Although a wide range of acute and preventative medications are now available for the treatment of migraine headaches. Many patients will not significantly improve the frequency and severity of their headaches. Also, several prescription drugs for migraine treatment come with unwanted side effects.
Because of this, many people start looking for better and safer solutions and try to find the best Natural Vitamins and Supplements for Migraines.
The symptoms of migraines can make it hard to manage daily life. These intense headaches can cause nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine sufferers also tend to experience depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
- Why Vitamins and Supplements For Migraine
- Best Natural Vitamins and Supplements for Migraine
- 1. Magnesium
- 2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
- 3. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- 4. Vitamin D
- 5. Vitamin B12
- 6. Melatonin
- 1. Avoid Triggers
- 2. Improve Lifestyle
- 3. Alternative Therapies
- 4. Stay Informed
- 5. Regular Medical Checkups
Why Vitamins and Supplements For Migraine
There has been a growing interest and demand for natural and alternative treatments such as vitamins and supplements in recent years. To treat migraine headaches a variety of natural supplements, vitamins, and herbal preparations have shown positive results.
Overall, supplements are safer than drugs. Supplements can interact with prescription medications. If you plan to take any prescription drug, consult with your doctor before taking supplements.
Sometimes, strategies for treating migraines that work for one person provide little relief for another. That’s partly because every person’s headaches are different and have unique triggers.
Excessive amounts of certain supplements can be dangerous. That’s why it’s important to work with your health care provider. They can help develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Best Natural Vitamins and Supplements for Migraine
Magnesium plays a vital role in multiple physiologic processes and because of this, it is a vital component in a healthy diet. Its deficiency is common in the general population. Up to half of the migraine sufferers are deficient in magnesium.
The American Headache Society and American Academy of Neurology guidelines consider magnesium supplements are “probably effective” to prevent migraines.
Ideally, magnesium should be obtained from foods like whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, avocados, legumes, spices, nuts, cereals, and others.
However, changing one’s diet is not easy. Sometimes, it is not sufficient to raise magnesium levels because of poor absorption.
The second-best choice is to take a supplement. Magnesium comes in several different forms including magnesium hydroxide, magnesium citrate, and chelated magnesium. For better absorption, a soluble form of magnesium known as Chelated magnesium is the best option and this type of magnesium may cause fewer side effects.
Studies have shown that migraineurs have low brain magnesium during migraine attacks and may also have a systemic magnesium deficiency. Furthermore, a deficiency of magnesium may play a particularly important role in menstrual migraines. Two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have shown that oral magnesium supplementation is effective in headache prevention.
Magnesium Potential Side Effects
The only side effect of magnesium is an upset stomach or diarrhoea. And the only people who should not take magnesium, are those with serious kidney problems.
A good deal of research has shown that Magnesium’s efficacy depends on a “high dose” (400-600 mg) can be beneficial. Starting with 400 mg of magnesium glycerinate and other magnesium salts can also help.
2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is present in every membrane of all cells in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that has important functions in our bodies, like helping to generate energy in cells and protecting cells from oxidative damage.
After magnesium, the deficiency of CoQ10 is the second most common deficiency in migraine sufferers.
A study showed that taking 200 mg of coenzyme Q10 daily for 60 days reduced the duration, frequency, and pain of headaches.
Migraine frequency was shown to be improved significantly in more than 61% of patients in one study, 50% of patients in another study, and for supporting use for migraine prevention.
Some food sources, such as meat and fish, contain CoQ10. The amounts of CoQ10 found in food are naturally less. Supplementation is required to fulfil the remaining amount.
Primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains.
It’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before taking supplements together to make sure they’re safe for you to take together.
CoQ10 Potential Side Effects
Side effects of CoQ10 are rare. Some people develop insomnia or have vivid dreams. Take this supplement in the morning. The safety of CoQ10 was tested in doses of up to 900 mg.
As Per the AAN guidelines for the prevention of migraines, the recommended dosage of CoQ10 supplement is 100 mg taken three times per day.
3. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, facilitates energy production in cells and is required for converting food into energy. Vitamin B2 also works as an antioxidant helps to reduce free radicals. The pathway involved in the development of migraine may be affected by it.
Riboflavin is found in lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and milk. Bread and cereals are often fortified with riboflavin.
One study of riboflavin involved 55 migraine patients. They received a daily dose of either 400 mg of riboflavin or placebo for 3 months. Of those receiving riboflavin, 59% improved by at least 50% versus 15% on placebo.
However, the improvement occurred only in the third month. Don’t become alarmed if your urine becomes bright yellow when you take riboflavin.
Vitamin B2 Potential Side Effects
Vitamin B2 Dosage
The daily dose of 400 mg daily is probably sufficient. Taking 200 mg twice per day (400 mg per day).
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions. Many scientific studies show the role of vitamin D deficiency in a wide variety of diseases.
Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, it is a hormone. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Small amounts also come from the diet. It has anti-inflammatory activities, analgesic effects may reduce nitric oxide, and assists in magnesium and calcium absorption.
In a study, it has been found that chronic migraineurs also have low vitamin D levels. It is suspected that deficiency plays a role in the mechanisms responsible for migraine and other pain syndromes.
Five high-quality studies were analysed in 2021, and they found that taking vitamin D supplements significantly reduced the duration, frequency, and severity of migraines, compared to taking a placebo.
Researchers examined 3 groups of subjects: 116 patients with chronic migraine, 44 patients with episodic migraine, and 100 non-headache controls. Ninety-two migraine patients had vitamin D insufficiency (borderline low levels), whereas 40 had vitamin D deficiency. There was a strong inverse correlation between vitamin D levels, the severity of attacks, and migraine-related disability.
Vitamin D Potential Side Effects
Vitamin D is likely safe when taken by mouth in recommended amounts. Some side effects of taking too much vitamin D include weakness, fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, and many others.
Vitamin D Dosing
As per study the best form is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 IU daily.
5. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient needed for nerve tissue health, brain function, the production of red blood cells and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
The deficiency of Vitamin B-12 has been long suspected to play a role in the development of migraines. So far, it has not been directly linked to migraines.
A new study published in the latest issue of Headache compared vitamin B12 status in 70 migraine sufferers with 70 healthy people with similar demographics. Serum levels of vitamin B12 were found to be significantly lower in migraine patients than in healthy subjects
An Iranian study published in the journal headache compared vitamin B12 status in 70 migraine sufferers with 70 healthy people of similar age and sex. Serum levels of vitamin B12 were significantly low in migraine patients than in healthy subjects. Vegetarians and vegans are prone to be vitamin B12 deficient.
Most people who are deficient in vitamin B12 respond well to an oral supplement. A small proportion of patients do not seem to absorb vitamin B12 pills and feel better with regular (usually monthly) injections.
The intramuscular injections can easily be self-administered. An intranasal form of vitamin B12 is also available but is expensive.
Vitamin B12 Potential Side Effects
Vitamin B12 is likely safe for most people. A high dosage of B12 (Cyanocobalamin) may cause low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia).
Vitamin B12 Dosage
Clinical trials with specific dosage recommendations for methylcobalamin are lacking. Dosage is based on recommended dosages for vitamin B12. High dosages of methylcobalamin (1,500 mcg/day orally) have been used in limited studies.
Melatonin is produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brain. The release of melatonin helps us fall asleep. Melatonin supplements have been used to treat insomnia.
A study published in the journal Headache found that patients with chronic migraines had abnormal low levels of melatonin.
A study has shown that Melatonin supplementation decreased headache intensity and duration. It is widely used as a sleep aid. Sleep is nature’s way of dealing with migraines.
Melatonin has shown many benefits in many headache disorders when taken at night. Melatonin may help with headaches because it helps you sleep better, reduces pain, and helps other parts of your brain that are affected by headaches.
A study conducted by Dr. Amy Gelfand and her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that melatonin may be effective in treating children’s migraines in a single dose. This was an 84-patient trial, although only 46 children completed it. Both low and high doses of melatonin were associated with pain reduction.
The benefit was likely an indirect one– melatonin helped children fall asleep. And sleep can relieve a migraine attack; very often in children but also in some adults.
Melatonin Potential Side Effects
Melatonin is generally safe for short-term use. However, it can cause side effects when people take it in more than the recommended amounts, such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, joint pain, anxiety, irritability.
One promising study published in the journal Neurology found that daily 3-mg doses of melatonin, 20-30 minutes before bedtime, are sufficient.
7. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), also known as thioctic acid, is present in every cell of the body and enhances mitochondrial oxygen metabolism and ATP production.
ALA is a vitamin-like antioxidant, sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant” because it is soluble in both fat and water. It is manufactured in the body and is found in some foods, particularly in liver and yeast.
ALA can be used as a treatment for patients with migraine because it improves mitochondrial and endothelial functions and clinical symptoms.
ALA is a nutraceutical agent which also has neuroprotective and anti-inﬂammatory effects. It has been proven that ALA levels remain low in migraine patients.
According to a recent study by Magis and colleagues, the daily dose of 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid was significantly better than placebo in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
ALA Potential side effects
Alpha-lipoic acid is generally considered safe with little to no side effects. Higher doses are not recommended, as there’s no evidence that they provide extra benefits.
The usual recommended dose is 300 mg twice a day.
Migraine prevention can involve a combination of medical, lifestyle, and alternative approaches. However, what works for one person might not work for another. Here are some general strategies that people have found useful in preventing migraines:
1. Avoid Triggers
Migraines can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as:
- Food and drinks: Some common food triggers include aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, processed foods, and foods with MSG.
- Sensory stimuli: Bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds, or strong smells.
- Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity.
- Changes in sleep pattern: Getting too much or too little sleep.
- Weather changes: Changes in pressure or temperature.
- Medications: Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
- Stress: Often considered one of the most common triggers.
2. Improve Lifestyle
- Consistent routine: Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and eat meals at the same time every day.
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Limit caffeine: Too much caffeine can trigger a migraine in some people, but withdrawing from it suddenly can also be a trigger.
- Regular exercise: Cardiovascular exercise can help prevent migraines. However, start slowly if you’re not used to it, as intense exercise can also trigger migraines in some people.
- Stress management: Techniques such as relaxation training, meditation, and biofeedback can help.
- Get enough sleep – Lack of sleep is a common migraine trigger. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night and go to bed and wake up at consistent times.
3. Alternative Therapies
- Acupuncture: Some people find this helpful, though evidence is mixed.
- Massage therapy: This can help reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Herbs, vitamins, and minerals: Feverfew and butterbur might prevent migraines or reduce their severity, but benefits are still debated. High doses of riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and magnesium supplements might also help in some cases.
4. Stay Informed
Stay up-to-date with new migraine treatments and research. Consider joining a migraine support group or forum to learn from others’ experiences.
5. Regular Medical Checkups
Keep a close relationship with your healthcare provider to discuss any changes in symptoms, triggers, or life circumstances that might affect your migraines. A headache diary can help both you and your provider identify patterns and triggers.
Keep in mind that when you start taking natural Vitamins and supplements for migraine, you may not see results right away. You may need to continue taking it for at least a month before noticing benefits.
If your new supplements seem to be making your migraines or another health condition worse, stop taking them 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 completely safe or that they’re of the same quality. A higher dosage of the supplement can create problems. For example, taking too much vitamin A can lead to headaches, nausea, coma, and many other severe problems.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before deciding to try a new supplement brand or dosage.
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