Less frequent migraines due to zinc supplements
If you are regularly struck by migraines, it might be an idea to take a zinc supplement. Zinc supplementation can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, according to a human study recently published in Nutrition Journal.
The researchers, who are affiliated with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, divided 80 migraine patients into 2 groups. There were an equal number of patients treated with drugs in both groups, and the two groups were also similar in other characteristics, such as age, BMI, and gender.
The subjects in the experimental group took a supplement containing 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate every day for an 8-week period. That accounted for 50 milligrams of elemental zinc. The subjects in the other group took a placebo.
Fifty milligrams daily is a high dose. In the EU, the EFSA recommends consumer to take no more than 25 milligrams of zinc per day.
The supplement had no statistically significant effect on the severity or duration of the attacks, but it did on the frequency. The subjects in the singing group had almost thirty percent fewer migraine attacks per month.
The figure below has been simplified. Click on it for the full version.
The researchers suspect that zinc supplementation causes brain cells in the hippocampus to release less glutamate. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter that activates the NMDA receptor, plays an important role in migraines.
In addition, the researchers believe, zinc supplementation increases GABA activity in the brain. GABA does the exact opposite of what glutamate does, inhibiting the NMDA receptor.
"Zinc supplementation had a beneficial effect on the frequency of migraine attacks in migraine patients", write the researchers. "Additional well-designed clinical trials with a long period of intervention and different dosages of zinc are required."
Nutr J. 2020 Sep 14;19(1):101.
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Headache & Migraine