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Supplements for Migraine Prevention

I wish, more than anyone, that we had a cheap, natural supplement that would prevent most headaches from coming. However, no such thing exists at this time.  There are a few supplements that have shown some modest improvement in headache frequency and are worth trying.

When the first studies came out about 15 years ago, looking at butterbur (petasites hybridus), riboflavin, magnesium and coenzyme Q 10, I actually contacted a major supplement company in Utah with the suggestion that they make one capsule that contained all of these as a migraine preventative.  I think they only listened to me because I was at Mayo Clinic at the time. But when I explained the concept, they wanted nothing to do with it.  I clearly remember the CEO saying that “No one would take a supplement daily to prevent headaches.”  Actually, about 10% of the population has headaches frequent enough to take something daily to prevent them.

Over time a couple of combination supplements came to the market.  The first was Migrelief™, which contains feverfew, magnesium and riboflavin.  The next one that came to the market was Dolovent™, which contains magnesium, riboflavin and Coenzyme Q 10.

The latest combination supplement is Migravent™, which contains butterbur (petasites hybridus), magnesium, riboflavin and Coenzyme Q 10.

When you look at the studies for these aforementioned supplements I will say, in summary, the evidence supporting their effectiveness (based on the quality of the study and the actual outcome) I would rank the supplements in the following order;

1. Butterbur (petasites hybridus)

2. Magnesium

3. Riboflavin

4. Coenzyme

5. Feverfew

The cost of the combination supplements mentioned at the top of this article the following;

Migravent™  $38.95/month

Migrelief™ $19.95 / month

Dolovent™ $54.95/ month

So, my recommendation is to try Migravent™, two to three per day, as a reasonable migraine preventative supplement that has the best chance of working.  I have no financial incentive for endorsing a product but simply I want to do everything we can to help people to get well.

I will close with with a couple of caveats.  First of all, the claims by all the supplements are exaggerated.  I have seen very few patients who can find satisfactory treatment with supplements alone.  Many people suffer, needlessly, for years while trying nothing but supplements.  Yet, as I said, they are worth trying. The other point, is that the long explanations given on the web pages of how the supplements are just blowing smoke. Most of what they say are based on mythology from the 70s, long proven wrong.  For example “stabilizing blood vessels.”  Dilated blood vessels don’t cause migraines.  The smartest headache researchers in the world have no clue how these supplements work.