What is migraine?
"A migraine is a throbbing, unilateral headache that is often associated with nausea, vomiting, photophobia, or an aura (i.e., a transient disturbance of vision or of various aspects of neurological function). More than 10% of Americans suffer from migraines, with the prevalence in women being about 3 times that in men. The cause of migraine is not well understood, although it is thought to be due in part to vasoconstriction followed by reactive vasodilatation. . ." (Gaby, Alan R., MD. Nutritional Medicine. Alan R. Gaby, M.D., 01/2011. VitalBook file.)
Certain dietary factors may cause or trigger migrain headaches, including reactive hypoglycemia/dysinsulinism, caffeine, food allergies and food sensitivities.
Several nutritional supplements have been shown to prevent migraine attacks. Magnesium supplementation has been proven effective in numerous studies.
Riboflavin is another effective treatment. "As the precursor of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), a coenzyme involved in the electron-transport chain, riboflavin plays a role in mitochondrial energy production, which appears to be impaired in migraine patients. Riboflavin at a dosage of 5 mg 3 times per day was reported in 1946 to be effective for migraine prophylaxis . . . this was confirmed in a 1956 report. Of more than 100 migraine patients, the vast majority had a complete cessation of attacks after riboflavin supplementation. The dosage was 10 mg 3 times per day with meals for 6 months, followed by 10 mg/day indefinitely. Marked improvement was usually seen in less than a month. If a patient discontinued treatment, attacks would recur within a few months." (Gaby, Alan R., MD. Nutritional Medicine. Alan R. Gaby, M.D., 01/2011. VitalBook file.)
Other supplements shown to be worthy of consideration include CoEnzyme Q10, Niacin/Niacinamide, Folic Acid, Alpha-lipoic Acid, Vitamin C, L-Tryptophan, Omega-3 Oils, Vitamin B12, Vitaminn D and Calcium, and Melatonin.
Recent research as shown that two other supplements probiotics and ginger may reduce migraine headache pain and frequency as well.
Multi-strain probiotics. In this study, 79 people with fewer than 10, and up to more than 15, migraines per month, took a placebo or a multi-strain probiotic capsule with at least 2-billion live probiotics, twice per day.
After eight weeks, for those with the most-frequent migraines, the probiotics group reported nearly 10 fewer migraines per month compared to less than one fewer for placebo. The probiotics group also reported less severe symptoms, shorter duration, and less need for medication.
In those with lower-frequency migraines, after 10 weeks, while the placebo group had not significantly improved, the probiotics group reported 2.6 fewer migraines per month, with less severe symptoms and less need for medication. (Reference: Cephalalgia; 2019, January 8, Published Online)
Ginger extract. This study took place in a hospital emergency room, where 60 people with lower-frequency migraines were admitted for intravenous treatment with the NSAID ketoprofen, plus either a placebo or 400 mg of ginger extract.
Participants kept track of their symptoms from the time they arrived at the ER, and each half-hour after treatment, through two hours. Beginning at one hour after treatment and continuing through two hours, compared to placebo, those taking ginger reported significantly lower levels of migraine pain, fewer visual symptoms, were better able to function physically and mentally, and said they were happier with their treatment. (Reference: Cephalalgia; 2019, Vol. 39, No. 1, 68-76)