Griffith University researchers have recently concluded a clinical trial showing inexpensive supplements help migraine sufferers.
Griffith's Genomics Research Centre (GRC) director Professor Lyn Griffiths said the trial had shown that folate and vitamin B helped to significantly reduce frequency, severity and disability of the disorder.
"The trial provided vitamin B supplements and folic acid to more than 50 long-term migraine sufferers for six months," Professor Griffiths said.
"Results showed a drastic improvement in headache frequency, pain severity and associated disability for those treated."
Previous studies by the GRC identified a gene, known as MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), which makes people susceptible to migraine attacks when there's a mutation or dysfunction in the gene.
The dysfunction causes people to have higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is known to cause an increased risk of stroke and other coronary diseases.
"The recent trial was founded on the theory that vitamin B supplements and folic acid will reduce the homocysteine and, in turn, improve migraine symptoms," Professor Griffiths said.
"The success of our trial supported by the Brain Foundation, Janssens and Blackmores has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients.
"We are now going to undertake a more extensive trial and further studies to find out the best dosage of vitamin supplements for individuals as this may vary depending on a patient's genetic profile."
A migraine attack causes severe headache with associated nausea and vomiting. It is a devastating disorder which affects approximately 12 percent of the Australian population.
Professor Griffiths said there was a real need to develop effective treatments to help those afflicted with migraine.
"Current treatments for migraine are not always effective and can be expensive and cause adverse effects," she said.