The role of nutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine headaches: Review

Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Jun:102:317-325. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.03.059. Epub 2018 Mar 22.


Objective: Migraine as a disabling neurovascular disease affects 6% of men and 18% of women worldwide. The deficiency of many nutrients including magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, cobalamin, coenzymes Q10, carnitine, α-lipoic acid and vitamin D is associated with migraine. Some researchers postulate that mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired antioxidant status can cause migraine. Also increase in homocysteine level can lead to migraine attacks; therefore, some Nutraceuticals play a vital role in migraine prevention. Thus, the aim of the current study was to review randomized controlled trials (RCT) assessing the effect of nutritional supplements on migraine patients.

Methods: English articles in the following databases were searched: MEDLINE, AMED, EMBASE and Cochrane Library. In this manuscript, RCTs published during 1990-2017 were reviewed.

Results: Evidences indicate that supplementation with magnesium, carnitine, riboflavin, niacin, CoQ10, vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and alpha lipoic acid have prophylactic and therapeutic effects on migraine patients.

Conclusion: Due to the possible side effects of pharmacological drugs and drug addictions, the use of nutrient compounds alone or in combination with routine cures have been proposed. However, further constructive studies are required.

Keywords: Headache; Keyword; Migraine; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Nutrients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Food* / standards
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*