Migraine is a severe headache characterized by throbbing pain and sensitivity to light or sound, estimated to affect 10% of people worldwide. The frequency of migraines can vary from person to person, with some people experiencing them once or twice a year; Some experience more than 15 months. If you suffer from migraines, it may be helpful to seek help from a specialist who can offer suggestions on managing the condition, which often includes identifying triggers, trying different medications and incorporating lifestyle management techniques, such as regular exercise.
Although nutritional supplements may not be a substitute for a migraine treatment plan for most people, there is some evidence that they are effective in reducing the frequency and duration of severe headaches. In general, these supplements are meant to be taken daily, in the recommended amount, with the goal of prevention rather than treatment. You should also inform your doctor, who can advise you about any possible interactions with other medicines you are taking.
Don’t expect a miracle overnight. “All of these supplements…take time to become effective,” says Katie Jantz, a registered pharmacist and researcher for Examine.com, which analyzes nutrition and supplement research. In general, it usually takes about 1-3 months to evaluate whether a supplement is having an effect. (To help you measure the effect over time, it may be helpful to keep a migraine diary, Jantz advises.)
Here are five supplements often taken for migraine relief, and what current science can tell us about their effectiveness.
Some positive effects: Butterbur
Butterbur is an herb that was briefly recommended by the American Academy of Neurology because it appears to reduce the frequency of migraines. However, they later withdrew the recommendation due to concerns about liver toxicity. Since then, it has been determined that the liver toxic effects are primarily due to the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in supplements, and additional steps can be taken to remove them – look for products labeled “PA-free.”
Although research studies on the butter are limited, “they’ve all produced similar results,” Jantz says, indicating that it has some positive effects on migraine patients.
Reduces the frequency and duration of migraines: Coenzyme CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is responsible for carrying out a number of important functions related to food metabolism. It is also available as a dietary supplement without a prescription. In a recent meta-analysis, which combined six studies with a total patient enrollment of 371 patients, CoQ10 was found to reduce the frequency and duration of migraines, resulting in an average of 1.5 fewer migraines per month.
“The downside to CoQ10 is that you have to take its dose two to three times daily, which can be difficult for people to remember,” Jantz says. Pro: Most people experience minimal side effects. Cons: Frequent doses required mean costs can increase.
Reduces the frequency of migraines: Magnesium
Magnesium is commonly used to reduce the frequency of migraines. It’s cheap, it’s safe to take, and there’s a moderate amount of evidence to support its effectiveness, with the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology giving it a B rating. “A little over half of the studies show an effect, and the rest don’t, so it’s hard to conclude,” Jantz says. What happens”.
If you want to try magnesium for migraines, there are a number of different forms, each with different absorption rates in the body, which may affect their effectiveness. Some of the more common forms include magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate. In general, it’s helpful to start with what’s affordable and accessible, and then switch to a different model if the first one doesn’t work.
Modest effect on migraine frequency: riboflavin
Riboflavin, one of the B vitamins, plays an important role in energy production in the body. There is also some limited evidence to suggest that it can have a modest effect on reducing the number of migraine cases within one month. “The effect is very marginal,” says Jantz, but the advantage is that it is cheap, accessible, and generally well tolerated.
Mixed research, risk of side effects: Chrysanthemum
Feverfew is an herb that has been promoted for migraine relief, with some studies suggesting that it can “enhance the treatment” of migraines. However, “the research is really mixed,” Jantz says. One major concern is that there are a number of different ways to prepare chrysanthemum, which will vary depending on the company, and any one of them could have an impact on its effectiveness. There is also a greater risk of side effects with this supplement, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and agitation. As a result, Jantz rarely recommends it for treating migraines.
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