Most people fall prey to headaches due to the fast-paced, high-stress lifestyle we live. The majority of headaches are caused by stress, lack sleep, or hangovers. A good power nap and/or a few Aspirin can help. Sometimes, however, they may be due to more serious health problems. Migraines, a more severe type of headache, can be more difficult to handle and harder to overcome.
Although researchers have not been able pinpoint the exact cause of migraines, they do know the physiological changes that occur during a migraine attack. The brain releases chemicals that cause inflammation and swelling. Unfortunately, many migraine meds can cause nausea, stomach ulcers, stroke, heart attack, and other side effects.
Up to two-thirds also report that they don’t provide satisfactory results. Here are some supplements that you can add to your diet to help prevent or reduce migraine attacks. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is an effective preventive treatment for migraines.
It can be found in certain foods and supplements. It protects cells from oxidative stress and plays a role in energy production. Although it has been reported that it can significantly reduce the frequency of migraine headaches (400 mg per daily), it doesn’t appear to reduce the severity or duration of migraines once they occur.
The best food sources are liver, lean beef and lamb, venison as well as whole grains, yogurt, low fat milk, eggs, almonds and crimini mushrooms. Keep food out of direct sunlight as it can destroy riboflavin. Our bodies make 5-hydroxytryptophan from the amino acid tryptophan. Harvard Medical School and Natural Standard have found that 5-HTP may be especially effective in reducing migraine headache frequency and severity. 5-HTP increases the body’s production of serotonin. This neurotransmitter is involved in blood vessel regulation.
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to migraines. 5-HTP supplementation seems to correct the imbalance. The best food sources are: Although 5-HTP cannot be directly obtained from food sources (but amino acid tryptophan is used by the body to make 5-HTP), the following foods are good sources of 5-HTP: Turkey, chicken and potatoes. Our bodies cannot make magnesium so we must rely on dietary or supplement sources. Numerous studies have shown that migraines can be linked to magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium relaxes nerves and muscles, and transmits nerve impulses throughout your body and brain. Magnesium also helps to prevent nerves becoming too excited. This mineral helps to prevent and reduce migraines.
The best food sources are pumpkin seeds, spinach and wild Alaskan salmon.
An antioxidant nutrient, is especially important for blood vessel health. CoQ10 is made by our bodies, but we can also obtain it from dietary or supplement sources. CoQ10 improves blood flow to the brain, increases circulation, and protects cells against oxidative damage. It stabilizes blood sugar, which is a major trigger of migraine sufferers. The best food sources: Although CoQ10 is not well documented, it can be found in fish, organ meats (especially kidney, liver, and heart), as well as whole grains.
Omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory substances, are found in many foods, including fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect brain cells and decrease inflammation. This may help reduce migraine pain. Omega-3s may also be beneficial in reducing migraine headaches, both in frequency and duration. The best food sources are wild Alaskan salmon, tuna and herring (not pickled), mackerel. Omega-3 fats can be damaged by heat, light, oxygen and other factors. It is important to properly store food and avoid overheating, especially when frying.
It is a bushy, aromatic herb plant that is related to daisies, is widely used by herbalists as well as practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), for the prevention of migraines and other types headaches. Feverfew reduces the pain and inflammation that can be associated with migraines, particularly in the blood vessels. It has very few side effects. It can be used to relieve nausea and vomiting in migraine sufferers. Warning: Before taking feverfew (or any other herbal remedy), consult your doctor. Don’t take it if pregnant or planning on getting pregnant.