Tapping into the brain’s energy source to tackle migraines

By Claudia Adrien

- Last updated on GMT

Approximately one billion people suffer from migraines globally. @ South_agency / Getty Images
Approximately one billion people suffer from migraines globally. @ South_agency / Getty Images

Related tags Brain ketogenic

A new product that addresses the dietary management of migraines before they start is now available in the U.S. market.

Also considered a medical food—a category that falls between a supplement and a pharmaceutical because of its medical claims—MigraKet offers promise of relief without systemic side effects.

“It's not a pain killer—it's designed to fuel the brain before the next migraine attack happens,” said Dr. Elena Gross, PhD, who created MigraKet.  

The product is developed by KetoSwiss, a Swiss company dedicated to providing neuroscience-backed solutions to enhance well-being. Approximately one billion people suffer from migraines globally.

“This is a huge problem because we cannot really change the hardwiring of our brain, but we can change metabolism,” Gross said. 

MigraKet works by capitalizing on the brain’s need for a constant energy supply. When energy levels are low, the brain sends signals forcing energy-preserving behaviors, and a migraine is likely the strongest of those signals. However, to restore those energy levels, the brain needs specific kinds of energy-dense molecules: glucose, ketone bodies and lactate. Gross said carbohydrates should be avoided as they increase oxidative stress and cause a glucose drop.

Migraine sufferers can eat appropriate diets to reduce the frequency of attacks, but Gross noted that not everyone can meet this dietary challenge. This is where MigraKet comes into the picture, she said.

“Our soils are so deprived of micronutrients, you just cannot be sure that you're getting enough,” Gross added. “We have to make sure you get all the micronutrients, which can be hard in today's world.”

MigraKet, which is taken twice daily and dissolves in water, is comprised of a mixture of exogenous ketone bodies, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, ketogenic and other amino acids and antioxidants, such as CoQ10.


For Gross, a neuroscientist who has also suffered from migraines, her first realization about a potential solution to the extreme headaches occurred when she was studying for her master’s degree at Oxford University. She was sitting at the library flicking through Nature​ when she stumbled on an article about epilepsy and read about an old treatment for the condition, which essentially was a ketogenic diet, Gross said.   

“The [scientists] figured out that if they fast patients for long enough, their seizures would tremendously improve,” she explained. “Now, you can’t fast forever, so they put patients on a strict diet. It’s then that I realized that you can eat and stuff yourself and max on calories, and your brain can still starve at the same time.”

Gross and her colleagues have since published in Nature​ (2021 and 2023), suggesting that diet could aid in the development of personalized metabolic migraine treatments.

Fast forward to the present. Three and half weeks ago, Gross said MigraKet started receiving its first testimonials from patients outside the clinical trial setting and that, "It's changing lives.”

Looking beyond migraines, she is already conducting a trial to address mental health conditions and micronutrients with the Oklahoma-based Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

“In the very long run, we also want to look into cognition and aging,” Gross said. “I really want to offer a platform of different products, tailored not just for migraine but for brain metabolism in general."

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