Dealing with Migraine can be downright frustrating. Many of the prescribed treatments come with their own list of side effects as well as high price tags. Finding natural ways to reduce the frequency of Migraine attacks, used in conjunction with standard therapies, can help improve a patient’s quality of life. While these changes can’t abort an active Migraine attack, they can be a great addition to an overall treatment plan. Check out these four tips for reducing your Migraine attacks with some minor tweaks.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The body is composed of up to 60 percent water, and that water is needed by the brain to perform tasks like manufacturing neurotransmitters and hormones as well as acting as a shock absorber for the brain. Being under-hydrated is one of the most common triggers for Migraine attacks and may very well be the easiest to remedy. A good rule of thumb for drinking water is to divide your weight in half and drink that number in ounces of water every day. Not a fan of water? Try adding fruit infusions or flavors to your water, and add some of these hydrating foods to up your overall intake.
Supplements that may help
When we started our Migraine journey, I had no idea that there were supplements that could help my daughter limit the number of attacks she had. Riboflavin or B2 has been used for Migraine prophylaxis due to its good success rates, high tolerability, and low cost compared with prescription medications. It is theorized that the riboflavin corrects a defect in mitochondrial energy metabolism, reducing the number of Migraine attacks, and a daily dose of 400mg of riboflavin is recommended by our neurologist. Concerned about taking too much of this vitamin? Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, so any access is excreted in the urine.
Another supplement commonly recommended for those with Migraine is magnesium. While some research has shown an up to 40 percent decrease in Migraine attacks for patients taking magnesium, the best result is seen in those patients with Migraine with aura. A dose of 400-500 mg seems to be enough to produce a therapeutic effect. If you find that you experience gastrointestinal side effects from the magnesium, you can try splitting it into two doses to be taken in the morning and evening, or try switching to magnesium oxide. Magnesium does have the potential to interact with other medications, so be sure that your physician knows everything you are taking so he or she can determine if the risk is worth the benefit.
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 in doses of 100-150 mg per day has shown some promise in preventing Migraine attacks. In one trial, over 60 percent of the patients found a 50 percent reduction in attacks. CoQ10 is generally well tolerated, but it can interact with some medications such as blood thinners and blood pressure medication, and it may affect blood sugar levels. As with any supplement, be sure your physician knows what you are taking and the other medications you are on.
Avoiding food triggers
Not everyone with Migraine finds that there are foods that trigger attacks, but for some, there is definitely a connection. A headache and food journal can help patients to identify food triggers. Some common food triggers include aged cheeses, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, and MSG (monosodium glutimate) and other additives, Check out HealthCentral’s Teri Robert’s more complete list as well as the Migraine Triggers Workbook to determine your specific triggers.
Get your eyes checked
Ok, so having bad vision doesn’t mean that you will have Migraine, but if you already have Migraine, the added eye strain can trigger more attacks. It can be beneficial to have your eyes checked at least once per year if you show signs of eye strain. If you are frequently on the computer for work, we have found the new blue lenses helpful in limiting that type of eye strain as well.
We have incorporated these tips into our daughter’s treatment plan with pretty good success. Hopefully these tips will help you to better manage your Migraine attacks as well.
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Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.