Headaches and migraines can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research finds.
Having an unexplained headache once a week or more could be considered a problem.
A migraine, meanwhile, is a type of severe headache in which typically one half of the head feels as though it is pulsating.
It may also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Some people also experience visual disturbances before the migraine begins.
A variety of vitamin and mineral deficiencies have been linked to migraines.
This study also found that deficiencies in riboflavin (vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10 are linked to migraines.
The conclusions come from thousands of headache patients whose vitamin levels were measured.
Vitamin D deficiency was particularly high in young men with migraines, the researchers found.
Coenzyme Q10 deficiencies, however, were more likely in young women with migraines.
The study’s authors conclude:
“Neutraceuticals have been widely used in migraine prevention.
Deficiency in vitamins may be related to the underlying pathophysiology and supplementation may help with response to treatment.
This suggests that a high percentage of pediatric migraine patients in the general population may be deficient in riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, vitamin D, and folate and when identified as deficient, may benefit from supplementation of these vitamins.”
However, it is not yet clear if supplementation will help the headaches, said Dr Suzanne Hagler, the study’s first author:
“Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was study presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Headache Society (Hagler et al., 2016).