New research from Australia’s Griffith University has found that women with migraine had a 14% reduction in severity of migraine when they ate foods which had a higher folic acid content. The research, reported by Medical Search this morning, builds upon the results of previous studies which have also found links between B vitamin supplementation and better outcomes for migraineurs.
- What is a migraine?
A 2009 study by Queensland researchers found that when migraine sufferers were given 2 mg of folic acid which is a synthetic form of folate, 25 mg vitamin B6, and 400 μg of vitamin B12 daily for six months, their homocysteine levels reduced by nearly 40% and the level of disability from migraine that they suffered halved, including a reduction in pain and severity as well as frequency of migraine attack.
In the current study, researcher Sarah Ingle and colleagues from Griffith University monitored the diets of 147 Australian women with clinically-diagnosed migraine with aura.
During the six-month study, participants were eating more foods with folic acid and blood folate levels had also increased when compared to baseline data. With this increase, came a 14 per cent reduction in migraine severity.
Presenting her research at the International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney this week, Ingle said the results were unexpected.
“We did not anticipate that one month into the study, Australia would start its mandatory fortification of folic acid in all bread-making flour. We think the increased intake of folic acid from the mandatory fortification may have played a role in the decline in migraine severity during the trial,” said Ingle.
Diet is just one of many suspected triggers for migraines and stress and lifestyle, genetics and hormonal triggers can all play a role in its development.
Some of the best dietary sources of folate include:
- leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, Asian greens, collard greens, turnip greens
- legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans black beans
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Lea R, Colson N, Quinlan S, Macmillan J, & Griffiths L. (2009) The effects of vitamin supplementation and MTHFR (C677T) genotype on homocysteine-lowering and migraine disability. Pharmacogenetics and genomics, 19(6), 422-8. PMID: 19384265
Mauskop A. (2012) Nonmedication, alternative, and complementary treatments for migraine.Continuum (Minneapolis, Minn.), 18(4), 796-806. PMID: 22868542