Among Australians, migraines are pretty common. Seventeen per cent of women and around 6 per cent of males experience migraines – that’s roughly two million of us, says Headache Australia.
The upside: complementary medicine has some solutions.
According to Dr Steven Bratman, author of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: the scientific verdict on what works, studies reviewing the following treatments show interesting results.
A 12-week, double blind study tracked 81 people with recurrent migraines – half were issued with a placebo, and the other half with 600 mg magnesium to take daily. The latter group showed a 41.6 per cent reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks in the last three weeks of the study. The placebo group showed a 15.8 per cent reduction.
“Preliminary studies also suggest that magnesium may be helpful for migraines triggered by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle,” Bratman says.
400 mg of vitamin B2 taken daily was the basis of a 3-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 55 people with migraines, reports Bratman. Of the group given vitamin B2, the majority of participants had a greater than 50 per cent reduction in the number of migraine attacks.
In 2009, a study from Brisbane’s Griffith University examined 52 migraine patients with aura symptoms (vision/speech impairments experienced as part of migraines). Participants were given 400 micrograms of vitamin B12, 25 mg of vitamin B6 and 2 mg folic acid or a placebo.
The supplement-taking group showed a reduction in their migraine disability.
As Bratman says, another small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial tested the effect of 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) given three times daily.
He explains: “In this study, about 50 per cent of the people taking CoQ10 had a significant decrease in migraine frequency, as compared with only 15 per cent in the placebo group.”
References available on request