The digestive system is comprised of a gastrointestinal tract which is a muscular tube extending from the mouth to the anus including organs of the pharynx; oesophagus; stomach; small intestine; large intestine and accessory organs of the liver; gallbladder and pancreas that form secretions for digestion.
The digestive system plays a role in the process of mechanically and biochemically breaking down foods to extract nutrients for absorption into the body through the gastrointestinal tract to support vital bodily functions.
Mechanical Process of Digestion and Absorption
Digestive Enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down foods enabling the nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream for use in various bodily functions and movements.
There are three types of Digestive Enzymes they are:
These enzymes break down food particles for energy and storage in liver and muscles. The breakdown chemical reaction is known as Hydrolysis. It requires water to separate the bonds to convert food to energy. Energy that is stored is converted by other enzymes that the body can use when required.
The digestive system plays an integral role in relation to the body’s defences and immune system homeostasis by preventing exposure to pathogens in foods consumed by the secretion of liposomes in saliva which breaks down bacterial cells and the stomach acid provides defence as bacteria do not survive well in low acidity. The mucosal membranes of the gastrointestinal tract provide a protective barrier to further prevent exposure to pathogens.
Disease in any of the organs can affect the digestive system and thus the ability of the digestive system to break down food for energy.
Migraines are a multifaceted condition that disturbs brain function that is attributed to lessen nerve signalling, chemicals and blood flow in the brain.
Consuming cheese and chocolate along with experiencing high stress levels and poor sleep quality is an indication that people who suffer from migraines may have a tyramine sensitivity.
What is Tyramine?
Tyramine is a naturally occurring monoamine compound that is present in some foods which gets produced when tyrosine a naturally occuring amino acid/protein breaks down.
High amounts of tyramine found in foods like cheese and chocolate is thought to be a trigger for migraine. This is due to the tyramine decreasing serotonin levels in the brain and increasing dopamine production which impairs the ability to breakdown tyramine. Thereby leading to tyramine sensitivity and an increase in blood pressure which cause abnormalities in nerve signalling and blood flow to the brain which is what is thought to be perceived as a migraine.
Stress is known to have an impact on raising blood pressure when in combination with other triggering factors such as the consuming foods high in tyramine through activating vasoconstricting hormones that act on the blood vessels like dopamine and serotonin. With both playing a non typical role that leads to impaired nerve signalling and blood flow to the brain which again is what is thought to be perceived as a migraine.
Poor sleep quality is also associated with migraines through elevated tyramine levels forcing the adrenal glands to secrete norepinepherine, the precursor for a flight/fight/freeze response which leads to the disruption in the melantonin cycle altering sleep patterns due to perceived threat of a migraine attack.
Did you know a Nutritionist can help people who experience Migraines?
As a Nutritionist myself, here is what I would aim to do to help someone who experiences migraines
What can you do to prevent future onset of a Migraine?
To find out if you have a tyramine sensitiivty book an appointment with me.
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