A new review published in Headache suggests that many of the migraine triggers (eg, stress, sleep disruption, noise, odors, diet) share a common mechanism involving oxidative stress. 

Researchers from the University of Maine reviewed studies on migraine triggers published between 1990 and 2014. They focused on empirical studies, in vitro and animal studies. They found that close to all common migraine triggers had a tendency to generate oxidative stress, causing an imbalance between free radical production and the body’s ability to counter the negative effects. Study findings suggest that antioxidants may possibly help prevent or preempt migraines. 

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An acute migraine attack may be the brain’s attempt to protect and heal itself as evident by the chemicals released during an attack. Study authors added, “Understanding migraines may ultimately teach us how we, too, can protect the brain.” 

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