pine bark extract reduces pain and severity of migraine headaches

If you’re in severe pain, your head is throbbing, you’re sick to your stomach and every light and every sound bothers you, you are one of the one billion people worldwide who suffers from migraine. You are also one of the one billion people who will be very glad to hear this . . . finally!

 

Migraine is unbelievably common. It is the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting 14% of people in the world and between 12% and 22% of the U.S. population. 91% of them can’t function normally during their attacks and frequently miss work. In Canada, the numbers are only slightly better: at least 8.3% of Canadians suffer from migraine.

That’s the really bad news. The really good news is that help is on the way.

The study included 46 people who suffer from migraine headaches. 22 of them used what the researchers called “standard management” on demand. Interestingly, the researchers consider a natural treatment of magnesium and vitamin B2 as the standard treatment.

There is plenty of research behind that natural treatment. Magnesium has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by 41.6% (Cephalalgia 1996;16:257-63). It has also been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks in children (Headache 2003; 43:601-10) and to help premenstrual migraine (Headache 1991; 31:298-301). Several studies show that B2 reduces the frequency of migraine headaches. Some of them used high doses, but the most recent used only 25mg a day (Neurology 1998;50:466-70).

The other 24 people in the study used the standard management but added 150mg of pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) a day for 8 weeks. The pine bark group was compared to the magnesium and B2 group and also to another group of 21 people being treated with topiramate, a drug used for migraine.

Compared to standard management, the number of migraine attacks was significantly reduced in the pine bark group. They also had to use less rescue medications, including analgesics. At the end of the 8 week study, pain scores were significantly lower in the pine bark group than in the control group as was working incapacity.

The drug therapy was also effective compared to standard treatment, but it is not clear from the study how it compared to pine bark extract. However, use of the drug was made difficult for the migraine sufferers because there were so many side effects, including a burning or prickling sensation, fatigue, dizziness and nausea even at low doses. 50% of the side effects forced the migraine sufferers to go on another drug to manage the side effects of the migraine drug.

Another interesting discovery was that all the migraine sufferers had high levels of free radicals that went down significantly on the pine bark but not in either of the other two groups.

This study suggests that pine bark extract reduces the pain of migraine headaches and their frequency and severity with the added bonus of reducing free radical damage and being extremely safe.


Panminerva Med 2020;62(2):102-108


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For much more on preventing and treating migraine, see our book .

For comprehensive help with migraines, . Linda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

 

The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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