This month we report on three new migraine studies that are changing the way we think about food triggers, vitamin deficiencies and whether preventive drugs like topiramate are any better than placebos. Very interesting findings!

We appreciate how engaged our readers are in sending us comments, questions and suggestions for upcoming articles. We also truly value the stories many of you share with us about your own struggles and successes in getting migraines under control. Thank you!

Tina Sanders

Linpharma Customer Education



Are Your Migraines a Gut Reaction?

Does eating chocolate, processed meats or leafy vegetables often trigger your migraines? A new British study suggest the problem might not be the food itself. Instead, your gut may contain high levels of certain bacteria. The study found that migraine sufferers had higher levels of bacteria known to be involved in processing nitrates�substances present in many foods often linked with migraines.

Too Efficient for Your Own Good

If you have more of these bacteria, shouldn�t your body be more efficient at breaking down nitrates? Yes! And that could be what triggers your migraines: Scientists think higher concentrations of bacteria may break down nitrates in food more quickly, flooding the bloodstream with nitric oxide�a chemical that dilates blood vessels.

In smaller doses, nitric oxide can boost circulation. But a flood of the chemical might cause blood vessels to dilate too much or too rapidly. This seems a strong possibility given that about 80 percent of cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs report suffering severe headaches as a result.

Quoted in an article that appeared in the UK�s The Guardian, Dr. Brendan Davies, a neurologist and trustee of the Migraine Trust, found the possibility of a link between gut bacteria and migraines medically plausible. �This is interesting work,� he said, �but would need to be confirmed.�

Avoiding those "Hot Dog Headaches"

While awaiting further studies, there are two things you can do today to help keep nitrate-containing foods from triggering migraines:

First, reduce that flood of nitric-oxide: Obviously, the fewer processed cold cuts, sausage, pepperoni, hot dogs, chocolate, and other nitrate-containing foods you eat, the less risk you�ll have of suffering a nitrate-related migraine.

Second, keep your blood vessels resilient. Taking PA-free butterbur, for instance, can help improve the tone of your blood vessels and the blood flow in brain. When something (like nitric-oxide) triggers blood vessels to expand and contract, they can become more resilient�meaning that you�re less likely to experience a full-blown migraine.

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Do Rx Migraine Prevention Work for Children and Adolescents?

Doctors commonly prescribe amitriptyline and topiramate as migraine preventatives for children and adolescents. But last month, newly reported research found no significant differences relief between youths treated with a placebo vs. those treated with amitriptyline or topiramate. Plus, the two drugs were linked to increased rates of adverse events compared with placebo. Let�s look closer. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, studied children aged 8-17. It found that 52-55% receiving the drugs reported a 50% reduction in the number of headache days, but 61% of those receiving the


placebo reported similar reductions. Youths receiving the prescription drugs also showed significantly higher risks of side effects such as dry mouth, fatigue, mood changes and tingling in the hands, arms, legs and feet.

By way of comparison, a previous multi-center study involving two groups of children aged 6-9 and 10-17 found that 77% receiving the Petadolex� supplement reported an average of 63% fewer migraine attacks. In addition, 92% of the children tolerated Petadolex� well or very well. To see a comparison of these studies, click here for the PDF.

New Study Finds "Migraine Vitamin" Deficiencies

Dr. Suzanne Hagler and her colleagues in neurology at Cincinnati Children�s Hospital Medical Center have found that a high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10. Interestingly, different sectors of the study group seemed to have different deficiencies:

  • Girls and young women were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies.
  • Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
  • Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.

Dr. Hagler�s research adds to the evidence of a link between nutrient deficiencies and migraines, including a 2015 study showing that addressing deficiencies by supplementing the diet with Dolovent� (riboflavin, CoQ10, magnesium and other nutrients) reduced migraine frequency and significantly reduced the pain and burden of attacks.

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