Curing Migraines with Functional Medicine; Part 2

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Part 1 of Curing Migraines with Functional Medicine discussed migraine headaches in the presence of magnesium deficiency. In functional medicine, another possible cause for migraine headaches is mitochondrial disorder, a condition affected by Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and other essential migraine nutrients.


Mitochondria make energy

The mitochondria are structures in your cells that are responsible for taking fat, protein, and starches from food and converting them into energy.  Your body uses the product, ATP, as its fuel to perform many important biological functions.

With mitochondrial disorder, your body doesn’t get enough energy to carry out everyday tasks, and you suffer symptoms like fatigue, muscular aches, brain fog, and sometimes, chronic headaches.

If necessary, your doctor may order a urine sample to diagnose mitochondrial disorder.

Mitochondrial disorder

CURING MIGRAINES WITH FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, PART 2Many health experts believe that the following illnesses are linked with mitochondrial dysfunction:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Autism
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cyclical vomiting syndrome
  • Seizures
  • ADHD

What causes mitochondrial imbalances?

There are many possible reasons for migraines from mitochondrial disorder to occur; the most common are:

  • Malnutrition
  • Environmental toxins, such as metals or chemicals
  • Viral infection
  • Irregular oxidation rate
  • Lifestyle choices, such as inactivity and a diet consisting of high sugar, saturated fats, alcohol, and refined flours

Natural migraine tactics

Based on a functional medicine approach, doctors recommend the following for migraines and other illnesses caused by poor mitochondria health:

  1. Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is the most prescribed nutrients for mitochondrial health, particularly in migraines.  Numerous scientific studies, such as this one on coenzyme Q10 confirms that CoQ10 is crucial for maintaining cellular health with no negative side effects, a boon for migraine patients. Recommended dose is 150-600mg of coenzyme Q10 per day. (For more, read Coenzyme Q10 Benefits and Dosage Information
  2. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – B vitamins play an important role in neurological health.  Migraine specialists recommend at least 400mg of riboflavin per day for maximum migraine health.
  3. CURING MIGRAINES WITH FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, PART 2Folic acid – Another essential B vitamin for migraines and  mitochondrial disorder is folate.
  4. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) – Vitamin B12 is vital for maintaining the myelin sheathe which protects your nervous system.
  5. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) – Vitamin B6 works with vitamin B12 in boosting neurological health.
  6. Vitamin D – Although we absorb vitamin D via sunlight, many of us still do not get enough of this necessary nutrient.  Recommended dose is 60-100mg
  7. Zinc – healthy trace metals like zinc are also beneficial for mitochondrial functioning.
  8. Omega-3 fatty acids – If mitochondrial disorder is caused by poor diet, then supplementing with healthy fatty acids is crucial for healing
  9. Antioxidants – Mitochondria are essential for protecting your cells from free radicals. With mitochondria disorder, it is necessary to eat a diet rich in antioxidants.  For migraineurs, good options are wild blueberries, artichoke, apples, pecans, potatoes, and berries.
  10. Herbs and seasonings – Butterbur, rosemary, cloves, turmeric, ginger, oregano, and cilantro are all beneficial for mitochondrial health and migraine prevention.
  11. Exercise – Including at least 20-30 minutes of exercise per day is helpful for boosting mitochondrial health, relieving stress, increasing energy, and preventing migraine headaches.
  12. Avoid environmental toxins- Mercury, pesticides, air pollution, preservatives, harsh cleansers, and nonstick cookware all contribute to mitochondrial illness and migraine triggers.

Please tell us…

Have you tested for mitochondrial disorder as a possible explanation for migraines? Have you tried all the suggestions listed for natural nutrients for migraine headaches?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Read more about migraine prevention:

Cure Migraines with Functional Medicine; Part 1

Integrative Medicine for Migraines- East meets West

Got your Vitamin Q?


Mitochondrial dysfunction and migraine: evidence and hypotheses, PubMed, NCBI

Open label trial of coenzyme Q10 as a migraine preventive, PubMed, NCBI

Mitochondrial DNA and gastrointestinal motor and sensory functions in health and functional gastrointestinal disorders, PubMed, NCBI

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