Inspected By Dr. Waqas Arshad, Neurologist, M.B.B.S.(K.E), F.C.P.S.(Neurology), Certified in Movement Disorder & EEG (USA)
Researchers have discovered that curcumin for migraines is an alternative natural remedy that instantly reduces inflammation in the brain by protecting cells from free radicle damage.
Curcumin for Migraines
Migraine is a prevailing health state linked with considerable pain and discomfort in the head. Movement, light, noise, and other spurs may induce symptoms like tiredness, nausea, visual disturbances, numbness and tingling, irritability, difficulty speaking, temporary loss of vision, and many more. This neurological condition can leave you in bed for days! Neurogenic inflammation has a crucial role in migraine, and curcumin is a renowned herbal compound that has anti-inflammatory effects against suppressing this neuro-inflammation. Curcumin in turmeric gives curry its yellow color, but it’s also being studied as a treatment for many diseases, including cancer and arthritis.
WHO states: “Migraine affects of the population, and one in every four U.S. families has somebody living with migraine. Most of all people living with migraine conditions are women. It is calculated that the industry loses $31 billion annually due to absenteeism, lost productivity, and medical expenses caused by migraine.
More than 200 million people worldwide are living with migraine disorders:
Several medications can help relieve migraines—including aspirin and ibuprofen—they don’t work for everyone. An alternative and natural treatment is curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric. Many people take curcumin supplements to help ease joint pain or boost their immune system after an illness. But recent studies have also shown that taking curcumin might reduce migraine symptoms in some people who suffer from this condition regularly.
But how does curcumin work for migraines?
Turmeric is a leading herb that has been used for thousands of years. It’s most commonly used in many recipes and is now available as a dietary supplement. In addition to curry and kitchen staples, turmeric fixed many ailments in the past and present, such as headaches and digestive problems. The main active ingredient in turmeric is the compound curcumin. Curcumin is helpful for a variety of things, including reducing inflammation and pain. To ensure curcumin absorption, consume it with fatty foods and take prescribed amounts to see any effect.
Luckily, another ingredient called piperine (black pepper extract) helps increase your body’s absorption of curcumin. Still, it is present in many dietary supplements designed specifically to take advantage of this bioavailability (absorption) that helps curcumin to boost and increase its effects in your bloodstream.
Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that has been shown to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain associated with sports injuries or other trauma. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for treating inflammation associated with migraine headaches. While many prescription drugs are available to treat migraines, none come close to the effectiveness of curcumin.
Still not convinced? Let’s ponder Studies & Research:
A review article in 2012 unveiled that curcumin modulates several molecular targets and exerts multifaceted pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammation effects for treating and preventing chronic inflammatory diseases. Also, it is shown that curcumin soothes neurogenic pain by down-regulating inflammatory mediator expression. Moreover, experimental studies show that curcumin can be regarded as a new promising target in migraine prevention through antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.[3,4] Moreso, it has shown beneficial impacts on humans, alone or in combination with other dietary factors.[5,6,7,8]
Method: Double-Blind Study:
Double-blinded study design prevents bias from creeping into the results. In a double-blinded study design, neither party knows what they’re getting until after they’ve received their respective treatments and completed their follow-up interviews. These interviews provide information about whether each participant thought they had supplemented with curcumin or the placebo—and if so, how much relief they experienced from taking one over the other.
What Happened in the double-blind study?
According to the National Library of Medicine, the study sought to calculate the effects of curcumin supplements on clinical as well as serum levels.
44 women with migraine received 500 mg of curcumin twice daily or placebo supplements for eight weeks. It also calculated clinical symptoms like headache severity, duration, and frequency at the baseline and end of the study.
Results of Double-blind Study:
Compared with a placebo, curcumin supplementation led to a significant reduction of migraine after eight weeks. Headache frequency showed marginal improvement in the curcumin group compared to controls.
Thus, curcumin supplements improved the pro-inflammatory markers and clinical traits of migraine headaches, which could be attributed to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Clinical Trials Pertaining to Curcumin’s Ability to Reduce the Frequency of Migraines
In a clinical trial, the patients who took 600 mg of curcumin per day for three months experienced fewer impressions of migraines than those taking a placebo —and this was true even though both groups had similar reductions in other migraine risk factors (stress levels and physical activity).
Another study found that taking 1 gram of curcumin in the form of encapsulated supplement daily for three months reduced migraine frequency by about 50 percent, compared with a 17 percent reduction among people who took 200 mg daily but no curcumin pills at all.
Hence, people who took curcumin had fewer migraines over the three months of the study than those who took a placebo pill.
How to Take Curcumin for Migraine Headaches:
Curcumin supplementation is regarded safe, and no harmful effects have been briefed at lower doses. One elder study on ten adults showed that taking 250-490 mg of curcumin daily for a week provoked no side effects.
A new assessment from 2022 also showed that taking doses of roughly 1,000 mg of curcumin a day did not show any prominent adverse effects. Yet, a small range of people may undergo some mild side effects at higher turmeric dosages. These may include:
- Above 1000mg yields digestive issues.
- 450 mg or higher may cause headaches and nausea.
- 8000mg or higher dose causes a skin rash.
Extremely high doses of 1,170 mg per pound (2,600 mg/kg) of body weight daily for three months, or up to 2 years, may cause severe side effects in rats. These include increased liver size, stained fur, stomach ulcers, inflammation, and increased intestinal or liver cancer risk.
However, the quantity produces the poison. No evidence exists that lower amounts of curcumin cause severe side effects in humans when consumed over short periods. Yet, human studies on the long-term impacts still need to be included.
The Final Analysis
Based on current research, clinical trials, and studies, curcumin is a safe and effective treatment for migraines. Curcumin has shown commitment to preventing migraines. We hope you continue exploring and experimenting with curcumin for your migraines. It’s important to remember that this is just one study. There are many other things we still need to learn about the effects of turmeric supplements. So we encourage everyone to consider taking them to do their research before starting any new treatments.
However, one thing is for sure curcumin’s antioxidant capacity helps prevent migraines by protecting your brain from free radical damage. In addition to curcumin, turmeric contains other compounds that can be helpful for migraine sufferers:
- Piperine (black pepper extract) fosters the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent.
- Gingerol has anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce blood flow during a migraine attack.
Parohan M, Sarraf P, Javanbakht MH, Foroushani AR, Ranji-Burachaloo S, Djalali M. The synergistic effects of nano-curcumin and coenzyme Q10 supplementation in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31241007/ Nutr Neurosci. 2021 Apr;24(4):317-326. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2019.1627770. Epub 2019 Jun 26. PMID: 31241007.
Boarescu I, Pop RM, Boarescu PM, Bocșan IC, Gheban D, Râjnoveanu RM, Râjnoveanu A, Bulboacă AE, Buzoianu AD, Bolboacă SD. Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of Curcumin Nanoparticles Associated with Diclofenac Sodium in Experimental Acute Inflammation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36233038/ Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 3;23(19):11737. doi: 10.3390/ijms231911737. PMID: 36233038; PMCID: PMC9570253.
Bulboacă AE, Bolboacă SD, Stănescu IC, Sfrângeu CA, Bulboacă AC. Preemptive Analgesic and Antioxidative Effect of Curcumin for Experimental Migraine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5674483/ Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:4754701. doi: 10.1155/2017/4754701. Epub 2017 Oct 24. PMID: 29204441; PMCID: PMC5674483.
Shojaei M, Sahebkar A, Khorvash F, Fallahpour S, Askari G, Bagherniya M. The effects of phytosomal curcumin supplementation on clinical symptoms, and inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers in patients with migraine: A protocol for a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9840775/ Avicenna J Phytomed. 2023 Jan-Feb;13(1):45-57. doi: 10.22038/AJP.2022.21242. PMID: 36698737; PMCID: PMC9840775.
Abdolahi, M., Karimi, E., Sarraf, P. et al. The omega-3 and Nano-curcumin effects on vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) in episodic migraine patients: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Res Notes 14, 283 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-021-05700/
Rezaie S, Askari G, Khorvash F, Tarrahi MJ, Amani R. Effects of Curcumin Supplementation on Clinical Features and Inflammation, in Migraine Patients: A Double-Blind Controlled, Placebo Randomized Clinical Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8724631/ Int J Prev Med. 2021 Dec 1;12:161. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_405_20. PMID: 35070194; PMCID: PMC8724631.