The beneficial effect of Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation as a potential adjunct treatment in episodic migraines

Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 7;12(1):271. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-04397-z.


The current study was performed to evaluate the effects of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) supplementation on lactate, nitric oxide (NO), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) levels, and clinical symptoms in women with episodic migraines. Considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria, ninety-two women with episodic migraines participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-design trial. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either 300 mg/day ALA or placebo, twice per day for 12 weeks. The primary outcomes included headache severity, headache frequency per month, and duration of attacks and the secondary outcomes included lactate (a marker of mitochondrial function), NO, and VCAM-1 serum levels were measured at baseline and the end of the intervention. At the end of the study, there was a significant decrease in lactate serum levels (- 6.45 ± 0.82 mg/dl vs - 2.27 ± 1.17 mg/dl; P = 0.039) and VCAM-1 (- 2.02 ± 0.30 ng/ml vs - 1.21 ± 0.36 ng/ml; P = 0.025) in the ALA as compared to the placebo group. In addition, the severity (P < 0.001), frequency (P = 0.001), headache impact test (HIT-6) (P < 0.001), headache dairy results (HDR) (P = 0.003), and migraine headache index score (MHIS) (P < 0.001) had significantly decreased in the intervention as compared to the control group. No significant changes were observed for NO levels and duration of migraine pains. ALA supplementation can be considered a potential adjunct treatment in patients with migraine due to its improving mitochondrial and endothelial functions and clinical symptoms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Migraine Disorders / blood
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Pain Measurement
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thioctic Acid / adverse effects
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood


  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Lactic Acid
  • Thioctic Acid