Headache

13 June 2016

Vitamin supplementation may help prevent migraines

Research has suggested that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in migraine, but studies using vitamins to prevent migraines have yielded mixed results.

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Many young people who suffer from migraines have vitamin deficiencies, new research find

Medication plus vitamins

"Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation," said lead study author Dr Suzanne Hagler in a Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre news release. She is a headache medicine fellow in the hospital's division of neurology.

The study included children, teens and young adult migraine patients who were treated at Cincinnati Children's Headache Centre.

Read: 6 migraine-busting foods

A high percentage of them had mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 – a vitamin-like substance used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance, the researchers said.

Many of the patients were prescribed preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation if their levels were low. But because too few patients received vitamins alone, it wasn't possible to determine if vitamin supplementation could help prevent migraines, the researchers noted.

The study also found that girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies.

Read: Me, myself and migraines

Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

Mixed results

Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than patients with episodic migraines, the study found.

Previous research has suggested that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in migraine, but studies using vitamins to prevent migraines have yielded mixed results, the researchers said.

The study was to be presented at the American Headache Society's annual meeting, in San Diego. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Read more:

What is a migraine?

Causes of migraines

Treating migraines

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Headache expert

Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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