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How is B-12 Helpful for Migraines?
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A place for migraineurs to discuss anything and everything related to migraines. Topic suggestions: Think of this as a support group for migraineurs. Reach out to group members when ever you need support. Give your support to fellow migraineurs. You, as a migraineur yourself, probably have a wealth of knowledge to share with others. The knowledge that you have could vastly improve the quality of life for another group member. Share share share! Discuss your current acute and preventative treatment plans. Ask others about their current acute and preventative treatment plans. Discuss past acute and preventative treatment plans as well... we can always learn something from what didn't work! Discuss your own personal tips and tricks for lessening the severity of acute migraine attacks. Post about your upcoming GP or Neurologist appointments. Ask other group members questions about what to expect and suggestions on how to prepare. Update fellow group members on your progress... both on set backs (so that we can provide support, suggestions and hope!) and on successes (so that we can congratulate you and so that you can provide other group members with hope!).

Founded by marileew on September 27, 2009
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How is B-12 Helpful for Migraines?

I know I'm full of questions here lately; forgive me (: You guys have turned out to be "better than sliced bread" when it comes to truth v/s fiction compared to what's out there on the internet...So, does B-12 really help with migraines? I've known about Magnesium (tried a stint 2yrs ago & didn't "work", turns out wasn't doing the daily 400mg) I've known about (possibly) Feverfew (did a stint of that & saw no results) Neurologist also said that he too @ one time was following the studies on feverfew, but was very disapointed in the clinical results. I've known about that other herb, butter(something). 1st time reading about B-12 just today! It peeked my curiosity when I read (forget her user name; sounds really sweet, going through really rough time right now w/tests & stuff) someone's post about getting a B-12 shot. I thought hmmm...reading on internet said it was helpful in daily supplement form. When I went to buy more magnesium today, it was BOGO free.So, thought what the hey and picked it up. Had been avoiding the B-Complex I used to use b/c I read some things about how one of the B's (not 12) can actually add to headaches...there are so many wifes tales out there...So, what's the real scoop and how much should I take daily now that I'm looking at the bottle? (:   PS: I was very interested in the "Migrelief" supplement the past month. Almost ordered it, but decided to ask neurologist about it first to save $$ ($59.99; but 3 months supply) Combo of "high grade" feverfew, Magnesium, & B-2. He said in his 15yrs experience that the only ingredient that he found was solid was the magnesium. But, he's just one doctor. Has anyone tried it and it helped?
10 Comments
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768044_tn?1294227036
Hi tia1977,

In terms of like a... B12 being helpful as a preventative for all migraine sufferers, it's not. Only B2 is, and it really is. B2 has been proven very effective in clinical trials as long as it is taken daily at 400mg. B12 on the other hand has not been shown effective as a migraine preventative... but! That isn't to say that B12 couldn't help SOME people reduce migraines in some situations... I can provide some conjecture as to some possible situations where this might be the case...

If someone was anemic and also suffered from migraines, then it is known that any sort of physical stress can be a migraine trigger, including times of acute disease and illness.... so, if someone was suffering symptoms due to their anemia, their migraines could be triggered. So, it would be important that their anemia was being properly treated with iron supplements and B12 supplements so that they were not becoming symptomatic in terms of their anemia as such a physical stress could trigger their migraines. That could be one situation where B12 would be useful in migraines... where it was being used to treat another disease, and management of the other disease was keeping the migraines at bay because physical stresses such as disease and illness can be migraine triggers.

In terms of treating pain, there has been some weak evidence that B12 might help with nerve pain problems like neuropathy and restless leg syndrome (RLS), although I have not seen any evidence that supports B12 would help with migraines. B12 will help with energy, especially if given by injection. It will vastly improve energy in most cases... in face, I have heard some people go so far as to describe getting B12 injections as feeling like they are getting amphetamine injections... so B12 injections will really help with fatigue. Many chronic migraine sufferers also suffer from fatigue so getting B12 injections can help with the fatigue that is associated with chronic migraines.

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But... onto other B vitamins...

B2 is the B vitamin that is famous for helping with migraines. B2 has been proven effective time and time again with helping to prevent migraine headaches as long as it is taken daily at 400mg a day.

So... why does it help? Well, they aren't 100% sure but they have some ideas. I don't have time right now to get into this because I have to get some blood tests done right now but I will right all about this when I get home because I do know a few of the reasons why they think it might work. Stay tuned! :)
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768044_tn?1294227036
It's too cold outside and I realized I couldn't get anyone to drive me to the blood test until tomorrow so... I'll write about the B2 thing now!

Vitamin B2 is important for energy metabolism and oxygen metabolism.

Some have theorized that impaired oxygen metabolism may play a role in migraine, specifically impaired oxygen metabolism caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.  

I think it was based on positive results of trials in which high doses of B2 were given to people that had a disease called MELAS, which is another disease that involves mitochondrial dysfunction, was what caused people to think that B2 might also improve migraines, thinking that the B2 might help migraines in similar ways.

So... basically... B2 can sort of fix or improve mitochondrial dysfunction which I guess then improves oxygen metabolism... and since that is all involved in migraines, it improves migraines. Oh, the mitochondrial dysfunction can also cause low cellular energy levels too, and low cellular energy levels are also thought to maybe play a role in migraine headaches according to some.  
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768044_tn?1294227036
As for Magnesium... it works for the same reasons as the B12 what with the Mitochondrial dysfunction being a factor in migraines and Magnesium helping with energy metabolism and stuff.

Magnesium is also sort of known in "alt. med" circles as being an anti-inflammatory and very calming. So, this could be a factor in why it helps migraines too.

Another interesting thing... magnesium levels in our body drop prior to and during a migraine. Like, if you had a blood test done to test your magnesium when you weren't having a migraine and when you were having a migraine, your magnesium levels would probably be lower during a migraine... at least according to some studies that were done. Based on these studies, magnesium sulfate was giving to patients via IV in hospital during migraines in order to stop the attack (as an acute treatment). It was large doses of magnesium sulfate, 1g or 1000mg... an oral dose this high would cause serious stomach upset and very bad diarrhea so don't try this at home with oral magnesium citrate!!!!, but anyway, all of the patients who were given the magnesium responded to the treatment. So, magnesium sulfate at 1000mg given by intravenous injection is a good acute treatment for a migraine headache... but, not ever used as a first line of treatment probably because of practicality, cost and side-effects (my doctors pain clinic charges about $100 for this I think) but mostly due to the practicality of it since it must be done in a doctors office and takes at least 15 minutes to get all of the medication into your body... and since oral magnesium isn't a suitable alternative to intravenous magnesium due to the awful diarrhea side-effects at 1000mg.

but anyway. lots of proof that magnesium is very connected to migraines.

hope that helps! :)

I would definitely try taking 400mg of B2 daily and 400mg of Magnesium daily.

You could also try taking 300mg of Coenzyme Q10 daily, but the evidence for this one isn't as strong as the others.... but I take that one though, I like it and have found it has improved things for me, but it is expensive, just to warn you! So actually, I suggest trying the other two before trying the Coenzyme Q10 just in case the other two work well and there is no need to try anything else, since the Coenzyme Q10 is so expensive it is best to leave it to the last to try I think.
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875426_tn?1325532016
It looks like online that migrelief used to be migrahealth.  When I took migrahealth a some years back, it was from Walmart and less expensive than the price you mentioned above.  I thought it helped some while I was taking it, as I recall, but did not eliminate all my migraines.

Also, later, while taking a high dose prescription of feverfew (I believe much higher than migrahealth) from an acupuncturist, I felt like I was having trouble with my pulse and I think BP and spoke with a doctor about my concerns.  He said that feverfew, in the best documented scientific research he could find, reportedly had a potential possibly permanent side effect of making your blood vessels flacid, so they would not contract with standing like they are supposed to do.  I wasn't sure if this contributed to my development of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, but I was diagnosed with that dysautonomic disorder in 2004 and not sure if I took the high dose feverfew in late 2003 or in 2004.  
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1079216_tn?1258204405
Hi Tia- it was me that got the B12 shot :-)  I've heard that it helps for some but I haven't noticed any difference so far and its been almost a week.  I was really hopeful that it would make a difference with my migraines and fatigue.

Its certainly worth a shot to see if it works for you.
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768044_tn?1294227036
To add to what SurgiMenopause said on Feverfew...

Feverfew should also NEVER be taken by pregnant women ever, as it has the potential to induce miscarriage.

And, Feverfew should not be taken along with medications that thin the blood such as warfarin (heart medication), or Aspirin or NSAIDS unless your doctor has prescribed you Feverfew and knows you are taking such medications. In the case of Warfarin, if a doctor were to prescribe Feverfew I would still highly suggest consulting a second source such as another doctor (the prescribing doctor for the warfarin) or a pharmacist prior to starting the Feverfew if on a medication like Warfarin.

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And some other safety notes on the others:

Magnesium:

If Diabetic, let your diabetes specialist know that you have started magnesium or better yet, ask them prior to starting the magnesium if it is okay. If diabetic, blood sugar levels will need to be more closely monitored while taking high doses of magnesium.

If on diuretics, ask the prescribing doctor prior to starting magnesium if magnesium is safe. Some diuretic medication can mix badly with magnesium supplements and should never be mixed.

On a similar note, if you get kidney stones, magnesium in high doses can make them much worse. Check with your specialist who deals with your kidney stones (urologist usually) prior to starting a high dose of magnesium. If a specialist does okay such a treatment, lots of water with every dose of magnesium is probably important, but that is only a guess because it's true for other medications that make kidney stones worse... although just follow the advice of your doctor since I actually have no idea and that was just a guess about the water thing.

If taking antibiotics, don't take your magnesium at the same time you take the antibiotics. Most antibiotics will say this on the package or with the prescribing information. If they don't have such a warning, phone the pharmacist to inquire prior to taking your medications at the same time.

Some people with menstrual migraines will be (oddly enough) treated with oral contraceptives or estrogen to try to prevent their menstrual migraines... usually it's the other way around, but in the cases of menstrual migraines it has known to be a treatment. Anyone taking oral contraceptives or estrogen should also be taking a daily magnesium supplement. Anyway, I think that anyone who gets menstrual migraines should try taking a daily magnesium supplement anyway because it will help with migraine prevention and other PMS symptoms too... but, it's even more important if taking any sort of estrogen (regardless of migraines).

If you've recently had a heart attack, don't take magnesium unless your doctor has told you it is okay. Double check with your heart specialist if it has been your neurologist or family doctor that has given your this advice.

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B12:

GERD medications, diabetes medications, potassium supplements and a bunch of other medications can all make it so you need more B12. Check with your pharmacist to find out if any of the medications you are taking make it so you need to take a daily supplement so that you do not become deficient in a necessary vitamin or mineral. Deficiencies are stresses and stresses can lead to more migraines. Also, vegetarians and vegans usually need to take a B12 supplement (I'm a vegetarian, I take B12 supplements).

In very high doses, B12 can make acne worse. Rare side effect I think.
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768044_tn?1294227036
Another possibility about the B12... a symptom of B12 deficiency is migraine headaches. So, it is possible that someone who has migraine headaches doesn't have true migraine disease if they also have a B12 deficiency (if verified by a blood test). Fix the B12 deficiency and the migraines might completely go away as the migraines might have merely been a symptom of the B12 deficiency.
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1088430_tn?1259163373
Thank you guys...I truly appreciate all your input and advice! I'll continue taking it since I have it, but will def. pick up some B-2  to go w/the magnesium. Again, truly appreciate all the help (:
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764912_tn?1322715443
How is it going?  I take fever few also but notice the Magnesium helps more, 800mg twice a day is what I take per my Dr.  They also tested me for b-12 deficiency so I think that is very important to have done!  Keep us posted on how you are doing,
hugs,
Tracy
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1088430_tn?1259163373
Thanks for the 800mg tip! I've been taking 500mg and would now like to increase it to follow your lead (: I also started taking B-2 after Merilee suggested it. Stopped taking B-12 b/c I'm already so keyed up naturally that the energy from the B-12 was keeping me up @ night! Even when not having migraines, my head just "hurts" alot & there's lots of burning going on right now. I need to be as tired as can be to be able to fall asleep through my head hurting so much from laying on the pillows (: The 75mg of Pamelor neur. gave isn't doing squatt I think! Seeing him on the 1st again and will request (once again, 1st time he said wasn't taking it long enough for it to be "effective") something else in it's place (: All in all, the Lyrica I'm taking has cut the actual bad migraine frequency way down and have only had four (only one of those a #9/10, the rest were probably #7/8) since the 10th (: Improvement of any kind is positive (:
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