Monday, March 28, 2016

Magnesium and Migraines

Like many women (and men), I suffer(ed) from migraines. I used to get them chronically, and then they somewhat subsided to a couple times a  month. One primary care doctor recommended that I start taking magnesium supplements to help prevent them. And thus started my love affair with magnesium. After a nasty vestibular migraine (that took over a month to diagnose) that was totally cured with a magnesium infusion (thank you Dr. Mauskop for the proper diagnosis and treatment!), I was a total magnesium convert.

But of course, I am a scientist as well, so I needed to do my due diligence into this magnesium-migraine association. And there is quite a bit of science to back up the use of magnesium as a way to prevent migraines. Turns out, a lot of us migraine sufferers are deficient in magnesium. If you have cold hands and feet, leg and foot cramps, bad PMS, and brain foginess, insomnia, you might be deficient in magnesium too.  A magnesium infusion (through an IV) has been shown to help treat a migraine just about as well as some migraine medication, and taking a daily magnesium supplement has also shown to reduce the number and severity of migraines.

There are various forms of magnesium and some are better tolerated by the belly than others. It is recommended you start with 400mg of magnesium and see if it helps. You may have to take a little more, or you may have to take a little less, or you may have to try different type (magnesium glycinate vs. magnesium oxide, for example). Definitely check in with your doctor and see what they think. I for one, have never felt better!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Do underwire bras cause breast cancer?

Last week I was out with my mama friends and of course our boobs came up in conversation (apparently one drink in and we start talking about lady parts). One friend mentioned that she only wears bras without underwire because she had a breast cancer scare a couple years back and was advised to not wear underwire bras.  Which of course led me to wonder whether there was any science behind this.

I've been wearing underwire bras forever, and was told that if I wanted to keep the girls up, proper undewire support was the only way to go. Was I causing myself to be at higher risk for breast cancer?

After doing some research I found that this was quite the contentious topic and that neither my friend nor I were quite right.

While there are quite a number of websites that claim that tight fitting underwire bras clog our lymphatic drainage (our lymphatic system runs through our body carrying infection fighting cells and removing "debris"), increasing risk for breast cancer. This claim was based on a study that showed that women who wore underwire bras were at a much higher risk for getting breast cancer, and that in cultures where women didn't wear bras, they had very little breast cancer risk. Sounds compelling right? Ah, if only we could just let our boobs hang out and not get breast cancer. Too bad what the study didn't take into account were things such as genetics, fat, diet, age, or any of the other things that have been shown to increase breast cancer risk. All in all this study was good at showing correlation  (bras and breast cancer are associated with one another), but  NOT causation (bras actually breast cancer). A much more robust study published in 2014 found that there was NO association with bra wearing and cancer in women that over 55 years old.

And then there is the whole issue of whether wearing these contraptions even helps keep the girls up. Not so much, since there is this thing called gravity and age. And let me tell you, there isn't much to do about that. Weight fluctuation, breast feeding, and aging all take their toll on breast tissue, and wearing a bra doesn't actually change that.

Bottom line,  do what is comfortable for you and what makes you feel good. If wearing an underwire bra gives you the support you need, great. If you are more comfortable with a soft cup or no cup, that's wonderful too!

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