Migraine headaches are a debilitating, chronic condition that affects approximately 15% of the population.  Conventional medicine views it as a neuro-vascular disease:  the standard treatment after NSAIDs and other over-the-counter drugs fail are triptans, which are thought to reduce migraine intensity by acting on serotonin receptors in blood vessels, causing their constriction.  No pharmacological treatments for migraines, however, affect premonitory or aura symptoms, suggesting that the neurovascular understanding of migraine is incomplete.

Two recent systematic reviews of clinical studies (1, 2), and a new clinical trial suggest, in contrast, that migraines have a metabolic underpinning, resulting from the mismatch between cerebral energy reserves and expenditure; and thus involves mitochondrial functioning, energy metabolism, and oxidative stress in the brain.  In patients with migraine, the brain not only has reduced energy supplies but also has increased energy needs, and migraine headaches are an adaptive response to that mismatch.

The systematic reviews investigated the efficacy of non-pharmacological, metabolic (i.e. nutritional supplement) treatments for migraines, and found that they are effective in reducing the frequency, severity and duration of migraine attacks.  

The following are the nutritional supplements for migraines that the systematic reviews investigated:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a co-factor molecule found in every cell of animal tissue that performs aerobic respiration.  It is an integral component of the Electron Transport Chain found in mitochondria, the parts of cells that convert food and oxygen into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy that cells require to function. 

CoQ10 is synthesized by the body and can be gotten in small amounts from food, primarily from fatty fish and meat.  The human body synthesizes less and less CoQ10 as it ages, in particular after the age of 40.  The mechanism of CoQ10 synthesis in the body is not fully understood.

Clinical studies of CoQ10 in migraine patients found that:

  • CoQ10 deficiency is common in people who suffer from migraines
  • Supplementing with CoQ10 reduced the frequency, severity and duration of migraine attacks
  • CoQ10 supplementation had no adverse effects

The form of CoQ10 that we carry is the patented Kaneka QH Ubiquinol™, which is a fully reduced form of CoQ10 that is much more bioavailable than the cheaper, more commonly available ubiquinone form of CoQ10.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)

Riboflavin is another molecule that is immensely important in the function of the Electron Transport Chain that produces energy in mitochondria.


  • Plays a crucial role in the metabolism of all of the food sources of energy:  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Allows the recycling of oxidized glutathione and therefore has significant antioxidant capabilities
  • In the brain, plays a significant neuroprotective role by reducing oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysregulation, and neuroinflammation

Clinical studies of riboflavin for migraines have shown that:

  • Severity, frequency, and duration of migraines is significantly reduced with daily riboflavin supplementation
  • Significantly fewer adverse effects were reported with the use of riboflavin compared with the use of a prescription migraine medication
  • Riboflavin is effective for migraine prevention in adults and children at a daily dose of 200-400 mg
We recommend taking a quality multivitamin like our Men's and Women's Multivitamin Softgels to get a balanced intake of all of the B-complex vitamins, as they have also been shown to reduce migraine frequency and severity, and adding riboflavin supplementation separately to reach the 200-400 mg dose shown to be effective in clinical trials.

    Alpha Lipoic Acid

    Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an essential water- and fat-soluble co-factor for enzymes in the Krebs cycle, which feeds the Electron Transport Chain that produces mitochondrial energy in the form of ATP.   Without ALA our cells would not be able to produce energy.  ALA also functions as a powerful antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and chelating heavy metal toxins.

    Clinical studies of ALA for migraine have shown that: 
      • Migraine patients are deficient in ALA
      • ALA supplementation reduces the frequency, duration and severity of attacks
      • ALA increases cerebral energy reserves
      • ALA improves the insulin resistance that is present in many migraine patients


      Magnesium is an essential mineral to the human body, involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions, and plays a vital role in energy production.  In the brain, magnesium regulates multiple neuronal receptors, and a deficiency in magnesium leads to increased oxidative stress and a hyper-excited state in neurons and glial cells.

      Clinical studies have shown that:

      • Migraine patients are deficient in magnesium
      • A deficiency in magnesium contributes to cortical spreading depression (CSD), which is the hyper-excited state in neurons and glial cells that results in migraine
      • Magnesium regulates vasodilation, and a deficiency in magnesium results in increased vasodilation in the brain, which is associated with migraines
      • Supplementation with magnesium reduces migraine attack frequency and severity

      We carry exclusively the patented, Albion® brand of magnesium -- magnesium bisglycinate chelate.  This patented form of magnesium, bound to an amino acid, greatly improves its absorption and tolerability.

      L-Carnitine, fatty acid transporter into mitochondria

      L-carnitine is a conditionally necessary amino acid, whose function is to transport fatty acids into mitochrondria so that they can be converted into energy.  The body can make small amounts of l-carnitine, but it must be obtained in the diet.  The most abundant source of l-carnitine is red meat.

      L-carnitine has numerous beneficial health effects: 

      In migraines, L-carnitine has been shown to reduce severity, duration and frequency of attacks, both when taken alone, or in combination with magnesium and CoQ10.