Migraine is a chronic, debilitating condition affecting 12-20% of the population worldwide. A research study recently compared using melatonin, amitriptyline or placebo for migraine prevention. The results are encouraging.
Currently, there are preventive medications available to decrease the frequency and severity of headaches, but people often stop taking them because of unwanted side effects. Data from North America, South America, and Europe show that only 3-5% of patients use preventive migraine therapies.
The most frequent preventive medications include topiramate; propanolol; amitryptiline; and sodium valproate.
Melatonin & Migraines
Melatonin has been studied in headache disorders due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and other effects. Here in this study, the researchers test melatonin in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial with amitryptiline as a comparator.
What the research shows
Melatonin was superior to amitryptiline in the percentage of patients with greater than 50% reduction in migraine frequency. It was also better tolerated than amitryptiline with adverse effects comparable to the placebo.
A very similar study has also been conducted comparing melatonin to sodium valproate. Melatonin (3mg) had the same efficacy as sodium valproate, but was better tolerated.
While these studies look promising, it is just 2 studies. It doesn’t mean melatonin will help everyone with migraines as we know there are many different types of migraines and we are all individual. However, it is a low risk, readily available, affordable, over-the-counter supplement.
What we need to make melatonin
While supplementation can increase melatonin, lifestyle changes can also increase melatonin levels. Whether lifestyle driven increases can improve migraines wasn’t studied in this research, but is worth considering.
There are several ways we can ensure we produce adequate amounts of melatonin. Take a look at my previous post how we make melatonin. You’ll see from this that we need sufficient levels of protein, Vitamins B3 & B6, folate, zinc, and magnesium. Reducing exposure to TV and computer screens at least an hour before you go to bed and sleeping in a dark room will also increase melatonin production. Take a look.
If you want some ideas of which supplemental melatonin I recommend, just email me or leave a comment below.
Interested in other melatonin blog posts?
Goncalves, A.L. et al. (2016). Randomized clinical trial comparing melatonin 3mg, amitriptyline 25mg, and placebo for migraine preventions. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry.Vol. 87, pp 1127-32.
Lyon, C. & Langner, S. (2017). PURLs: Consider melatonin for migraine prevention. J Fam Pract. Vol. 66(5), 320-22.
Ebrahimi-Monfared, M. et al. (2017). Use of melatonin versus valproic acid in prophylaxis of migraine patients: A double-blind randomized clinical trial. Restor Neurol Neurosci. Vol 35(4), pp. 385-93.