Migraines, Could Salt be the Solution?

Sunday afternoon I got one of the worst migraines ever. I hate migraine headaches with a passion but they have been a part of my life for many, many years. Typically I get them once or twice a month but if I’m careful to avoid the triggers, I can sometimes stave off a bad one.

I had a major fail on Sunday because apparently I did not avoid the triggers. I ran 6 miles in the morning and then I hit up the beach and shortly after I got there I was on the hot mess express to Migraineville and there was no getting off until I reached my destination.

I was much better by late Sunday evening but I did not run on Monday and spent most of the day with these guys in the pool.

dogs in the pool
While we were hanging out lounging in the pool, my mother-in-law mentioned to me that she had read that low sodium can cause migraine headaches. I told her that I drank plenty of water but then she reminded me that drinking water doesn’t replace sodium and that when it’s really hot or you sweat a lot, you also lose sodium.  It made perfect sense and it is in fact true, you do lose sodium when you run and you sweat.

Last year during many of my long runs, I also got migraine headaches and salt was the one thing I never thought about. I just thought because I’m not a salty sweater, I had plenty of salt in my body but now I’m not so sure.

I wanted to test the theory so I tried to find a good source of electrolyte replenishment to consume after a hard or really sweaty workout.  I googled some, but what I found is lots of articles warning me of how bad all of those drinks are.  Most recommended plain water which is what I’m currently doing and may not be the optimal solution.

Now this has turned into quite the conundrum hasn’t it?

This morning I tried coconut water but let me be honest and just tell you straight out, I don’t like coconut water, period. It doesn’t matter what brand, I just don’t like it. When you expect something to taste like a pina colada and it doesn’t, no amount of convincing will get me to drink it again, ever, although I do not have a headache at all today, hmmmmm.  Coincidence or not?

So, I’ve got a few questions for you.

First, do you suffer from migraines after really hard or really sweaty workout?
Second, what do you use to replenish your electrolytes?

12 thoughts on “Migraines, Could Salt be the Solution?

  1. I have had serious headaches caused by insufficient intake of electrolytes / sodium quite a few times.

    I myself used a product called “GU brew” for electrolytes – but you can also make your own. You night even get something half decent by making margaritas – obviously replacing the good stuff with water.
    I’ve also tried running on Chia Iskiates (http://www.macheesmo.com/iskiate-recipe/) with a little salt added which also worked ok for me.

  2. I guess french fries are out of the question? 😛

    I have been getting bad migraines recently, but I think it is from stress. I have been off of work the last four days and I haven’t had a single one. I did drink a lot of Margaritas on Saturday….so I have had my fair share of salt. Haha.

    Have you tried Nuun Active? One of the “electrolytes” in them is sodium. Maybe they will help. https://nuun.com/products/nuun-active/

  3. I do not get migraines.
    I think my second Half, I took a packet of soy sauce with me to consume during the race to prevent cramps.
    How about drinking Pedialyte?

  4. I can relate to all of this! Last summer I had similar situations and started to increase my sodium intake leading up to long training runs or races (sodium loading?? Haha). I drink Nuun religiously! Before my last half I had some the night before, then during my race and afterward. I hate migraines – I hope you can find something that works for you!

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