Millions of people suffer from migraines, a debilitating neurological disorder.
Many people turn to over-the-counter medications to relieve their symptoms, but these drugs are not always successful – and some can actually worsen the condition.
In this article, we look at five helpful vitamins that supplement migraines.
What are Migraines?
A migraine is a type of headache that is caused by the brain pounding or pulsing abnormally. The pain is usually intense, throbbing, and unilateral (one side of the head is more painful than the other).
Migraines are common and can be debilitating. They are estimated to affect about 50 million people worldwide.
There is no one cause of migraines, but they are commonly linked to problems in the blood vessels in the brain. These problems can be caused by various factors, including lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic vulnerabilities.
Migraine treatments typically involve medications and complementary therapies. Drugs are usually effective in relieving most migraines within a few hours.
However, some people find that they need to take medicine every day for months or even years to prevent migraines from returning. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, may also be helpful.
Migraine sufferers can reduce their risk of migraines by staying healthy and avoiding potentially dangerous situations.
For example, avoid drinking alcohol while you have a migraine; avoid foods that trigger headaches, such as red meat; get regular exercise, and get enough sleep.
Classification of Migraines
There are three main types of migraines: tension-type, migraine without aura, and aura-type. Each type has its symptoms and treatments.
Tension-type migraines are the most common type and are characterized by a sudden onset of pain on one side of the head, followed by a headache. These migraines usually last about four hours and can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers.
Migraine without aura is the least common type and is usually diagnosed in people over 50. These migraines don’t always have an aura – auras are visual disturbances that precede a headache in about half of all people with migraine.
Aura-type migraines are the most severe and are characterized by an intense headache accompanied by visual disturbances such as flashing lights or visions.
These migraines can last up to 72 hours and require treatment with prescription medications.
What Causes Migraines?
Migraine headaches are a type of headache that most people know very well. A virus or a sinus infection causes them, usually striking people in their 20s and 30s.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to preventing migraines, but there are some things that everyone can do to help reduce their risk.
First, make sure you get enough calcium and magnesium. These minerals are essential for nerve health and can help prevent migraines by reducing inflammation in the brain. Second, eat foods that are rich in antioxidants.
These nutrients fight off free radicals, which can cause damage to the cells in the brain that trigger migraines. Finally, take supplements if they help reduce your migraine symptoms.
Many types of vitamins and accessories can be helpful for migraine prevention, so talk to your doctor about which ones might work best for you.
The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Migraine Relief
Migraine headaches are a severe form of pain that most people experience at least once in their lifetime. They can be extremely painful and disabling and last up to 72 hours. While there is no cure for migraines, there are many ways to relieve them.
One of the most important things you can do to relieve your migraines is to take vitamins and supplements. This is because vitamins and minerals play an essential role in migraine relief.
Vitamins and minerals help reduce inflammation, one of the leading causes of migraines. They also help to improve blood flow and nerve function. This helps to reduce the pain and discomfort that accompanies migraines.
If you suffer from migraines, taking various vitamins and supplements is essential. This will ensure that you get the most relief from your symptoms.
Vitamins and Supplements That Help Prevent or Treat Migraines
Many vitamins and supplements can be taken to help prevent or treat migraines. Some of the most common include vitamin B6, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics.
Vitamin B6 is essential for preventing migraines because it helps to relieve stress and anxiety. It also helps to promote a healthy nervous system. Magnesium is also critical to avoiding migraines because it relieves tension headaches and helps to reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the severity of migraine headaches and improve overall brain health. Probiotics are essential for gut health, but they have also been shown to help prevent and treat migraines.
Many different vitamins and supplements can be used to prevent or treat migraines. Talk to your doctor about which one may be best for you.
The symptoms of migraines can make it hard to manage daily life. These intense headaches can cause throbbing pain, sensitivity to light or sound, and nausea.
Several prescription drugs treat migraines but can have unwanted side effects. The good news is that there may be natural alternatives you can try. Specific vitamins and supplements may reduce the frequency or severity of your migraines.
Sometimes, strategies for treating migraines that work for one person provide little relief for another. They may even make your migraines worse. That’s why it’s essential to work with your healthcare provider. They can help develop a treatment plan that works for you.
No one vitamin or supplement or combination of vitamins and accessories has been proven to help relieve or prevent migraines in everyone. That’s partly because every person’s headaches are different and have unique triggers.
Still, the following nutritional supplements have science supporting their effectiveness and may be worth trying.
Research has yet to show how or why vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin, helps prevent migraines. Mark W. Green, MD, a professor of neurology, anesthesiology, and rehabilitation medicine and a director of headache and pain medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount, may affect how cells metabolize energy at Sinai.
A research review published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research concluded that riboflavin could reduce the frequency and duration of migraine attacks with no severe side effects.
If you choose vitamin B-2 supplementation, you’ll want to aim for 400 milligrams of vitamin B-2 daily. Clifford Segil, DO, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, recommends taking two 100-mg tablets twice daily.
Although the evidence from research is limited, he’s optimistic about vitamin B-2’s potential for treating migraines. “Among the few vitamins I use in my clinical practice, it helps more often than the others many neurologists use,” he says.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, daily doses of 400 to 500 mg of magnesium may help prevent migraines in some people. They say it’s especially effective for migraines related to menstruation and those with accompanying aura or visual changes.
A review of the research on magnesium’s effectiveness for migraine prevention notes that migraine attacks have been linked to magnesium deficiency in some people. The authors found that giving magnesium intravenously can help reduce acute migraine attacks and that oral magnesium can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
When looking for a magnesium supplement, note the amount contained in each pill. If one capsule only contains 200 mg of magnesium, you’ll want to take it twice daily. If you notice loose stools after taking this dose, you may want to try taking less.
Researchers are just beginning to investigate vitamin D’s role in migraines. At least one study was trusted. Source suggests that vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Participants were given 50,000 international units of vitamin D per week.
Before taking supplements, ask your doctor how much vitamin D your body needs. You can also check out the Vitamin D Council for general guidance.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that has essential functions in our bodies, like helping to generate energy in cells and protecting cells from oxidative damage. Because people with specific diseases have been shown to have lower levels of CoQ10 in their blood, researchers are interested in finding out whether supplements might have health benefits.
While there isn’t much evidence available on CoQ10’s effectiveness for preventing migraines, it may help decrease the frequency of migraine headaches. It’s classified in the American Headache Society’s guidelines as “possibly effective.” More extensive studies are needed to provide a definitive link.
The typical dosage of CoQ10 is up to 100 mg, taken three times daily. This supplement may interact with certain medications or other accessories, so check with your doctor.
One study trusted Source in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry showed that the hormone melatonin, often used to regulate sleep cycles, may help reduce migraine frequency.
The study showed that melatonin was generally better tolerated and, in many cases, more effective than the drug amitriptyline, which is often prescribed for migraine prevention but can have side effects. The dosage used in the study was 3 mg daily.
Melatonin has the advantage of being available over the counter at a low cost. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is generally considered safe in recommended dosages, although the FDA does not recommend it for any specific use.
Most over-the-counter supplements are generally well-tolerated and safe, but here are some things to keep in mind:
- Some vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can interact with medications you may be taking. They could also aggravate an existing health condition. Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
- Women who are pregnant should be cautious about taking new supplements. Some are not safe for pregnant women.
- If you have gastrointestinal (GI) issues or you’ve had GI surgery, you should also talk to your doctor before taking new supplements. You may not be able to absorb them as most people do.
Also, remember that when you start taking a new supplement, you may not see results immediately. You may need to continue taking it for at least a month before noticing the benefits.
If your new supplement makes your migraines or another health condition worse, stop taking it immediately and talk to your doctor. For example, caffeine may help reduce headaches in some people but may trigger them in others.
Never assume that all vitamins, minerals, and other supplements are safe or that they’re of the same quality. For example, taking too much vitamin, A can lead to headaches, nausea, coma, and even death.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before trying a new supplement brand or dosage.
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Not all headaches are migraines. A migraine is a specific subtype of headache. Your migraine symptoms may include any combination of the following:
- pain on one side of your head
- a throbbing sensation in your head
- sensitivity to bright light or sounds
- blurred vision or vision changes are referred to as “aura.”
Much is still unclear about what causes migraines. They likely have at least some genetic component. Environmental factors also appear to play a part. For example, the following factors can trigger migraines:
- certain foods
- food additives
- hormonal changes, such as the drop in estrogen that occurs either right before or after a woman’s period
- exercise, or sudden movements
In rare cases, headaches may be a symptom of a brain tumor. You should always tell your doctor if you have regular headaches that affect your quality of life.
Being in a quiet, dark room may be another way to prevent or help treat a migraine. That may sound simple, but it’s becoming increasingly common in today’s fast-paced world.
“Modern life doesn’t allow us to do this often,” says Segil. “Simply relaxing or taking a few minutes to relax in a quiet and dark space often aborts headaches.”
“Modern medicine is not good at treating many ailments, but it is pretty good at helping patients with headaches,” Segil adds. If you’re open to taking prescription medications, you might be surprised at how well some work.
The proper medication may help you lower the number of migraines you experience. It may also reduce the severity of your symptoms.
A neurologist can help you develop a medication or supplement regimen that suits your circumstances. They can also provide tips to help you identify and avoid your migraine triggers.
If you don’t already have a neurologist, ask your primary care doctor about finding one.
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If you’re like most people, you know that headaches are one of the worst things to happen in the middle of your day.
Fortunately, a few vitamins and supplements can help ease the pain associated with migraines. Vitamins B6 and B12 work together to reduce inflammation, while magnesium can help to relax blood vessels and relieve pressure on the brain.
If you’re taking any medications for your migraines, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about adding these supplements to your regimen.
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