Everyone who suffers from migraine headaches wants to know how to prevent their next migraine. Recent strong research has resulted in guidelines for doctors to help prevent their patients’ future migraines, including the use of herbs, vitamins and minerals. The guidelines make recommendations for specific types of patients, such as patients with certain other conditions, obese patients, new migraine patients, and pregnant/lactating women.
This research, conducted by the Canadian Headache Society, reviewed a large body of double-blind studies according to standardized criteria. They also did a general literature review and got expert consensus for aspects of prophylactic (preventative) migraine therapies that did not have randomized clinical trials.
The research revealed strong recommendations for using the following 11 prophylactic substances for migraine headaches, including 7 drugs and 4 natural herbs, vitamins and minerals:
- anti-seizure drugs topiramate and gabapentin
- beta blockers propranolol and nadolol
- heart and blood pressure drugs metoprolol and candesartan
- amitriptyline, an antidepressant
- butterbur, an herb
- riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2
- coenzyme Q10, an enzyme that occurs naturally in the body
- magnesium citrate, a mineral
Butterbur is an herb that has traditionally been used for managing pain, certain stomach and bladder problems, headaches, cough, fever and much more. Any butterbur you purchase should be certified free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can cause liver damage. This herb contains chemicals that may alleviate spasms and reduce inflammation. Research has shown that taking at least 75 mg of a specific extract (15% petasin and isopetasin, made by Petadolex, Weber & Weber, GmbH & Co, Germany) from the butterbur root twice per day reduced the incidence of migraine headaches by half in adults. (Source: Web MD).
Note: At Natural Eye Care, we carry MigraMaxx for the symptoms of migraines. It contains butterbur, magnesium and Vitamin B2, and is designed to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
High doses of riboflavin, or vitamin B2, resulted in a significant reduction in headaches in migraine sufferers in a study on riboflavin and migraines. 400 mg/day cut migraines in half and allowed patients to reduce their use of other medications.
It has been suspected that magnesium deficiency in the brain could be linked to migraines. Canadian guidelines recommended that doctors tell migraine patients to ingest at least 6 mg of magnesium per day for each kg of body weight.
This study is significant because it objectively analyzed a large body of research that included many types of migraine prevention substances.
Source: Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Mar;39(2 Suppl 2):S1-59.