A headache can come on at any time and for a number of reasons. People who suffer from migraines or chronic severe headaches, however, experience much more complicated symptoms that are often debilitating. Aside from pain, migraines often bring on nausea, vomiting, light and sounds sensitivity and also visual disturbances called ‘migraine with aura’ (MA). MA can present as blind spots, floaters or flashes of light. A number of studies have implicated genes such as MTHFR in migraine headaches so this is of particular importance to us.
Migraines and other forms of primary headache are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with MTHFR, KCNK18, TRPV1, TRPV3 and HCRTR being cited as the major genes influencing the condition. MTHFR C677T is the most studied in relation to migraines. The categorization of a migraine as a vascular disorder brings MTHFR to prominence and migraines are related to “stroke, myocardial infarction, hypertension and Raynaud’s phenomenon.” Elevated homocysteine, a frequent feature for those with MTHFR C677T, disrupts the inner lining of the nerves and blood vessels, which can contribute to migraines. It also produces neurotoxic effects and hyperexcitability in the brain’s neurons. One of the linked studies found that lowering homocysteine through vitamin supplementation reduced migraine disability.
MTHFR also affects the characteristics of migraine symptoms. A Russian study found that “the ТТ genotype was associated with migraine with aura and unilateral headache, the СТ genotype was associated with physical activity discomfort and stress as a migraine trigger.” The researchers also found a difference in symptoms between men and women. Male TT patients were more prone to bilateral headaches while the females with CT experienced symptoms of nausea and odor aversion more frequently. Both TT and CT patients were much more sensitive to migraine triggers than CC patients.
If you suffer from migraines there is strong evidence that managing your homocysteine level by addressing your MTHFR mutations can reduce the severity of your headaches.
Do you suffer from migraines? Has treating MTHFR helped?
Seven members in my family are nearly migraine free after learning that we carry the MTHFR gene polymorphism. Those of us that have been tested are MTHFR compound heterozygous 1298/677 or homozygous 677. We all take a methylated B-Vitamin complex to aide with our folate (B9) issues. The other B vitamins are the co-factors needed to support methylation. Our kids, in their tweens and teens are being saved from the suffering that those of us in our 30s-70s endured!
Hi Renee, thanks for the insight. I know you posted this a long time ago… I’m compound heterozygous and have had 6-18 migraines a month for almost 20 years. Did methylfolate + methylcobalamin and was migraine free for 45 days for the first time since they started. But it caused over methylation so I had to stop the supplements (fatigue and brain fog and joint pain). For two years Dr still can’t get the dosage right. Can you tell me the doses you’re taking as a comparison? Thanks!
I finally found something that worked for my chronic daily migraines curcumin. Has to be a very good quality I take anywhere from 400mg to 1200 a day depending on how bad the migraine is. I use Designs for health Curcumin but AOR has a good brand as well. I have tried everything under the sn for years and years. Mine are very hormonal but still have daily fog if not migraine. Curcumin has worked better then anything I have tried. You can research it’s effect on migraines and I am not the only one that has had good results with it. Hopefully this helps other migraine sufferers. It doesn’t work every time but at least 80% of the time.
I take 800mcg of folate (not folic acid!), 1500 mg of TMG and the best preventive for migraines is a combo of the herbs feverfew and butterbur daily.
I have been suffering from migraines since having a negative reaction to Lupron (horrible drug) 11years ago. They have been chronic for the past 5 years, along with a slew of other symptoms…fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, degenerative disc, lower back and hip pain, etc
Luckily I have been able to take a year off work to get healthy (or apply for disability). I finally found one doctor to run more than TSH (always normal) and found I was hypothyroid, which started me on natural dessicated thyroid and off on researching the thyroid thinking that might be the cause of the migraines. Nope, but I did get a little energy and somehow gained 30lbs in less than a year with still no appetite. The hypothyroid research led me to testing for the MTFHR mutation which showed heterozygous for C677T. A quick look into that basically said nothing to worry about. In the meantime, I mentioned to my neurologist that I was having troubling memory issues for some time. She had my homocystine and folate levels checked, which were high and low respectively. So I started taking methyl folate with no improvement in migraine frequency. By this time, I was up 30lbs and even my “fat” clothes did not fit, my thyroid blood work showed hyper (elevated free T3), and frustrated beyond belief.
I decided to stop NDT for 8 weeks to get a baseline of what my thyroid was doing with no meds and start the weight loss program with my primary care doctor. It was nothing life altering at first glance, diet changes (pretty much done already), Phentermine, weekly B12 shots and monthly checkups. The summer was busy, in and out of town frequently, so it took me some time to realize I would experience 3-4 days migraine free after th e shots. I’ll take half the week after 5 years of constant pain… I ask my doc prescribe B12 shots for home use.
Then an article linking the MTFHR mutation with migraines popped up on my Facebook feed. The pieces fell into place! I asked for methylcobalamin instead of cyanocobalamin and started taking the folate religiously. Now I get 5-6 days migraine free! I am also taking T3 only thyroid meds and am down 13lbs…things are starting to look brighter.
For those who have read this far and are suffering from chronic diseases, please never give up.
Andrea Post author
Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle – happy to hear you found some relief!
I have recently found out that I am homozygous for 4 different MTHFR mutations, including 1298. I suffered a stroke like attack last November, and have been having increasingly severe migraines since, to the point of having them pretty much 24/7 now. It’s a wonderful day to be headache free because it happens so seldom. I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism several years back and have been to see countless doctors, allopathic and naturopathic, different meds with few results. An MRI is next on the list to address the migraines. I was prescribed Divalproex sodium for the migraines, but after reading all the serious potential side effects, including contra indications for people with ‘metabolic’ disease, I am scared to take the pills with my MTHFR status. Anyone else taken these meds for migraine?
I stay away from pharmaceuticals as much as possible…lowering your homocysteine levels will help with migraines. Look for a book by James Braly called the H factor Solution.
This is a late response to the migraine post. i take butterbur and feverfew daily and they help.
Hi Judy, we have also had great success with a combination of Butterbur/Feverfew with folinic acid and vitamin d (for MTHFR)!
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I am new to this site and am so glad to have found it! I am 38 and am MTHFR homozygous 1298. I have so many small yet annoying symptoms, including low hormones and DHEA, pregnenolone, low thyroid, adrenal fatigue, tinnitus, terribly dry skin all year, terrible digestion and constipation, heart palpitations, and headaches. That is the short list! My father has a 1298 and a 677, my mom has one 1298. She doesn’t have many problems at all, my father has debilitating problems in every organ and part of his body. My headaches started following some patterns, falling at ovulation and before and during my period. I tried everything natural for them, and so far what I do that helps when I feel one coming on is to pop two omega fish oils (a good brand), take magnesium and calcium, drink some electrolyte water, rub some progesterone cream on my temples and neck, and if getting bad, rub some magnesium oil too. If it doesnt seem to get better in a few hours, I do the whole routine again. Knock on wood, so far, this seems to work for most of them. It takes sometimes doing this in the morning and by afternoon most of the time they are gone. Everyone is different but thought I would share this. My children both have chronic constipation since weaning from breastmilk, and have been gluten and casein free. We tried everything for them natural that is possible. Even high dose magnesium didnt work that well. We added electrolyte water and eureka, finally something that worked! Not sure how the electrolytes work in a positive way with our biochemistry, but wanted to share that as well. It is so great when something finally works! As for me, I do not tolerate methyl B12 or methylfolate at all, it worsens my tinnitus to unbearable levels, and gives me crazy, scary neurological reactions. I have yet to find something that helps me feel better, despite a cabinet FULL of supplements. I am open to discussion with anyone for finding some things that work for people! I think we learn so much more from each other’s experiences that from doctors! noelle
Thanks for these tips, Noelle – sorry that you are struggling with these!
Hi are you still receiving these replies about your migraines? I suffer with exactly the same. I have recently discovered that juicing with antihistamine foods will stop a migraine.I will shshare the recipe with you if you are interested. Hopefully you get this!
Hi Karen…thanks! I actually don’t get migraines, was just posting the info for others but please do share your recipe with our other readers.
Hi Karen, could you share some juicing ideas with me. I am getting daily headaches which are disabling. I have sent my gene test but am waiting to see what it says. I have a juicer so will give anything a try.
My daughter started puberty June 28…..& experienced a migraine that turned into as best described as a stroke like episode on July 17…Drooped face, talking backwards….cold right side. When the 30 minutes were over and we were in the ER….she said she was under the impression there was no talking backwards….and oh my she was! Never a migraine before. When the neurologist went to find her blood work from the lab the tech noted Large Red Blood cells….hence testing….only one factor c677t. MRa/MRI no stroke present. Still working on how to what has become a nightmare of migraines 2x a week that make her sleep after….no, no seizure like the one she had that day…but she gets so ill black room, sleep. Still waiting on about 300lab tests to figure out what’s next.
Andrea Post author
I’m so sorry to hear this, Phyllis – please keep us posted on the outcomes.
Hi Phillis, what you describe about your daughter, screams Lyme , to me, especialy, seizures, face drop, black room, noise and light sensitivity, was huge for me with lyme, and more symptoms will start , far worse. Im cured of Lyme now, I wish you all the very best, hope you find the answers, and I also have the gene mutation C677T, has just been diagnosed for me, so still new meds , but I will be feeling good soon, good luck, cheers
I’m homozygous for 1298, and have badly slowed liver detoxing, severe debilitating migraines – and Lyme. Please would you email me how you were cured / treated?
What’s even more fascinating is that in my family, both my mum and sister are homozygous A1298C and they’re the 2 that suffer severe migraines. So much unknown and to uncover!! Great post Andrea.
Andrea Post author
So much indeed! We need more studies…thanks for sharing the info =)