Migraine headaches are crippling once onset has begun. Patients are sensitive to light, noise, fragrances, foods and often are bed ridden until the episode is over. Migraines are a very debilitating condition. Often a physician may prescribe antidepressants or beta blockers for medications. The history of the medications has a mixed background for efficacy. Generally if the medications merely induces sleep it is not recognized as a “deterrent” but as symptomatic treatment.
There are some nutritional supplements that may help to prevent the occurrences, or reduce the frequency of the migraine attacks. There is not a lot of research on efficacy for migraine supplements. Migraine foods and supplements are intended as a preventive to occurrence, not as a treatment once the migraine has begun.
Historically there is also a presumption of muscle tightness in the neck area that restricts blood flow from the brain thus causing additional cranial pressure leading to migraine episodes. Muscle relaxing dietary customs such as a relaxing cup of tea, glass of wine while sitting, help relax and unwind the neck muscles. For some migraine headache patients biofeedback muscle relaxing training helps. The therapist works with the patient to redirect blood flow to the extremities such as the hand, which teaches patients to release the cerebral pressure on the brain.
Below is a list of supplements and foods, containing those supplements, which may be beneficial for preventing migraines with some patients.
1. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)- may reduce the frequency of occurrences.
2. Magnesium – this also has been shown to reduce frequency and supplements can be taken but be careful of what is called “magnesium toxicity”.
Cold water fish such as halibut
Cereals – grain
3. Melatonin – a hormone produced by the body but the production declines as one ages. This is a supplement that must be taken and is not available as a nutrient.
4. Omega 3 & 6 – oil found in fish, more abundant in cold water fish.
Fish high in Omega 3 & 6:
Approx 6-8 oz. serving
- Salmon (Atlantic, Chinook, Coho): 1,200-2,400 mg.
- Anchovies: 2,300-2,400 mg.
- Bluefin tuna: 1,700 mg; yellowfin tuna: 150-350; canned: 150-300 mg.
- Sardines: 1,100-1,600 mg.
- Trout: 1,000-1,100 mg.
- Crab: 200-550 mg.
- Cod: 200 mg.
- Scallops: 200 mg.
- Lobsters: 200 mg.
- Tilapia: 150 mg.
- Shrimp: 100 mg.
For more information on migraine myths and facts go here.