If you’ve tried everything to tame persistent migraines and headaches—without success—I have important news for you: One vitamin deficiency could be to blame.
As Dr. Fred Pescatore notes in his Essential Pain Protocol, a study of migraine patients published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that every single patient was deficient in vitamin D.
And Dr. Pescatore adds: “Those with chronic migraine (headaches on more than eight days a month) had even lower vitamin D levels than those with episodic migraine (headaches on less than eight days a month). In other words, people with the lowest level of vitamin D had the most migraines.”
Dr. Pescatore cites two additional studies that further confirm vitamin D’s role on migraines:
- When researchers added vitamin D to standard migraine drug treatment, the rate of migraine attacks over six months dropped by as much as 85 percent—from an average of seven attacks, to an average of just one!
- In a cohort of 65 migraine patients, those who took 50,000 IU of vitamin D weekly had a 16 percent decrease in headache frequency compared to those who didn’t take vitamin D.
But as important as these insights are for migraine patients, they’re just as important for those who suffer from other types of headaches…
Vitamin D deficiency and chronic tension headaches
The sunshine vitamin might be the smoking gun behind non-migraine, chronic “tension-type” headaches as well…
While studying 200 people with and without these chronic headaches, researchers found that 71 percent of the headache sufferers had an outright vitamin D deficiency, compared to 25 percent of those without headaches.
Another new study, from Finland, found middle-aged men with the lowest vitamin D levels were at “markedly higher risk” for frequent headaches, compared to similar men with the highest vitamin D levels.
As you can see, study after study strongly links low vitamin D levels to a higher risk for headaches. So, it’s no wonder why Dr. Pescatore recommends those with migraines or other types of chronic headaches to take a daily supplement of vitamin D.
How to reach your optimal vitamin D level
To reach an optimal vitamin D level, Dr. Pescatore generally recommends taking at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 on a daily basis. But he also notes he takes 10,000 IU per day himself—a dose that is perfectly safe as long as your levels are being regularly monitored.
And speaking of regularly monitoring your levels, Dr. Pescatore also recommends talking to your doctor about getting a vitamin D blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D.
“You should retest every six weeks,” he says, “until your levels are where they should be.” But he warns that the vitamin D levels most doctors and researchers consider “adequate” are far too low, in his opinion.
He says, “For headache prevention, you want to aim for closer to 80 ng/ml. You’re not likely to be at that level when you first get tested—in fact, you might not be anywhere close—but if you keep on testing periodically, you’ll see if your vitamin D strategies are working for you.”
You can find additional methods for relieving migraines and many other sources of chronic pain in Dr. Pescatore’s Essential Pain Protocol.