Migraine Prevention: Melatonin
Emerging research shows that melatonin is a powerful migraine treatment. More research is needed, but the evidence for this cheap supplement as a top-of-the-line migraine treatment is growing.
Five reasons why melatonin is a migraine killer:
- In a 2016 study of 196 participants, melatonin (3 mg) was superior to amitriptyline (25 mg) in the reduction of migraine frequency. Melatonin users experienced weight loss and amitriptyline users experienced weight gain (study link).
- Melatonin reduces oxidative stress and excitotoxicity (study link). Migraine sufferers have elevated levels of oxidative stress and oxidative stress is the largest migraine trigger (study 1, 2). Excitotoxicity is also associated with migraines (study link).
- Sleep disorders are common in migraine sufferers (study link). Melatonin is released at night to regulate your sleep schedule (study link). Melatonin is more important than ever because artificial light from all of our electronic devices stops the release of melatonin (article link).
- Harvard researchers found that blind migraine sufferers who still have their melanopsin receptors experience pain from bright light (study link). Melanopsin blocks melatonin (study link). Researchers are now working on drugs that block melanopsin, which will increase melatonin, to fight photophobia and sleep disturbances in migraine sufferers (study link). Melatonin is a key component of reducing pain from bright light.
- Melatonin has anti-inflammatory properties that researchers are studying for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, poor brain perfusion (blood supply to the brain), and central nervous system (CNS) injuries (study link). Inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, poor brain perfusion, and CNS injuries are all associated with migraines (study 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
It’s suggested that taking melatonin 30 minutes prior to sleep, before your body starts making its own melatonin, is best (study link). The research is mixed on how well melatonin works. Side effects may include headaches or daytime sleepiness. As with any supplement, speak with your doctor before taking melatonin.
Melatonin has the potential to be a world-class migraine medication with very few side effects.