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The effect of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) on women with episodic migraines was recently published in the Nature Research journal Scientific Reports. In this randomized and double-blinded trial, 92 women between the ages of 20-50 with episodic migraines (< 15 headache days per month) received either 300 mg ALA twice per day or a matching placebo for a period of 3 months. In addition to clinical symptoms, serum levels of lactate, NO (nitric oxide), and VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) were included in the analysis.
Among the 79 women that completed the trial, a significant reduction in headache severity and frequency was reported (but not duration), along with improvement in indices related to daily performance and well-being. For example, the ALA group had a mean reduction in headache days per month of 2.55 (a nearly 45% decrease) vs. 0.40 (7% decrease) in the control group. After multivariate adjustment, a significant decrease in serum lactate and VCAM-1 was also observed with ALA supplementation, indicating potential improvements in mitochondrial function and endothelial function, respectively.
This is not the first report of a potential benefit of ALA supplementation for migraineurs. A 2007 study at the same dose found a prophylactic effect of ALA, as did an uncontrolled study at 800 mg per day.