1 in 4 households in America have a member who suffers from migraines, with twice as many women as men affected. Migraines are often preceded by anxiety, blind spots or flashes of light and continue on to nausea, sensitivity to light and noise and a pounding in the head. The symptoms are severe and often debilitating.
Studies by the Genomic Research Centre (GRC) at Griffith University in Brisbane, identified a dysfunction in the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene as a contributor to migraine attacks. The MTFHR gene is responsible for recycling the amino acid homocysteine and a dysfunction in this gene leaves the recycling ability compromised and elevated homocysteine levels. Migraine is an inflammatory blood vessel disease that my be triggered by damage inflicted be these elevated blood levels of homocysteine to the endothelium of blood vessels in the brain.
According to scientists at the GRC, daily vitamin B and folic acid supplements were shown to reduce migraine disability by 50%. They completed a study comprised of 52 people diagnosed with migraine with aura. They participants were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin supplements providing a daily dose of 2 mg of folic acid, 25mg vitamin B6 and 400 micrograms of B12, or placebo for six months.
The results from the participants who received vitamin supplements showed a 39% reduction in homocysteine levels, a reduction of migraine disability from 60% to 30% and reductions in the frequency of headaches and the severity of pain. No such results were observed in the participants who received placebo.
Folate and B vitamins are essential to the MTHFR gene working properly and while the study shows folic acid, in combination with B vitamins, was effective, I recommend taking supplements with folate instead of folic acid. You can read my article about folate vs. folic acid here.
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