Migraine: The Vitamin D Connection

Migraines are more than just headaches. They are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. They are a common problem for patients at our Brighton chiropractic clinic. While there are various triggers for migraines, ranging from stress to certain foods, research suggests that a deficiency in vitamin D may play a significant role in the onset and severity of these excruciating headaches.

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is crucial for overall health. It plays a vital role in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, promoting bone health, supporting the immune system, and even influencing mood. Unlike other vitamins that are mostly obtained through diet, our bodies can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

The Migraine-Vitamin D Connection

Recent studies have highlighted a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and migraines. 

Neurological Impact. Vitamin D receptors are present in the brain, including areas involved in pain processing and mood regulation. Deficiency in vitamin D may alter neurotransmitter levels and sensitivity to pain, contributing to migraine onset and severity.

Inflammatory Response. Migraines are often associated with inflammation in the brain and blood vessels. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate the immune response, reducing inflammation and decreasing the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Vascular Function. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to blood vessel wall dysfunction, which affects the health and function of blood vessels. Impaired vascular function can lead to constriction or dilation of blood vessels, a known trigger for migraines.

Serotonin Levels. Serotonin, a brain messenger chemical involved in mood regulation and pain perception, has been implicated in migraines. Vitamin D deficiency can disrupt serotonin synthesis and signaling, increasing susceptibility to migraines.

Addressing vitamin D deficiency is a worthwhile approach to migraine management. This can be achieved through a combination of strategies.

Sun Exposure. Spending time outdoors in sunlight between March and September is the most natural way to boost vitamin D levels. If you’re worried about skin damage, you may be pleased to hear that the average person only needs about 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure on exposed skin several times a week. It’s best to do this during the midday hours when the sun’s UVB rays are most intense.

Supplements. In cases of limited sun exposure, vitamin D supplements may be necessary. It’s important to take a vitamin D supplement in conjunction with vitamin K2, which allows calcium to be absorbed into bone mass and prevents calcification of the arteries. If you’d like to know more about what vitamin D supplement is right for you, chat to one of our chiropractors. 

Dietary Sources. While few foods naturally contain vitamin D, incorporating sources such as fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel), egg yolks, fortified dairy products, and fortified cereals into your diet can help increase vitamin D intake.

Optimising vitamin D levels offers a promising avenue for migraine prevention. If you would like to know even more about migraine management, read our blog post ‘Migraines: Don’t Suffer In Silence.’ Or you can book an appointment with us for a personalised treatment plan. We’re always happy to help you.