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HeadWay, Issue #077 -- The best Supplements for Migraine (part 1)
March 22, 2010

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In this month's issue:

Top Supplements for Migraine (part 1)

Our Winner!

Facebook and Twitter...

Say what?!  Pulsatile

Top Supplements for Migraine (part 1)

Today we're going to take a quick look at some of the top supplements that are taken for migraine.  Most often these are not taken individually, but as a part of an overall treatment plan.  However, these are some of the best researched supplements that are not only increasingly accepted by the medical community but are also helping more and more migraineurs.

Remember, herbs and supplements of various kinds can still have side effects (sometimes worse than drugs!) and can be dangerous for some people to take.  Always get the facts and check with your doctor - a doctor who knows your medical history - before making major changes to your treatment plan.

Also, as with many drugs, it's wise to try each supplement for 3-4 months.  It takes time for the full migraine fighting power to take over - be patient!

This will be a series - so here is a brief summary of the first two:


I've written about magnesium a lot, so I'm not going to go into great detail here.  However, magnesium is considered one of the most effective treatments for migraine.  Sometimes it's used in emergency room in higher doses to stop an attack.  But today, many migrainuers take doses of 300mg to 800mg daily as a preventative.

Important things to note:  First, do not take magnesium for migraine along with calcium.  If you're taking calcium or a calcium/magnesium blend, take it at a different time.

Second, all magnesium supplements are not created equal.  I've suggested supplements that have a major portion of the "ate" types:  particularly glycinate, but also gluconate, lactate and orotate.  You may want to experiment a little to find what works best for you.

For more, here's an overview of magnesium for migraine, more suggestions on how to take magnesium, and one patient's success story about taking magnesium.


I have to admit, I was sceptical when I first stared hearing about butterbur (also known as petasites hybridus) for migraine.  But it's had staying power - the studies continue to be positive, and more and more specialists are prescribing it.

Butterbur, a perennial flowering plant, has been used for centuries to treat various medical conditions.  Today, it's used to treat conditions such as asthma, chronic cough, and, of course, migraine.

Generally speaking, few people have major side effects taking butterbur.  The most common seems to be burping - something we can live with if there's a significant lessening of migraine attacks!

Common doses are between 50mg to 150mg per day, taken in two doses (morning and evening).  A study in 2006 suggested that there was more improvement at 150mg, though all doses have been shown to help some.

The biggest concern about butterbur is it's possible hepatotoxicity, which can cause liver damage.  However, if you're taking a standardized supplement in which most of the toxic components have been removed, you should have no trouble at these doses (a 2009 study found that the toxicity was not a problem in normal doses).

An excellent brand which has been specifically used in some studies is Petadolex, an excellent reliable version of butterbur you can find here.  Also, read about this study regarding butterbur for children and adolescents.

Our Winner!

Congratulations to Lauren from the USA, who won the US$75 gift certificate for!  She was chosen randomly from the top 20 entries to the 75th HeadWay Giveaway.  Here's what she wrote about HeadWay:
Headway has shown me how to manage my headaches and still have a LIFE!  Thanks!  I have learned so much – from the types of headaches I have, to recognizing how environment and diet can contribute and trigger them.  I used a food diary and headache/lifestyle journal for about four months and found patterns and reoccurring symptoms.  Now I can stay away from the foods that trigger my migraines and can prepare mentally when I'm beginning to menstruate and have hormonal headaches.  Knowledge is POWER !!  Keep it coming!!  My two kids are also glad!  No longer do they see their mom huddled in a ball in a dark room, moaning!
Thanks, Lauren - and thanks to all who entered!  To read more of the top 20, check these two posts:  HeadWay 75th Edition Giveaway – First 10 Finalists! and HeadWay 75th Edition Giveaway – Last 10 Finalists!.

Facebook and Twitter...

Did you know that you can follow Headache and Migraine News both on Twitter and on Facebook?  Not only will you find recent additions to the blog, you can be involved in new conversations.  And, I sometimes post extra articles and resources in those places that you won't see on the blog!

This past week, for example, I discovered a probiotic I've recommended before for sale - 95% off!  I thought it must be a mistake, but I posted the link on Facebook and Twitter.  And, of course, ordered some myself.  Sure enough, the next day the price had increased by about 10x!  However, for those who ordered in time, the ridiculously low price was honoured.

So you never know what you might find if you keep your eyes open!  Become a fan at Facebook here, or check out my Twitter profile here.

Say what?!  Efficacy

You might be able to guess what this month's word means, though you likely don't say it every day.  But reading about medical studies, I see it all the time!  Efficacy simply means the ability to produce the desired effect.  In other words, the efficacy of a certain supplement for migraine is its ability to, perhaps, cut down on your attacks, or lessen your symptoms (depending on what you're hoping it will do!).  I hope that HeadWay has helped you find many treatments and techniques with a lot of efficacy - to fight cluster headache, migraine and headaches of all kinds!

See you next month...

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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