Vitamin D and exercise

We always recommend exercise as one of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines and tension-type headaches.  However, it appears that some patients may have difficult time exercising because of low vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D receptors are located within muscle and are important for normal muscle activity.  Michael Hooten and colleagues discovered that pain clinic patients who had low vitamin D levels had lower exercise tolerance as well as lower general health perception than patients with normal levels.  Most people are familiar with the role of vitamin D in bone health.  However, it has many other functions in the body.  In addition to exercise tolerance, another unexpected effect of vitamin D deficiency is to worsen symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux, which causes heartburn and other symptoms.  Taking vitamin D supplements relieves reflux symptoms in some patients.  Many people are not taking sufficient amounts of vitamin D.  If deficiency is documented by a blood test, patients usually need to take 1000-2000 units a day.

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