Posts Tagged ‘Migraine Headaches’

Nutrients That Target Migraine

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Magnesium. Maintaining a healthy balance between magnesium and calcium is central to Life Extension’s approach to migraine. Studies have shown that up to 50 percent of migraine patients suffer from magnesium deficiencies during an acute attack (Mauskop A et al 1998). Magnesium infusions have led to fast and continuous relief of migraine symptoms, possibly by reducing the brain’s hyperexcitability (Mauskop A et al 1995; Mauskop A et al 1998). Several double- blind trials showed that oral magnesium supplementation may either reduce the frequency of migraine attacks (Mauskop A et al 1998) or decrease the number of headache days (Wang F et al 2003). These results may be due to magnesium’s ability to rebalance the calcium/magnesium ratio in the brain, thus offsetting the excitability caused by excess calcium in the intracellular space.

Butterbur root. Several studies found butterbur root ( Petasites hybridus) is an effective prophylactic agent for migraine (Diener HC et al 2004; Grossman W et al 2001; Lipton RB et al 2004). In one placebo-controlled study, 33 patients were given 25 mg of butterbur root twice a day, and 27 patients were given placebo. After three months, the patients taking butterbur experienced a reduction of 3.4 attacks per month to 1.8.

While the mechanism by which butterbur exerts its effect in migraine prophylaxis is unknown, it may work through its anti-inflammatory effects and its blockade of calcium channels in vascular smooth muscles (Scheidegger C et al 1998; Thomet OA et al 2001; Brune K et al 1993; Thomet OA et al 2001; Ko WC et al 2001; Wang GJ et al 2001).

A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated butterbur root extract (in doses of 50 mg or 75 mg twice daily) compared with placebo. After 16 weeks of treatment, 68 percent of patients on 75 mg twice daily had a 50 percent or greater reduction in migraine attack frequency, which was significantly better than those using placebo in this study (Lipton RB et al 2004).

Feverfew. Feverfew ( Tanacetum parthenium) preparations have been studied for migraine prophylaxis in several trials (de Weerdt GJ et al 1996; Johnson ES et al 1985; Murphy JJ et al 1988; Palevitch D et al 1997; Pfaffenrath V et al 2002; Pittler MH et al 2004).

An active component of fevervew, chrysanthenyl acetate, is thought to have pain-relieving properties and to inhibit prostaglandin synthetase (Pittler MH et al 2004; Pugh WJ et al 1988). Melatonin is also present in feverfew and may contribute to overall effectiveness of this herb (Murch SJ et al 1997). Feverfew is also thought to have anti-inflammatory effects (Williams CA et al 1995) and seems to inhibit pain transmission and inflammation (Jain NK et al 1999).

Some trials have shown that use of feverfew results in decreased frequency of migraine headaches and diminishes symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and pain, as well as light and sound sensitivity (Johnson ES et al 1985; Murphy JJ et al 1988; Palevitch D et al 1997; Pfaffenrath V et al 2002).

One of these trials aimed to test a dose-response of a new formulation of feverfew for migraine prophylaxis. A total of 147 patients participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which compared the efficacy and safety of three different doses of the new formulation and placebo. For the first 4 weeks, no treatment was given, and the participants’ number of migraine attacks was measured. The active treatment or placebo was then given for 12 weeks. While overall, feverfew was not statistically more effective than placebo, the highest dose of feverfew extract administered significantly decreased the frequency of migraine episodes in patients who had at least four attacks during the initial 4-week phase (Pfaffenrath V et al 2002).

Riboflavin. Riboflavin (vitamin B 2) has been used as a prophylactic measure for migraine. An open-label, pilot study of 49 participants (45 with common migraine and 4 with classic migraine) was conducted in Liege, Belgium. Participants were given 400 mg of riboflavin as a single oral dose daily for at least three months. Treatment resulted in mean global improvement of 68.2 percent. It was concluded that high-dose riboflavin may have a role in migraine prophylaxis due to its efficacy, short-term lack of side effects, and relatively low cost (Schoenen J et al 1994).

A follow-up trial studied 55 migraine patients (Schoenen J et al 1998). Riboflavin at 400 mg daily or placebo was given for three months. Statistically significant reductions in frequency of migraine episodes and headache days were observed with riboflavin compared with placebo. The authors concluded that riboflavin was an efficacious, safe, and cost-effective option for migraine prophylaxis (Schoenen J et al 1998).

Another recently conducted, open-label study in Germany found that administration of 400 mg riboflavin daily significantly reduced frequency of migraine headaches and the use of abortive medications after three months and after six months of treatment (Boehnke C et al 2004). The authors concluded that their findings were similar to those of other investigators and that riboflavin was a well-tolerated and effective prophylactic agent for migraine.

Further studies performed in Liege, Belgium, reported that the combination of beta-blockers and riboflavin may augment their clinical efficacy without enhancing adverse events (Sandor PS et al 2000).

Coenzyme Q10. Several studies have demonstrated effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches (Rozen TD et al 2002; Sandor PS et al 2005). A clinical trial of 31 patients reported a significant reduction in the average number of days with migraine after three months of treatment. Migraine frequency also fell significantly, from 4.85 attacks to 2.81. The administered dose was 150 mg daily.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 42 patients compared coenzyme Q10 at 100 mg three times a day with placebo. Participants were randomized to either placebo or coenzyme Q10 for three months. Coenzyme Q10 significantly decreased migraine attack frequency (≥50 percent reduction) in 47.6 percent of patients, compared with 14.4 percent of patients on placebo. In addition, coenzyme Q10 seemed to decrease headache days and days with nausea better than placebo (Sandor PS et al 2005).

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe). Only one small, open clinical trial (Gatto G et al 1986) of SAMe has been conducted to date. It found that long-term administration of SAMe could result in pain relief in migraine sufferers. The authors speculated that this relief may be due to SAMe’s effect on turnover of serotonin, a target in conventional drug therapy.

Migra-Eeze™ Standardized Butterbur-Ginger-Riboflavin Formula

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In Germany, doctors are recommending a natural extract from the herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus) to those who suffer from regular episodes of head cavity discomfort.19,20

Butterbur’s principal active constituent, petasin, reduces smooth muscle spasms and helps relax the constriction of cerebral blood vessels. Butterbur’s ability to relax constricted arteries and smooth muscle may help control head cavity discomfort.

Migra-Eeze™ contains butterbur root extract standardized to provide 22.5 mg of petasins with each daily dose of two softgels. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and ginger are included based on the ability of these nutrients to exert functional changes that may also guard against head cavity discomfort.

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