Vitamin B1 And The Reduction Of Migraine Headaches
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin your body needs for cell growth and function. Without this vital nutrient, low levels of thiamine can lead to health issues in the brain, like memory issues, confusion, and sensory and motor dysfunction, to name a few. Not to mention that recent research shows thiamine supplements may help those with migraine headaches
In this article, you’ll learn more about thiamine, how much thiamine you should consume each day, and how you can make sure you have enough thiamine in your daily routine.
What Is Thiamine?
Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin you must consume daily to receive adequate amounts for optimal health. The human body needs thiamine to help support nerve health. Additionally, it plays a role in energy production in the body. Without thiamine, the health of nerves and the brain can suffer.
You can take Vitamin B1 in the form of a daily multivitamin, an individual supplement, or through your diet. Thiamine is in enriched rice and noodles, fortified cereals, and beans in adequate amounts of around 33 percent of the daily recommended value or above.
How Much Thiamine Should You Consume Each Day?
Most adult men should consume 1.2 milligrams of thiamine daily, while adult women should consume at least 1.1 mg daily. Pregnant women will need a little more thiamine daily, about 1.4 mg daily. This will help support the neurological health of their unborn child(ren).
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are not your typical headache. However, these types of headaches can cause debilitating pain, irritability, vomiting, and exhaustion. Other symptoms may involve brain fog, mood changes, nausea, and sensitivity to light. Additionally, you may experience flashes of light called aura. Migraine headaches are typically isolated to one area of the head. It can develop by triggers like stress or hormonal changes such as during pregnancy or menstrual changes. Additionally, certain food products like wine, cheese, yeast, and caffeine can also trigger migranes.
Statistics show that women have a three times greater risk of developing migraine headaches than men. Additionally, migraines typically lessen in frequency or resolve after the onset of menopause. Common migraine headache treatments include prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers taken daily to treat and prevent migraine episodes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for migraine headaches currently. And since migraines are thought to be a result of genetic mutations in the brain cells, this condition may run in families.
How Does Thiamine Affect Migraine Headaches?
A 2022 cross-sectional study of adults shows that a high intake of thiamine daily may reduce one’s odds of having migraine headaches. A 2016 case study reveals a similar finding. A high thiamine intake in this latter study was 250 to 750 mg daily for ten days, and then a high dose of 750 mg maximum when migraine headaches came back. A one-gram dose of thiamine was given to try and reduce recurring migraines, but recurrent headaches soon returned. Therefore, researchers suggest that the maximum dose should be no more than 750 mg daily for high-dose treatment of migraine headaches.
Disclaimer: It is important to note that before taking a high dose of thiamine, you should speak with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you to do so they can supervise any side effects. Even when taking low doses of thiamine, some people may have side effects. The most common include tachycardia (rapid heart rate), anxiety, or trouble falling asleep.
How Do I Know If I’m Getting Enough Thiamine?
Blood tests are not able to measure thiamine levels in the body. Therefore, if you want to see if you have healthy Vitamin B1 levels, your doctor will have to order special tests. This may include a special assay test or a thiamine urine test. Your doctor will likely only order such tests if you have clear symptoms of thiamine deficiency or if you are at high risk for thiamine deficiency. Those at risk for thiamine deficiency include:
- Those with alcohol dependence issues
- People with health issues like HIV or diabetes
- Older adults
- Those persons who have undergone bariatric surgery
- People who are taking medicines like lasix (furosemide) or chemotherapy containing fluorouracil
- To ensure have enough thiamine in your body, you can check your daily diet to see if you consume enough each day. You can do this by including foods in your daily routine that are good sources of thiamine. Milled, enriched rice and fortified cereals are the best sources of thiamine. However, thiamine is also in nuts, beans like black beans and peas, as well as animal products like pork chops, trout, mussels, and tuna fish.
Examples of meals that contain good sources of thiamine include:
- Fortified cereal with 100% thiamine, along with your favorite milk and fruit
- Tuna fish casserole with enriched egg noodles, peas, and freshly cooked tuna
- Beans and rice made from black beans and enriched long-grain white rice
If you feel like you do not consume enough foods that contain good sources of thiamine, consider a daily multivitamin that contains most of your daily thiamine needs. This is especially true for those women who are pregnant since their daily needs for thiamine are higher than most adults.
Wrapping It Up: The Future of Migraine Treatment
Research on treating migraine headaches with nutrition is in its early stages. The National Institutes of Health reports that studies are in the works to see if, aside from thiamine, other nutrients like magnesium, riboflavin, or vitamin B12 or compounds like coenzyme Q10, fever-few, or butterbur may help those with migraine headaches find relief.
In the meantime, if you feel like you have healthy levels of thiamine in your body, but are still having trouble with your migraine headaches, then reach out to your doctor to see if it may be safe for you to try a high-dose thiamine routine.