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What causes migraines?

Migraine causes should be distinguished by triggers and root causes.  The root causes are what make the body react to those triggers. Triggers are sensory stimuli that trigger a migraine attack.
Taste, sight and smell are the 3 main types of sensory triggers for migraine attacks.

Taste: Foods that are well known to trigger migraine attacks are cheese, wine, and chocolate. While these will trigger migraines for many women, for others they will have no impact, but garlic, ice cream, or eggplants might.

Sight: Very bright light but also a device’s blue light trigger can migraines, and relief can be brought by staying in a dark room.

Smell: For example, even the smell of perfume in excess is enough to generate a migraine at a crowded event.

Marine, 35, Dubai

"After just 6-8 weeks, my migraine attacks started to decrease in intensity and frequency. After years and years of medication and dozens of professionals, I couldn't believe that by simply adding functional foods to my diet I was finally able to live without medication in my handbag wherever I go!"

What are the symptoms of migraines?

“Migraine” is a very generic term. More syntax to distinguish them has been developed in recent years, mainly based on the symptoms associated with them such as: migraine with aura, migraine without aura, menstrual migraine, cluster headaches, chronic migraines, retinal migraine, hemiplegic migraine, ice pick headaches. 

Symptoms can vary tremendously. Women can suffer an attack with debilitating pain, while few may experience little to no pain. The symptoms of an attack can include a loss of vision, seeing prisms or dots, experiencing blurred vision, experiencing pain in the right arm, on half of the body, throbbing, throwing up. For some women, the migraine pain is located in the forehead, while for others it is on top of the head, on the right temple, on the left temple, moving from the back to the front of the head, across the eyebrows, behind the head, behind the left eye, behind the right eye or behind both eyes, in the sinuses, in the inner ears. For some, they are in constant 24/7 pain, for others, they occur once or a few times a month. For some women a migraine episode might last a couple of hours, whereas for others, they may last a couple of days. 

Still - they all have one name. While these names are somewhat useful in grouping types of migraines and symptoms, they still fail to indicate the root cause and the solution.

What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?

Headaches cause pain in the head, and upper neck. They are usually manageable and relieved by an over-the-counter medication. They also come in the absence of other systematic symptoms. Migraines are much more debilitating. They force the subject to stop their activity altogether, or to perform in a much more reduced capacity. They may come with a lot of symptoms. Though the pain is usually a very important factor, some migraines may come with symptoms only and no pain (e.g. a loss of vision without pain - which would also be considered a migraine).

Anna, 27, Auckland

"I was getting migraines 6 days a week and spending thousands of dollars on treatments. My migraines finally eased a few weeks after eating the functional foods Diane recommended. It gave my body a break from the full time pain, and now they have almost completely eased off. "

How can I diagnose whether or not I have migraine disease?

If you experience migraines, chances are your Medical Practitioner will have you complete a number of blood, urine, bowel and neurological tests. Those tests are to exclude diseases of the brain or nerves that may be the cause of your migraines. For most people those tests will come back negative and the diagnostic will be that you have “migraines”. This process - though important - can be very frustrating, as no answer is provided.

Why are migraine medications not particularly effective?

There is a myriad of medication you can choose from that are tailored to migraines. All of those are “pain killers” and therefore aim to silence the pain with different mechanisms of action.

Their efficiency varies from woman to woman. They can be very effective, but it depends on the woman and her circumstances. Women tend to notice their numerous side effects, while for some after awhile they cease working altogether. Women also talk about “rebound migraines”, and it has been scientifically proven that over time, migraine medication causes migraines. This is something that can be discussed with your medical practitioner, as they should be aware of this when prescribing it.

Why do I have migraines?

To have a migraine, you need a genetic predisposition. 40 gene loci have been found to be responsible for causing migraines.

In addition to the gene, you need one or multiple underlying imbalances for the migraine to be triggered. Those imbalances vary from woman to woman and are not static, which makes them hard to identify and correct. Because when one system is “down”, another body system will come to the rescue, therefore making it hard to keep track of them. It is important to identify them all and to start from the very first root cause, while adjusting the other systems over time.

Can migraines be “cured”?

Given migraines rely on a genetic predisposition, migraines can not be “cured” per se. Genetic editing (e.g., CRISPR), though making lots of progress, is unlikely to crack such a complex code of 40 varying genes. So, “cure” is a big word. But you can identify and tackle the root cause of your migraines, so that you can have a happy, functioning brain.

The first step is to take our migraine online test. We then offer a free phone call to debrief you on your results, and detail how our programme can work for you.

Do women tend to have more migraines than men?

Yes, women are 3-4 times more likely to have migraines than men. When children, boys and girls are equal (around 5% chance of migraines developing), but that number then triples to quadruples for women once they reach puberty. 

While not all migraines are hormonal, research has linked hormones with migraine attacks, and as the fluctuations happening for women are greater than men, this leaves more room for such imbalances.

Can children have migraines?

Yes, around 5% of boys and girls have migraines before puberty.

Chloe, 8, Seattle

"Before I met Diane, my head hurt. Now my head does not hurt. I think she had the best hypothesis of all the doctors I met (that is 20!)"

What makes your approach to migraines different?

Our approach is unique worldwide. Through our initial work with women, and working with Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, we’ve identified 16 different conditions or malfunctions originated in the digestive and hormonal system that can cause migraines. The combination of possible migraine conditions are no less than 50,000 possibilities. That is what fundamentally makes it so hard to treat and manage.

What makes migraines even more complex, is that these combinations of conditions are dynamic and are influenced by: your stage of life (e.g. pregnancy, menopause), where you live (e.g. close to sea, city dweller), your eating habits (e.g. vegetarian, tyramine and histamine free, FODMAP).

Because there are so many factors that influence your gut, and therefore your brain health, it’s difficult to know exactly what medications and treatments work for you and why the same ones don’t work 100% of the time. It is also why modern medicine has chosen to focus on silencing the pain itself, rather than solving for the root cause. 

For the 50,000 combinations of conditions, we’ve mapped corresponding functional foods and their characteristics and contraindications. For example: avoiding turmeric when you have your period, and excluding shiitake if you have candida. Many Western scientific papers have validated the efficacy of many of the functional foods used in our Nectar Health Dynamic Treatment Plans.

Why is gut health important for migraines?

The health of your gut has a direct impact on your brain health. 

When your gut is healthy and balanced, it sends signals to your brain to let it know everything’s okay.

When your gut is unbalanced, it sends error messages to your brain.

The communication between your brain and gut is a two-way conversation, via a long nerve called the vagus nerve, which runs from the bottom of your brain to your gut, and also through the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. This communication system is also known as the gut-brain axis.

Your immune system and hormones also impact on the quality of signals sent between your brain and gut.

Because the health of your gut has such a profound impact on the health of your brain, it’s easy to understand how important functional foods are for brain health.

We’re not trying to dull the pain of your migraines. We’re striving to remove them all together. A healthy, balanced gut means no more error messages. No more error messages means no more migraines.

Can Nectar Health help if I’ve had a concussion?


We’ve seen women who’ve had a concussion really struggle to recover from the physical trauma, remain profoundly unwell for a long time and misunderstood by healthcare professionals. 

We have heard of insurers becoming frustrated with women not making progress with their migraines, and  encouraging them to “just go back to work” - as if it was really that easy.

Our experience working with women who’ve suffered a concussion indicates they’re lacking some specific liquids around their eyes. These liquids are produced by the liver and without them the effect can be detrimental and the imbalance can take years to resolve on its own, if they resolve at all.

If this is you, please reach out to us. This is why we exist. Find out how Anna and Jess, who both suffered from a concussion, got their life back on track with Nectar Health.

Does your methodology have side effects?


Women who work with us have “additional health benefits”, and because we solve the root causes of their migraines, other imbalances and symptoms disappear.

These include: no more bloating, weight loss, increased energy, less painful menstruation, better skin, more sustained mood, better hair, less acne. 

Most, if not all, women we work with get compliments on their physique when working with us.

Is your system able to tackle more than migraines?


We observe great success with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Raynaud’s disease, leaky gut, and we are now testing for fibromyalgia as well.  

We have not advertised this yet, as we are still a small team.

Jade, 28, Singapore

"I’ve been incorporating my recommended functional foods and teas for a few months now, and my migraine attacks have decreased to about one every two months. My sleep has improved, I don’t have sugar cravings anymore, and most importantly, I feel more free and in control."

How do I get started?

Take the test. 

The test is the only way for us to very fast engage in a conversation with you about your migraines. The test is about 80 questions and aims at understanding the root causes of your migraines. 

Once the test is completed, you will receive a call with your results, where you may ask any further questions. If you are happy to proceed, you can then pay online and your dashboard will be set up within 24 hours. From there, we will follow your progress every day via your individualised tracker, and continue to adapt your functional food lists until you are pain-free.

What happens after I take the test?

After completing the test, you will receive the following information:

1. The estimated time needed for you to feel a tangible difference. Women who have a profile rated Green might take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months, whereas women who have an Orange profile may take 6-8 months, while women who have a Red profile may take 12 months.

2. The number of imbalances we have identified that are the cause of your migraines. Usually women have multiple root causes to their migraines, which means they have 6-8 imbalances. For some women, it can be much lower at 2-4 imbalances and for others, it may go up to 14 imbalances.

3. The family of symptoms pertaining to your dominant imbalances that will need to have disappeared for you to experience substantially less/no more migraines.
For example: a more stable mood, less bloating, no more distention of the belly area, no more joint pains or ankle sprains, reduced IBS, reduced endometriosis - this would mean that your liver system is in balance.
Another example: no more sugar cravings, no more overeating prior to your menstruation, reduced exhaustion, no more dry skin, less grey hair and more hair overall - this would mean that your blood volume is now sufficient, and therefore your brain should be happier.

In doing the test itself, you may start to connect the dots between your migraines and other aspects of your health.


What is a typical functional foods list?

There’s no one size fits all approach, and that’s why we spend time at the start of your journey finding out as much as we can about your migraines and understanding your migraine profile.

Some of the functional foods we recommend will be familiar to you, such as: beetroot, pumpkin seeds, eggplant, raspberries, parsley, turmeric, saffron; and easy to drink teas such as: ginger, chamomile and licorice root.

You may be less familiar with other functional foods such as feverfew, cassia seeds, dried lily flowers or corn silk. But please don’t be intimidated. We provide advice and guidance on how to prepare them, and how much you need to include in your daily diet.

Jess's Story

Anna's Story

I want to be mindful about putting health data in a test. Can I fill it in anonymously?

We do not need your name to proceed. In fact, we do not ask for your last name, and you can fill in whatever first or nick name you like. We only need a means of communication with you and that is via email and text. 

We take data privacy very seriously. We have high data security standards and are committed to GDPR compliance.

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