Flavonoids – Could they fight fatigue and headache?

Flavonoids have a bad name in the world of migraine and headache because of concerns that certain flavonoids found in tannins (found in wine, for example) may actually trigger migraine attacks.

Concord grapes - packed with flavonoidsBut flavonoids are actually very important to health, and they may actually help to fight fatigue, cancer, and neuropathic pain.

Right now, research is being focused on using flavonoids as a treatment for Gulf War Illness (also known as Gulf War Syndrome, and Gulf War Veterans’ Medically Unexplained Illnesses). Gulf War Illness (GWI) may not even be one disease – very little is known about what it is. However, fatigue, headaches, cognitive dysfunction, and pain are all typical symptoms.

A new study wants to focus in on cognitive problems (such as memory and attention), as well as fatigue. Certain foods are especially high in flavonoids – chocolate and grapes, for example. Chocolate does seem to help with fatigue, and Concord purple grape juice may fight fatigue and cognitive problems.

So, the grape juice study is now recruiting volunteers with GWI (for more information see Development of a Polyphenol-rich Dietary Preparation for Treating Veterans With Gulf War Illness).

Although both chocolate and grape juice have been traditionally thought of as migraine triggers, there has been a lot of questions recently about just how much evidence there is behind this for the general population of migraine patients (see Can Eating Chocolate Cause Headaches?). It may actually be that regular intake (regular – not 6 cups of grape juice tonight!) may actually fight migraine symptoms.

It will be interesting to see how this and other studies turn out. Meanwhile, let’s hope that this approach can at least provide some relief to those with GWI.

More information: Development of dietary polyphenol preparations for treating Veterans with Gulf War Illness (pdf)

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