Can Supplementing With Vitamin D Help With Migraines?

During my education in pharmacy school and on my clinical rotations most of the non-pharmacological solutions were neglected. Why is there such an overemphasis on medications in pharmacy? Why do most pharmacies and pharmacist fail to pay attention to solutions outside the pill bottle?

Can Supplementing With Vitamin D Help With Migraines?

Migraines are painful and debilitating for the majority of those that suffer from them. I personally don’t have migraines but my mom has struggled with them for years. She is on the usual migraine prevention therapies (Sumatriptan and Amitriptyline). I suggested she take Magnesium (the L-threonate form). She was recently telling how much it has helped her. She has noticed that her Migraine frequencies have decreased ever since she started taking the magnesium.

Conventional pharmacy solutions shouldn’t always be at the forefront of treating anything that hurts us. I’m not anti-medication. There are instance in which medications are necessary and they play an important role. It’s important to note that supplementation for migraines can certainly reduce the severity of a migraine or reduce the monthly frequency of migraines. Just like in my mom’s case. 

So what about Vitamin D? Is Vitamin D effective for Migraines?

According to a recent meta-analysis, yes!

This meta-analysis of 5 randomized controlled trials explored the influence of vitamin D vs. placebo on treatment in migraine patients. Vitamin D treatment was associated with a reduced number of headache days (the primary outcome that was studied). Vitamin D treatment was also associated with reduced frequency of headache atttacks, and headache severity (both which were secondary outcomes).

In three of the studies there was a moderate reduction in the number of days with headaches. In two of studies there was a large reduction in the frequency of headaches. Two of the studies there was a moderate to large reduction in the severity of the headaches. 

This benefit seen in the meta-analysis reveiw is likely due to vitamin D’s potential anaglesic propertiesVitamin D deficiency is linked to many chronic pain conditions. Vitamin D might influence the perception of pain because of its effects on nerve conduction, inflammatory signaling and immune activiation. 

These results look promising. Keep in mind that this research is still in its infancy and it only looked at a small number of studies (just 5 randomized controlled trials) all of which had a small study population. 

The important point to understand is that there are non-pharmacological solutions that can reduce the severity of migraines. Such solutions can’t be ignored. 

Other Solutions For Managing Migraines and Chronic Headaches

Why is there such an overemphasis on medications in pharmacy? Why do most pharmacies and pharmacist fail to pay attention to solutions outside the pill bottle?

Take for example the following evidence-based dietary approaches and supplements that help with managing migraines and chronic headaches: 

  1. A low calorie ketogenic diet helps to reduce the number of and duration of migraine attacks
  2. Decreasing omega-6 fats and increasing consumption of omega-3 fats reduces pain and improves the quality of life for people with chronic headaches 
  3. Taking a daily supplement of 1.5 grams of omega-3s reduces the number of headache days in people with chronic migraines 
  4. Consuming a low fat, plant-based diet helps to reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks 
  5. Using a daily multivitamin lowers the intensity of migraine pain
  6. Taking 100 mcg (4,000 IU) of vitamin D3 per day helps to decrease the frequency of migraine attacks 
  7. Taking 250mg of a natto derived of supplement that contains bacillopeptidase F (has anti-thrombotic, fibrinolytic and blood viscosity lowering effects) reduces chronic headache pain that is caused by neck and shoulder stiffness. 

Have you heard about any of the above solutions from conventional pharmacies and/or pharmacists? 

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