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How to Head Off a Migraine with a Supplement

A dietary supplement containing four natural products can be effective for alleviating or preventing a migraine headache.

Migraine headaches can have a dreadful impact on a person’s quality of life. In addition to the pain, which can be debilitating if not excruciating, these episodes often bring on nausea, vomiting and intolerance of light and sound. The sufferer may feel like retreating to a dark cave for days until the headache goes away. Those who suffer frequent migraines welcome effective treatments, whether they are pharmaceuticals or natural products. Can you prevent a migraine with a supplement?

Preventing a Migraine with a Supplement:

Q. I had debilitating migraines from about age 12 until my mid-fifties. An herbal remedy containing feverfew and butterbur worked, but the company went out of business. I could not find a similar product. Thoughts?

A. There are some products containing both feverfew and butterbur. Research supports both herbal ingredients for migraine prevention (Current Pain and Headache Reports, Feb. 21, 2019).  Anyone who takes butterbur should verify that the product is free from potentially toxic compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Migravent for Migraines:

Q. I am a 56-year-old woman and have been plagued with migraine headaches most of my life. A few months ago they were waking me up five times a week so I saw a neurologist.

She suggested I try a vitamin supplement called Migravent, a combination of vitamin B2 and magnesium, before doing anything more aggressive. That gave me instant relief!

In the last three months I’ve had a half dozen headaches. They are not as severe as the ones I used to get. I wish I’d tried this supplement years ago!

What Is Migravent?

A. Migravent contains four ingredients that have been found helpful against migraine headaches: butterbur (Petasites hybridus), riboflavin (vitamin B2), Coenzyme Q10 and magnesium. Individually, each has been shown to help prevent migraines.

Although doctors are sometimes skeptical of natural remedies, a review found evidence that magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, petasites and feverfew can ease the pain of a migraine headache or prevent its occurrence (Current Treatment Options in Neurology, April, 2016). The Canadian Headache Society considers butterbur, magnesium citrate, Coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin to be reasonable choices for migraine prevention (Continuum, Aug., 2015). We do not know if the combination product has undergone clinical trials.

Learn More:

You can learn more about herbs and other nondrug approaches for prevention such as acupuncture and biofeedback in our Guide to Headaches & Migraines. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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Citations
  • Wells RE et l, "Complementary and Integrative Medicine for Episodic Migraine: an Update of Evidence from the Last 3 Years." Current Pain and Headache Reports, Feb. 21, 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s11916-019-0750-8
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