Migraine Support Update

What is migraine?

Unlike a common tension headache, where blood vessels contract, in migraine, doctors believe blood vessels dilate, often causing visual aura effects in addition to throbbing pain.

Symptoms can last for hours and up to days, and may include extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. Those who experience 14 or fewer episodes per month have “episodic” migraine, while those with 15 or more have “chronic” migraine.

Multi-strain probiotics

In this study, 79 people with fewer than 10, and up to more than 15, migraines per month, took a placebo or a multi-strain probiotic capsule with at least 2-billion live probiotics, twice per day.

After eight weeks, for those with the most-frequent migraines, the probiotics group reported nearly 10 fewer migraines per month compared to less than one fewer for placebo. The probiotics group also reported less severe symptoms, shorter duration, and less need for medication.

In those with lower-frequency migraines, after 10 weeks, while the placebo group had not significantly improved, the probiotics group reported 2.6 fewer migraines per month, with less severe symptoms and less need for medication.

Reference: Cephalalgia; 2019, January 8, Published Online

Ginger extract

This study took place in a hospital emergency room, where 60 people with lower-frequency migraines were admitted for intravenous treatment with the NSAID ketoprofen, plus either a placebo or 400 mg of ginger extract.

Participants kept track of their symptoms from the time they arrived at the ER, and each half-hour after treatment, through two hours. Beginning at one hour after treatment and continuing through two hours, compared to placebo, those taking ginger reported significantly lower levels of migraine pain, fewer visual symptoms, were better able to function physically and mentally, and said they were happier with their treatment.

Reference: Cephalalgia; 2019, Vol. 39, No. 1, 68-76

Pycnogenol

Decreased frequency and pain better than standard management or drug treatment

In this study, 67 people with migraine took one of three treatment paths: standard management of oral magnesium, riboflavin, and lipoic acid; standard management plus 150 mg of Pycnogenol® per day, or the prescription medication topiramate alone.

After eight weeks, participants ranked and reported migraine symptoms. Overall migraine frequency decreased 61 percent for those taking Pycnogenol, compared to 33 percent for topiramate, and 8 percent for standard management. For pain, 39 percent in the Pycnogenol group reported improvement, and less need for pain rescue medication vs. 37 percent for topiramate, and 25 percent for standard management. Ability to perform daily activities also improved most for Pycnogenol compared to the other two groups. Some in the topiramate drug group experienced adverse effects including skin tingling, itching, chilling, and burning; fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, even at low doses, which required additional forms of treatment. The Pycnogenol group reported no side effects.

Reference: Pan Minerva Medica; 2020, Vol. 62, No. 2, 102-8

CoQ10 reduced chronic migraine, inflammation

Circulatory or nerve?

Doctors don’t know if migraine develops from problems in blood vessels, brain nerve cells, or both, but all agree the condition is inflammatory. Unlike regular occasional headache, when blood vessels constrict to cause pain, in chronic migraine, blood vessels dilate too much.

In this study, 45 non-menopausal women, aged 18 to 50 with episodic migraine took a placebo or 400 mg of CoQ10 per day while using standard migraine medication as needed. After three months, compared to placebo, those taking CoQ10 reported significantly fewer migraines, with less severe pain and other symptoms, and resolving more quickly.

In those taking CoQ10, doctors also observed a decrease in two inflammatory factors—calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP—which dilates peripheral and cerebral blood vessels and likely plays a key role in developing migraine; and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), which can stimulate CGRP. Doctors said CoQ10 has anti-inflammatory properties that may provide the migraine benefit.

Reference: Nutritional Neuroscience; January, 2018, No. 1421039, Published Online

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, or take prescription or over-the-counter medication. For example, pycnogenol, CoQ10, ginger and some probiotic supplements also thin blood.

Article copyright 2021 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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