Researchers Juggle with a Potential Migraine-Vitamin D Deficiency Link

JUNE 17, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
pain management, migraine, headache, vitamin D, vitaminsMany children and young adults with migraine have mild vitamin deficiencies – but does this mean that a causational relationship exists between the two conditions?

Previous research has shown that vitamins play an important role in patients with migraine; however, there have also been studies that contradict those findings. Researchers have noted that younger people with migraine often have deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10. A team of scientists from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center set out to uncover more information about the potential link.

Their findings were presented at the American Headache Society’s 58th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, California.

Using a cohort of 7,420 patients with migraine, the researchers checked their baseline levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and folate. About 51% of patients had average or below average levels of coenzyme Q10, 31% of patients had below average vitamin D levels, and 16% had below average levels of riboflavin. Many of these people received preventive migraine medication and vitamin supplementation, if needed. “Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines,” a news release explained.

Those with chronic migraines were more likely to be deficient in coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin, when compared to people with episodic migraines.

Girls and young women were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline than boys and young men. However, more boys and young men were vitamin D deficient. Folate deficiencies among this population were unclear.

“Further studies are need 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,” said lead author Suzanne Hagler, MD, a headache medicine fellow in the division of neurology.

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