Russell Skinner, MD
A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B2, folate, magnesium, and CoQ10 (a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.)
Migraines -- a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision -- affect approximately 38 million men, women, and children in the U.S. and 1 billion people worldwide each year. Migraines are a neurological disorder, characterized by recurring headaches and considered to be the most common disorder of the nervous system.
Migraines can be debilitating. Every 10 seconds someone in the United States goes to the emergency room because of throbbing head pain, adding up to 1.2 million visits a day. Migraines are more common among women than in men because of hormonal influences.
Migraine symptoms strike like lightening, the causes can be mysterious, but recent research presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society reveals that screening for vitamin deficiencies may be the key to unlock a quieter, calmer brain.
The cause of migraine is still unknown, however, it is believed that several factors contribute towards it, and one of those factors is nutrient deficiency. When researchers tested 7,691 patients for vitamin deficiencies, they found those who suffered from frequent migraines were significantly more likely to have low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B2, folate, and co-enzyme Q10.
Previously, a 2012 study linked migraines with magnesium deficiency. Those who suffer from migraines regularly have been found to have low levels of magnesium compared to those who don’t experience any migraines or headaches at all.
There have been other studies supporting the finding that migraine sufferers are more likely to be deficient in riboflavin, CoQ10 and vitamin D.
"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," says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.
The research showed that children with low levels of these nutrients in their bodies suffered from chronic migraines. The research’s result showed that around 15% of the young patients’ riboflavin levels were below the normal range. Similarly, 30% and 70% of the patients suffering from migraines had low levels of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin D respectively. The result of the study, however, was inconclusive as the children were given both; the migraine medicine and nutrients to treat the pain.
Before reaching for a supplement, consider getting safe sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D and increasing daily intake of foods rich in these nutrients: