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, researchers 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.