Vitamin B2 & Migraine Headaches
by: Thomas Recker
It is estimated that up to 26 million Americans suffer from Migraine headaches and it is
considered one of the top reasons for missed work and loss of production. A debilitating Migraine
headache can last from 4 to 72 hours and can be accompanied by intense pain, extreme sensitivity
to light and sound, vertigo, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. After affects of a migraine can leave
the sufferer drained and without energy accompanied by a low grade headache with
oversensitivity to light and sound and can last for another 24 hours.

Most Migraine headaches sufferers cannot identify what triggers the headaches and a long and
varied list exists that differs with each individual. The same factors do not necessarily trigger a
Migraine on a consistent basis either. Statistically, women are more prone to Migraines than men
with claims that the decline in estrogen during menstruation is the trigger and the onset can begin
immediately to a few days delay.

Considered a vascular headache, Migraines start with the enlargement of the temporal artery
which is located between the skin and skull at the temple. This enlargement stretches the nerves
that coil around the temporal artery causing these nerves to release chemicals into the system. A
snowball effect takes places since these chemicals cause inflammation and pain which further
enlarge the temporal artery and stretching the nerves further. A Migraine will often activate the
sympathetic nervous system which is reported to react to stress and pain. This increased activity
affects the intestines causing vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea and contributes to the sensitivity to
light and sound.

Due to the inconsistency of triggering factors and the headaches themselves Migraines have been
difficult to treat. Many prescription drugs are available including the controversial and highly
expensive use of Botox that is claimed to interrupt the pain pathways but these medications offer
treatment and not prevention.

With prevention being the goal it appears that Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may prevent Migraines in
almost 40% of sufferers. In clinical studies patients taking 400mg of Vitamin B2 daily displayed a
37% decrease in Migraine headaches and a drop in the number of days the headache affected
them. The effects of the increased Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) ingestion begin in as little as 30 days
and appear to work best after 3 months and benefited those who suffer from moderate Migraines
3 to 4 times a month.

Vitamin B2 is required for proper cell mitochondria function and when a deficiency occurs it is
suggested that this may trigger Migraines in many individuals. This low cost alternative may not
work for every Migraine sufferer but to knock out 30% to 40% is a big plus.

Other inroads into preventing this complex interaction of genetic, environmental, and neurological
variables include stress release since anger or frustration is being narrowed down as one of the
key triggers, again with a delayed action of one to two days. Wheat, sugar, and some grains are
also being held responsible for Migraines but more often this appears to affect individuals with
specific blood types other than sufferers in general. But, diet is quite possibly playing a major role
with many avenues that need to be explored. Another effective therapy may be administering
bright light in 30 minute doses every other day, much like treating seasonal disorders, where a
clinical reduction in Migraine headaches was reported. This treatment may sound surprising since
Migraines sufferers usually avoid light during the onset of a headache. The bright light is claimed
to possibly elevate concentrations of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, in the brain.

With Migraine headaches costing $18 Billion in drugs, emergency room and doctor visits, time off
work and loss of productivity, not to mention the loss of quality lifestyle a cure or prevention may
only be a Vitamin B2 supplement away.

About The Author

Thomas Recker is a contributing editor for .

This article was posted on November 07, 2005

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