Vitamin D deficiency in chronic migraine

Vitamin D deficiency has become a very popular topic in lay and professional literature, and deservedly so.  Vitamin D is important not only for bone health, but for normal functioning of many organs.  Its deficiency appears to be much more common than it was previously suspected.  Dr. Steve Wheeler has found vitamin D deficiency in 42% of 55 patients with chronic migraine headaches.  He presented these findings at the recent meeting of the American Headache Society.  We do not have evidence that taking vitamin D will help relieve headaches, however if a deficiency is present correcting it can certainly improve overall health of the patient.  One possible cause of what appears to be increasing incidence of vitamin D deficiency is widespread use of prescription and over-the-counter antacids.  Reducing stomach acidity helps relieve heartburn and other symptoms of reflux, but it may also interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals.

24 comments
  1. David Anders says: 11/14/20098:03 pm

    Bookmarked, don’t have time to ready more just now :D

  2. Nicole Chatfield says: 11/18/20091:29 pm

    I have a 13 year old daughter that for the second time beginning in the month of Novemeber is suffering from migranes. After many Hospital and Doctor visits from November 2008 through March 2009 her headaches slowly went away. Now the month of November has re-appeared and so have her headaches. My thoughts have wandered to why do headaches arrive around the same time, what is different from the month of July compared to November? I could only think that there is less sunlight, after googling headaches related to Vitamin D deffixcency maybe this is the answer to our problem? I will start giving her Vitamin D and see our outcome.

  3. Linda says: 08/23/201012:44 pm

    I have been having chronic migraines since January 2007. I also have a vitamin D deficiency. I have been on prescription vitamin D and it helps to bring my levels up, but they drop again. Doctor doesn’t want to flood my liver with too much Vitamin D and so I am on OTC 2000 IU’s per day and take Calcium. My stomach/throat starting burning – likely due to the Calcium. Just switched to Calcium Citrite to try and help that. But, these headaches are relentless and my bones in my neck, arms, legs hurt. I think I pretty much have a headache daily now. It just lightens up for maybe 3-6 days per month. I barely tolerate the day.

  4. Dr. Mauskop says: 08/23/20101:44 pm

    We recommend our patients who are seriously deficient in magnesium to take at least 5,000 units a day or takes a prescription strength, 50,000 units once a week. For daily headaches, Botox injections can help up to 70% of patients and we expect FDA approval before the end of this year, which would make it easier to get insurance to pay for it.

  5. Chiara says: 12/04/20105:36 pm

    I have had headache and fatigue for over a month. Two days ago I got diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. I took my first prescription does of vitamin D last night (50,000 ui) and for the first time in a month I have no headache today!

    I had no knowledge of the vitamin D headache link so it couldn’t have been the placebo effect. It could be a coincidence I suppose but unlikely since the vitamin D is the only thing different about yesterday vs the month of headaches before.

  6. Vicki says: 03/26/201111:52 am

    This is all so very interesting and encouraging. I have a 9 yr old daughter who has suffered throughout the last year with chronic tension headaches. She is currently seeing a neurologist, has had a CAT Scan and MRI and everything looks normal. She has been allergy tested for everything and has also been treated for a sinus infection although she didnt show any symptoms. She was been prescribed pills to prevent her daily headaches and so far nothing works. I’ve just recently started looking into vitamin deficiencies because I’ve almost tried everything else. So these postings are very encouraging to me that I might finally be on the right track.

  7. Dr. Mauskop says: 03/26/201112:13 pm

    I would also suggest asking your daughter’s neurologist about magnesium, CoQ10, and Botox injections.

  8. Leon says: 05/27/201111:55 am

    I have had headaches since 1988 from a head concussion in Germany during my military commitment. I am now 45-yrs old and over the past 23-years I have had the following (Botox Injections twice, DHE through IV, Spinal Tap, MRI’s, CT Scan, EEG, Various medications to prevent migraines, etc). I over 23-years there still have not been a cure. I have Acute Migraines almost daily that are deliberating and prolonging. I have been too many different (Neurologist, Psychologist, ENT Doctors, Eye Doctors, Acupuncture, Massage Therapist, etc) and still no resolution. I even follow my food diet of what I can and can’t eat or drink to prevent migraines and still nothing. Can anyone give me advise???

  9. Matthew says: 05/28/20112:01 pm

    I’ve had been getting headaches and migraines very often for the past 4 yrs. Recently i had been having headaches almost daily to the point where otc medications didn’t help anymore. I would also get migraines about once a month. I was prescribed 5,000mg of vitamin D a day and after a couple of days all of my headaches disappeared, it was great. i have been using the vitamin D for the last 4 months and so far it seems to be the only thing that has worked for me. And i haven’t had a migraine in these 4 months either.

  10. Pam says: 06/21/201110:49 am

    I, too, suffered with horrible headaches for years. Vitamin D level was 17…practically nonexistent. Within three weeks of starting Vit D, the headaches have been reduced. Have had two migraines in the last six months. When you are used to having two a week, two in six months seems like a walk in the park! And when I do get an occasional tension headache, after taking some ibuprofen, the headache is gone within a half-hour. It’s been amazing and I give Vitamin D all the credit. For me, it has been heaven-sent. I take 2500iu in the morning with breakfast, and 2500iu with dinner. Had blood work done after 6 months of Vitamin D, and now my level is 53. Try it, Leon. You have nothing to lose.

  11. Julie says: 10/18/20117:20 pm

    I am 38 years old and I’ve been suffering with chronic tension headaches and migraines all of my life. I’ve tried everything…including the botox shots (nerve block) in the back of my neck and head, which made the headaches so much worse. I can’t even tell you how many medicines and different doctors I’ve been to. Just recently (not even a month ago) I was so sick and tired of this. I went to my family doctor with a headache that I had for over a month that would not go away. I asked for bloodwork. When we got it back, I was extremely low in Vitamin D. Immediately, I started a Vitamin D supp. starting at 1,000 mg per my doctor’s request. The next morning I woke up with no headache. I thought it was a coincidence, but I have been headache free since I started the supplement. I know my headaches improved because of it…because there is no other explanation. TRY VITAMIN D….I not only have no headaches as of yet, but my chronic neck and back pain are also gone. I’m a busy makeup artist and just thought that I was always in pain because of my profession, but I feel so much better. Praise GOD.

  12. Lamees says: 11/04/20113:30 pm

    My son has chronic headaches, done the scans and dietician and nothing helps. He also has major depression and using medication and has had headaches for the past 5 years. No headache tablets seem to help. Thanks for the information on the vitamin, definitiley gonna have him tested

  13. Nichole says: 11/05/20111:30 am

    I don’t know if this will help anyone…but I was in the position of many of the people above. I had headaches every day. I was diagnosed with PTSD from the Iraq War, and my chronic migraines started after returning home. I had had headaches and migraines before, however this was much different. Headaches everyday, all day, and debilitating migraines 2-3 times per month. I was living and tolerating with more pain than I realized. A couple months ago, a routine blood draw showed that I had low Vit D., a continuation of a low level from the last year. She put me on 2000 IUD and bam! no pain. I forgot that life was worth it. I still have headaches…hydration is a must, but it definitely makes life better. This also prompted me to deal with my depression. I have to say that even though you may have one symptom, make sure ALL are taken care of. And continue to try to find the root cause. I do not know if Vit D3 deficiency is a symptom or the cause, so I am keeping my eyes open. I hope this helps anyone reading. Hang in there!

  14. Bonnie says: 01/06/20121:49 am

    My daughter has had daily headache off and on all day every day for months
    she just turned 9 yrs old. My heart is breaking for her, seeing pediatric dr.s
    natropathic dr. and chyropractor often . she has had scans and test all normal except thyroid. She has a low thyroid and symtoms of it also , so started taking natural thyroid meds a month ago and increased her dose after blood work after starting the thyroid meds to 2 a day, i started her on 4,000 a day for now hoping it will help her ! Ill repost what happens .

  15. ChocolateNepenthe says: 01/09/20127:41 pm

    I have been suffering for many years with chronic tension and migraine headaches. I have tried chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, laser therapy, biofeedback, drugs, I take magnesium supplements with feverfew and riboflavin and so far nothing really works. Cannot take aspirin or NSAIDs regularly because it tears up my stomache. I will try vitamin D and hope it helps. I will probably try Botox if this too doesn’t provide any relief. Any suggestions anyone?

    Coco

  16. Dr. Mauskop says: 01/11/201210:01 am

    Botox is definitely worth trying – this is the only FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraine. I’ve been injecting Botox for headaches for over 16 years and about 70% of patients respond. Having the FDA approval makes it easier to get insurance to pay for it, although some of them insist on patients first trying 2 or 3 prophylactic drugs, such as an antidepressant, an epilepsy drug, or a high blood pressure drug before they will pay for Botox. Here is a link to help you find a local doctor who injects Botox for headaches – http://landing.botoxmedical.com/082011/chronic-migraine/its-here/get-here.aspx

  17. Dr. Mauskop says: 01/11/201210:05 am

    I would also ask the doctor about taking magnesium and CoQ10 supplements, which are safe and can help kids with migraines. After that, the next step to consider Botox which has significantly fewer side effects than preventive drugs, such as antidepressants, anti-epilepsy, or high blood pressure medications.

  18. Mel says: 01/25/201212:03 am

    My daughter has had headaches since she has been 4yrs old. I sympathize with all the parents who understand their pain. My daughter has been taking COQ10 and Butterbur. Butterbur is from a root of a plant. It is sold in capsule form at health food stores or on line. My daughters neurologist wanted her to try it. I was very reluctant at first until i did some research. There are countless studies in Europe that show evidence of it decreasing the amount of headaches substantially, especially in children. As for my daughter the combo has taken the edge off significantly. She went from having them 6 to 7 per week to 3. We are now adding vitamin D to her regime. She had blood tests done and we are waiting for the results. I am hopeful that this will be the last piece of a very large puzzle. The ultimate reward, NO MORE MIGRAINES!

  19. Melisa says: 01/25/201212:08 am

    My daughter has had headaches since she has been 4yrs old. I sympathize with all the parents who understand their pain. My daughter has been taking COQ10 and Butterbur. Butterbur is from a root of a plant. It is sold in capsule form at health food stores or on line. My daughters neurologist wanted her to try it. I was very reluctant at first until i did some research. There are countless studies in Europe that show evidence of it decreasing the amount of headaches substantially, especially in children. As for my daughter the combo has taken the edge off significantly. She went from having them 6 to 7 per week to 3. We are now adding vitamin D to her regime. She had blood tests done and we are waiting for the results. I am hopeful that this will be the last piece of a very large puzzle. The ultimate reward, NO MORE MIGRAINES!

  20. Amy says: 01/27/20127:20 pm

    I have been suffering from migraines since i was a teenager so the doctor prescribed me propononol to prevent them, i am now 26 and i have only had 2 in the last 5 years, previous to this i was suffering with 2 a month. I am always tired and picking up colds and infections and i have just had some blood tests and my vitamin D is very low, i have been advised to take supplements and change my diet and hopefully this should sort the problem.
    Definately worth having a blood test

  21. Rhonda says: 04/01/201210:05 am

    I am 47 years old and have suffered from migraines since childhood. Over the last 30 years I have tried everything I could think of to get rid of my migraines. I have had acupuncture, MRI’s, CAT scans, botox, massage therapy, eye exams, chiropractic visits, antidepressants etc. and nothing gave me relief. I take Imitrex on a regular (almost daily) basis and do get relief however, it is only temporary and the migrains always return. I have tried to pinpoint triggers – light, smells, foods, too much sleep, too little sleep etc. but it began to seem like EVERYTHING was a trigger. I have missed out on so much over the years due to my headaches. If you ask any of my family or friends, they would most likely say that I always have a headache. I also suffer from anemia and take an iron supplement but am still tired. I have never been much a vitamin taker but decided I was tired of feeling bad all the time. I went to see my doctor about a possible vitamin deficiency and found out I am in need of supplements. Six days ago, I started on a mulit-vitamin, fish oil, a B-Complex supplement as well as a D3 supplement. I expected to feel better from the supplements but what I didn’t expect was relief from my migraines. I have had NO migraines since starting the vitamins. Not only have I had no migraines, I feel like a new person! I cannot describe how good I feel and how much energy I have. I now feel like a “normal” person! I cannot believe over all these years, no doctor checked into this for me until now.

  22. rachael says: 04/01/201211:18 am

    Oh my, i have been having horrible headaches for over a year. my doc told me it was due to stress. So I got a new doc and he ran some tests,turns out that I am vitamen D deficent .My level was 21, i started taking vitame D last week and my headaches are improving. I t is such a difference so far.

  23. Mar says: 04/24/201211:46 am

    I can’t beleive it! I’m 46 years old and have been dealing with headaches since my teens. Been to several different doctors and been on different types of meds. NOT one Doctor has ever said anything to me about vitamin deficiency. I have never been a big beleiver in taking vitamins. But I deceided about 1.5 months ago to give it a try. Well I have only had one small headache in that time. WOW! why would the Doctors not think of suggesting that?

  24. Leanne says: 05/25/20141:45 pm

    For a year now I’ve been having daily headaches and taking 3/500mg tylenol, motrin, aleve, and any other within reason over the counter med atleast 3-5 times per day, every day. I started taking vitamin D, E, B complex, calcium, omega 3 and vit C just because I felt it was time to loose weight and be healthier. It has been 6 days of taking the vitamins every morning without any remedies for headaches and my headaches are completely gone, I haven’t had one for atleast 4 days now.

Submit comment