Vitamin D for the treatment of migraine headaches: an introduction
Vitamin D is a vitamin that is not found naturally in many foods. It can be added to food and it is also available as a supplement. The body also produces Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, contributes to healthy bones and helps protect older people from osteoporosis. People without enough Vitamin D can develop brittle or badly shaped bones. Vitamin D also helps people have healthy immune systems and it decreases inflammation. Rickets – which is the softening and weakening of children’s bones – is a disorder that comes from deficiency of Vitamin D, calcium or phosphate.
Foods containing Vitamin D
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
- Fish, including salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel
Other foods that are commonly fortified with Vitamin D
- Orange juice
- Mushrooms intentionally exposed to ultraviolet light to increase Vitamin D
Studies on Vitamin D and migraine
A study presented at the American Headache Society annual meeting in 2008 found that some 42 percent of people with chronic migraines have Vitamin D deficiency. Another study in 1991 found that people with too little Vitamin D may be at risk for pain that isn’t relieved by most pain relievers. This may explain why some people find migraine relief when taking Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also important for reducing inflammation. Migraine head pain may be related to inflammation in some migraine sufferers.
Form of Vitamin D available
Vitamin D is included in most multivitamins. It is found in many forms, including:
- Infant Drops
- Chewable tablets
- Gummy chewables
Side effects and other precautions
Too much Vitamin D can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Elevated calcium levels, which can cause confusion and heart rhythm problems
- Increased risk of kidney stones
- Dry mouth
- Metallic taste
Who should nottake vitamin D
Let your doctor know about all medications and other supplements you take, because Vitamin D supplements may interact with many different treatments. Steroids, the weight-loss drug orlistat and certain seizure medicines might reduce the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D.
Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or who are breastfeeding should consult their doctor before taking high doses of Vitamin D. High doses may be harmful to the developing baby.
People with kidney disease and artherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, may cause their conditions to worsen with Vitamin D supplements. Consulting a healthcare provider is the best course of action.
Vitamin D in people with sarcoidosis, lymphoma and histoplasmosis may lead to kidney stones or other health issues.
People with over-active parathyroid glands should be careful of using Vitamin D and should consult a doctor before beginning the supplement.
As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.