Ketogenic Diet and Migraine

The Future of Migraine Treatment

Not yet perfect but getting there!

I wanted to give a quick update on my personal research (always in continuation) about improving migraine treatment. I was on the ketogenic diet for 3 months before I was kicked off by prednisone (also uses insulin receptors and has priority) and so I went back on the Stanton Migraine Protocol®. I was on it until last Monday (a week ago). Thus I had 2 months out of ketosis. I was curious how long the “keto brain” will function well on the protocol but with increased fruits carbs. I wanted to see if the length of time I was in keto would change my brain in any way.

It was kind of hard to increase carbs since my body learned to not even like carbs (I know it is weird) but I ate a few of the fruits at least that I used to like. I want to report to you what happened so you understand

  1. what glucose does and
  2. how long the keto protection lasted.

The findings

  1. Biting into my first pomegranate was a major shocker! I used to just inhale a large pomegranate and want more. Coming out of keto I could not finish half AND I felt “high” like on a drug.
    1. This clearly tells you that sugar is a drug and
    2. Also tells you that if one is not used to sugar it is actually not comfortable to eat it even in a fruit!!! I actually didn’t like it! It took me several days to learn to like carbs again!
  2. I increased my carbs to over my personal preference and went to ~120 net carb grams for a few days (the Stanton Migraine Protocol® carbs level for women is between 50-70 net carb grams); just applied the protocol protection after and I had absolutely no discomfort but I saw the edema building up! So even if the keto brain protected me from getting a migraine, I built up a sizable edema every single day and by the evening my ankles were nearly twice the circumference of what they normally are under the ketogenic diet!
    1. This is very important: while the ketogenic diet may save us from pain for some time, the physiological effects of carbs remain AND harm us!! So migraine is not about the pain!
  3. One night we went out for dinner (anniversary celebration) and though I ordered as low carbs as possible, everything had sugar on it, even the butternut squash was covered with sweet liquid and the bone marrow I ordered was soaked in balsamic vinegar that I could not scrape off… I also wanted to test my sugar tolerance (direct sugar and not just fruit) so I ordered a sorbet after dinner.
    1. I ate only about 5 bites because I must tell you what sugar tasted like: sugar had a BITTER AFTERTASTE!!!

So a few things… after my sugar experiment part, I did come down with a migraine but very mild and the only other symptom I had very mild nausea, extreme light sensitivity, and irritable. It was mild and I didn’t medicate (not even OTC) but it was a 4-dayer!

  • So the keto protection worked against natural fruit carbs for 6 weeks but NOT against direct sugar and
  • The physiological symptoms of a migraineur were there even for the fruit carbs.
  • Also, a week later I tested potatoes!!! Nope, no go at all!!! Migraine (mild again and shorter, 2-dayer) so keto can only go so far after 3 months of being in it. I will keep on testing for longer and longer periods.

Ketosis and Myelin

Ketosis protects the brain by allowing the brain to build up myelin (insulation) so we can send our crazy migraine excess voltages securely and it gives enough protection that the potassium/sodium content was less important.  You could eat more fruits and veggies. However, it did not protect against sugar or high starch. Sugar and starch are instant insult on our compromised electrolyte system.

Ketosis is great since while you are in it, assuming you are in at the right level for your person, you are absolutely migraine-brain free! I am back into my jogging routine in the mornings on empty stomach!!! In ketosis you can do that and not be hungry (and not get a migraine!) but be full of energy.

Those of you who can afford the luxury of controlling what you eat, I highly recommend you try the ketogenic diet–but be aware that there are many “fake” ketogenic diet instructions out there! If you want to try the real ketogenic diet for migraine join my keto mild for migraines facebook group (or contact me in private) and I will help you get started.

Join the good life and become migraine free!

Comments are welcomed as always,


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--physiology, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention, and treatment without the use of medicine. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage dependent channels, gates, and pumps (chanelopathy) that modulate electrolyte mineral density and voltage in the brain. In addition, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other variants, such as MTHFR variants of B vitamin methylation process and many others are different in the case of a migraineur from the general population. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive (carbohydrate intolerant) and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on her hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her helping over 5000 migraineurs successfully prevent their migraines world wide, all ages and both genders, and all types of migraines, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to make it easy to follow up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in Economics with dissertation in neuroscience (culminating in Neuroeconomics) at Claremont Graduate University, fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, certification in LCHF/ketogenic diet from NN (Nutrition Network), certification in physiology (UPEN via Coursea), Nutrition (Harvard Shool of Public Health) and functional medicine studies. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently power weight lifting and kickboxing. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day), she paints and photographs and loves to spend time with her family of husband of 45 years, 2 sons and their wives, and 2 granddaughters. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook, LinkedIn at and facebook at
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9 Responses to Ketogenic Diet and Migraine

  1. You are welcome and good luck Lucy!



  2. Lucy Brittian says:

    Thank you!!! And bless you… I need all of the information you shared! I have had chronic pain (head) for many years, and it escalates to migraines often. I will take your advice. Thank you for getting me over my fears! Fingers crossed for relief soon! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lucy, don’t be intimidated.

    To stay healthy you need to monitor your blood ketone levels (beta hydroxybutyrate–BHB).

    Eating fat bombs is without nutrition so you are eating very shallow and that is malnourished–you need to eat fatty foods and not fat on its own. Ketogenic diet is supposed to be a nutritionally dense plan and not eating fat without nutrition. Eating coconut oil will burn as ketones in your body but will prevent your body from generating ketones from your own fat–the goal.

    Your brain is the most critical part of migraines that needs to heal from eating the right kind of fat so that your brain can heal. Coconut oil is not the right kind of fat. You need to eat animal fats. The human body’s fat composition is similar to the fat composition of pigs of all things–about 50% monounsaturated fat, 49% saturated fat, and 1% polyunsaturated fat. Coconut oil is totally the wrong mix for that. I know coconut oil is a “fad” because coconut oil can only burn as ketones, but that is the wrong thing to do. You want your salad to burn as ketones–see what I mean?

    Also you need to know that if you have migraines while you are on the ketogenic diet, you are not doing the ketogenic diet right. Hydration is major and you are probably not hydrated enough. You need to drink more water and take more salt in ketosis than otherwise, plus as a migraineur you need more salt too so it is double wham if you don’t know how much and what. For hydration only plain unflavored water counts and no other drinks. Migraineurs must also cut all sugar substitutes out. There are lot of tricks of the trade.

    You need to measure BHB, because I found that many people go too deep into keto and that is not a good thing for a migraineur. Let’s put it this way: getting a blood ketone testing kit, lancet and testing strip refills, is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying abortive medicines and be still in pain… food for thought.

    Look at all your options. I cannot tell you everything on this website–that is why I have a group. So make the investment on measuring ketones and join the group.



  4. Lucy Brittian says:

    Thank you for your quick reply! I’ve been looking at your keto migraine Facebook page. I haven’t joined yet because I was intimidated. I eat fat bombs and coconut oil from time to time, I don’t own a blood testing kit, and I use my ‘rescue’ medicines when I get really bad pain. But, I have been off my daily migraine (preventive) medicines for more than a month (since they don’t work!)! I am very interested in your thoughts on keto and migraines and the differences you mention for a regular person on keto. I am still in pain, and have been doing keto consistently for almost a month… I have to be missing something. Thank you again for your response!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lucy,

    The ketogenic diet for migraineurs is somewhat different from what you see online and in books for the general population–I am writing a book specifically on that. For now, I recommend you join the keto group I created specifically for migraineurs here, which works really well. The most important thing is to note that while you are takign medicines for migraines–preventives in particular–you should not start the ketogenic diet at all, because that ends up becoming a major problem pretty fast. So I recommend that if you are taking preventives, you join my protocol group first to help you get off medicines and then after move you over to keto. The 3rd option is to work with me privately for a fee–the FB groups are free service.

    Looking forward to help you in any one of these ways,


  6. Lucy Brittian says:

    I’m in a similar situation to Kate. i just finished reading Fighting the Migraine Epidemic. It was perfect for me – highly sensitive and hydration issues. Thank you! But I am also trying a ketogenic diet and struggling. I would love if you could share any insights with me too. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Be Healthy says:

    Sorry to hear Kate. You have a couple of options so I will send you an email.


  8. Be Healthy says:

    Oh dear. I am so sorry Deb. Unfortunately we have been so misled for so long–it will affect many generations. It was not his fault. Nothing would have changed things for him. But you can change things for yourself and for your family. ❤



  9. Deb says:

    I keep thinking of my poor father who had congestive heart failure. Back in the 90s, he ate nothing but carbs, little fat, no red meat, no greens (fear of vitamin K), only 1 quart of water a day, and no added salt. It’s a wonder he lasted as long as he did.

    Liked by 1 person

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