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Fewer Migraines With Melatonin Supplementation
  • Article

Fewer Migraines With Melatonin Supplementation

Doctors prescribe amitriptyline for migraine, but the drug has side effects, prompting doctors to seek alternatives. 

Many "alternative" measures have already been recognized, and these include magnesium supplementation, the herbs feverfew and butterbur, CoQ10, 5HTP, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and others. 

Another "alternative" treatment that has shown promise is melatonin supplementation. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is used for the improvement of sleep patterns. Several small studies have examined the possible role of melatonin for headache prevention, for migraine, cluster, and tension-type headache. The limited research so far suggests possible benefits, and additional, well-designed controlled studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn. Thus, the following study is encouraging.

In this study, 178 people, age 18 to 65, reporting at least three migraine attacks-with or without aura-or four headache days, per month took a placebo, 25 mg of amitriptyline, or 3 mg of melatonin per day.

After 12 weeks, those taking melatonin had 2.7 fewer headache days per month, compared to 2.2 for amitriptyline and 1.1 for placebo. The melatonin group saw no side effects. 

Interestingly enough, those taking the placebo slightly gained weight, the amitriptyline group gained more weight, while the melatonin group lost weight.

So, the melatonin was as good, or better, than the drug amitriptyline.

(Reference: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry; 2016, Vol. 87, No. 10, 1127-32)

Additional Comments from Don Goldberg

The vehemence with which many in conventional medicine, dieticians and others denounce the idea of taking even a basic daily multivitamin continues to amaze and disappoint me. In a recent series of articles in the NY Times, the epidemic status of diabetes and obesity was blamed on poor diet, popular food choices and lifestyle choices on the one hand, and on the other hand, taking a daily multivitamin was characterized as nothing but a misguided source of "expensive urine." As much as I admire those who claim to be able to devote the time, effort and self-discipline to ensure optimal intake of all essential nutrients from diet alone, I think it is obvious that most Americans are unable and/or unwilling to do so.

Obesity and diabetes are the big villians. But there are many others, and the above information on migraine prevention is a good example. It has been shown that levels of magnesium, an essential mineral essential to proper nerve cell function, drop right before or during a migraine headache. The low level of magnesium may cause nerve cells in the brain to misfire. This leads to the suggestions that magnesium supplementation may be effective in preventing migraine headaches.

How does this relate to multivitamins? According to Natural Medicines reference database, "about 20% of the population consumes less than two-thirds of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for magnesium."

Wouldn't it be reasonable for all of us to take a multivitamin multimineral supplement so that we are less likely to suffer such deficiencies? I think so.

It should be noted, however, that when looking at "macrominerals" like magnesium and calcium, you should be aware that one- and two-per day multivitamins will not provide the amounts necessary. You need to either take a separate calcium-magnesium supplement, or take a multivitamin multimineral product like Willvite to get enough of these macrominerals.

The pharmacists and nutritionists at Willner Chemists will be happy to assist you in choosing an appropriate melatoning supplement and/or multivitamin tailored to your specific needs.