New research presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society hints that vitamins may be the key to preventing the occurrence of migraines.
However, the evidence is preliminary, relatively weak, and contradicts some previous findings. Overall, it seems unlikely that something as simple as vitamin supplements could be used to prevent migraines.
Vitamin Deficiencies in Migraineurs
This study looked at measurements of nutrients present in the blood of children, teens, and young adults seeking treatment for headaches. They found that for several of these nutrients, the migraineurs had low levels present in their blood. The studied nutrients included riboflavin (vitamin B-2), CoQ10, Vitamin D, and folate.
The findings indicated that nutrient deficiencies were common. For riboflavin, 15% of teens with headaches were below the reference level, and about 40% were at levels where supplementation is recommended.For CoQ10–an antioxidant vital to cell function–30% were below the lower reference limit, while 70% were at levels where supplementation is recommended. Vitamin D levels were low in about 68% of those tested. About 64% of migraineurs tested low for folate.
One reason why we might not want to put too much credence in this study is that it’s still a very preliminary finding. The research was presented at a scholarly conference, which has a very low standard for inclusion. The research hasn’t been carefully looked over by other scientists, and no one has checked the findings.
So we need to avoid making any decisions based on this research until it actually survives some closer scrutiny.
Deviations Not That Extreme
Another reason why we shouldn’t be rushing out to buy vitamin supplements to cure our headaches is that this study doesn’t show very high levels of deficiencies. Suboptimal riboflavin status is widespread among the general population, probably comparable to the 40% found in this study.
For vitamin D, the effect is even lower. In fact, since new research shows that 77% of Americans may be short on vitamin D, a vitamin D shortage in 64% of migraineurs doesn’t seem like a problem at all. And the folate levels noted are actually at the high end for children as well.
Previous Research Disputes Vitamin Ties
And, of course, we have to consider that this is not the first study to examine the potential link between vitamin status and migraines. Many studies have been conducted on this potential migraine cause. However, the overall wisdom is that there is no link between migraine and vitamin D levels, and other vitamin deficiencies lack proper support as well.
But given the fact that many of us have vitamin deficiencies, there is little harm in taking vitamins within the recommended doses.