If you’re a migraine sufferer, as I used to be, you probably know the feeling of desperation that comes with the pain, nausea, and vision problems. Some people try remedy after remedy, but never find relief. It can be hard to find a solution because doctors aren’t even sure what causes migraines. But new research suggests the underlying cause of at least some of these agonizing headaches may be a simple vitamin deficiency.

On 10 June 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, researches presented some new findings to show that increasing the levels of certain vitamins could potentially ward off the occurrence of frequent migraine headaches.

Researchers studied children, teens, and young adults, and found that frequent migraine sufferers were far more likely to have slightly lower levels of vitamin D, riboflavin (B2), and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). These vitamins are crucial for the mitochondria, the energy production centers of our cells, to function properly.

Dr. Andrew Hershey, director of the Migraine Center at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said:

“Deficient function, possibly through vitamin deficiency or over-utilization of vitamins, may put the migraineur at increased risk of energy deficiency.”

For the study, Hershey and his colleagues analyzed existing data on 7,691 young migraine sufferers and their records of blood tests for baseline levels of vitamin D, B12, CoQ10, and folate. They found that 15% of the participants had riboflavin levels below the standard reference range. Another 30% of participants had CoQ10 levels at the low end of the range, and nearly 70% of the participants had significantly lower vitamin D levels than the standard reference range.

Additionally, patients with chronic migraines were found to be more likely to have CoQ10 deficiencies than patients with episodic migraines. Girls and young women were more likely than their male counterparts to have CoQ10 deficiencies at baseline, whereas boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiencies. Further research is needed into the reasons behind these trends. [1]

a-diagram-of-conditions-caused-by-vitamin-d-deficiency
Source: Medical News Today

Read: Increasing Vitamin D Levels Could Prevent 13% of US Deaths

Lead author and headache medicine fellow Dr. Suzanne Hagler said:

“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.” [2]

According to WebMD, the most common causes of vitamin D deficiency include eating a strictly vegan diet (most natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based, such as beef liver, fish and fish oils, egg yolks, and fortified milk), lack of exposure to sunlight, and having dark skin (melanin impairs the skin’s ability to make vitamin D).

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Source: SFGate.com

When parents were surveyed in the UK, 62% said they believe their kids have fewer opportunities to play outdoors than they did. Perhaps more importantly, 77% of parents admitted their children often refuse to play games that don’t involve technology. And three-fourths of the parents said their kids prefer to play virtual sports on a screen indoors versus playing “real” sports outside.

In fact, kids in the UK were found to play outside for 30 minutes or less on an average day – less than the amount of time prison inmates spend outdoors – and the survey found that 1 in 5 kids never go outside at allThis means that many children never see that giant glowing orb in the sky unless they’re traveling to school or looking out a window.

It’s plausible that a lack of sunlight might play a role in vitamin D deficiency in kids and young adults.

Sources:

[1] Newsweek

[2] Daily Mail

Medical News Today

SFGate.com


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Post written byJulie Fidler:
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.