Can Supplements Help with Migraine Symptoms?
Migraine headaches are a debilitating condition which affects 26 million Americans each year. Of these figures, over 80% are women. Migraines are characterized by an intense pulsating headache which causes pain in one specific area of the head. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light often accompany migraine headaches. There are several different types of supplements which may be of particular benefit to healing this painful condition. When it comes to migraine headaches, it is best to try and prevent them before they even start.
Identifying Food Allergies
Before trying different types of supplements for migraine, it is recommended to examine the diet for any possible food allergies that may be the cause of migraines. According to PubMed.gov, there are specific foods which have been proven to cause migraine headaches in some individuals. These foods include yeast, wheat, grains, citrus, cane sugar, chocolate, eggs, beef, cow’s milk and corn. One should begin by eliminating these foods which are known to trigger migraine headaches. In a 1979 study, it was shown that removing these foods from the diet caused 85% of migraine sufferers to stop having headaches.
A good way to identify if there is a food allergy present is to examine all different types of foods in the diet. If there is a food allergy present, one may be experiencing a variety of symptoms. If there is bloating or gas after eating, constipation, a stuffy nose or low energy levels, it is wise to examine which foods may be causing the body distress. Removing these foods which are causing problems may be the key to relieving migraine headaches.
The Paleo Diet
Other foods to look out for include processed foods. Foods which are processed include sweet or salty foods which are sold prepackaged or prepared ahead of time. Researchers are paying particular attention to one diet, known as The Paleo Diet, which is believed to be especially beneficial in stopping migraines. The Paleo Diet focuses on eliminating processed foods for many reasons. Processed foods contain a variety of chemicals in them, which are not designed to work with the body. They have little nutritional value and contain unnatural elements such as artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Two of the main food additives a migraine sufferer should avoid are aspartame and MSG.
On the Paleo Diet, all glutens are avoided as well as grains, bread, pasta, and pasteurized dairy products. Organic, grass-fed meats are acceptable, as well as foods which come from local sources. The Paleo Diet focuses on eating whole foods which are sold in their natural state and are packed with nutrition. A few examples of whole foods include all types of fruits and vegetables, nuts, raisins and lean cuts of meat. Carbohydrates on the Paleo Diet come from vegetables (excluding corn and potatoes). This causes the body to improve insulin and leptin levels, which is known to improve the symptoms of migraine headaches.
Omega 3 and Migraine Headaches
Found naturally in fresh fish, plants and nuts, Omega 3 is considered a polyunsaturated fat. It is beneficial to the body in many ways, specifically to the heart and brain. One of its current applications includes fighting the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. WebMD provides a recommendation for taking Omega 3 for migraines. Three grams should be taken twice a day for a minimum of four months in order to provide the best benefit. However, it should be noted that more research needs to be conducted before Omega 3 can be proven to fight migraine headaches.
Feverfew is a natural herb which is related to the marigold flower. It is the most studied herb for the relief of migraines. Feverfew works by relaxing blood vessels in the head and calming inflammation to allow circulation to the brain to be improved. It is helpful in reducing the severity of migraines as well as the frequency. When feverfew is combined with riboflavin and magnesium in supplement form, it is believed to work even more effectively. However, be advised that experts recommend pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should avoid taking feverfew.
A natural element produced by the body, Coenzyme Q10 is currently being researched for its effects on migraine headaches. When taken in supplements, Coenzyme Q10 may be beneficial in helping to relieve migraines. More research needs to be done in regards to its ability to prevent migraine headaches; however migraine suffers may want to give it a try. The recommended dosage of Coenzyme Q10 for migraines is one daily dosage of 100-200 milligrams.
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to COQ10, there are several other vitamins and minerals which may be of particular benefit for treating migraine headaches. Magnesium is the most widely-recommended mineral for this. It works by relaxing the blood vessels in the brain. Taking supplemental magnesium is a great place to begin. Vitamins which have shown to be beneficial include Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Focusing on proper nutrition may be the key to finding relief from migraine headaches. Various types of vitamins, herbs and minerals may help a migraine sufferer to find relief. However, before you begin any type of supplement, it is wise to speak with your doctor before you begin.
- Franklin VanOs