Migraine headaches are a common problem that can cause mild to severe pain. In addition to the significant headache pain, classic migraines typically come with other unpleasant symptoms such as light sensitivity, nausea, sound sensitivity and vertigo. The average migraine sufferer may manage their episodes with over the counter pain relievers, prescription drugs or sometimes just a large cup of coffee. More serious cases often require daily medication although the effectiveness can be unpredictable. The most common drugs for migraine prevention are anti-depressants, cardiac drugs and even anti-seizure medications. Due to their unpredictable benefits and significant side effect profile many people are looking for safer, more effective options. These 4 tips will go a long way to reducing migraine frequency and severity without drugs.
#1- Avoid Food Sensitivities: Most people know that certain foods can be a trigger for migraines. Wine, chocolate and alcohol are all common offenders but many times other foods are contributing to migraines and most people have no idea. Food sensitives to gluten, dairy, corn, egg and soy can be major triggers for migraine headaches. Gluten sensitivity is probably the most common undiagnosed food reaction that can contribute to migraines. Some of the most difficult migraine cases I have ever worked with had significant improvement once gluten was completely removed from the diet. Gluten sensitivity commonly goes undiagnosed because there are not many easily accessible tests that measure a person’s reactivity. Traditional tests for gluten allergy are limited to testing for celiac disease, which is a severe condition affecting only a small portion of the population. Far more people have gluten sensitivity (not Celiac), but with a lack of easily accessible blood tests, it is greatly underdiagnosed. Eliminating gluten or dairy or eggs completely from the diet is no small task so I recommend that people get adequate testing first. Cyrex labs in Arizona offers the most cutting edge evaluations for gluten sensitivity and other common food sensitivities. I have seen this one issue alone change the life of many migraine suffers.
#2- CoQ10– This nutrient is produced by our body and necessary for the production of energy within our cells. Some migraine theories suggest that the process that leads to a migraine occurs as a result of decreased energy stores in the brain and cerebral blood vessels. CoQ10 has long been touted as a nutrient specific for the brain and the heart because of the extreme energy demands of these organs. Clinical trials using CoQ10 for migraine headaches have shown positive outcomes. In fact, the research is strong enough that many open minded neurologists recommend this supplement to their patients. Based on clinical trials, the recommended dose of CoQ10 for migraine prevention is 100mg 3x daily. CoQ10 has an excellent safety record with no know side effects. CoQ10 has been found to be most effective for migraines after 3 months of continued supplementation so be patient.
#3-Riboflavin-Viatmin B2- This water soluble B-vitamin has gained much attention in the migraine world after a 1994 Danish study showed that it reduced migraine frequency by 50% in chronic migraine suffers with very little side effects. It works under a similar pretense to CoQ10 by improving energy production. It does this by supporting the part of the cell that makes energy, the mitochondria. Riboflavin has virtually no known toxicity at the doses required for migraine prevention partly due to its water soluble nature. The recommended dose is 400mg 1x daily.
#4- Butterbur– This is thought to be the most effective herbal remedy for the prevention of migraines. Numerous clinical trials have shown its effectiveness in reducing migraine frequency when comparted to a placebo. The active ingredients in butterbur are thought to reduce spasms in the body which is relevant to migraines because they are caused by a spasm of the blood vessels in the brain. In addition, the components of butterbur are also highly anti-inflammatory which is thought to contribute to its success as a migraine buster. Unlike CoQ10 and Riboflavin, butterbur can be toxic. The raw plant contains a chemical called pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can be toxic to the liver. This makes it very important to look for a product that guarantees the butterbur extract is PA free. Most of the clinical trials use a dose of 50mg-75mg 2x daily of a standardized butterbur extract.
With these 4 tips, many people have been able to dramatically reduce or entirely eliminate their migraines without the use of prescription drugs or over the counter medications. Take control of your migraines today!