Is Zinc Good for Migraines? The Ultimate Guide to Zinc and its Effects on Migraine Relief

Ah, migraines – the bane of our existence. That blinding pain that seems to come out of nowhere and just won’t quit. If you’re one of the millions of people who experience migraines, then you know just how debilitating they can be. You’ve probably tried everything under the sun to find relief, from over-the-counter painkillers to acupuncture. But have you considered the benefits of zinc?

Yes, that’s right – zinc. As it turns out, this humble mineral may be a secret weapon in the fight against migraines. Zinc is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including the immune system, wound healing, and brain function. Studies have shown that zinc levels in the blood may be lower in people who experience migraines, leading researchers to investigate the role of zinc in preventing and treating these headaches.

So, is zinc good for migraines? The evidence certainly seems to suggest so. In one study, participants who supplemented with zinc saw a significant reduction in migraine frequency and intensity compared to a placebo group. Other studies have found that zinc may work by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, two factors that are thought to contribute to migraines. With such promising results, it’s worth considering whether zinc could be a part of your migraine management plan.

What is zinc and how does it work in the body?

Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for multiple bodily functions and processes. It is involved in cell growth and division, wound healing, immune function, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Zinc also plays a critical role in brain function and development, and is involved in the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that are important for mood regulation.

Zinc is not naturally produced in the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Foods that are high in zinc include meat, seafood, dairy, beans, and nuts. However, some people may not get enough zinc through their diet, such as those who are vegetarians or vegans, and may need to take zinc supplements.

How does zinc help with migraines?

  • Zinc has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the brain that may lead to migraines.
  • Zinc is involved in the metabolism of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which can help regulate mood and minimize the risk of migraines triggered by stress or anxiety.
  • Zinc plays a role in the regulation of the immune system, which may be important in preventing migraines and other headaches that are triggered by inflammation or infection.

The recommended daily intake of zinc and possible side effects

The recommended daily intake of zinc varies depending on age and gender, but generally ranges from 8-11mg for adults. It is possible to overdose on zinc, which can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness. Chronic zinc overdose can also lead to copper deficiency and anemia, as zinc can interfere with the absorption of these nutrients. Therefore, it is important to not exceed the recommended daily intake of zinc through diet or supplements.

Food sources of zinc and how to incorporate them into your diet

Some of the best food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pork, chicken, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products. To incorporate more zinc into your diet, try adding to your meals by making oyster stews or soups, ground beef tacos or meatballs, roasted chicken dishes, or hearty bean chili. Snack on nuts, and add dairy products to your breakfast or smoothie. It is important to note that some plant sources of zinc may be less bioavailable, and therefore may not be absorbed as well by the body compared to animal sources. Consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your zinc intake or need to supplement.

Food SourceZinc Content (per 3oz serving)
Whole Grains0.6-1mg

Overall, zinc is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily processes, including brain function and development, immune support, and the metabolism of nutrients. While more research is needed to definitively establish the link between zinc and migraines, some preliminary studies suggest that increasing zinc intake may have potential benefits for migraine sufferers. Talk to a healthcare professional before taking zinc supplements, as excessive intake can lead to negative side effects.

What Causes Migraines?

Migraines are a complex neurological condition that can be triggered by a variety of factors. While the exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, scientists believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Here are some of the most common triggers:

  • Hormonal changes: Many women experience migraines before or during their periods, during pregnancy or menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels.
  • Food triggers: Certain foods such as aged cheese, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and processed meats can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Sensory stimuli: Bright lights, strong smells, or loud noises can trigger migraines in some individuals.
  • Changes in sleep patterns: Lack of sleep or oversleeping can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Stress: Emotional stress, tension, or anxiety can trigger migraines in some individuals.
  • Environmental changes: Weather changes, high altitude, or exposure to smoke can trigger migraines in some individuals.

Types of Migraines

There are several different types of migraines, including:

  • Classic Migraines: These migraines can include aura, which can cause visual disturbance or other sensory changes before the onset of a migraine headache.
  • Common Migraines: These migraines typically do not include aura but can cause moderate to severe throbbing headache pain on one or both sides of the head, as well as nausea, vomiting, and light or sound sensitivity.
  • Chronic Migraines: These migraines occur on 15 or more days per month for more than three months and can be challenging to treat.


In conclusion, while the exact cause of migraines is not known, there are several known triggers that can cause them. By identifying and avoiding some of these factors, people with migraines may be able to better manage their condition. Additionally, research has shown that zinc may play a role in reducing migraine frequency and severity. Therefore, incorporating zinc-rich foods or supplements may be worth discussing with a healthcare provider for those who suffer from migraines.

Food Sources of Zinc:Amount of Zinc (mg) per Serving:
Dairy Products1

It’s essential to note that too much zinc can be harmful, and individuals should discuss any substantial dietary changes or supplements with their healthcare provider before beginning them.

How is zinc deficiency related to migraines?

Zinc is an essential mineral that is involved in numerous biological processes in the body. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Zinc is also involved in regulating neurotransmitter levels in the brain, which can impact overall brain function.

Research suggests that low levels of zinc in the body may be associated with an increased risk of developing migraines. Several studies have found that people with migraines tend to have significantly lower levels of zinc in their blood than people without migraines.

Ways in which zinc may help prevent migraines

  • Zinc may help reduce inflammation in the brain, which can contribute to migraines.
  • Zinc helps regulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, which is known to play a role in migraines.
  • Zinc may also help improve blood flow to the brain, which can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency

Zinc deficiency is quite common, especially among vegetarians and vegans, as they tend to consume fewer zinc-rich foods. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:

  • Increased risk of infections
  • Slow wound healing
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Depression and anxiety

How to increase your zinc intake

The recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is around 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Foods that are high in zinc include:

FoodZinc content (mg)
Oysters (cooked)74
Beef (cooked)7
Lamb (cooked)4
Pork (cooked)3
Chickpeas (cooked)1

If you suspect that you may have a zinc deficiency, consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. You may also consider taking a zinc supplement, but it’s important to speak to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

What are the benefits of zinc for migraine sufferers?

Zinc is a vital mineral that plays crucial roles in the body’s immune system, wound healing, and metabolism. Furthermore, studies have shown that it may provide benefits for those who suffer from migraines.

  • Reduces migraine frequency: A study found that participants who had low levels of zinc in their blood experienced migraines more frequently compared to those who had adequate zinc levels. The study also showed that zinc supplementation significantly reduced the frequency of migraines in these participants.
  • Improves migraine symptoms: Zinc may also help ease migraine symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Studies have suggested that zinc has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the severity and duration of migraines.
  • Boosts immune system: Migraines have been associated with weak immune systems. Zinc plays a vital role in the body’s immune response and can strengthen it by supporting the production of white blood cells that fight off infections.

Zinc can be found in a variety of foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, and whole grains. However, some people may need to take supplements to reach adequate levels of this mineral.

It’s important to note that too much zinc can also cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, so it’s recommended to only take zinc supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Food SourceZinc per serving
Beef liver3 oz: 4.0 mg
Pork loin3 oz: 2.9 mg
Chicken breast3 oz: 0.9 mg
Almonds1 oz: 0.9 mg
Peanuts1 oz: 0.9 mg

Overall, zinc may provide benefits for migraine sufferers by reducing the frequency and severity of migraines and bolstering the immune system. However, before taking any supplements, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe and effective for individual needs.

How much zinc should be taken for migraines?

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps in various bodily functions, including the prevention of migraines. The recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is around 8-11 mg per day. However, the recommended dosage of zinc for migraines can vary depending on several factors such as age, sex, and the severity of the symptoms.

  • If you are an adult experiencing mild to moderate migraines, the recommended dosage of zinc is around 25-30 mg per day.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the recommended dosage is lower, around 15-19 mg per day.
  • If you have a severe migraine or a chronic condition, you should consult with your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage of zinc for your case.

It is important to note that zinc can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea or vomiting, especially when taken on an empty stomach. To avoid these side effects, it is recommended to take zinc supplements with food. Additionally, it is important to use supplements as directed by your healthcare provider and to avoid taking excessive amounts of zinc as it can cause toxicity.

In conclusion, taking a daily dose of zinc can effectively help in preventing and reducing the intensity of migraine headaches. However, it is crucial to follow the recommended dosage based on your personal circumstances and to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns or medical conditions.

AgeRecommended Zinc Dosage
Adults25-30 mg per day
Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women15-19 mg per day

Table: Recommended Zinc Dosage for Migraines according to Age and Condition.

Are dietary sources of zinc enough for migraine prevention?

While zinc has demonstrated its potential in treating migraines, some may wonder if their current dietary intake of zinc is enough to prevent these debilitating headaches. Below, we explore whether dietary sources of zinc are sufficient enough for migraine prevention.

  • Zinc deficiency is surprisingly common: Despite being a common mineral, zinc deficiency is estimated to affect approximately 2 billion people worldwide. This is problematic as zinc is an essential mineral needed for many bodily functions, including metabolism, immune system function, and protein synthesis. Zinc deficiency can occur due to the poor quality of the soil, plant-based diets, or gastrointestinal problems that compromise the body’s ability to absorb zinc from food.
  • Foods rich in zinc may not be enough: Zinc-rich foods like beef, pork, and chicken liver, oysters, and peanuts may not be enough for migraine prevention, especially for those with a zinc deficiency. According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women. However, the RDA levels have been set to prevent a deficiency, and the optimal daily intake of zinc for migraine prevention is still unknown.
  • Magnesium and vitamin B6 also play a role: While zinc may help prevent migraines, it’s essential to note that other minerals like magnesium and vitamin B6 also play a critical role in the prevention of migraines. A diet rich in these vitamins and minerals may be more effective for migraine prevention than zinc supplementation alone.

In conclusion, while dietary sources of zinc can be beneficial, most migraine sufferers may not be getting enough zinc to see a difference in their migraine prevention efforts. Migraine sufferers should consider incorporating foods rich in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 into their diet or speaking to their healthcare provider about zinc supplementation to determine if it’s right for them.

Can zinc supplements cause any side effects?

While zinc supplements can provide several health benefits, excessive intake can lead to unwanted side effects. It is crucial to take the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements. Here are some of the side effects that zinc supplements can cause:

  • Nausea and vomiting: Large doses of zinc supplements can irritate the stomach and cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea: Excessive zinc intake can disrupt the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.
  • Headache and dizziness: Some people may experience headaches and dizziness due to zinc overdose.

It is important to note that long-term use of high doses of zinc supplements can result in copper deficiency. Copper is an essential mineral that helps maintain healthy bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Zinc supplementation can interfere with copper absorption and cause symptoms of copper deficiency, such as anemia, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

If you are taking any medication, especially antibiotics or diuretics, consult your healthcare provider before taking zinc supplements. Zinc can interact with certain medications and reduce their effectiveness, leading to serious health problems.

Zinc Supplements Dosage per DayPossible Side Effects
11 mg for menNone
8 mg for womenNone
40 mg or more (can vary)Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness

In conclusion, zinc supplements can provide several benefits, including reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. However, it is essential to take the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements to avoid any unwanted side effects.

In what forms is zinc available and which is the best for migraines?

Zinc is a mineral that’s naturally present in many foods. It can also be taken as a supplement in various forms. When it comes to migraines, the most effective form of zinc supplementation is yet to be established, but various options are available.

  • Zinc gluconate: This form of zinc is easily absorbed by the body and is often used to treat the common cold. It is available as a lozenge or syrup, making it a convenient option for people who have difficulty swallowing tablets.
  • Zinc acetate: This form is commonly used in throat lozenges and is also well-absorbed by the body. However, it has a metallic taste, which some people may find unpleasant.
  • Zinc citrate: This form of zinc is also well-absorbed by the body and is often used in multivitamins and supplements. It may be taken as a tablet, capsule, or chewable supplement.
  • Zinc sulfate: This form of zinc is commonly used to treat zinc deficiencies. It may be taken as a tablet or a liquid supplement.

When deciding which form of zinc to take for migraines, it’s crucial to consider the dosage, the duration of treatment, and individual differences such as allergies. Dosages higher than 40 mg may interfere with the absorption of other minerals such as iron and copper, so it’s essential to follow the recommended daily allowance. Additionally, taking zinc supplements long-term in high doses may cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

To get zinc naturally, include foods such as oysters, beef, chicken, pork, beans, nuts, and whole grains in your diet.

Note: Consult your healthcare provider before taking zinc supplements or making significant changes to your diet.

Does zinc help with all types of migraines or just specific ones?

While zinc can be helpful in alleviating migraines, its effectiveness may vary depending on the type of migraine a person is experiencing.

  • Migraine with aura: Some research suggests that zinc supplementation can reduce the severity of visual disturbances associated with migraines with aura. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Migraine without aura: Zinc supplementation may not be effective in reducing the frequency or severity of migraines without aura.
  • Menstrual migraines: Some studies have shown that zinc supplementation may help reduce the severity and duration of menstrual migraines. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

It’s important to note that taking high doses of zinc can also have negative side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or treatments for migraines.

Zinc DosageRecommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Children2-8mg (depending on age)

While zinc may not be a cure-all for migraines, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc. If you’re experiencing migraines, talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment options for you.

Are There Any Other Natural Remedies Besides Zinc for Migraines?

While zinc is an effective natural remedy for migraines, there are also other natural remedies you can try to alleviate your migraine symptoms. Here are some alternatives:

  • Magnesium: This mineral is essential for proper nerve function and can help reduce migraine frequency and severity. Some good sources of magnesium include spinach, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Butterbur: This herb has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraines in some people. However, it should be used with caution as it can have side effects and is not safe for long-term use.
  • Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate migraine pain. You can try drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements.

It is always important to consult with your doctor before trying any natural remedies for migraines, especially if you are currently taking medication or have any underlying health conditions.

In addition to natural remedies, there are also lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent migraines, such as:

  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation

It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Keep an open mind and be patient when trying different natural remedies and lifestyle changes to find what works best for you.


While zinc is a great natural remedy for migraines, there are also other options for those seeking relief from their symptoms. Magnesium, butterbur, and ginger can all help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, but it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new remedies. Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress can also help prevent migraines from occurring.

So, should you take zinc for migraines?

In conclusion, there is some evidence that suggests that zinc can be a helpful supplement for migraine sufferers. However, it is essential to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements or changing your medication regimen. Always follow their advice and guidance. Thanks for reading, and be sure to come back for more helpful information on managing migraines!