You probably already know that melatonin is a fantastic sleep aid. People have been using it to fall asleep and stay asleep for years. But did you know melatonin also might be an effective treatment for migraine headaches? At least, that's what a new study says.
Researchers identified people who typically experience two to eight migraines a month and divided them into three groups. One group took 3 mg of melatonin; the second took 25 mg of amityptyline, which is an antidepressant, which treats migraines; and the third simply took a placebo. The group taking melatonin fared the best. They experienced fewer headaches per month and reduced intensity, duration, and need for painkillers during their migraines compared to the other two groups.
Making melatonin even more attractive as a treatment option was a reduction in side effects compared to the amityptyline group. That group experienced more daytime sleepiness and many gained weight. By contrast, several participants in the melatonin group actually lost weight!
The best way to take melatonin is to take 3 mg of a fast-acting form before you go to bed. This will mimic your body's natural production of melatonin.
Melatonin is a safe, natural way to treat migraines. If you'd like an alternate solution, you can also try butterbur. Take 50-100 mg of a PA-free form twice a day. You can also try acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine.
Of course, it's always best to avoid getting a migraine in the first place. Try to avoid triggers such as stress and particular foods and food additives. Common trigger foods include chocolate, nitrates in processed meats, aspartame, soy, ripe cheeses, and alcohol (particularly red wine). Exercising and keeping your weight at a healthy level can also help prevent or reduce the severity of migraines.
If your migraines do persist even with avoiding triggers, it's great to know that you have a safe, natural, effective treatment option in melatonin. And that alone can help you rest easy! You can find melatonin at any grocery store, drugstore, or online.
One last note: This isn't all that melatonin can treat. On Saturday, I'll show you how you can use melatonin to treat a very common digestive ailment.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Source: American Academy of Neurology 65th Annual Meeting. Abstract S40.005. Present March 20, 2012.