Study team finds link between vitamin deficiency and migraine among young population

A new study has suggested that a number of young people suffer from migraines because they have vitamin deficiencies. According to its authors, further studies are needed to know whether vitamin supplementation could be effective to deal with the headache disorder.

More research should be done to figure out whether migraine patients should use vitamin supplementation or not, said Suzanne Hagler, a doctor at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

For the study, Hagler and other researchers looked at migraine patients who were kids, teens, and youngsters. The participants received treatment for the condition at Cincinnati Children’s Headache Center. The researchers found that many of these patients had mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10.

Some patients, whose levels of the vitamin were low, were asked to take preventive migraine medications and vitamin supplementation. But as only a handful of migraine sufferers were prescribed to receive vitamin supplementation, it’s difficult to say whether supplementation could be helpful, as per the researchers.

“Girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency”, said the researchers.

The study also stated that deficiencies of coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin were found more in people with chronic migraines than episodic migraine sufferers.

A past study also linked vitamin deficiencies to migraine, but researches that examined the use of vitamins to deal with the problem provided mixed results, according to the researchers. So it is difficult to say that vitamin supplementation could be used to deal with the condition. Results of the new study presented at the American Headache Society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

A report published in Web MD revealed, “Many of the patients were prescribed preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation if their levels were low. But because too few patients received vitamins alone, it wasn’t possible to determine if vitamin supplementation could help prevent migraines, the researchers noted.”

The study also found that girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

The study was to be presented Friday at the American Headache Society’s annual meeting, in San Diego. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 – a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance,” according to a news report published by PR News Wire.

“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.

Dr. Hagler’s study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.

According to a report in Medical Daily by Lecia Bushak, “The researchers examined data on migraine patients which included their baseline blood levels for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and folate. Vitamin D, which is a fat-soluble vitamin typically absorbed through sunlight or fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks, helps your body absorb calcium and boost bone growth. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, aids in the production of red blood cells and energy release from carbs. Coenzyme Q10, meanwhile, works to convert sugars and fats into energy; and folate (folic acid) is another B vitamin that’s found in fortified cereals and is helpful for the production of red blood cells. All of these vitamins have been linked to migraines in the past.”

“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,” said Dr. Suzanne Hagler, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study, in a press release.

Research has shown that migraines may boost the risk of heart disease and mortality in women, though it’s not clear whether that’s a causal or correlated link. Past research has also found a link between migraines and emotional abuse in children, as well as irritable bowel syndrome.

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