Doctors often try to determine the cause of recurrent migraine attacks by looking at the patients' medical conditions, sleep behaviors and food intolerances. Findings of a new study, however, suggest that physicians should also consider screening patients for vitamin deficiencies.
Certain vitamins play an important role in migraine. Now, researchers said that certain vitamin supplements may possibly help those suffering from frequent migraines as there appears to be a link between vitamin deficiency and the condition.
Researchers looked at children, teen and young adults with migraine who were treated at the Cincinnati Children's Headache Center and found that a large percentage has mild deficiencies in riboflavin, vitamin D and coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance present in the cells of the body that produce energy needed for cell growth and maintenance.
The new research, which was presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego on June 10, also found that girls and young women are at higher risk than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies while boys and young men tend to have vitamin D deficiency.
Those with chronic migraines were also found to be more likely to have deficiencies in riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 compared to patients with episodic migraines.
"This suggests that a high percentage of pediatric migraine patients in the general population may be deficient in riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, vitamin D, and folate and when identified as deficient, may benefit from supplementation of these vitamins," the researchers reported.
Can Vitamin Supplements Stop Migraine?
While the researchers acknowledge the possible benefit of vitamin supplementation in migraine patients, earlier studies that looked into the use of vitamins for preventing migraines have mixed results.
In the new study, many of the patients were prescribed preventive migraine medications and vitamin supplements if their levels were low but since there were too few participants who received vitamins alone, it was not possible to know for certain if vitamin supplements can indeed help prevent migraine.
Study researcher Suzanne Hagler, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said that additional studies are needed to determine if vitamin supplements could indeed help migraine sufferers.
"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," Hagler said.
Health care providers may prescribe medications to young sufferers albeit sleep has been considered as an effective treatment.
Older migraine sufferers have other options though. A newly conducted study has shown that medical marijuana can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. The American Academy of Neurology also said that botox is an effective and safe treatment for chronic migraine.