Worth asking your doctor about: Adjusting your diet
While high-fat diets are trendy right now, the opposite might be best for migraine sufferers. In a 2015 study published in the journal of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, participants followed a low-fat diet (where less than 20 percent of their calories came from fat each day and they limited saturated fat) for 12 weeks. At the end, the low-fat group experienced fewer and less severe episodes compared to those on a typical fat diet. If you find that certain foods trigger migraines for you, ask your doctor if an elimination diet could help, suggests a 2016 study in Headache: The Journal of Headache and Pain.
Works for many: Magnesium, Butterbur, Vitamin B2
Magnesium: Should you want to start supplementing, think about a magnesium supplement. It tends to be the easiest one to find in stores, recommends Susan Rubin, MD, a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Glenview, Illinois. Take 400 mg daily; more can cause diarrhea.
Vitamin B2: Aka riboflavin. There’s some good data on B2’s efficacy against migraines, says Dr. Rubin. Just be sure to watch the dosage on the bottle: Many available in drugstores sell supplements that contain 50 to 100 mg, and taking 4 to 8 may be a challenge. She recommends buying these online (from a reputable company) to find the larger dose.
Butterbur: This is one supplement (which comes from a shrub) that Sait Ashina, MD, a migraine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, says helps some patients. As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health points out, both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society endorses butterbur for migraines. The recommended dose is 75 mg twice a day. But keep in mind there isn’t long-term safety data on this supplement.
Feverfew: Some people like taking feverfew. “There’s not particularly good research on this, and it’s more anecdotal,” says Dr. Rubin. (You’re better off trying B2, magnesium, and butterbur first.)
Melatonin: A 2019 review in Medicine suggests that taking melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle) may help prevent migraine attacks. Check out these 10 other natural headache remedies worth trying.