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Question:
Do any supplements help with migraines?

Answer:
There is evidence that magnesium, CoQ10 and riboflavin (B2) may help to reduce the frequency or severity of migraine headaches. The amino acid 5-HTP may also reduce frequency, although the evidence is mixed. 

Some herbal supplements, such as butterbur and feverfew may also be helpful. One preliminary study suggests ginger may help reduce the severity of migraine headaches. However, be aware that taking St. John's wort with migraine medications or the painkiller tramadol can cause adverse effects.

One clinical study found that a DAO (diamine oxidase) supplement reduced the duration of migraine attacks by 30%, but did not reduce pain or frequency.

For more information, see the article about Migraine in our Encyclopedia, and also use links above.



For more information, see the article about



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COMMENTS

Shira11388   November 14, 2016
Try tart cherry supplements. They have had a positive affect on my migraines by reducing daily frequency in half.

ConsumerLab.com   November 14, 2016
Hi Shira - Thank you for sharing your experience. There is a report in the literature of showing a reduction in migraine frequency and duration from drinking tart cherry juice - although this was based on just a single individual (http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Citation/2016/05001/Tart_Cherry_Juice_Consumption_as_a_Potential.726.aspx). If it is of interest, we have written about tart cherry for other uses https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/tart_cherry/.

Carol11384   November 13, 2016
Surpringly, I found out some supplements like Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine Sulfate were a cause of my migraines. A few months after stopping those, I experienced significant arthritic hip pain. I now take Glucosamine HCl daily and 2/3 capsule of chondroitin (150 mg) twice a week, which is the lowest amount I have found that solves my arthritis. I can still get a mild headache for a day after the Chondroitin, but it is manageable.

I am also sensitive to slightly rancid oil supplements like flaxseed that were probably not ideally stored by the seller or exposed to heat in the shipping process, or maybe sourced overseas.

Ditto other's comments on getting testing for food sensitivities!

Jennifer11381   November 13, 2016
My husband was getting migraines at least twice a week, back about fifteen years ago. He started taking feverfew every day and the migraines almost disappeared after a few weeks. The only times they have recurred have been when he stopped taking the feverfew because he was traveling or it was not available where we we lived for a while. It does seem to be necessary to persevere for a few weeks for it to take effect.

Jennifer8371   January 18, 2016
I take a handful of cayenne pepper capsules at the onset of aura--it helps quite a bit, although it can lead to, ummm, digestive distress. I also take Dramamine. Helps tremendously, partly because it just makes me sleep. I recently bought a Cefaly (an electronic device that is supposed to prevent migraines if used daily), and so far so good. I use the SeaBand elastic things to help with nausea.

Elizabeth6865   July 15, 2015
I'm 85 years old. Most of my life I've had migraines. About four years ago, I was suffering the migraines every week. I started taking 400 mg of magnesium and 4000 IU of vitamin D3, daily. My migraines stopped and I haven't had one since then. I don't know which supplement stopped the migraines. I had been using 200 mg magnesium, because I get constipated easily. I have read that magnesium can help with migraines. Also, I started the vitamin D3 because I no longer get sun, and my blood test showed low levels.

Bach11382   November 13, 2016
I too have far fewer migraines since taking 400 mg magnesium citrate daily, along with several thousand iu of vitamin d3 daily, as well as 3 capsules of fish oil.

ConsumerLab.com   November 14, 2016
Glad that seems to be working for you but you should consider reducing your vitamin D intake. Benefits of having adequate vitamin D diminish when you get too much -- and several thousand IU is too much to take as a regular daily dose. See the Vitamin D Review for more about that.

Dixie5790   June 14, 2015
Recently added Life Extension Brain Shield (gastrodin) with good result. My frequency and severity have been reduced about 80% after a month. The effect started almost immediately.I originally took feverfew, but then I seemed to become accustomed to it, and added one by one, the others. Topamax worked, but it made me stupid. I also like ginger for the nausea, and it also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Louise5785   June 14, 2015
I had 3-12 migraines/month for about 25 yrs. Bedridden if not treated. Luckily the triptans work terrifically for me, but most lost their efficacy after 2 yr and I would move on the the next. Zomig has continued working well. I tried all the home remedies listed and more - and none worked significantly. But Miracle of miracles, a Dr. told me I was low thyroid despite "normal" blood levels with the usual USA tests (not good for measuring direct thyroid function). Simply took low dose Armour thyroid and my migraines nearly totally stopped within 3-weeks. I still can get them <1/month; but the threshold to trigger them has skyrocketed up and can now drink wine, eat chocolate etc. I suggest to all migraineurs that low thyroid should be checked by symptoms and get a Dr. willing to listen and try it. Recent mri has shown my thyroid to be atrophied and consistent with the diagnosis!
Lou

Kenneth5780   June 14, 2015
Nutritionfacts.org ran a story last week on the use of powdered ginger. In a double blind placebo-controlled study 250 mg. was as effective as sumatriptan.

Bach11383   November 13, 2016
When I get a migraine, I go straight to my ginger from Trader Joes, or the health food store. It's one way to get ginger in if nausea prevents taking capsules.

ConsumerLab.com   June 15, 2015
Hi Kenneth - Thank you for mentioning this study, which is noted in the Encyclopedia article about ginger (https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21738).

In the study, people diagnosed with migraine without aura who took ginger rhizome powder (one 250 mg capsule) at the onset of headache had a significant decrease in headache severity, similar to those who took 50 mg of sumatriptan, a common migraine medication. Those who took the ginger also reported fewer side effects (4% vs. 20%) -- the only side effect reported by those who took the ginger was upset stomach.

Sylvie540   February 11, 2015
I take them all and I realise that after adding them one by one they had an impact on my migraine. Nothing else worked not even morphine at one point. Was thinking of ending my life. Now I have my life back! It works!!!!!

Don385   January 13, 2015
I forgot to mention that you need to take Fever Few every day. If you wait until you get a migraine and then take it, it won't do any good.

ConsumerLab.com   January 13, 2015
Hi Don - More information about feverfew for migraine is found in ConsumerLab.com's encyclopedia articles about feverfew (http://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21713) and about natural approaches to migraine (http://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21557).

Don391   January 13, 2015
I clicked on the link your provided. I get a message that it cannot be found

ConsumerLab.com   January 15, 2015
Hi Don - Thanks for letting us know; the link has now been fixed.

Don382   January 11, 2015
My son suffered from migraines. I started him on Fever Few. He hasn't had a migraine for about 20 years now. Also, everyone I know, that had migraines, I recommended Fever Few. All of them have reported back to me that they no longer have migraines.

I forgot to mention that you need to take Fever Few every day. If you wait until you get a migraine and then take it, it won't do any good.

Nancy278   December 1, 2014
Adeline277
My daughter had atmospheric migraines that were debilitating. She was found (after much pushing of her MD) to have severe food allergies, IgE diagnosed. Since being on the diet that eliminated these foods she has been migraine free. Push to get tested.

Adeline277   November 30, 2014
My migraines are caused by the barometric pressure bringing in "Low" conditions. No one seems to be addressing migraines caused by atmospheric disturbances.

Roger425   January 25, 2015
All migraines are related to either or both of: spasm in blood vessels that often causes the migraine aura, like wiggly lines in your vision, or tingling in lips/finger tips, that then progresses into wide dilatation of the blood vessels, which causes the throbbing headache when blood pounds through the blood vessels. If you gently rub magnesium chloride liquid into your temples, or firmly rub it into the back of your skull where the muscles attach, the magnesium is partly absorbed and makes the blood vessels relax. Do this on days when you might get a weather-headache, and you will likely find it reduces how often you get one. Doc

ConsumerLab.com   January 27, 2015
Hi Roger - We have not seen any clinical studies on transdermal magnesium for migraine, but thank you for sharing your experience with this!

Hank276   November 30, 2014
Look up mention of using topical lidocaine -- rubbed on temples and forehead. There were a few studies of this some years ago that I came across, showed my doctor, got a Rx and used. It's worked for me, done at the first hint of a migraine, to greatly reduce the length and intensity of the headache. The 'make it more expensive' pharma approach has been to test using lidocaine as nose drops, to get the same effect.

Maria11441   November 30, 2016
Do you have any information, and share, where I can find the studies you used, please?
Thank you in advance!

CHRISTIE13977   May 3, 2017
Interesting! I wonder if an OTC product containing lidocaine (such as sunburn relief products) would be effective. I'll give it a try!

Personally, I take three different magnesium supplements twice daily (chelated magnesium, a magnesium "booster" and a magtein supplement) and ubiquinol coQ10 and have a great deal of success. I recently was lax in taking my supplements regularly and am now paying the price...finding that my cycle as well as barometric pressure changes are debilitating. Hopefully I'll be back on track soon!

beatrice5781   June 14, 2015
It is very important to identify food triggers and stop them and then slowly introduce them. I also found a study that talks about genetic predisposition and migraines. It also talks about high levels of homocysteine being a trigger.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 11/29/2014. Last updated 8/7/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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