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Migraine Headache Treatment: Do Supplements Work?

There seems to be a debate these days about migraine headache treatment: natural or not?

Many of those with chronic headaches believe that the only way to treat them is with constant every increasing doses of medication. Conversely, many will not touch medications and prefer to use only herbs and vitamins.

What to do?

Simple. My experience has been that most people respond favorably to a combination of prescriptions and holistic methods.

  • Magnesium

One of the best supplements for migraine headache treatment is magnesium. Most migraineurs have low levels of magnesium in their brains and this adversely affects their headaches. The generally accepted dose per day is 400mg, however, some recent studies have indicated that 600-800mg might be even better.

I have one patient who increased the dose to 1000mg and got rid of her headaches entirely. Be careful though, if you have a cardiac condition, do not take this much without consulting your doctor.

One of the side effects is mild diarrhea, but this usually resolves with a lower dose. The complete migraine magnesium story.

  • Feverfew

This herb is well known for its' gentle anti-inflammitory properties. There is a certain amount of inflammation that occurs in migraines, particularly in the blood vessels.

Taken every day, feverfew can help prevent migraine headache symptoms. Generally speaking, like magnesium, I have seen that the younger the person, the better they respond to this supplement.

You should not take this if you are already on medication to thin the blood, such as aspirin, Plavix, Aggrenox or Coumadin.

More information about herbs for migraine headache treatment.

  • Vitamin B2

Vitamin B-2 is recommended in migraine and other headache sufferers for its' ability to balance mood. Most chronic pain victims have some degree of depression and/or anxiety, so this may be beneficial if symptoms are mild and do not require medications.

The majority of professionals recommend 400 mg per day.

  • Co-Enzyme Q

Some studies in the last few years have indicated that the supplement Co-enzyme Q may help reduce frequency of headaches. The doses were 200-300 mg per day, however the results of the studies have not been consistent.

At the present time, I have advised people to try the supplement. After all it can't hurt and may have a benefit. It is a little pricey at $20-40 per month on top of all the others! More information about migraine and coenzymeQ.

  • Butterbur

Another herb receiving attention in recent years is Butterbur. The extract of the herb at 75mg twice a day was shown to reduce migraines by up to 50% in one study from 2004. Lower doses were not effective.

Although I do not recommend this herb at the present time, due to the lack of studies performed in the U.S, none the less, if someone wants to try it and it proves to help... The use of "natural" herbs and supplements for treatment of headaches can be one of personal preference. I do recommend the first three items discussed and they can now be found with all items in one capsule.

  • 5HT

Despite recent claims for 5HT and migraine, there has been no proof to date that this indeed helps headaches. The same can be said for ginko biloba, cayenne, or passionflower.

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