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Page Up Date 007/26/2021


By Dr. Ashraf Girgis ND.

Healthy Nutrition


While there are about 150 types of primary and secondary headaches defined by the International Headache Society (1), here I would like to focus solely on migraine headaches.

Migraine headaches regularly affect 12% of Americans. The pain is relentless, and it can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Other symptoms accompanying migraine headaches include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Sudden movements and/or exercise can sometimes worsen symptoms.

While symptoms can vary from person to person, other common symptoms include:

·      Severe pain on one side of the head.

·      Throbbing pain.

·      Visual disturbances.

·      Nausea and vomiting (as mentioned above).

  • Causes
     Emotional stress.
    Allergies. It is very important to find what kinds of foods you may be sensitive to, as these could contribute to migraines.
    Nutritional deficiencies – particularly the absence of Vitamin B6, fatty acids, and magnesium.
    Hormonal imbalances.
    Poor posture can result in many migraine headaches, particularly when muscles are tense, and your jaw is tightened.
    Eye strain.
    Excessive caffeine intake or withdrawal.
     These are few among many causes.


While it is imperative to find what is causing each individuals specific reasons for their migraine headaches and address each individuals accordingly.

For example if issue is food sensitivities or hormonal imbalances or stress etc. Each needs to be addressed individually in order to successfully stop the migraine.

However, here I would like to bring 3 alternative approaches that scientifically seems to be successful in resolving migraine headaches in some individuals.

Basket of Eggs
Basket of Eggs

1.    Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin – also known as Vitamin B2 – is a water soluble vitamin that is found in organ meats (ex: liver), fortified whole grain bread, chicken, eggs, milk, yogurt, and green vegetables (14).

Vitamin B2’s major components are two important co-enzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). The reason I mention these two co-enzymes is because they are involved in many activities in our body such as cellular processes, growth and development, and the metabolism of steroids, drugs, and fat.

Riboflavin has significant neuroprotective effects. Additionally, it ameliorates oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neuroinflammation (13).


Because of its neuroprotective, effects it has been used in diseases such as Parkinson’s as well as to treat migraine headaches.

Riboflavin has been used as a prophylactic in patients with migraine headaches for a long time, but its mechanism of action was not clear until recently (6). In a study in Japan in 2020, scientists gave patients 10 or 40 mg/day of riboflavin. After 3 months, they concluded:

“…Low-dose riboflavin is safe and modestly effective for migraines in children. It may be especially beneficial for children without other co-morbid headache types” (7).

Similar studies in adults and children have reiterated these conclusions.


Magnesium plays a very important role in our bodies; it is involved in hundreds of bodily functions. You can read my article about magnesium here. In the context of migraine headaches, it alters nociceptive processing and neurotransmitter release – both of which play an important role in pain (4).

While low levels of magnesium in the blood have not shown to consistently result in migraines, a low level of ionized magnesium correlates with all types of headaches. These include migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches (4).


-In a study, patients with low levels of ionized magnesium (below 0.54 mmol/l considered low)were given 1 gram of magnesium sulfate intravenously. 86 percent of patients showed sustained pain relief for over 24 hours.  

Scientists in Germany looked at 16000 individuals found low levels of serum hypomagnesemia (low magnesium level in blood) to be 14.5% of population.(19)It also seems that hypomagnesemia is more frequent among women than men, and it is particularly prevalent in patients with diabetes and asthma in conjunction with electrolyte abnormality (low calcium, potassium, and sodium). It is also seen often in patients on diuretics and Digoxin (5).  


Essential Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are important components of cell membrane phospholipids, which protect cells by creating barriers around them (16). In addition, fatty acids decrease the levels of inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), chemokines, proinflammatory eicosanoids, and cytokines.

This matters because migraines are an inflammatory disease. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and fish oil impact few other inflammatory disease as well and it can be used as alternative therapy. (17) by curbing and impacting inflammatory biomarkers.

Essential fatty acids are also neuroprotective (17). In one study, patients were given 1 gram of fish oil – full of essential fatty acids – daily for two months. Among these, 74% of patients saw a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency and severity (18).


Other Treatments

Other treatments include the use of herbs (feverfew, ginger, ginkgo, and Bilboa extract), 5HTP, and melatonin. All are shown to reduce migraine frequency.  

Please consult your doctor before starting any of the above treatments, as they may have unforeseen side effects and interactions with medication or sensitivities.

Thanks for visiting  where ancient wisdom meet today’s science.
For questions or issues feel free to
Call 616-777-0608 or email Dr. Girgis directly at:

Dr. Ashraf Girgis N.D.




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