Okay, so anybody have experience with Atenolol? I thought the neurologist said Inderol, but my script says different. He did say it would take at least a couple weeks for this stuff to kick in. Thankfully, since stopping the Verapamil, my headaches have lessened - had a couple days without any pain. Starting to have that ‘walking on a waterbed’ feeling, but I can live with it … no vertigo yet (probably just jinxed myself).

And at the risk of high-jacking my own thread 8), anyone recognize green tea as a trigger? I’m beginning to wonder. I’ve been drinking it for health benefits - don’t really like the stuff, but I think it’s the reason my ‘flu’ only lasted ~3 days vs. both husb & daughter’s week-long bouts. There are so many potential reasons/triggers, it’s really hard to narrow myself down.

There’s caffeine in green tea, right?

I wonder why he would give Atenolol instead of Inderal. My understanding is that, unlike Inderal, Atenolol doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.

Joy…boy can i realte to the sensation like i’m walking on a Waterbed…i have had that experience numerous times over the years…and it was much worse during the first 8-9 yrs.


Hi Joe,

There’s caffeine in green tea and, for me, any caffeine is deadly in terms of triggering disorientation. It definitely gives me a nice charge which soon turns into a not so nice charge complete with a bad head. Try drinking rooibos tea instead. Tastes great, no caffeine and healthy.

Cheers … Scott

But the stuff I’m drinkin says it’s caffeine-free! (I know there’s probably still some in there lurking about…did I mention I put, like, a big glob of sugar in there?)

My new neurologist is Latin-American & I hate to admit this but I had a little trouble understanding completely everything he said towards the end of our visit. I KNOW! I should have stopped him & had him repeat stuff, but … well … I guess I figured I caught most of it & he was writing a script out & saying stuff that gave me hope - like ‘remission’ (which actually brought tears to my eyes).

Julie - crossing the blood-brain barrier is a good thing or a bad thing? I tend to give my doctors the benefit of the doubt - at least in the beginning (until they do or say something totally incompetent :roll: ) Probably naive of me. I did ask him lots of questions & told him I was a complete baby when it comes to drugs, so perhaps that made him chose Atenolol instead of Inderal … who knows.

Either way I’m just glad my head doesn’t hurt as much as it did. I feel a little more ‘alive’ now, too, off the Verapamil. Even if it’s only my imagination, it makes me happy :slight_smile:

Well, for what it’s worth, I found this on Wikipedia (but I don’t know who writes or reviews these things):

*Due to its hydrophilic properties, the drug is less suitable in migraine prophylaxis compared to propranolol, because for this indication, atenolol would have to reach the brain in high concentrations, which is not the case…Atenolol is a hydrophilic drug. The concentration found in brain tissue is approximately 15% of the plasma concentration only. *

However, I did a Google scholar search and found a handful of studies supporting Atenolol for migraine. I was only able to access the abstracts, so i can’t give you any more information. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

Regarding the green tea - decaffeinated doesn’t mean no caffeine, it’s just less caffeine. I’m super caffeine sensitive, I can’t touch decaf with a ten foot pole.


I have not reacted well to green tea since coming down with this, and stopped drinking it almost immediately.

One thing to look out for with green tea is the infamous “natural flavors” additive on the label, which is usually a translation for MSG…a major league migraine trigger.

Did you give up coffee as well?
I try and follow the Buccholz diet, but still drink a cup of coffee (a mug to be honest) in the morning.
I just read an article by a neurologist who reviewed the literature and declared that there is no evidence for migraine food triggers—Buccholz said you could NEVER do a study, because you couldn’t control the variables. I believe in food triggers.
(I know I should give up the coffee…)

I’m sure I have food triggers. I went on the diet very strictly last August and have slowly tried adding things back. Some things bother me and some don’t. The response is always additional dizziness the following day and clears up completely in another day or two. I don’t typically have those kinds of ups and downs, aside from a rise in the pollen.

— Begin quote from “MSDXD”

I have not reacted well to green tea since coming down with this, and stopped drinking it almost immediately. One thing to look out for with green tea is the infamous “natural flavors” additive on the label, which is usually a translation for MSG…a major league migraine trigger.

— End quote

I guess I need to remember that MSG isn’t just in salty foods, huh? What other names does it go by anyway?

— Begin quote from “kira”

Did you give up coffee as well? I try and follow the Buccholz diet, but still drink a cup of coffee (a mug to be honest) in the morning. I just read an article by a neurologist who reviewed the literature and declared that there is no evidence for migraine food triggers—Buccholz said you could NEVER do a study, because you couldn’t control the variables. I believe in food triggers. Kira (I know I should give up the coffee…)

— End quote

I had to give up both caf- & de-caf coffee … and I REALLY miss it! While my neurologist didn’t totally poo-poo food triggers, he did say they were extremely difficult to isolate - and I agree with that for the most part. He said the obvious triggers - like coffee & chocolate - are easy ones, but figuring out all the others is almost impossible considering all the … variables, like you said … weather, air-borne allergens, etc. And then there’s that mysterious & all-encompassing affliction referred to as S-T-R-E-S-S :roll:

Here ya go. Pretty good article on both aspartame and MSG.

The Truth About MSG and Aspartame

By The Natural Health Place

Food additives are anything that is put in or on something, for whatever reason, that was not there when the food or drink was in its natural state. Countless different types of colors, taste enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, and other chemicals are used in and on the foods and drinks that you buy in grocery stores and in restaurants.

The two most commonly used food additives are artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, and monosodium glutamate or MSG. These two also seem to cause the most disturbing physical symptoms or reactions.

Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame)

Thousands of foods and drinks, especially diet products, contain artificial sweeteners. They are identified by many different names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet and Low, Sunette, and others. This disguises their real names such as Aspartame, Saccharin, Cyclamate, Acessulfame-K, and others. After being introduced, with much fanfare, Saccharin lost favor when it was found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Interestingly, artificial sweeteners cause an increased appetite. That seems a bit contradictory for weight loss products.
Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Today, Aspartame seems to be the primary artificial sweetener. It is used in most diet pops, especially the big three. In addition, it is the sweetener of choice in many packaged food products, medications, supplements, and other items for human consumption. It is the NutraSweet, Equal, and Spoonful you find in most restaurant and grocery stores.

Aspartame is made of about 40% aspartic acid (an amino acid), about 50% phenylalanine (another amino acid), and about 10% methyl alcohol or methanol (wood alcohol). One 12-ounce can of an aspartame-sweetened soft drink contains about 30 milligrams (mg) of methanol. It takes very little, depending upon your or your children’s body weight, to greatly exceed the daily limits recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Methanol is a cumulative, human-specific toxin. Your body does not have the necessary enzymes to detoxify it. It takes 5 times longer to eliminate than a similar amount of ethanol. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the alcohol commonly found in beer, wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic drinks. The ethanol found in foods (fruits, etc.) that contain methanol is protective against the harmful effects of naturally occurring methanol. This protection is absent with Aspartame.

For your body to detoxify the wood alcohol in Aspartame, it must convert it to formaldehyde and then into formic acid. These are both toxic metabolites. The result is metabolic acidosis. This could be a significant factor in the excess acidity we see in many patients. Also, the aspartic acid, as well as the phenylalanine, cause other problems specific to themselves.

It would seem wise to eliminate both MSG and Aspartame if you have any problems with any of the symptoms related to either additive.

It has also been suggested that Aspartame may trigger or mimic the following conditions:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple Sclerosis
Epstein-Barr Syndrome
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Post-Polio Syndrome
Alzheimer’s Disease
Lyme Disease
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Meniere’s Disease
Grave’s Disease
Mercury sensitivity from amalgam fillings
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Systemic Lupus
Erythematosis (SLE)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Almost everyone has heard of MSG. Many know of it as related to Chinese Food Syndrome. It is not known for sure if the problems associated with MSG are caused or aggravated by eating things with MSG in them. Reactions to MSG are dose-related. In other words, some people react to even very small amounts. Reactions can occur immediately or even up to two days later. The key to deciding if problems are due to MSG is that you respond with the same reaction(s), and after the same elapsed time, each time you eat MSG in excess of your tolerance level.
MSG is not an allergen. It is a neuro-toxin or nerve poison. Your body reacts to it as it would to a drug. It is harmful to everyone. It is a flavor enhancer that food companies learned could mask bitterness, off flavors, sourness, and the tinny taste of canned foods. This is why it is concealed in so many foods and drinks as well as in other products such as medications and food supplements. National consumption of MSG has risen from about 1 million pounds in 1950 to over 300 million pounds yearly.

Interestingly, according to a June 28, 1997, Associated Press article, two University of Miami researchers, Nirupa Chaudhari and Stephen Roper, say they discovered another type of taste bud. They call the taste umani (oo-MOM-ee), a Japanese word that means (roughly) “yummy”. These particular taste buds seem to be most sensitive to MSG, which gives a meat-like flavor. When stimulated, these taste buds seem to start a cascade effect that results in your appetite being increased so you want to have additional helpings.

If you choose to try to avoid MSG, you may find it exceptionally difficult to do so. Not only does it occur naturally in many foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, potatoes, apples, oranges, and mushrooms, but it is also added to an extremely wide variety of commercial products. With natural, unadulterated, unfermented foods, MSG-sensitive people do not react with symptoms to proteins that contain either bound or free glutamic acid. However, MSG-sensitive individuals do react to the glutamic acid of MSG in its free form, and, especially if it has been created through fermentation or some other artificial manufacturing process.

The problem with its being added to things is that labels frequently do not specify MSG exactly, nor do they say how much MSG is in a particular product. Even more frustrating is not knowing how much MSG is being produced in a product during processing and/or during manufacture.

The following ingredients and/or products ALWAYS contain MSG:

Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Textured protein
Monopotassium glutamate
Glutamic acid
Calcium and sodium caseinate
Yeast extract and Yeast food
Autolyzed yeast
Yeast nutrient
Accent and Zest
Also, these products and/or additives OFTEN contain MSG or it is created during processing or manufacture:

Malt extract and flavoring
Barley malt
Natural flavor(s) and natural flavoring(s) such as pork, beef, chicken, etc.
Soy sauce and extract
Soy protein isolate and concentrate
Seasonings (the word seasoning)
Broth and Stock
Whey protein isolate, and concentrate
Milk solids in low fat milk products
Spices (sometimes)
Protease enzymes and enzymes (depending upon the source)
Mei-Jing ans Wei-Jing
Anything protein fortified, enzyme fortified, ultra-pasteurized, or fermented
Kombu extract
Worcestershire sauce
In addition, two food additives that are used to enhance the effects of MSG are disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. If these are present, so is MSG.

The above MSG lists are as complete as possible at present. They should not be considered all-inclusive or final, however, since there are new medical, nutritional, food, and drink products being created every day. Once you stop using things that have been causing you problems, you become much more aware of, and sensitive to, what you can eat, drink, and put on or into your body. Pay attention to your body and eliminate anything that causes you symptoms, whether it is mentioned here or not. Remember, the more of your food that you make from scratch, with fresh ingredients, the less likely it will contain MSG.

Things You Can Do to Minimize Your Exposure to Harmful Additives:

Read labels! Read labels! Read labels! Get into the habit of thoroughly reading the labels of anything and everything that you, or someone you love, intend to eat, drink, take, or put on their skin, hair, or nails. Reactions to MSG can occur with soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics. Check for “hydrolyzed” and “amino acids” ingredients. Strangely, MSG-type reactions can occur to the aspartic acid found in Aspartame (see below). Some medications (including children’s medicines), drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and Aspartame. Other sources of hidden MSG are the binders and fillers used in medications, nutrients and supplements (prescription and non-prescription), enteral feeding products, and some intravenous fluids. Always ask your pharmacist what is in the products you or a loved one are going to take.

For MSG, minimize and/or avoid manufactured, processed, and fermented foods. Replace them with natural, unprocessed, unfermented foods whenever possible. Even products that say no MSG added are not necessarily free of MSG. Most meals served in restaurants across America contain MSG. Delicatessen and smoked meat products as well as sausages and luncheon meats usually contain MSG. Canned gravies, chili, stews, and sauces contain large amounts of MSG. Processed or dried foods with “flavor packets” usually contain MSG. These are often found in boxed rice, pasta, powdered salad dressing mixes, and dried soups. Most commercial salad dressings, soups, meat stocks, dairy products, sauces, seasoning mixtures, frozen foods, teas, and convenience foods contain some form of MSG. “Natural flavors” contain about 40% MSG. It is also found in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and in most packaged and canned foods, including diet foods, desserts, ice cream, and cakes.

As for artificial sweeteners, you should avoid artificially sweetened foods, drinks, medications, supplements, or anything made with them. Even something sweetened with white sugar is better for you than something artificially sweetened. Better yet, you should use natural sweeteners, if sweetening is necessary (see the section on Sweeteners). In addition, if it says sugar-free, do not even consider it! It almost certainly contains artificial sweeteners.

To adequately test the effects of MSG or Aspartame on your system, you must be totally off of any products that contain them for at least 60 days.

On the MSG topic - I did the Bucholz diet for a few months and was getting results, but not as good as I had hoped. It was then that I discovered MSG. I’ve strictly avoided msg for the last year and a half. I can honestly say it has made a BIG difference for me, although, I will admit it has not been easy. Its extremely difficult because its hidden under so many names. For me, it has been worth it 100%.

Anyone interested, here is an excellent site:

and the forum at:

Might not be for everyone, but I’m thankful everyday for it. :smiley:

Oops - should have put this one in there -




thanks for those MSG links. It’s definitely a trigger for me and challenges me as a cook.

The diet may not help “a lot” but I am exquisitely sensitive to my symptoms and I will take any improvement i can get. The difference between 8 and 7 on a scale of 10 feels great!

I’m sure you all know this, but a reminder - those supplements/meds we all take are in gelatin capsules.


Geez … this is depressing. I can’t possibly eliminate all MSG from my diet.

Joy- It is kind of depressing, but I’ll tell ya what, if you start into it and notice its making a difference its well worth it. I said the same thing when I started looking into it. Didn’t really think it could be done, but little by little I worked at it (and I do mean worked at it :lol: It just doesn’t happen overnight, I really had to work at it, but was seeing it was making a difference and it was enough motivation to keep on.

Julie- I purchased a book off the website ( It was written by Debbie Anglesey the lady who started that site. Its called "Battling the MSG Myth, A Survival Guide and Cookbook. Its got a ton of good info and recipes. It’s fantastic, and thats coming from someone who can’t stand to cook! I’m getting ready to order another because mine has taken a beating and is starting to fall apart.

Anyway, just Fyi.


One of the sites had you avoid mushrooms–but the one “myths” didn’t–between my daughter’s celiac, my husband’s impending diabetes, and everyone’s migraines, it’s getting tough to know what to eat.
Because of the celiac, we got clued into all the hidden ingredients. Trying to avoid additives, we’ve learned to go organic and nitrate free.
It is tough.
I went to a course on migraine and heard Fred Sheftell (head of American Headache Society) lecture on nutrasweet–he said it’s a proven neuro-toxin.
My daughter with celiac is marrying into an Asian family, and the mother-in-law to be, who is a PhD–gives her such grief for avoiding soy sauce and gluten: she says “It’s not like a peanut allergy, it won’t kill you.” The lovely grandmother in law to be, uses MSG in everything, and she really means well…
I do find with all the dietary restrictions, we primarily eat at home, and the few times we’ve tried a meal in a restaurant, I pay for it.

Joy - there are so many potential migraine triggers that all we can do, and still live, is try to figure out which ones trigger us, reduce or eliminate them the best we can so as not to cross the threshold that Buccholz talks about.

I do know that some people - and I know one personally - who get so violently ill from any amount of MSG, they require hospitalization. They have no choice but to do their best to rid it from their lives.

When I first went on the diet I thought I would die of starvation, and I did lose some weight, but it’s been an education and I’m real happy with the much healthier diet I’m eating these days.

Kim - thanks again for the info. I LOVE to cook, so when I say this is a challenge to me as a cook, I actually mean it in a good way.



Yes, I agree. It’s tough to know what to eat anymore. I don’t know much about celiac - thats avoiding gluten right?

You mentioned mushrooms - mushrooms are naturally high in glutamate, as well as tomatoes (and many other things). As sensitive to MSG as I am, I’m able to eat them, as long as I don’t over do it, and they don’t cause me too many problems. When I first stopped the MSG, I wasn’t able to tolerate them. The better I got at staying away from MSG, the more I was able to add natural glutamates back into my diet (within reason). At this point in my life, I don’t believe I’ll ever eat another McDonalds burger, or a frozen t.v dinner again, it used to bother me, but not anymore. Feeling good is all that matters, and it makes it kinda easy most of the time.

I also steer clear of nitrates, sulfites, and buy organic as much as I can (organic produce can be a bit on the pricey side).

Bless your daughters heart, I’m sure her “in-laws to be” mean well. In time, hopefully, :smiley: Really!!!)

I certainly don’t blame MSG for where I am today, anymore than I blame stress, or anything else. But I do know that avoiding it has helped me tremendously, and thats all that counts. :smiley: