6 Common Nutritional Deficiencies That Cause Migraine

Nutritional Deficiencies That Cause Migraine

Recent studies suggest that deficiency of certain nutrients may trigger migraine headache. The throbbing headache that usually occurs on one side of the head is known to affect about 12 percent of the population. Women especially are susceptible to migraine headache. Although the exact cause of migraine headache is unknown but according to research nutritional deficiency affects the normal functioning of the brain cells and the blood vessels that may lead to migraine attacks. A number of studies suggest that addressing nutritional deficiency help in minimizing frequency and severity of migraine.

Deficiency Of The Following Nutrients Can Cause Migraine:

1. Riboflavin:

Studies have found an association between decline in the energy producing function of the mitochondria in the brain cells and migraine headache. Deficiency of riboflavin or vitamin B2 is believed to be one of the causes of reduction in mitochondrial energy efficiency. Supplementing with riboflavin seems to help in reducing the severity of migraine headache. Including riboflavin rich foods in the diet can also help migraine sufferers. The best sources of riboflavin are liver, lamb, milk, yogurt, spinach, almonds and mushroom. [1]


2. Vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 is known to help in relieving migraine headache triggered by food sensitivity. Histamine intolerance following ingestion of wine and certain foods can be suppressed with the help of vitamin B6. Furthermore, vitamin B6 is essential for production of serotonin. Low serotonin level worsens migraine headache, which can be reversed by increasing vitamin B6 intake. Fish, meat, poultry, sweet potato, potato, spinach, sunflower seeds and banana are common sources of vitamin B6. [2]

 Vitamin B6

3. Vitamin B12:

Severity of migraine headache is associated with vitamin B12 level. Vitamin B12 acts as nitric oxide scavenger. Nitric oxide stimulates dilation of blood vessels. In migraine sufferers, a cascade of neuronal events releases nitric oxide that stretches the nerve endings that causes the pain. Vitamin B12, by blocking nitric oxide, helps in reducing the headache. Good sources of vitamin B12 include liver, meat, fish, egg, milk, yogurt and cheese. [3]

Vitamin B12

4. Vitamin D:

People susceptible to migraine headache are found to be deficient in vitamin D. While the exact role of vitamin D and migraine is unknown, studies have shown that the vitamin D level in migraine sufferers is about half of the optimal level. Avoiding sun exposure is the most common cause of vitamin D deficiency. Exposing skin to direct sunlight for 15 minutes is the inexpensive way of boosting the vitamin D level in the body. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolk, liver, fortified milk and dairy. [4]

Vitamin D

5. Magnesium:

Migraine sufferers are susceptible to magnesium deficiency. It especially worsens during an attack when the sufferer owing to stress loses excess magnesium through urine. Magnesium deficiency stimulates production of substance P, which is known to stimulate the sensation of pain. Furthermore, magnesium helps in suppressing production of inflammatory mediators during migraine. Some of the popular sources of magnesium that you can add to your diet are spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whole grains, almonds, black beans and yogurt. [5]


6. Coenzyme Q10:

Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered to be one of the reasons for migraine headache in some individuals. Coenzyme q10 is an antioxidant, which is known to maintain the optimal function of the mitochondria. Deficiency of this nutrient impairs the normal functioning of the mitochondria in the brain. Apart from supplements, increasing intake of foods rich in coenzyme q10 such as organ meat, fish, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli can help people susceptible to migraine. [6]

Coenzyme Q10


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