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Vitamin Deficiencies That Lead to Migraine Headaches

Updated on Jul 15, 2021 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Migraines are worst of all headaches as they get triggered by several factors and last anywhere from a few hours to days, affecting your work and home life greatly. The deficiency of vitamins may be playing a role in your migraines as this condition has many contributing factors. The pain specialists at the Advanced Headache Center will work hard to determine which vitamin deficiency is provoking your headaches. Relying on the most advanced diagnostic tools and multidisciplinary approaches, the migraine specialists devise effective treatment plans to prevent the blinding pain and other symptoms of migraine attacks.

Vitamin Deficiency and Migraines

There are multiple causes of migraine headaches. From hormonal imbalance to medications and certain smells to bruxism, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the factors that could trigger a migraine attack. Research also suggests that certain vitamin deficiencies can result in frequent migraine headaches. As they are essential nutrients that play a crucial role in body processes and health, insufficient intake of vitamins affects vital areas of the body.

Getting enough vitamins is essential to maintaining a healthy and active body. Incorporating these nutrients in your daily diet nourishes the body and keeps you fit for a long time. It also works hard to prevent various ailments and disorders like headaches and migraines that become tough to deal with.

Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause Migraines

Migraine pain has been linked with vitamin deficiencies too. The three essential vitamins that are believed to cause migraine pain include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Riboflavin

Vitamin D

Research shows that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more vulnerable to migraine attacks. It is mainly because vitamin D protects the body from inflammation and supports nerve health. Anyone facing vitamin D deficiency will be more susceptible to inflammation and nerve pain that leads to migraines.

Vitamin D can be acquired through foods and supplements rich in this nutrient, as well as exposure to the sun. Doctors suggest sun exposure on bare skin for about five minutes per day, two to three days a week, to deal with vitamin D deficiency. Regular intake of supplements as recommended by the doctor can also help to elevate vitamin D levels in the body.

Natural sources of vitamin D include:

  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Beef liver
  • Soy milk
  • Orange juice

You must take this vitamin as per the doctor’s recommendation, as vitamin D toxicity can be dangerous. You could end up with symptoms like high blood pressure, dizziness, dehydration, and muscle weakness.

Magnesium

Low levels of magnesium have been associated with headaches and migraines. It helps in treating visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms of migraine. Research has also identified the link and recommends the right doses of magnesium for headaches. It can be taken as a preventive agent that controls the triggers that lead to migraine attacks. It has been found effective in patients who suffered migraine pain with aura.

Magnesium can be obtained naturally through foods and beverages, and over-the-counter magnesium supplements are easily available.

Food and beverages rich in magnesium include:

  • Cereals
  • Black beans
  • Nuts and grains
  • Tea and coffee

It is considered a natural relaxer of the muscles and nervous system, and its deficiency in the body can lead to muscle tension, cramps, insomnia, and prevalent pain, especially headaches. Regular intake of magnesium in required doses for three to four months has reduced the frequency of migraine attacks.

The recommended amount of magnesium is 400 mg to 420 mg for men and 310 mg to 320 mg for women, but each body absorbs magnesium at a different rate. Ask your doctor before starting on any new supplement as too much of this nutrient at once could result in side effects like diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, among others.

Riboflavin

Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin is very important for a healthy mind and body as it breaks down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. Poor vitamin B2 can lead to its deficiency as a body can only store this nutrient in small amounts. People who fail to consume or maintain adequate amounts of riboflavin are liable to experience migraine attacks.

Foods containing high levels of vitamin B2 can help prevent migraine attacks and control the intensity of the symptoms.

Foods rich in riboflavin include:

  • Avocado
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Kidney and liver
  • Poultry
  • Fortified grains
  • Cereals
  • Green vegetables

It is a sensitive, water-soluble agent, and boiling and preparation can lose their nutritional value. Consult an experienced doctor regarding the correct dosage of riboflavin as it can protect you from debilitating headaches by improving mitochondrial energy metabolism and reducing the frequency of migraines.

Other Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause Migraines

In addition to these, other vitamin deficiencies can also make you defenseless against migraine attacks. They include:

  • Folate is a B vitamin that produces red and white blood cells in bone marrow, RNA, and DNA. It also transforms carbohydrates into energy and helps the body stay active. Low levels of folic acid in the blood can cause folate deficiency, anemia that leads to lack of energy, reduced appetite, pale skin, and other physical symptoms that can trigger migraine attacks.
  • Coenzyme Q10 – It is a vitamin-like substance that helps to generate energy and protects the cells from oxidative damage. Lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 can increase the risk of migraine attacks along with other medical issues. A recent study indicates that frequently experienced migraines were more likely than others to have Coenzyme Q10 deficiency.

Treating Migraines Caused by Vitamin Deficiency

If you are experiencing recurring migraine episodes and treatments are not offering desired results, seek medical help without wasting time. The doctor will explore all possibilities, including vitamin deficiencies, to more about what is causing the headaches and help you find relief by recommending the required dosage.

New research shows that deficiency of certain vitamins may cause migraine headaches as vitamins play a vital role in cell function, metabolizing energy, healing wounds, and strengthening the immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair cellular damage that helps to avoid and manage migraines.

The pain expert doctors at the Advanced Headache Center use the most updated diagnostic equipment to rule out the possibility of underlying medical conditions for recurring headaches and suggest the best solutions to alleviate your pain. Easing your migraine headache could be as simple as taking the right vitamins. Work with an experienced and trained physician to regulate your vitamin intake in a healthy way to enjoy a better quality of life.

Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 419-3105