Vitamin C for the treatment of migraine headaches: an introduction
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is essential for growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. Vitamin C is used to form collagen, heal wounds and to repair teeth, bones and cartilage as well as make skin, tendons, scar tissue, blood vessels and ligaments. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which help reduce damage to the body’s cells.
Vitamin C isn’t made by the body, so it must be included in the daily diet.
Foods containing Vitamin C
All fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C. Foods with the most Vitamin C include:
- Green peppers
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Turnip greens
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- Winter squash
- Red peppers
Vitamin C and migraines – how it works
Vitamin C has been researched as a possible treatment for different types of pain, including regional pain syndrome. Another study, found lower levels of Vitamin C in people with neuropathic pain syndrome.
One study of arthritis sufferers found that people who eat lots of Vitamin C had less bone degeneration that causes knee pain and can lead to osteoarthritis.
Although how Vitamin C may help ease migraine symptoms is unknown, it may work the same way in people who are people with chronic migraine.
- Powder packs to make fizz drinks
- Gummy chews
- Skin creams
- Soft gels
Side effects and other precautions
Side effects or toxic effects of Vitamin C are not common because the body doesn’t store Vitamin C. When doses of 2,000 mg or more are taken it can cause:
- Upset stomach
- Nausea, vomiting
- Kidney stones
- Destruction of red blood cells
Injected Vitamin C can cause:
- Kidney function problems
- Discomfort at the injection site
Certain medications can lower Vitamin C levels, including:
- Contraceptives that contain estrogen (birth control pills)
- Aspirin, if taken frequently
Severe deficiency of Vitamin C causes scurvy.
Who should not take Vitamin C
Vitamin C may interact with blood thinners and high doses may interfere with some lab tests.
High doses of Vitamin C should not be taken by people with:
- Renal tubular acidosis
- Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or natural products that will help with migraines without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.