Vitamin E

Vitamin E for the treatment of migraine headaches: an introduction

Vitamin E is a nutrient found in numerous foods. It protects the body’s cells, boosts its immune system, helps to widen the body’s blood vessels and keeps blood from clotting.

Vitamin E deficiency is typically only found in people with diseases that prevent them from digesting or absorbing fat. There needs to be fat in the digestive system to absorb Vitamin E. Healthy people rarely have Vitamin E deficiencies, which can cause nerve and muscle damage, muscle weakness, loss of body movement control, vision problems and a weakened immune system.

Foods containing Vitamin E

  • Vegetable oils, such as sunflower, wheat germ, safflower, corn, soybean oils
  • Nuts, particularly almonds and also including peanuts and hazelnuts
  • Seeds
  • Green vegetables, including spinach and broccoli
  • Fortified foods, such as cereals, fruit juices and margarines

Studies on Vitamin E and Migraines

One study in 2009 examined Vitamin E in 72 women with menstrual migraines. For two days before the menstrual cycle, and three days after the women took either Vitamin E or an inactive placebo pill. In the study, those on Vitamin E had significantly less pain severity and less disability. The Vitamin E also helped with sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound and nausea.

Formulations available

  • Oil-filled capsules
  • Tablets
  • Skin creams
  • Body oils
  • Lotions
  • Suppositories
  • Ointment
  • Liquid
  • Lipsticks and lip balms
  • Powder
  • Deodorant
  • Soap

Side effects and other precautions

Who should nottake Vitamin E

Before taking Vitamin E for migraines, discuss it with your doctor. Also, people who have health conditions or take other medications and supplements, your doctor should be consulted before considering taking high doses of Vitamin E.

Vitamin E should not be taken with blood thinners, without discussing it with your doctor.

People with Vitamin K deficiency or bleeding disorders should also be careful about increased bleeding.

Some people experience skin reactions and allergies to Vitamin E applied to the skin.

In rare cases, Vitamin E might be related to gum bleeding.

Certain supplements might alter the effects of chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments. Vitamin E might also reduce the effectiveness of heart medications.

People with retinitis pigmentosa shouldn’t take Vitamin E supplements.

In 2004, the American Heart Association said that high amounts of Vitamin E can be harmful.

Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or who are breastfeeding should consult their doctor before taking Vitamin E supplements.



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 supplement without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.

Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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