Monday, January 21, 2008

Homocysteine and Migraines

Brandi has suffered from severe migraine headaches and nobody had ever been able to discover the cause. During her successful pregnancy, I noticed that she had very few severe headaches. So, I started to suspect that the lack of migraines might be related to either the prenatal vitamins or blood thinners. I recently happened upon this interesting article (http://www.patrickholford.com/content.asp?id_Content=1398) on the possible connection between the MTHFR mutation and migraine headaches.

Homocysteine and Migraines

Homocysteine, you may recall from previous communications, has a profound effect on blood vessels, hence its link to heart attacks and strokes. Dr H Kowa from the Institute of Neurological Sciences Faculty of Medicine at Japan’s Tottori University, wondered whether homocysteine might have anything to do with migraines.

He recruited 74 patients who had frequent migraine headaches and 261 normal, healthy controls. After testing them for the MTHFR gene mutation, which indicates a tendency to overproduce homocysteine, he found that, compared to controls, more than twice as many of the migraine sufferers had the mutation. And sufferers who experienced ‘aura’ symptoms before a migraine (blurred vision, bright spots in their field of vision, muddled or confused thinking, extreme exhaustion, anxiety, numbness or a tingling sensation in one side of the body) were four times more likely to have
the mutation and high levels of homocysteine.

This study suggests that the tendency to migraines might be inherited in many people, due to the MTHFR gene mutation, and that high homocysteine levels might also be involved. That has yet to be proven, but if so it would suggest that a homocysteine-lowering diet and supplement program, including B2, B6, B12 and folic acid, might prove enormously helpful for migraine sufferers. In one study, those taking high-dose vitamin B2 for four months had substantially less migraines.
My recommendation is to test your homocysteine level and supplement with homocysteine lowering nutrients daily, including B2 (100mg), B6 (100mg), B12 (150mcg), folic acid (2000mcg), and TMG (3000mg).

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog while researching the MTHFR mutation. I found out today that I carry this gene mutation. I am 31 and have suffered 3 m/c's over the past year and have had extensive testing. As a last resort, we opted to have a 3rd opinion from a high risk OB (Lexington KY)who recommended this test. We just found out the lab results today, but have yet to dicuss with our MD. I have been researching all night and it sounds like there are simple treatments, but is there still a high chance for a congenital defect or neural tube problem? We were happy to finally find something wrong, but worried now of the chances of NTD or even Down Syndrome. Any light you could shed on this topic would be much appreciated.

Daron said...

Anonymous,

I wish that you had left an e-mail addres...

I'm not an expert on this subject. My understanding is that the MTHFR mutation causes a blood clotting disorder. The concern is with blod clots forming in the placenta... if you can keep the blood clots from forming, I think you're okay. This is usually treated with prenatal vitamines and blood thinners. Our doctor said that a simple baby asprin a day might have saved the others... we opted to use stronger blood thinners just to be safe. By the way we are also in Lexington, Kentucky!

Louise Crooks said...

Thanks for your post. It occurred to me today that there might be a link between MTHFR gene mutation with high homocysteine levels and migraine. I suffer dreadfully with occular migraine /cluster headaches, and found out last year after a miscarriage that I had these gene mutations. I was pregnant for 6 weeks, and the whole time I was pregnant I didn't have a migraine. Anyway - your post as well as some articles I ahve come across seem to confirm what struck me today.

Warmly
Louise Crooks
louise@keystoclarity.com

Anonymous said...

I just lost my 15 week old baby and found out I am missing one copy of each chromosome. I am so anxious that I have not found yet on your blog yet whether this is what your wife has or if what you refer to is missing both copies? I have had severe migraines in my pregnancies...I am stunned right now to say the least. My email is masladybug@catholic.org
We lost our first daughter at 20 weeks 6 years ago...there was a blood clot in her cord and a narrowing of the cord at its insertion. When my water broke, it was filled with clots...I just need to know what has happened. My doctor is putting me on baby aspirin and the folic acid prescription form. Anything you can tell us would be SO appreciated.
Adele in Louisiana

Daron said...

Here is a link to another article from Reuters:

http://www.rehabpub.com/reuters_article.asp?id=20090729scie002%2Ehtml

This article is states that there is no increase in chance of normal migraines but that there is a link to migraines with auras (visual disturbances). I'll have to ask my wife if she sees anything funny when she has headaches. Regardless, she doesn't seem to have them as long as she takes a baby aspirin and folic acid. So I think in her case there is a link.

Sarah & Paul said...

ANONYMOUS & DARON:

MTHFR does create a clotting disorder; however, by name it reduces the amount of folate (folic acid) absorbed by your body. This is what can lead to downs syndrome, spina bifida, and other developmental problems.

If you know you have an MTHFR mutation it is important to be taking high doses of folic acid if you are pregnant, could be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant. Same thing with B-vitamins. Taking a vitamin B-complex (has all of the necessary B vitamins) can help to prevent development issues with Baby.

I hope that helps!