Folic Acid Benefits Mitigate Migraines

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


What are Migraines?

A man suffering a migraine which folic acid benefits may alleviateChronic migraines are a neurovascular disorder that can often prove to be quite debilitating. This condition often manifests with multiple symptoms. A migraine headache is usually localized to one area on the head. This type of headache is often very intense and comes in a throbbing pain. This pain frequently gets worse with physical exertion. Aside from the headache itself, many migraines are accompanied by extreme sensitivity to sound and light, causing nausea and vomiting. Recent research indicates that folic acid benefits may help with migraines.

Some people experience warning symptoms prior to the headache. These are called sensory or aura symptoms and may include flashes of light, blind areas in the eyes, and numbness, weakness, or tingling along one side of the body. Sometimes these signs subside when the pain begins. Sometimes they last through the duration of the migraine. Clearly this issue can be very debilitating, especially for those who experience migraine headaches on a frequent basis. As if painful headaches weren’t enough, migraines could also increase an individual’s chances of endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

Folate and Folic Acid Benefits for Preventing Migraines

It has been discovered that folate could reduce the frequency of migraines. This B vitamin can be found abundantly in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Research was recently conducted by Lyn R. Griffiths, analyzing 141 women, study the individuals who suffered from migraines with aura. The folate intake, through diet, was observed to see what connection it had with migraines. Data of folate intake was gathered through a standardized food survey.

Linear regression was used in order to compare migraine disability, severity, and frequency with folate consumption. A prominent inverse relation was noticed, existing between migraine frequency and dietary intake of folate. This means that the higher the dietary intake of folate, the lower the frequency of migraines.

Individuals who possessed the MTHFR gene also experienced this same correlation. In fact, the women with this gene experienced the best effects from folate intake. The results gathered from the study ultimately suggest that women suffering from migraines with aura could benefit from folate. This news has given hope to many migraine sufferers.
Since the study was conducted, Australia has even gone so far as to pass a law mandating that folate be added to wheat flour before being used to make bread.

Adrenal Fatigue and Migraines

A woman with a headache who could do with folic acid benefitsMigraines and Adrenal Fatigue are often linked. It is somewhat common for people who have one condition to experience the other. This is partly because the triggers for a migraine can be associated with causes of Adrenal Fatigue. Some of these causes and triggers include stress, smoking, food additives, allergies, and disturbed sleep.

Chronic stress affects the adrenal glands, causing hormone production to malfunction in many ways. One of the important hormones that experiences changes is serotonin. A deficiency in serotonin is often what triggers a migraine in the case of Adrenal Fatigue sufferers. It is important to make sure the detoxification pathway in the Neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response system is strong enough to handle the toxic load present in your body. If not, a buildup of toxins is a potential reason for migraines as well. Aside from migraines, those with Adrenal Fatigue might experience a lot of irritability and fatigue which could contribute to regular headaches.

What Helps Migraines and Adrenal Fatigue?

Ultimately there are two problems to consider. Migraines can worsen Adrenal Fatigue. At the same time, Adrenal Fatigue can be the root cause of migraines. Both are possible, and they can be interconnected and present at the same time. Although migraines can certainly be dealt with through diet and medication, it is equally, if not more important, to handle the core problem, which is Adrenal Fatigue if such is the case.

People experiencing migraines are often asking “what helps migraines?” Individuals who are experiencing Adrenal Fatigue can certainly make healthy changes, such as consuming more B vitamins, especially folate, B12, and B6. A small caveat should be noted, in advanced cases of Adrenal Fatigue, B vitamins may actually be too stimulating on the body and can actually worsen Adrenal Fatigue. Methylated B vitamins are particularly worrisome and should be avoided. Magnesium is also another mineral that has been found to be a great preventer and reducer of migraines. It is known for its relaxing properties and is an important mineral that everybody needs more of. Unfortunately, paradoxical reaction can be associated with the magnesium intake in advanced stages of AFS, so the clinical picture can be quite convoluted.

Lifestyle issues such as healthy diet and exercise, which might be effective in helping migraines, such as exercise and healthier, consistent diet, will also support the adrenal glands. Be sure to get consistent sleep and try to avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol. Fragrances may also trigger migraines.

A healthy joyful woman peering over the top of her sunglasses who experiences folic acid benefitsIt is important to have some understanding of an individual’s unique migraine triggers so they can take steps in order to prepare or prevent the migraine from hitting. Some people even experience these intense headaches during stormy weather. Keeping a handy pair of sunglasses to shield one’s eyes from bright lights may also help. Managing stress is another important factor in both migraine prevention and in adrenal health.

Healing the adrenal glands can be a slow process, and even after the glands are healed it is still important to maintain many of the changes an individual will make. One of the most important steps is getting sufficient sleep and having an established and consistent time to sleep and wake up. It is necessary to get 8-10 hours of sleep, because the body heals and restores itself during sleep. It is also important to eat regular, healthy, and well-balanced meals.

Implement a daily exercise routine, preferably something that is not too vigorous or strenuous on the body. Adrenal Yoga and walking are both great choices if your body and adrenal’s health allow. Many people also find that detoxing their bodies through saunas can be very helpful. One should always be careful when detoxing with Adrenal Fatigue, as a retoxification reaction is always a potential risk. The weaker the adrenals, the more vulnerable the body can be. Of course, one of the most important things is finding better ways to manage or eliminate stress. As you strengthen your adrenals and overall body, your connected migraines should also start to improve.


© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

A woman with a headache who could do with folic acid benefits

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Dear Doctor,
 
I am delighted by your response. Understanding my condition is key to getting better! I have extracted your article in reference and will take time to read and internalize it.
 
Thank you so much for your kindness!




2 Comments

  • Emily says:

    I am wondering why the article says that methylated B vitamins should be avoid. Isn’t the methylated form the natural one?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      AFS sufferers in advance stages tend to be easily stimulated and methylated B vitamins may worse that.

      Dr Lam