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Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Headaches

What Is Vitamin D

Migraine Root Causes – Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two forms:

  • Cholecalciferol : It is made by the body after exposure to ultraviolet light and is present in certain foods such as tuna and salmon.
  • Ergocalciferol : This form can be derived from the fungal sterol “ergosterol” and is found naturally in foods such as sun-dried shiitake mushrooms.

Both forms of vitamin D are used in the fortification of foods and in vitamin D supplements.

Try Vitamin D For Your Headaches

If you experience chronic headaches, theres nothing wrong with making sure you are getting enough vitamin D. Most of us in the Detroit area are probably deficient at this time of year. Ideally, the best way to get your vitamin D is to get sun exposure. Even in January on a cloudy day, there are still a couple of hours around noon when the sun is intense enough that your body will produce vitamin D. And on a cloudless day in January, theres enough sun to stimulate vitamin D production for nearly six hours a day.

Which is not to say that any of us really want to get out in short sleeves this week to get our vitamin D. So when the weather isnt suitable for getting sun exposure, turn to food for your vitamin D. Fatty fish are the best natural source of vitamin D: tuna, mackerel, and salmon, for example.

Otherwise, fortified food or dietary supplements can be used to get your vitamin D levels up.

But what if vitamin D doesnt help with your headaches? Consider other potential causes. Its possible MSG could contribute to your headaches. One neglected cause of chronic headaches is TMJ. TMJ can cause many types of headaches, including tension headaches and migraines. If your headache isnt responding to typical care, talk to a dentist to find out if thats the cause.

If you are looking for headache relief in the Rochester Hills area, please call today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness.

How To Avoid ‘diet Headaches’

Getting a headache during weight loss is not uncommon. You’ll need to cut calories if you want to lose weight, but low-calorie diets can lead to headaches, fatigue and sleep problems, among other issues. So-called diet headaches or low-calorie headaches can be caused, yes, by not eating enough and by not eating enough of the right foods.

To avoid headaches when you’re on a low-calorie diet, you want to make sure you’re staying mindful of all of your body’s needs.

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Migraines Are Not Just Bad Headaches

Migraine symptoms include a severe and debilitating headache, but the condition is far more serious than a bad headache. Migraines are a neurological disorder, characterized by recurring headaches and considered to be the most common disorder of the nervous system.8

They are more common in women than men because of hormonal influences,9 and are characterized by recurring attacks of moderate to severe intensity, many times occurring only on one side of your head. These headaches may last from a couple of hours to up to three days and are often aggravated by physical activity.

Other symptoms that may accompany a migraine headache include nausea, visual disturbances, dizziness, numbness in your extremities or face, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch.10

Personal healthcare costs may be up to 70 percent higher for a family with one person suffering from migraine headaches. There are different types of migraine headaches, and sometimes one person may experience various symptoms from one headache to the next.11,12

Can Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Headaches The Answer Is Yes

Vitamin B12 deficiency: Headaches are one of the symptoms ...

Vitamins are natural compounds the body needs to function. Humans mostly get vitamins from the food they eat. Some may be synthesized in other ways through sun exposure or other natural processes, for example.

Even if you take multivitamins every day, its still important to make sure that you are getting all the vitamins you need. Do you have new headaches? Are the headaches you commonly have getting worse? Vitamin deficiency could be why.

Three main deficiencies contribute to headaches:

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Migraines And Vitamin Deficiencies

Another migraine trigger that has been recently researched is vitamin deficiency. In a study that involved 52 people diagnosed with migraines, the participants were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin supplements or a placebo for six months. The study concluded that Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements produced a two-fold reduction in migraines over the six-month period. Previous studies have also found that Vitamin B2 can help to prevent migraine attacks.

Another study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that Vitamin D deficiency is related to migraines. Researchers found that 42% of patients with chronic migraines were deficient in Vitamin D. They concluded that the longer a patient suffered from chronic migraines, the more likely they were to become Vitamin D deficient.

Try These Headache Remedies

Even after adjusting the dosage of your vitamins or discontinuing use altogether, headaches may persist until the excess vitamins are flushed out of your system. To alleviate headaches, there are some remedies you can try.

Dehydration can worsen your symptoms. A small August 2012 study of 102 participants published in Family Practice found that increased water intake has a significant improvement on patients with headaches. These improvements in quality of life were self-perceived in a questionnaire. Researchers concluded that drinking more water is a noninvasive treatment that is recommended for headache relief.

Lack of sleep and frequent sleep disturbances can also increase the chances of getting a headache. On the other end of the spectrum, getting too much sleep may make you feel groggy with headache symptoms. The recommended amount of sleep in adults is between seven and nine hours per night.

Unfortunately for coffee lovers, kicking your caffeine habit may help with your headaches. Try switching to or herbal tea to jumpstart your mornings. You may notice more headaches at first, but over time, your body will not be as dependent on caffeine for energy.

Read more:Causes of Waking Up With a Headache

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What Is Vitamin D Deficiency

If you have been experiencing headaches, you may now be asking yourself: are your headaches due to low vitamin D? Vitamin D is needed by the body to absorb calcium, necessary for things like bone growth. It is also helps the immune system function properly, fights illness, aids weight loss, and helps combat depression. Vitamin D deficiency is the lack of this particular nutrient in the body. There are many risk factors for vitamin D deficiency such as:

  • A lack of sunlight, which is crucial to obtaining this vitamin.
  • Dietary issues, such as allergies to foods that contain vitamin D.
  • Individuals with dark skin, as melanin inhibits the production of vitamin D.
  • Obesity, which does not allow vitamin D to circulate properly.
  • Malfunctioning kidneys, which otherwise are needed for the output of vitamin D in the body.

Additionally, older people tend to be more at risk than most. In fact, it is estimated that over 90% of seniors have vitamin D deficiency. This is due to their inability to produce ample amounts of vitamin D in the skin, and the reduced exposure to the sun as a result of their increased time indoors.

Dehydration Could Be The Culprit When It Comes To Your Headaches

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We’re surrounded by drinking water, yet many of us don’t get enough of this important fluid during the day. And some people don’t drink any fluids for hours and hours, which registered dietician MEd, CSSD, LDN, CDE told INSIDER can be a contributing factor in headaches.

“If you fall in this category, consider setting the alarm on your phone or computer to cue you to drink,” recommended Stefanski. She said to focus on drinking eight ounces of water several times per day. “Everyone has different fluid needs, but you should aim for at least 64 ounces of fluid as an adult,” she explained.

Read more: 11 signs of dehydration you might be missing

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiencies take about two years or more before they are noticed. The symptoms listed below may start a bit sooner.

The causes of this can be due to anemias, chronic alcoholism, gastric bypass surgery, and lack of intrinsic factor. Lack of intrinsic factor is perhaps the most common cause. This may be eitheran inheirited problem, or it can be the result of drugs such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. These are medications that reduce stomach acid which is needed forintrinsic factor to bind to B12 in food sources and carry it across the gut to the rest of the body.

An additional medication that could cause B12 deficiency can be metformin which is a common medication used in diabetes. At the present time, studies have indicatedthat 10-30% of diabetics who take metformin are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. A good way to counter act this effect is to take sublingual vitamin B12.

The following are vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms:

  • Confusion or change in mental status
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Unexplained worsening of neuropathies, such as carpel tunnel syndrome
  • improved mood
  • less neuropathic pain
  • less tingling

Another benefit may be reducing the pain that MS patients feel from nerve damage caused by MS. Many of these people have pain in theirarms and legs in addition to weakness. This is because there are different nerve fibers for sensation than there are for muscle strength.

Vitamin Deficiencies That Lead To Migraine Headaches


There are many reasons why migraine headaches occur, including vitamin deficiencies. Now, lets examine three vitamin deficiencies that have been linked to migraine pain.

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Magnesium: Loss Of Appetite Nausea Fatigue And More

Magnesium helps support bone health and assists in energy production, and adults need between 310 and 420 mg, depending on sex and age, according to the NIH. Although deficiency is fairly uncommon in otherwise healthy people, certain medications and health conditions can limit the absorption of magnesium or increase the loss of this nutrient from the body.

Magnesium deficiency can cause loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In more severe cases, it may also lead to numbness and tingling, muscle cramps or contractions, seizures, irregular heart rhythms, personality changes, or coronary spasms.

To help your levels return to normal, eat more magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, black beans, and edamame, Patton says.

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Varied Diets Are The Answer

This Vitamin Deficiency Can Trigger Severe Headaches and ...

If a varied diet is eaten, few people need to worry about getting enough vitamin B12.

Derbyshire adds: “As vitamin B12 is water-soluble, it isn’t stored in the body so there is no risk of overdosing, but if you are taking supplements, always follow the manufacturer’s advice on dosage. There is no proven advantage to consuming more than the recommended 1.5 micrograms per day.”

For those at heightened risk of deficiency, particularly elderly, long-term vegans and people with certain medical conditions, keep a close watch on your diet and make sure that any concerns are discussed with your GP or practice nurse. Carers of elderly people need to be aware of the early symptoms of pernicious anaemia and alert relevant healthcare professionals should any of these be noted.

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Mouth Ulcers Or Cracks In The Corners Of The Mouth

Lesions in and around the mouth may partly be linked to an insufficient intake of certain vitamins or minerals.

For instance, mouth ulcers, also commonly referred to as canker sores, are often the result of deficiencies in iron or B vitamins.

One small study notes that patients with mouth ulcers appear to be twice as likely to have low iron levels .

In another small study, around 28% of patients with mouth ulcers had deficiencies in thiamine , riboflavin , and pyridoxine .

Angular cheilitis, a condition that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split, or bleed, can be caused by excess salivation or dehydration. However, it may also be caused by an insufficient intake of iron and B vitamins, particularly riboflavin (

17 ).

If you experience these symptoms, try adding the foods above to your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

Summary People with mouth ulcers or cracks at the corners of the mouth may want to try consuming more foods rich in thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and iron to alleviate symptoms.

Vitamin Deficiency And Migraines

There are multiple causes of migraine headaches. From hormonal imbalance to medications and certain smells to bruxism, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the factors that could trigger a migraine attack. Research also suggests that certain vitamin deficiencies can result in frequent migraine headaches. As they are essential nutrients that play a crucial role in body processes and health, insufficient intake of vitamins affects vital areas of the body.

Getting enough vitamins is essential to maintaining a healthy and active body. Incorporating these nutrients in your daily diet nourishes the body and keeps you fit for a long time. It also works hard to prevent various ailments and disorders like headaches and migraines that become tough to deal with.

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Vitamins B6 B12 And Folic Acid

Studies showed that vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, taken over six months, had visibly reduced the frequency of Migraine attacks

Experts recommend an average of 400 milligrams of B complex a day. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is also essential for the body, as it provides energy, through the metabolism of fats. Deficiency of this vitamin can hinder the normal functioning of the body, and may even trigger a Migraine attack.

Who Is At Risk Of Deficiency

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As vitamin B12 is so widely available in the UK diet, only three groups tend to have an issue with inadequacy: vegans, the elderly and people with gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or Helicobacter pylori infection.

But some medicines, including colchicine, neomycin, metformin, anticonvulsants and drugs to control gastric acid secretion, can also increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 levels may be lower than optimal in women using regular oral contraception but risk of deficiency is minimal. Still, it is worth checking that you are eating one or two good dietary sources of vitamin B12 daily, or using a multivitamin, if you take oral contraceptives.

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Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Migraines

It seems like such a simple answer, but its what researchers suggested when they presented their data to the 58th Annual Scientific of the American Headache Society. They have proposed that vitamin supplements might be the secret to preventing and treating migraines.

To support their theory, researchers drew from nutrient measurements taken from the blood of young adults, teens, and children seeking treatment for headaches. Researchers looked at four key nutrients: vitamin D, riboflavin , folate , and CoQ10, an antioxidant that is vital to cell function.

Researchers found that nutrient deficiencies were common for those with migraines. They discovered that all four vitamins showed deficiencies. More than two-thirds of those tested showed low vitamin D. About 15% of teens had riboflavin levels below the recommended, and 40% were at levels where doctors recommend supplementation. Nearly two-thirds tested low for folate, and 30% tested below the lower reference limit for CoQ10.

Although these may seem like promising connections, there are many reasons why we wouldnt want to take this research too seriously yet.

Food Sources Of B Vitamins + Folic Acid

Folic Acid: Fruits, whole grains, veggies, beans, and fortified and whole grain products are excellent sources of folic acid and can help retain the recommended levels of this vitamin in the body

Vitamin B6: Vegetables, fruits, beans, poultry, and fish are good sources of vitamin B6. It is primarily found in dark leafy greens, oranges, papayas, and even cantaloupes.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products . People who follow a plant-based diet are often found to be deficient in this vitamin. Hence, such people need to increase their consumption of cereals, soy, and rice milk, which are rich in vitamin B12.

Vitamin B2: A lot of foods contain vitamin B2. Some foods rich in it are milk, yogurt, spinach, almonds, tomatoes, and beef.

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How To Manage Vitamin D Deficiency

If you believe you are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, increasing your levels of Vitamin D can be done at home, naturally. People can increase their sun exposure by simply partaking in outdoor activities, keeping in mind that too much sun can also can cause harm if sunburned. Additionally, Vitamin D supplements are available over the counter and are relatively inexpensive. Another way to get the proper level of Vitamin D is through certain foods. But which ones? Foods that have a good source of Vitamin D include:

  • Salmon

Vitamins For Migraines And Headaches

Headache location meaning

When you have a headache caused by vitamins, you may want to see a doctor and discontinue use. However, there are cases where people take vitamins for migraines and headaches.

Magnesium and coenzyme Q10 supplements are often recommended to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches as well as prevent migraines. Some herbal supplements, such as feverfew, have also been known to treat headaches.

Some people have chronic migraines while others may experience headaches as a result of nutrient deficiencies. Headaches and migraines are a reported sign of deficiencies in vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium and iron.

Taking vitamins for migraines and discontinuing use of vitamins to prevent headaches may put you at a standstill. To avoid headaches altogether, try to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Consult with a medical professional about any vitamins you choose to take.

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