Beneficial effect of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in the management of episodic migraines

Migraine is defined as a common, chronic, throbbing, weakening neurological disease, accompanied by a serious one-sided headache, nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. One of the recognized hypotheses on migraine is hypoxia or mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, migraines can be caused by factors such as nitric oxide hypersensitivity and abnormal cortical activity.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-design study has evaluated among 92 women with episodic migraines, the effects of 12 weeks supplementation with 2 x 300 mg/d of alpha-lipoic acid on headache severity, headache frequency per month, duration of attacks and lactate (a marker of mitochondrial function), nitric oxide, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 levels, and clinical symptoms of migraines. Results showed that alpha-lipoic acid supplementation induces a significant decrease in lactate serum (p = 0.039) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (p = 0.025) levels when compared to the placebo group. In addition, the severity (p < 0.001), frequency (p = 0.001), headache impact test (p < 0.001), headache dairy results (p = 0.003), and migraine headache index score (p < 0.001) had significantly decreased in the intervention as compared to the control group. No significant changes were observed for nitric oxide levels and duration of migraine pains.

In conclusion, this study highlighted the potential of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in the management of severity and frequency of episodic migraines. 

Kelishadi MR, Naeini AA, Khorvash F, Askari G, Heidari Z. The beneficial effect of Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation as a potential adjunct treatment in episodic migraines. Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 7;12(1):271. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-04397-z. PMID: 34997178; PMCID: PMC8742085.