Vitamin B and folate fight migraine
Griffith University researchers have recently concluded a clinical trial showing inexpensive supplements help migraine sufferers.
Griffith’s Genomics Research Centre (GRC) Director, Professor Lyn Griffiths, said the trial had shown that folate and vitamin B helped to significantly reduce frequency, severity and disability of the disorder.
"The trial provided vitamin B supplements and folic acid to more than 50 long-term migraine sufferers for six months," Professor Griffiths said.
"Results showed a drastic improvement in headache frequency, pain severity and associated disability for those treated."
Previous studies by the GRC identified a gene, known as MTHFR, which makes people susceptible to migraine attacks when there is a mutation or dysfunction in the gene.
The dysfunction causes people to have higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is known to cause an increased risk of stroke and other coronary diseases.
"The recent trial was founded on the theory that vitamin B supplements and folic acid will reduce the homocysteine and in turn, improve migraine symptoms.
"The success of our trial – supported by the Brain Foundation, Janssens and Blackmores – has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients.
"We are now going to undertake a more extensive trial and further studies to find out the best dosage of vitamin supplements for individuals as this may vary depending on a patient’s genetic profile."
A migraine attack causes severe headache with associated nausea and vomiting. It is a devastating disorder that affects approximately 12 per cent of the Australian population.
Professor Griffiths said there was a real need to develop effective treatments to help those afflicted with migraine.
"Current treatments for migraine are not always effective and can be expensive and cause adverse effects," she said.
Professor Griffiths’ work is at the forefront of personalised medicine, tailoring medical care to an individual’s genetic profile, which is a far safer and more efficient method of prescribing treatment.
Professor Griffiths’ team is a world leader in identifying genes associated with migraine disorders and was the first to show that variations in hormonal-pathway and blood-flow related genes are linked with the disorder.
The Genomics Research Centre has established a significant bank of population genomic resources, including the world’s largest collection of DNA samples from migraine patients, multigenerational pedigrees and samples from the unique isolated founder-population from South Pacific’s Norfolk Island.
(Source: Griffith University: February 2009)