This morning, some 38 million Americans woke up with a migraine. Yes, you read that right. Over 10% of the US population suffers from chronic migraines. Unfortunately, for many of those people, migraines – in their pulsating, nausea-inducing glory – have become a normal part of life. But what if vitamin deficiencies were at the root of the problem? (1)
Well, that would offer an easy solution!
You see, most chronic migraine sufferers unfortunately never find a permanent solution, despite spending tons of money on painkillers and brain scans. (2)
New research could change that. Recently, a number of little-known studies have pulled the dreadful migraine off its pedestal as ‘mysterious malady’ into more comprehensive territory.
As it turns out, vitamin deficiencies may be at the root of chronic migraines.
The Evidence: Chronic Migraines and Vitamin Deficiencies
Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center recently conducted a study that linked migraines to the following vitamin deficiencies: vitamins D, B12, and B2, as well as coenzyme Q10. (3)
Being deficient in those vitamins and nutrients, as it turns out, does raise your risk of suffering chronic migraines. But by combining nutrients, you may have greater success reducing migraine symptoms. (4)
Let’s break this down one vitamin/nutrient at a time.
Yes, the Sunshine Vitamin! This nutrient, now often called a hormone, is so important that our bodies make it through an intricate process of sunlight on skin.
According to Migraine.com, vitamin D’s connection to migraines has to do with its role as an inflammation-fighter. After all, migraines are rooted in blood vessel inflammation. (5)
So if you suffer from migraines, make sure your body has enough vitamin D to fight inflammation by getting out in the sun at appropriate times, including the right fats in your diet, and taking a high quality Vitamin D supplement.
Depending on your diet and values, consider eating egg yolks, shiitake mushrooms, and a vegan Vitamin D supplement. (6)
Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) is crucial for the growth of proper nervous system function and red blood cell production. It prevents many migraine symptoms, including fatigue and light sensitivity – both of which become a problem in cases of B2 deficiency. (7, 8)
Of course, getting enough B2 from food sources is easy to do, but some of the highest concentrations of B2 occur in animal foods. Because of this, vegetarians and vegans should choose foods carefully and include a high quality B-Complex supplement (9).
- Fortified cereals and oatmeal
- Milk, cheese, and yogurt
Let’s set the stage, shall we? Several studies show a link between homocysteine and migraine — migraine aura, in particular. Migraine sufferers have elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood. (10)
So how do we keep homocysteine levels in check? This is where Vitamin B12 comes in. High homocysteine leads to inflammation associated with migraines. Vitamin B12 counters this. But be careful. As we age, it gets harder to metabolize B12 to counter that homocysteine. (11, 12)
Vitamin B12, in particular, is only found in animal foods. If you do not eat any animal products, it’s extremely important that you find a high quality supplement. “Fortified foods and supplements are the only proven reliable sources for vegans.” (13) Otherwise, you can get your daily dose of B12 from some vegetarian foods:
- Nutritional Yeast
- Feta Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound your body produces naturally. When your body has adequate levels of it, your risk of cell damage is reduced. Supporting your cells will, of course, support your overall health. But managing migraines with CoQ10 takes time. Pain-related proteins increase during a migraine attack. Over time, CoQ10 lowers these. (14)
A Nod to Magnesium
More than just an Honorable Mention, magnesium is a vital nutrient, and a majority of Americans are deficient in it. Magnesium participates in over 300 chemical actions in the body, so using this nutrient to support your body is crucial. And you may prevent the onslaught of another migraine. (15)
If you suffer from migraines, be sure to see a health professional to determine which of these vitamins you may need.
Have a look at this video to learn more about migraines!
And for a quick drink to stop your migraine in its tracks, try Himalayan Salt Lemonade!