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Vitamin B may be the answer to your migraines, headaches

Genevieve Tan Shu Thung
Genevieve Tan Shu Thung

Founder of the Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Academy

Malaysia  /  Wed, March 30, 2016  /  01:29 pm
Vitamin B may be the answer to your migraines, headaches

Research suggests that a high dose of riboflavin (vitamin B) could be effective in preventing migraines. (shutterstock/-)

People often complain that they suffer from a migraine or a headache, thinking that they are the same. However, there are differences between the two.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine is an extraordinarily common disease, which affects around 38 million men, women and children in the United States.

Migraines emit an intense throbbing painful sensation around one side of the head, which may be intensified when there is physical activity. It is often accompanied with nausea, dizziness, seeing flashing lights or blind spots.

A headache sufferer, on the other hand, usually experiences mild pressure or pain around the scalp or forehead with no accompanying symptoms.

Regardless of whether one suffers from a migraine or a headache, one thing is for sure: it is never a pleasant experience.

Any pain around the head is usually caused by the over-activity of pain-sensitive areas. While most episodes of headaches do not indicate any serious illness, it is also important to take note that some may result from life-threatening conditions that require medical attention.

Research carried out by Boehnke C. et al. and published in the European Journal of Neurology in 2004 suggests that a high dose of riboflavin (vitamin B) could be effective in preventing migraines.

The University of Maryland Medical Centre reported that a double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that consuming 400mg of riboflavin a day can cut migraine attacks in half. This idea is also supported by another study published in the Neurology journal.

This means that if you are a chronic sufferer of migraine, you are quite likely to be lacking vitamin B.

Any individual who eats a healthy and balanced diet will generally consume enough riboflavin. With our unhealthy eating patterns these days, however, we may be vulnerable to riboflavin deficiency, symptoms of which include (but are not limited to) poor digestion, cracks and sores around the corners of the mouth, tired eyes, chronic throat-related problems and fatigue.

It is easy to remedy these deficiency problems with a vitamin B supplement. To consume 400mg of vitamin B2 supplement as highlighted in the research above, however, exceeds 200 times the recommended daily allowance. The executive chairman of the National Headache Foundation therefore cautions that, “we need longer and larger studies before recommending the use of vitamin B2 in this dosage".

The consumption of any vitamin does not come without complaints. Some users have reported that the consumption of Vitamin B12 caused diarrhea. Excess Vitamin B6 (more than 500mg a day) has also been associated with causing more headaches, acne, allergy reactions, photo sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, nerve damage and more. It is very important to monitor the intake of any vitamin, so that it adheres to the recommended dose to avoid undesirable conditions.

Should you, however, opt for a more natural source of vitamin B, you can try increasing your intake of peas, broccoli, spinach, fresh and dried fruits, asparagus, potatoes, peanuts and milk.

Another study conducted by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia has discovered that eating more folate can also reduce the frequency of migraines. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are rich in folate.

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Genevieve Tan Shu Thung runs an online holistic living magazine, which publishes articles related to holistic living at http://www.holisticlivingannex.com.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.