Tetrahydrofolate (Folic Acid)
Folic acid (tetrahydrofolate) is necessary for development and balance of the nervous system. Folic acid is a water soluble B-vitamin that does not stay in your body for very long, so you need to take it every day to maintain a proper level to support the functions of this vital nutrient.

A most significant factor of folic acid, as an important ingredient of Migraine Defense, is its ability to lower homocysteine levels. It has been found that elevated levels of homocysteine in the body may be direct or indirect causes of migraines and strokes. Homocysteine is an amino acid used normally by the body in cellular metabolism and the manufacture of proteins. High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, osteoporosis, and vascular diseases.

Homocysteine has prothrombotic (characterized by increase risk of fibrinous clots being formed in a blood vessel or in a chamber of the heart) and atherogenic (formation of atheromatous deposits, especially on the innermost layer of arterial walls) properties that may explain the increased risk of vascular diseases. Experimental evidences suggest that endothelial (a thin layer of flat epithelial cells that lines serous cavities, lymph vessels, and blood vessels) dysfunction is the major mechanism by which homocysteine exerts its harmful effect. Although the exact mechanism of this endothelial dysfunction is unknown, homocysteine probably leads to oxidative damage of endothelial cell by the reactive oxygen radicals that are produced during auto-oxidization of homocysteine in plasma.

Migraines have long been suspected to have a genetic link since sufferers often had close relatives that also suffered from the condition. Recent research has also found that patients who experience migraine with aura are at much higher risk (seven times) for tissue damage known as infarcts in the cerebella region of the brain than were those who experienced migraine without aura. Researchers from a leading university found that the mutation of a particular gene (Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) was far more common in those with the migraine with aura than those without. This mutation also leads to high levels of homocysteine.

This mutation means migraine sufferers are likely to have higher levels of a particular amino acid or protein called homocysteine in the blood. Folate (folic acid) can reduce levels of homocysteine. Previous studies have also shown that folate, by reducing levels of homocysteine, can cut the risk of stroke.

Homocysteine levels may rise due to normal aging, menopause, thyroid conditions, kidney failure, cigarette smoking, a number of different drugs and certain industrial toxins. Genetics also play a role in the development of high homocysteine levels that may lead to strokes. An inherited predisposition to stroke is homocystinuria, which means an excessive level of chemical homocysteine in the body.

The elevated levels of homocysteine in the body may be a factor a migraine. Further evidence was noted in one study that injection of 15 mg of folic acid achieved total relief of acute headache within one hour in 60 percent of patients.

A 2005 study found that folic acid helps maintain mental health by slowing cognitive decline.  Building on this finding, a new study has found that folic acid can also maintain mental health and performance on tests of psychomotor speed.

Folic acid may be a factor for inhibiting the onset of migraines.