Migraines and Nutrition

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Sarah G 8 years, 11 months ago.

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    Sarah G

    I have never really had migraines before, but lately I have had migraines daily. Everyone seems to think that drinking water is the cure for migraines, but even that hasn’t been helping. Are there any nutritional approaches I can take to preventing or treating migraines?

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 12 months ago by  Sarah G.


    Migraines can be brought on by a many different reasons. Foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, cheese, alcohol, and oral contraceptives have been shown to bring about migraine and headache onset1. Women between the ages of 18 and 49 have been shown to experience the greatest amount of migraines out of any age groups2.
    While consuming appropriate amounts of water has many great benefits to our health, drinking more water has not been shown as an effective treatment for migraines3. So there’s good reason that it hasn’t been working for you! There are other things that may be able to help you get rid of your migraines. Currently prescription drugs such as Sumatriptan(Imitrex) have been found to be the most common and effective ways for treating migraines within the United States. However, diet supplementation with high sources of riboflavin, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10 have shown signs to decrease the frequency of migraines and act as a preventative when they are consumed regularly in the diet4. Diets that include fish oil and olive oil, as well as low-fat diets were shown to decrease the amount of migraine days1. Diets high in creatine resulted in more migranes5.
    It is important to remember that everyone is different, and have different triggers that induce migraines, remember that effective treatment plans will differ from person to person6. Find out what helps you the most and remember what works for someone else may not be the best treatment for you.

    1.Pearfield R, Glover V, Littlewood J, Sandier M, Clifford R. The prevalence of diet induced migraine. Cephlagia 1984;4:179-183
    2.Smitherman T, Burch R, Sheikh H, Loder E. The Prevalence, Impact, and Treatment of Migraine and Severe Headaches in the United States: A Review of Statistics From National Surveillance Studies. Headache: The Journal Of Head & Face Pain. March 2013;53(3):427-436.
    3.Negoianu S, Goldfarb S. Just add water. JASN. June 2008;19(6):1041-1043.
    4.Erbquth F, Himmerich H. Nutrition and Dietary supplementation in neurological diseases. Der Nervenarzt. December 2014;85(12):1501-11.
    5. Lippi G, Mattiuzzi C, Cervellin G. C-reactive protein and migraine. Facts or speculations?. Clinical Chemistry & Laboratory Medicine [serial online]. September 2014;52(9):1265-1272
    6. Cady R. Chronic Migraine in Women. Journal Of Family Practice. February 2014;63:S46-S51.


    Sarah G

    Hi Chelsea,

    Thanks for your response, it has been super helpful! I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and the migraines started early on in my pregnancy. I knew there were drugs I could take, but many are not safe for pregnant women, so I’ve been trying to find other methods for reducing them. You helped me identify possible triggers, like citrus fruit and citrus (which I eat often), and my recent chocolate obsession. I have since been working to reduce consumption of these possible triggers and have had good success reducing the number of migraines I experience. I was very interested in your riboflavin, magnesium, and CoQ10 supplementation suggestion and decided to look into it a bit more. The article I found discussed lifestyle factors (regular meals/balanced diet, regular sleeping patterns, physical activity), relaxation techniques, and accupunture as effective alternatives to medication (1). They suggested that, while the effectiveness of CoQ10, magnesium, and riboflavin supplementation in reducing migraines was low, such supplementation is fairly safe and may be a good option (1). I am considering supplementing with these nutrients or eating more foods containing these nutrients should my migraines become frequent again.


    1. Airola G, Allais G, Castagnoli I. Non-Pharmacological Management of Migraine During Pregnancy. Neurol Sci. 2010; 30(Suppl 1):S63 – S65. doi: 10.1007/s10072-010-0276-7.

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