Are you getting the right vitamins?

By Gillie Houston
Updated May 24, 2017

Those who suffer from migraines know how debilitating the head pain can be. While many researchers have tried to identify the reason migraines happen, for the most part the cause of the headaches is somewhat of a mystery. Now, one study suggests that the root of the problem is a deficiency in certain essential vitamins.

Light, hunger, smells, hormones, foods, drinks and stress are just some of the things that can trigger migraine headaches in the 16 percent of women and 8 percent of men who suffer from them. And often the intense headaches are accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, changes in vision and throbbing pain.

Researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital recently set out to determine what could possibly be causing the headaches in their young patients. By analyzing the blood levels of those who had experienced migraines, the scientists found that children, teens, and young adults with deficiencies in some vitamins tended to experience higher levels of migraines. Vitamin D, riboflavin, folate, and coenzyme Q10 (which is a vitamin-like substance that produces energy for cell growth) levels were all linked to the development of migraines in younger people, according to Science Daily.

The study also found that girls were more likely to have lower levels of coenzyme Q10, while boys were found to have higher deficiencies of vitamin D. Additionally, researchers found that chronic migraine sufferers were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those who experience episodic migraines

Study participants who had a vitamin deficiency were given preventative migraine medications and vitamin supplements, but because of the introduction of the migraine medication, the scientists were unable to definitively say whether or not adjusting vitamin levels prevented the headaches.

"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," says lead author Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow at the hospital. In the meantime, until further conclusions are made, migraine sufferers might want to consider upping their vitamin intake just in case.