Enzyme Supplements and Migraine

One hot set of supplements these days are the enzymes.  And yes, enzyme manufacturers do make claims about migraine.  But is this just another claim, or something that will help the rare person?

This is a bit of a different post, because enzyme supplements is really too big a topic to jump into with both feet.  It’s complex, and there are many different enzyme supplements out there.

So I’ll give you a brief introduction, then I’d like to hear from you.

Enzyme supplements – why?

Enzymes are proteins that control chemical reactions in the body.  They’re critical to your health – if you’re missing certain enzymes, serious diseases can result.

Enzymes are very important when it comes to digestion – and that’s where we start to find the link to migraine.  There is increasing evidence that migraine is impacted by the health of your gut.

And, indeed, enzymes are a common supplement to deal with not only digestive issues, but neurological ones as well.

Recently we talked about the casein-free/gluten-free diet for migraine.  This diet is sometimes used for people with autism, as well as other neurological conditions.

Now, if your body is having trouble with things like gluten, because of a lack of enzymes – could you add enzymes to your body with a supplement?

The answer is – maybe.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from my own reading thus far.  In actual experiences with real people, certain enzymes seem to help with certain issues.  (Such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, or lactose intolerance).  However, when you’re dealing with something complex and indirect such as migraine, results are mixed.

Some people aren’t helped at all.  However, a fair number of people seem to find enzymes help as a compliment to other treatments.

But wait – are the enzymes really helping?

Wait – is this simply a case of mixing a useless supplement with an actually useful treatment, and just thinking it’s helping?  I think there may be more to it than this.  Why?

First, we’ve seen a lot of research relating migraine with gut issues.  This includes diet and general gut health.  Second, migraine is a condition that goes along with other conditions that are more directly helped by enzymes (for example, digestive problems).  Third, enzyme supplements do seem to help with pain and neurological conditions of various kinds.  Fourth, if your digestive system improves, it will help you in many indirect ways – improved absorption of nutrients, and improved absorption of medications and supplements.  Poor absorption is a common issue when it comes to migraine.

So if it’s so likely there’s a connection, why don’t we have 17 clear studies showing that this is a major migraine treatment?  Why have most of you never heard of it?

Could we just all go out and buy an all-in-one enzyme super-pill, and all feel better?

As you’ve guessed, it’s not that simple.  Products vary greatly, and your body is so different from the next person’s – in genetics, and in your eating habits, and your past, etc.  Your best bet may be a more customized enzyme product.  In fact, you may not react well to certain enzyme supplements.

And that makes this very hard to do a clinical study on.

Also, from what I’ve read so far I’m convinced that this works best as … well, a supplement.  It works best when you’re already eating a healthy diet, not a lot of processed foods, sugars, sweeteners, and additives.  This isn’t something easy you can go out and buy to solve all your problems.  On the other hand, a little supplement may make all the difference when diet alone hasn’t been killing all the migraine attacks.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading on the topic, but here’s where you come in.  I know some of you have experience, or have read specific research that I haven’t read yet.  Share with us your experiences.

More reading:  Obviously a very pro-enzyme site, Enzyme Stuff will give you lots to think about regarding how enzyme supplements may be useful.  It’s mostly focused giving enzymes to children but there’s lots of ideas here.

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9 comments… add one
  • diane Jun 1, 2010

    Been suffering for years. Complained alot to doctors with the symptoms to no avail! Found site on internet,. Huge help. I have a sensitivity to light, red meats and gluten. Put myself on a gluten free diet 3 years ago, so much better. Yesterday’s bright sunlight triggered a headach, but I also eat roast beef. I have been on enzymes for years, my daughter told me to take them, not my doctor!!! Sensitivity to all drugs. Stomach problems since I was 16 years old! I found that liquid magnesium really helps, expensitive. Thanks for listening….Diane

    • James Jun 21, 2010

      Thanks, Diane. Have you found that the enzymes help with your stomach issues?

  • Angela Jun 21, 2010

    Thanks for posting this. I would like to know if there might be side effects associated with this supplement. Also, is it possible to gain weight while taking this ? Thanks a lot

  • Nancy Jun 21, 2010

    I take nattokinase, serapeptase, and quercitin enzymes on an empty stomach. You must take them on an empty stomach for them to be anti-inflammatory. It is perfectly fine to take this way. They DO NOT eat up your stomach. If you take enzymes WITH food, it will help your food digest, but will not give you the anti-inflammatory effect. It takes a few months. There are other benefits from taking these enzymes: artery health and flexibility, (arterial cholesterol) plaque reduction, and it aids in scar healing. Some women take them for fibrocystic breasts and uterine fibroids.

    • James Jun 23, 2010

      I know that a lot of people take them with food and on an empty stomach. For example, they may take them morning and evening and with meals.

  • Valerie Jun 21, 2010

    Diane, What enzymes or enzyme product are you taking?

    Thanks

  • Polly Jun 24, 2010

    If you have hormonal migraines, don’t eat anything with soy protein, or soy lethithin or anything soy. Soy has estrogen in it.
    If you look at labels you will notice that it’s in everything. That’s because it’s cheap and most of the time it’s a GMO.
    I have hormonal mirgraines. For the last 2 months I have eliminated most food products with soy and my migraines are not as frequent or as painful. I also have a lot more energy.

  • Allison Aug 18, 2016

    I started taking enzymes for protein, starch and fats and I am losing weight. I have added a milk enzyme for my tea habit. The results are amazing! Even without exercise, I am losing a pound every few days.

    I had migraines and found out much later that soy does not agree with me. Now my son has migraines that last for days, so it is worth trying the enzymes to see if they ease his pain.

  • Katie Jan 9, 2017

    Hi, I am finding digestive enzymes to be very helpful. I do experience some head pains 15-20 mins after taking one, though… Do you know what could be causing this?

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