As winter draws in it would seem an opportune moment to discuss vitamin D and migraines.
Some of you maybe aware that it has been estimated that between 10 & 20% of people in the UK may have lower than ideal Vitamin D levels in their bodies (indeed some studies suggest it may be as high as 60-70% during the winter months).
In addition to this some research has shown a possible link between low Vitamin D & chronic migraine. Furthermore individuals with low vitamin D have been shown to be more likely to suffer chronic pain in general and to be less responsive to many common pain relievers.
Vitamin D is vitally important too many of the bodies metabolic pathways (the most well known being ensuring bone health). Some is obtained Directly from the diet (egg yolks, cheese, oily fish, mushrooms), but most is synthesised from x which can be converted into Vitamin D In the skin when is it exposed to UVB rays in bright daylight.( it does not have to be direct sunshine)
It is thought that the combination of poor diet (low in vitamins), wearing high factor suncream, and covering up during the summer, combined with short daylight hours in the winter, is resulting in chronically low vitamin D levels in a large percentage the population ( especially those who live in the northern hemisphere).
Therefore if your migraines/Chronic headaches seem to be worse during the winter months it may be worth considering whether you are vitamin D deficient.
What are the signs?
General symptoms associated with low vitamin D status Include:
Lack of energy and fatigue
Headaches and migraines
Poor immune system/Vulnerability to infections(colds/flu etc)
Generalised muscle aches and pains
( n.b. Clearly the above are all non-specific symptoms and can have many other causes.)
It is possible to have your Vitamin D status checked via blood tests, however you could simply try taking vitamin D supplements for a few of months & see if you feel any better.
Needless to say it also makes sense to ensure your basic diet is healthy. In addition during the darker months try and get out to ensure as much daylight as possible (or if this is not possible purchase a decent lightbox -use of which helps replace UVB rays).
For vitamin D, the recommended intake is 600-800 IU daily for adults ( 400- 600iu for children), not exceeding 4000 IU daily. Assuming no problems ( see below) it should be taken for at least 3 months
Always buy a good make of supplement ( I recommend Solgar) . I prefer Vit D3 ( cholecalciferol ) which is the natural form of Vit D.
Vitamin D Warnings.
Vitamin D could cause an allergic skin reaction..
This vitamin may also affect your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, your Dr may need to monitor you while you’re taking vitamin D.
Also, tell your doctor if you currently have, or have ever had, or take medications for any of the following:
High or low blood pressure
Kidney problems and kidney stones
An immune disorder
Heart disease or other heart problem
Check with your doctor if you have any misgivings about taking this or any other supplement.
Possible Signs of overdose
Confusion or disorientation
Weight loss or poor appetite
Nausea, vomiting, or constipation