The Connection Between Vitamin B and D Deficiencies and Migraine Headaches According to Science

This Common Nutritional Deficiency Can Cause Migraine Headaches

When is a headache more than just a set of throbbing temples? When that headache is a migraine headache, there is more than just a pesky pain from the neck up. Migraine sufferers know that these headaches are a special kind of awful: visual auras, nausea, fatigue and disorientation can all accompany the crippling pain that comes with a migraine.

Recent research has shown that migraines may, in part, be due to a nutritional deficiency—and one that can be easily remedied.

Migraine – What is it?

It is estimated that more than 300 million people across the globe suffer from intermittent migraines: about 6 percent of all males and more than twice as many females get these horrible headaches from time to time.

Migraine are severe headaches that can last from several hours to several days, often precipitated by an “aura,” or a change in vision. These auras may include the perception of geometric shapes, a sense that one’s vision has been shattered into fragments, blurriness and spots or dots—especially on one side of the visual field.

These auras may be accompanied by feelings of dizziness and confusion or nausea and fatigue. Often the aura is a sign of the worst to come: the blindingly awful headache that the migraine experience culminates in.

Migraine and Nutritional Deficiencies – the Connection

Although the underlying cause of migraine headaches has yet to be pinpointed and is thought to be different from person to person, research has shown that many migraine sufferers also have something else in common: a nutritional deficiency in one or more essential vitamins.

The Migraine-B Vitamin Connection

Migraine headaches may have many causes, and those causes vary from individual to individual. However, research studies aimed at determining whether nutritional factors may play a role in migraine development have shown that B vitamins may play a significant role in migraine headaches. (2)

According to a research published in the journal CNS and Neurological Disorders Drug Targets by scientists from the Human Genome Center at the University Sains Malaysia, folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamins B6 and B12 may play a role in migraine triggering and suppression. (1) According to this study, deficiencies in these vitamins can trigger migraines.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the 5 essential nutrients you may be missing from your diet.

Further research published in 2009 and spearheaded by a research team from Australia’s Griffith University showed that folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines among a sample of migraine sufferers. (3)

Another study from Iran published in October 2015’s Electron Physician journal showed that vitamin B2 deficiency could be related to migraine. (4)

All told, the data points to a tie between B vitamins and migraines, namely that B vitamin deficiency especially folic acid, B2, B6 and B12 can lead to migraine suffering. Here are the warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency and how to fix it.

The Migraine-D Vitamin Connection

Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think. In fact, it is so common that The American Journal of Clinical NutritionIt called it a worldwide problem which is recognized as a pandemic.

What makes vitamin D unique compared to other vitamins is that your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight, whereas you need to get other vitamins from the foods you eat. In today’s world where so many people spend the bulk of their time indoors, exposure to and absorption of naturally occurring vitamin D can be sorely lacking.

I’ve already mentioned the common causes for lack of vitamin D and how this deficiency affects your health. A research indicates that lack of vitamin D may also cause migraines.

A study conducted by researchers from Turkey’s Bozok University, published in the October 2014 edition of the International Journal of Clinical Practice suggested that individuals with low serum vitamin D levels were more prone to suffering from migraines than people with normal serum vitamin D levels. (5)

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Serum vitamin D levels were significantly lower in patients with migraines compared to the control group.
  • In a multiple model analysis, vitamin D were found to be associated with migraines.

The researchers concluded:
“Based on the present findings, we may suggest that decreased serum vitamin D levels were associated with migraine.”

Comprehensive Migraine Treatment – Look for the Migraine Triggers

It is important for you to understand that treating migraines by using a simple remedy may not be the best approach. While using supplements like B and D vitamins can be useful, this is still an approach which is similar to using medications. In many cases you can get a longer lasting relief by identifying the root cause of your migraines – you need to identify and avoid the triggers of the migraine.

Just as there are numerous theories on the actual mechanics of migraine pain, there are a wide number of potential triggers — and what triggers a migraine for you might not trigger it in someone else. So rather than just popping some B or D vitamins you will want to consider a more comprehensive strategy.

Let’s discuss some of the common triggers: (6)

Common Migraine Triggers

Food and Drink

Food and drink can be a big culprit in bringing on a migraine. Preservatives in processed foods, caffeine, tannins in red wine and black tea, excessive sodium intake, smoked foods and aged cheeses can all act as triggers for migraine.

Many people who eat convenience foods find themselves suffering from migraines without being able to pinpoint a specific trigger. Avoid these 10 fake foods as well as these food ingredients.

Hormonal Triggers

Many women experience migraines in time with their monthly menstrual cycles, leading to a pattern of misery related to the ups and downs of progesterone and estrogen associated with menstruating. Some of these women find total relief after menopause has set in, while others continue to grapple with migraine pain even after the change of life. For more information, read my post about the 13 signs you have hormonal imbalance.


Did you know that at least 60% of all diseases can be in some way attributed to stress?

Stress can be another major trigger for migraines; a new job, increased workload at an existing job, or even marrying or having a child are all considered stressful events, and can all serve as migraine triggers.

If you suffer from stress, use these 7 effective meditation techniques to reduce stress.

Sensory triggers

A lot of migraine sufferers insist that their migraine-related pain is brought on primarily by sensory triggers, especially visual ones.

Bright or flickering lights, a rapid change from darkness to brightness, and even exposure to sunlight can all trigger a migraine headache. Sometimes loud or repetitive sounds can also serve as a trigger, or even strong smells such as perfume or chemical scents.

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