CGRP is not referring to a remedy for migraine headaches, but rather the possible cause of them. Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) is a protein in the brain and nervous system related to the transmission of pain and its effects on tissues. Recent research has found it may help alleviate migraine attacks.

CGRP was a brand-new concept to me, so I did some research into what this means for migraineurs and if it’s a viable treatment option.

CGRP Induces Migraines as an Allergic Reaction

Let’s start at the top.  Recent research by a pharmaceutical company showed, an infusion of CGRP could induce migraine attacks in those most likely to have migraine headaches. The release of CGRP around a blood vessel results in inflammation, so it’s no wonder the protein has been linked to migraine.

The inflammation is the result of the nervous system causing the blood vessels to dilate, leading to high blood pressure and an increase in white blood cells creating an immune reaction in your body.

Sounds complicated, I know, but basically we’re looking at migraines being an allergic reaction to a protein in the brain!

CGRP Comes in Various Forms

There are various forms of CGRP in the body. Specific ones relate to the pain produced in the brain. By taking an antibody to CGRP for migraines, you are targeting particular blood vessels and tissues in that area of the body.

Think of it like a parking lot where blue and white vans hang out. The blue vans are CGRP; the white vans are the antibody. Blue vans are always trying to park in the best spots, but white vans get there first. Either that or they block the blue vans from parking at all. That is how an antibody works.

Antibodies Fight The “Infection” of CGRP

Antibodies are proteins that interfere with very specific parts of another protein or the locations where a protein is supposed to “park”. This means the CGRP protein itself must be included in  this story when we talk about forcing the body to create an antibody that will help fight off the “infection.”

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to migraines. The new CGRP findings are right there with the research that shows migraine headaches are often caused by a vitamin deficiency in the body. But, it’s never just one thing.  By now, most of you already know it’s usually much more complex.

There are tests that measure CGRP levels, but it may be outside your insurance coverage; however, this is helpful information to keep in mind as you move through your research on treatment options. If your migraines are an allergic reaction to CGRP, then why not focus on treating it naturally with your body’s own defenses? Namely, antibodies.

CGRP Antibody Treatment

Unfortunately, this type of therapy is new and, therefore, expensive to implement. As it becomes more accepted by doctors and used more frequently, the costs will likely come down. Fortunately, it’s possible migraines can be thwarted or minimized for months at a time with this new treatment, but it may be something for the back-burner until there’s more research and acceptance.

Sources:

National Headache Foundation – CGRP: What You Need To Know

Lilly – The Correlation Between CGRP and Migraines