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Antioxidants for Your Migraines

Everyone knows that antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene are good for you, and that they can neutralize the effects of free radicals, which may cause cancer. But can they really prevent migraines? To answer this question, people who suffered from chronic migraines were given a combination of three antioxidants (pine bark extract, vitamin C and vitamin E), which they consumed each day for three months. At the beginning and end of the study, each person completed a questionnaire that measured the number of days they suffered from migraines, along with the severity of their headaches.

The antioxidant combination appeared to be effective in reducing both the frequency and the severity of migraines. In the three months prior to the study, the study group suffered from migraines an average of 44.4 days per patient. At the end of the study period, the number of headache days had decreased to 26.0. When migraines did occur, they seemed less severe while patients were taking antioxidants. Before the study, patients rated the severity of their migraines at an average of 7.5 (out of 10); after treatment, average headache severity fell to 5.5.

While pine bark extract is available only as a supplement, vitamins C and E can be found in dozens of foods. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, green vegetables (mainly asparagus, broccoli and spinach) and tomatoes. Vitamin E, meanwhile, can be found in vegetable oils, sweet potatoes, avocados, nuts and sunflower seeds. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about how you can incorporate these foods into your diet, and visit for additional information.


Chayasirisobhon S. Use of a pine bark extract and antioxidant vitamin combination product as therapy for migraine in patients refractory to pharmacologic medication. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain May 2006;46:788-793.