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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Dietary Supplements for Headaches

June 2021
Man looking at pill bottle

Several dietary supplements, including riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and the herbs butterbur and feverfew, have been studied for headaches and migraine, with some promising results in preliminary studies. However, more rigorous studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. This issue of the digest provides information on the current research for several dietary supplements studied for the prevention and/or treatment of headaches and migraines.

What the Science Says: 
Dietary Supplements for Headaches

Modality and Summary of Current Research

Butterbur appears to help reduce the frequency of migraines in adults and children; however, there are serious safety concerns.

Read more about the research on butterbur for headaches >

There is some limited evidence that coenzyme Q10 may help reduce the duration and frequency of migraines.

Read more about the research on coenzyme Q10 for headaches >

Some research suggests that feverfew may help prevent migraine headaches, but results have been mixed. Some studies have suggested that feverfew may reduce migraine headache frequency as well as some symptoms, such as pain, nausea/vomiting, and light sensitivity.

Read more about the research on feverfew for headaches >

Research on the use of magnesium supplements to prevent or reduce symptoms of migraine headaches is limited. There is some evidence that magnesium supplementation may provide modest reductions in the frequency of migraines.

Read more about the research on magnesium for headaches >

Some, but not all, of the few small studies conducted to date have found evidence of a beneficial effect of riboflavin supplements on migraine headaches in adults and children.

Read more about the research on riboflavin for headaches >

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.


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