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Preventing Migraines with Vitamin D3

I'm not a doctor... or a migraineur... I'm just an old Navy fighter pilot, call sign "Batch." I'm also a long time cluster headache sufferer, (CH'er) chronic since 2005... except I no longer suffer from these terribly painful headaches.

The purpose of this post is to start the ball rolling for migraineurs interested in a complementary alternative therapy consisting of OTC vitamins and minerals including 10,000 IU/day vitamin D3, 1000 mg Omega-3 Fish Oil, and the vitamin D3 cofactors: magnesium, zinc, boron, and vitamin A (retinol) all taken at RDA. I call this combination of vitamins and minerals the Anti-Inflammatory Regimen.

I'm not a doctor, a troll or a snake oil salesman... Accordingly, I suggest migraineurs interested in this regimen see their PCP or neurologist for the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D3, a.k.a., 25(OH)D lab test. 25(OH)D is the serum level metabolite of vitamin D3 that's used to measure its status. The normal reference range for this lab test is a 25(OH)D serum concentration between 30 and 100 ng/mL, (75 and 250 nmol/L). Be sure to ask for the actual results as too many physicians will interpret 31 ng/mL as "normal." CH'ers who respond to this regimen average a 25(OH)D serum concentration around 80 ng/Ml.

Should your 25(OH)D lab results come back less than 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L), discuss vitamin D3 therapy with your PCP or neurologist. I realize 10,000 IU/day vitamin D3 sounds like a lot... but it isn't. The human skin can develop over 15,000 IU of vitamin D3 in as little as 10 minutes if exposed to the UV-B in direct mid-day sunlight clad in a bathing suit without sun block... The problem is most of us haven't done this since we were kids.

I've spent the last five years working with hundreds of CH'ers taking the anti-inflammatory regimen at the cluster headache forum, clusterheadaches dot com. To date, better than 80% of the CH'ers who started this regimen have had a favorable response with a significant reduction in the frequency, severity and duration of their CH within the first month. 60% of them have experienced a lasting pain free response. Since December of 2010, a number of migraineurs have also started this regimen with similar results... my wife included. She was a 20 year chronic migraineur with monthly bouts of migraine headaches lasting 3 to 5 days... She hasn't had a migraine since starting the anti-inflammatory regimen.

You can find out more about the health benefits of vitamin D3 by Googling "Vitamin D Wiki," "Grassroots Health," and the "Vitamin D Council"

For the moderators, I'm a member of the American Academy of Neurology. You can find the abstract of a survey I conducted titled "A Survey of Cluster Headache (CH) Sufferers Using Vitamin D3 as a CH Preventative (P1.256). Neurology April 8, 2014 vol. 82 no. 10 Supplement P1.256.

Take care,

V/R, Batch

  1. Hi Batch,

    Thank you for sharing your information with us. I did find your abstract and will post this link here;

    It seems some of us with migraine and ch are vitamin D deficient. A 2008 study found nearly 42% of people with migraine deficient in vitamin D.

    Again, thanks for sharing,

    1. I know this is an old post but I’m a new sufferer of CH and I am looking for relief. I am starting this treatment tonight! I’ve seen your posts (Batch) on other sites. I hope this works!!! I don’t know if you’ll see this but thank you for sharing!

      1. Hey toodlebuggoff,

        You can find the most recent posted version of the anti-inflammatory regimen at the following VitaminDWiki link. Be sure to discuss it with your PCP so requirements for the needed lab tests are understood.

        Migraineurs need to modify this regimen by increasing the vitamin D3 maintenance dose to 20,000 IU/day and shoot for a target serum 25(OH)D range of 90 to 120 ng/mL. Migraineurs also need to add a tablet a day of CoQ10 and a 1000 mg/day of Turmeric (Curcumin). The 12-Day accelerated vitamin D3 loading schedule at 50,000 IU/day for 12 days is important in getting a good start on this regimen as it elevates serum 25(OH)D rapidly to the therapeutic range. If there's no joy after 3 to 4 days on the 12-Day loading schedule, many headache sufferers have found a week to 10-day course of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCL) at 25 mg every 4 hours throughout the day and again at bed time. Just be careful and not drive while taking Benadryl as it will make you drowsy.

        When you complete the 12-day loading schedule, drop back to an initial vitamin D3 maintenance dose of 15,000 to 20,000 IU/day. After three weeks at this dose, see your PCP for lab tests of your 25(OH)D, total calcium and PTH. As long as your serum calcium remains within its normal reference range and your PTH stays in the lower third of its normal reference range, the 25(OH)D serum concentration doesn't really matter. As a chronic CHer, I take 20,000 IU/day vitamin D3 and have maintained an average 25(OH)D serum concentration of 140 ±50 ng/mL for the last few years. My PCP is ok with this as long as my serum calcium remains within its normal reference range... and it has...

        One of the most important things to do as headache sufferers is drink 2.5 liters of water a day. Taking 2000 to 4000 mg/day of vitamin C is also a good idea. We lost the enzyme needed to produce vitamin C somewhere in our evolutionary history so we need to obtain this important vitamin from supplements or diet. Dr. Linus Pauling took 18 grams of vitamin C a day... He also lived to 93...

        Take care and please keep us posted. V/R, Batch


          When you read the following, consider this... At face value, the following study indicates less than 5 cents a day vitamin D3 (4,000 IU/day) prevents migraine as good as if not better than the leading FDA approved anti-CGRP mAb costing >$700/month.

          Take care,
          V/R, Batch

          Curr Med Res Opin. 2018 Sep 5:1-22. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2018.1519503. [Epub ahead of print]
          A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel trial of vitamin D3 supplementation in adult patients with migraine.
          Gazerani P1, Fuglsang R1, Pedersen JG1, Sørensen J1, Kjeldsen JL1, Yassin H1, Nedergaard BS2.
          Author information

          Vitamin D levels have been linked to certain pain states, including migraine. We investigated whether vitamin D supplementation would be beneficial for adult patients with migraine ( Identifier: NCT01695460).

          A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel trial was conducted in migraine patients (36 women and 12 men, 18-65 years of age). A 4-week baseline period was conducted before randomization to 24 weeks of treatment. Participants were assigned to receive D3-Vitamin® (n = 24, 18 women and 6 men, 100 μg/day D3-Vitamin®) or placebo (n = 24, 18 women and 6 men). Migraine attacks and related symptoms were assessed by self-reported diaries. The response rate (i.e., experiencing a 50% or greater reduction in migraine frequency from baseline to week 24), change in migraine severity, and number of migraine days were recorded. Changes in migraine-related symptoms, HIT-6TM scores, and pain sensitivity tests (pressure pain threshold and temporal summation) were also evaluated. Serum levels of both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D were assessed from baseline to week 24.

          The number of headache days changed from 6.14±3.60 in the treatment group and 5.72±4.52 in the placebo group at baseline to 3.28±3.24 and 4.93±3.24 by the end of the trial, respectively. Migraine patients on D3-Vitamin® demonstrated a significant decrease (p < 0.001) in migraine frequency from baseline to week 24 compared with placebo. However, migraine severity, pressure pain thresholds or temporal summation did not show a significant change. 25(OH)D levels increased significantly for the D3-Vitamin® group during the first 12 weeks of treatment. There was no significant change in 1,25(OH)2D. No side effects were reported or noted.

          D3-Vitamin® was superior to placebo in reducing migraine days in migraine patients. Larger studies are required to confirm that vitamin D3 might be one of the prophylactic options for adult patients with migraine.

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