8 Natural Ways to Prevent Migraines
By Jill Brook MA, Patient & Nutrition Consultant to the Dysautonomia Clinic
If you suffer from headaches or migraines (and the word “suffer” may be an understatement!) here is some good news: There are several natural, easy treatments that excelled when put to the test of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Herbs and Spices
A 2014 study with 100 patients found that 1/8th teaspoon ginger powder worked as well
as the migraine drug sumatriptan for controlling migraines, without the bad side-effects.
Ginger tea (store-bought or homemade with grated ginger) would be an easy way to get
yours. You can read more here.
In a 2004 study, butterbur cut the average number of monthly migraines in half for
those who took 25mg twice per day. One particular blend with the brand name
Petadolex was found effective in doses of 100mg/day and even more effective at
150mg/day. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) states taking 50-75mg
butterbur twice a day is effective at preventing migraines. You can read more here
The AAN lists feverfew as “probably effective” in preventing migraines at doses of 50-
300mg twice per day. Dried feverfew appears to be more effective than other forms of
the herb. Canadian health authorities recommend taking 125mg dried feverfew per day
to prevent migraines. You can read more here.
A 2008 study found that taking 15mg saffron powder capsules twice per day reduced PMS headaches, pain, and boosted mood. You can read more here.
5. Lavender aromatherapy
In a 2012 study, smelling lavender essential oil was effective for managing acute migraines in 92 out of 129 patients. You can read more here.
An extra perk of herbs and spices are healthy side-effects. For example, these plants are antiinflammatory; ginger reduces nausea and menstrual cramps; saffron may help prevent
Alzheimer’s and depression; and lavender aromatherapy reduces anxiety. Feverfew prevents cancer and mast cell degranulation, which may be a big perk for those with MCAD.
Vitamins & Minerals
According to the American Academy of Neurology 2012 Guidelines for Prevention of Episodic Migraines, the following vitamins and minerals may help:
The AAN lists this mineral as “probably effective” for preventing migraines, in the
form/dose of 600mg trimagnesium dicitrate taken daily. Great food sources of
magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, fish, beans, avocado, yogurt,
banana, dried fruit and more. The daily value is 400mg, which most people don’t reach,
so supplementation may be required to get enough for preventing migraines. Too much
can cause diarrhea.
2. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
The AAN reports this vitamin is “probably effective” at 400mg per day. This is a very high
dose, as the daily value for riboflavin is only 1.7mg. Great food sources of riboflavin
include beef liver, lamb, eggs, milk, yogurt, spinach, almonds, and salmon, however
supplements will probably be required to get enough riboflavin to prevent migraines.
3. Coenzyme Q10
CoQ10 is technically not a vitamin because our bodies can produce it, however most
people get about 3-5mg per day from eating meat, chicken, fish, veggies and other
foods. The AAN lists CoQ10 as “possibly effective” at doses of 100mg three times per
day. This is more than you can get from food alone, so you’ll need a supplement.
Because CoQ10 is fat soluble, you’ll absorb it better with a meal or snack that contains
You can read more about current AAN guidelines for preventing migraines here.
As always, check with your doctor before taking anything new. But if you try these, I’d love to hear about your experience. These treatments were not tested on dysautonomia patients per se, but we can hope they help us too.
Wishing you good health,