Stacy recently came in to see me, frustrated, “Lately my migraines have been terrible. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or what. It seems like every few days I’m getting a terrible headache and it’s ruining my summer.A friend told me to take vitamins for my migraines, but that sounds kind of strange to me. Is this really a thing?”
Vitamins to help migraines is really a thing. It turns out that there is actually good scientific data suggesting that certain vitamins, taken in proper and safe doses, can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. So yes, vitamins can help get rid of migraines if you know what to take and how much.
First off, you reduce migraines by making several smart life style choices. This means, getting adequate sleep, hydrating and avoiding certain foods that may be triggers (typical offenders can include red wine, chocolate, smoked or cured meats, soy sauce, or aged cheeses). Know your body and what triggers you may have.
In addition to certain foods that trigger migraines, certain circumstances are also known to bring them on. Typically these include excess heat and sunlight exposure, dehydration and sometimes certain motion related activities (think roller coasters, reading in the car, etc). When it comes to hydration, staying on top of water consumption is key, but also don’t ignore key electrolytes which help our bodies hold onto fluids and are especially useful at keeping your brain cells hydrated. Read more here about the importance of electrolytes in hydration and migraine prevention here.
When it comes to vitamins to help migraines, the most proven and studied examples are vitamin D and magnesium. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase in migraine frequency. Correcting this deficiency is essential to better health and well being. Given that vitamin D deficiency in varying degrees is rampant today, most of us benefit from taking some. How much to take varies based on individual needs. A personalized multivitamin is a great way to get exactly what you need.
Magnesium is an electrolyte and a mineral that is essential for cellular function. It helps cells maintain their hydration and hold the water inside that they desperately need. This is especially important to migraine treatment when it comes to brain cells. If brain cells dehydrate, this can trigger migraines. Thus supplemental magnesium can help prevent migraine. It also may play a role in preventing the arteries in the brain from spasming, which is essentially the cause for migraines. Magnesium, in doses of approximately 300mg daily can be useful for migraine treatment and prevention. It can be taken as a part of a personalized multivitamin.
Other vitamins and suggested to help with migraine prevention include Riboflavin and Butterbur. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 works by unknown mechanisms.The good news is that riboflavin is readily available in many food sources including most breads, cereals and grains, eggs, milk and some green vegetables. Deficiency is rare, though some choose to take supplemental B2.
While Butterbur has been studied and shown to help reduce migraine frequency and severity we advise extreme caution when considering taking it. As with all herbal products, manufacturing and production is often flawed and products can contain contaminates and unknown substances, sometimes very little of the actual desired herbal. With butterbur it is especially important to buy a product free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) as this common ingredient has been known to cause liver damage. Look for a PA free product as well as (with any supplements) look for something that is USP or GMP certified. Read more about supplement safety here.
As you can see, Stacy was provided with a variety of options for vitamins to help with migraines. She started a personalized multivitamin containing doses of Vitamin D3, magnesium and other nutrients that were geared to her diet, lifestyle and migraine symptoms. Several months later she came back for a follow up appointment and was happy to report that her migraines had diminished in frequency in severity. She was thrilled that her lifestyle interventions and taking the right vitamins for migraines had helped her achieve a much better quality of life.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three elementary age boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three active adolescents. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015).
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.