Last Modified on May 10, 2015
Treatment of migraines includes a variety of practices that incorporate lifestyle changes as well as daily supplements and vitamins. Migraines can often be avoided by restricting the diet, avoiding stress and getting plenty of rest. When these minimal guidelines are not enough for preventing and treating migraines, however, supplements are an effective alternative to common medical alternatives.
What are Migraines?
Migraines are often thought of as a more severe form of the common headache; however, migraines often include additional symptoms aside from just a pain in the head. Migraine headaches often involve intense throbbing or pulsing in one region of the head as well as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to both light and sound.
The actual cause of migraines is largely not understood, but genetics and environment have been identified as contributing factors. Additionally, migraines may be linked to changes in the brainstem and its connection to the trigeminal nerve, which serves as a major pain correspondent. Imbalances in brain chemicals are likely also involved in the onset of migraines. Triggers of migraines often include food, food additives, drinks, stress, sensory stimuli, changes in the wake-sleep pattern, physical activity, changes in the environment and medication.
Home Remedies for Severe Headaches
Many individuals can effectively manage migraines by documenting and avoiding triggers including foods, maintaining stress levels and regulating their sleep pattern. However, some migraines are so severe additional methods are required. Several home remedies including 5-HTP, apple cider vinegar and garlic have also been identified as effective for treating migraines.
An amino acid naturally produced by the human body, 5-HTP increases the production of serotonin. As decreased levels of serotonin have been identified as a possible cause of migraines, supplementing with this compound prevents the characteristic drop in the natural hormone, alleviating headaches and their debilitating side effects.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is extremely high in vitamins and minerals. Taking apple cider vinegar daily or using an apple cider soaked compress on the neck, head or face at the onset of a migraine delivers vital nutrients to the body that balance the system and treat migraine symptoms.
Garlic is an herb that is heralded as a solution to many ailments. Garlic is known as an anticlotting agent, which makes it an effective migraine treatment. The property that prevents clotting also regulates the flow of blood, which can be a trigger issue for migraines.
Migraines are more than just the typical headache and often involve additional symptoms including nausea and vomiting. While migraines can be debilitating, natural treatments including 5-HTP, apple cider vinegar and garlic relieve and prevent migraine headaches.
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[YEA] I came across 5-HTP on my doctor's vitamin website. The description said that it was for Depression, Mood Swings, Sleeplessness, Headaches, etc. Since I have all those things, I decided to give it a try! Much to my delight, I found that my 25 year struggle with Gluten and Casein related migraines was suddenly over!! After suffering through years of debilitating migraines, that effectively put a damper on my Junior High, High School, College, and Marriage life. When I was 27ish, I finally figured out that if I removed gluten and cow-related dairy products from my diet, I no longer had migraines. This was great! Except, that gluten and casein are in EVERYTHING! This food allergy (food intolerance) discovery was a blessing in disguise, because now I eat fresh organic fruit and veggies and organic/grass-fed meat. No packaged meals or fastfood ever! But eating out or over at friends' houses was still causing me to lose days due to the migraines. 5-HTP literally changed my life! I started taking 100mg/day in the morning and noticed after a month that I could have little cheats in my diet and get away with them!
Currently I take 200 mg/day and can have a sandwich for lunch and cheesecake! (it's SO wrong, I know! ) I still try very hard to keep the gluten and casein out of my diet. Even though I can cheat and not have a migraine attack, I still can tell that my body feels wrong or icky when I have those foods. But it's SO nice to go from 10 migraines a month, down to 1, maybe 2 per month. I plan to cut back to 100mg/day because I know that there is differing opinions about how much is too much. Plus being able to eat whatever I want makes it very hard to stay gluten/casein free. I hope this post helps other people to realize that they may have food allergies/intolerances that they are unaware of yet.
Replied by Sandra
Los Angeles, Ca
Approval Ratings WARNING! (1) 100% Posted by Melissa (Phoenix, Az) on 09/16/2014
[WARNING!] I was super excited about taking 5-htp, as I use Imitrex and from what I read 5-htp seemed pretty much like a natural Imitrex.
Imitrex imitates serotonin and basically alters the body's pain reception for migraines. (or something to that effect)
5-htp is a precursor to serotonin, which means your body will take 5-htp, convert it to serotonin and it in theory will act like Imitrex.
Though that's where the awesomeness ended for me.
I have a few major warnings for anyone interested in 5-htp:
1) You cannot use it if you are pregnant
2) You cannot use it with many anti-depressants
3) You cannot use it within about 24 hours before or after you use Imitrex. Both anti-depressants that increase serotonin and Imitrex that imitates serotonin used with 5-htp that creates even more serotonin can cause a serotonin overdose and can be fatal.
4) I did more research on it and it turns out that 5-htp is a chemical by-product of L-tryptophan, which is responsible for making serotonin in our bodies. They used to sell tryptophan supplements but after many people started developing eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, an incurable muscle and blood disease, from these supplements, as they were tainted, they banned the sale of tryptophan supplements in the US. (This happened mainly due to one large manufacturer going cheap, but who's to say this won't happen again with 5-htp??)
There have already been a few cases of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome being caused by 5-htp supplements to date and that got me thinking: "Is taking this 5-htp to hopefully have a cheaper more 'natural' form of Imitrex worth it?" I decided it wasn't worth it.
I just want to warn those who are thinking about taking 5-htp that just because it's natural doesn't make it safer, and just because they sell it doesn't mean it's guaranteed safe. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA and only get any attention once a lot of people get sick from it. Use the information we are given to make the best decision for you. I ended up finding that Mint essential oil works really well for me and with no serious side effects. (or any at all for me)
I hope this helps someone, it would have been nice to have this all written for me when I was researching it. :)Replied by Bee
New York, US