8 Safe and effective alternatives to migraine medication.
If you are taking drugs to manage your migraines but would prefer a more natural approach, these supplements may provide an answer.
According to Medline Plus (the US National Library of Medicine's Website) about 12% of Americans get migraines. It goes on to state that there is no cure for migraines, and current treatments focus on relieving symptoms and preventing additional attacks.
Unfortunately, preventing migraines is not always easy. There is no "one size fits all" approach or single pill solution. In addition, what may work for one person may not work for someone else.
I have found using a combination of proper diet, lifestyle changes, stress management, supplementation, and natural therapies together yields the best results for my patients. If you have been struggling with migraines, fine tuning each of these strategies and developing an approach that meets your specific needs may be the way to a better life.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to provide an overview of the supplements for the prevention of migraines and some possible strategies for their use. For additional information on supplements that can help reduce inflammation, please read The 7 Best Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements.
As of recent, most research has sought to investigate how one supplement (on its own) would affect migraines. Many of these studies have shown promise, but none of them are perfect. In fact, when measured against the standards of “acceptable” scientific results, the quality of these studies are not rated very high and the results are mixed. Yet, this has been the common approach used by most doctors and patients.
For many people who suffer with migraines, only taking one supplement and not using a holistic approach usually ends with poor results and frustration. It is very common for me to talk with someone who suffers with migraines and hear “I tried (insert supplement) and it doesn’t work.” Unfortunately, the individual might have had better results, if they had used a similar supplement in a different way (as well as a holistic approach to their care).
New research is now showing that combining certain supplements together at specific dosages may provide better results. In addition, many of these supplements come in different forms (slightly different chemical structures), different levels of bioavailability (how the body is able to absorb and use the substance), and different levels of quality and dosage. I know, just thinking about it can cause a migraine, but these factors will all determine how effective your approach will be.
Natural Supplements for Migraines
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oils)
Beyond the above listed nutrients, deficiencies in vitamin D, niacin (vitamin B3), cobalamin (vitamin B12), and carnitine, have also been linked to migraine.
Another consideration for supplementation is for gut health. We know that there is link between the health of the gastro-intestinal system and the brain. In addition, there appears to be a correlation between people who have issues with their gut and the prevalence of migraine with those individuals. As such, improving gut health and supplementing with probiotics may provide some benefit.
For the best chance at preventing migraines, your approach to supplements should be planned. Randomly selecting a supplement and then using it inappropriately will most likely end in failure.
Supplement Strategies to Prevent Migraines
Use a good quality product from a reputable company
Take the appropriate form and dosage for your needs
Use supplements that work together
Have a treatment plan (how much you take & for how long) and stick with it
Fill any nutrient deficiencies
Heal the gut (if necessary)
To this day, science is still seeking to fully understand the causes and cure for migraines. Much of the difficulty in our current approaches reside in the fact that each person’s genetics and level of health are different. As such, deciding on which supplements (and combination of supplements) work best for you is going to involve some trial and error. It is important to develop a plan with how you are going to approach your supplementation. Success does not usually come overnight. Being consistent with taking your supplements, and persistent with following your total holistic approach will give you the best chance at a life without migraines.
If you are unsure about how to supplement appropriately, working with a healthcare provider who has extensive knowledge on supplementation may help guide you on your road to better health.
In future articles, I will provide more information about supplementation as well as other strategies in preventing migraines. To have these articles appear in your Facebook feed, please like the Springfield Chiropractic Center’s Facebook page.