arrived, and my mother-in-law is in town. Perhaps in addition to hydration and nutrition these factors could have contributed, but I guess I like to believe whatever causes my migraines I can control (like hydration and nutrition).

I will be adamant about my hydration and nutrition going forward.

orca1946
April 15th, 2009, 02:23 PM
Are you sure that they are really migraines? So few over the years can be from other factors. See a doctor about them first. Good luck!

Daaaave
April 16th, 2009, 09:46 AM
Mentally, I was thinking about "don't overdue it," rather than just swimming. The mental game is tough right now.

Hey Alex:

"That's an attitude."
- an old coach

Congrats on the kid!

Bobinator
April 16th, 2009, 03:31 PM
My doctor (family physician) thinks below normal levels of vitamin D causes head-aches (other things too). I will let you know later if I think it works. I've just started large doses of it. :confused:

ALM
April 16th, 2009, 08:28 PM
My doctor (family physician) thinks below normal levels of vitamin D causes head-aches (other things too). I will let you know later if I think it works. I've just started large doses of it. :confused:

I wrote an article for this web site about my Vitamin D deficiency. You can read it here:

http://www.usms.org/fitness/articleofthemonth.php?a=152

If you have questions about dosage, test results, etc., I might be able to answer them. I've done a lot of reading on the subject.