If you suffer from headaches, migraine or otherwise, finding dietary strategies may prove difficult. Take the banana as an example. The banana has a lot of good stuff in it: potassium, magnesium, vitamin B 6 and vitamin C. A lot of these nutrients and minerals appear on this list of headache fighters. However, bananas also find themselves on the list of possible migraine trigger foods. That means, finding a nutritional strategy is really an individual journey, one that should possibly be even undertaken with the aid of a health care professional. With that said, here’s a list of vitamins and minerals that have shown promise for headache prevention and elimination.
- Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)
According to current lines of scientific thought, migraine sufferers are believed to have an impaired ability to metabolize oxygen due to mitochondrial dysfunction. Since riboflavin plays such an important role in metabolism, it could therefore improve mitochondrial functioning and overall oxygen metabolism. The majority of test subjects in a Belgian study saw a significant reduction in migraine attacks after consuming 400 mg of vitamin B-2 daily.
Of all the nutrients on this list, magnesium probably has the best scientific evidence backing it for migraine prevention, migraine reduction and headache relief in general.
- First, people who suffer from migraines are believed to have magnesium deficiencies in their brains.
- Secondly, serotonin deficiency can cause migraines. Guess what nutrient balances serotonin levels? It’s magnesium.
- Thirdly, it’s shown promise as a way to relieve PMS-related headaches.
- Magnesium may also be able to stop small, calcium-related blood clots from forming and causing headaches.
- For general headaches, magnesium may relieve tension and spasms in the head and neck muscles.
A 2002 study found that migraine sufferers who took CoQ10 for periods of three months or more reduced their frequency of attacks by half.
Sources (1-3): Migraine Trust, The Magnesium Miracle
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In a small study published in Pain, researchers found that balanced omega fatty acids reduced headache pain and frequency and improved quality of life. A 2002 study on adolescents found that omega 3’s may be beneficial for recurring migraines.
5. Folate, B6, and B12
A study released in early 2015 linked a diet high in the B vitamins folate (B-9), B-6 and B-12 to a reduction in migraine frequencies.
Some headaches are associated with a stomach bug known as helicobacter pylori. Eliminating that stomach bug with antibiotics cleared up the headaches. However, if those people followed up the antibiotics with probiotics, they only had a 20% chance of relapse. Those who took the antibiotics alone were 50% likely to relapse. Source: CBS News
Counter-intuitively, irritable bowel syndrome can cause headaches. Probiotics may relieve IBS and would then reduce headaches in that way.
7. Vitamin B-3, Calcium and Vitamin D
Vitamin B-3, calcium and vitamin D have all shown promise as a way to reduce premenstrual headaches.