Zinc intake and migraine


People with higher dietary zinc intake have a nearly one-third lower risk of migraine than those who get little zinc in their diets, according to results from a cross-sectional study of more than 11,000 American adults.

The investigators divided their study's 11,088 participants (mean age, 46.5 years; 50% female) into quintiles based on dietary zinc consumption as inferred from foods eaten. They also considered zinc supplementation, for which data was available for 4,324 participants, of whom 2,607 reported use of supplements containing zinc.

The investigators reported an inverse association between dietary zinc consumption and migraine, with the highest-consuming quintile of the cohort (15.8 mg or more zinc per day) seeing lowest risk of migraine (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.52-0.94; P = .029), compared with the low-consuming quintile (5.9 mg or less daily). Among people getting high levels of zinc (19.3-32.5 mg daily) through supplements, risk of migraine was lower still, to between an OR of 0.62 (95% CI: 0.46-0.83, P = 0.019) and an OR of 0.67 (95% CI, 0.49-0.91; P = .045).

Sources of dietary zinc include red meat, nuts, legumes, poultry, shellfish (especially oysters), whole grains, some cereals, and even dark chocolate. The recommended daily dosage of zinc is 9.5 mg in men and 7 mg in women. Most people get enough zinc in their diet; vegetarians, vegans, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and adults over age 65 may need to take supplemental zinc.