migraines linked to vitamin D and coenzyme Q10 deficiencies
Vitamin D deficiencies in boys and young men were linked to migraines and low baseline levels of Coenzyme Q10 are linked to migraines in girls and young women, according to a press release from Cincinnati Children’s hospital.
What are migraines?
Migraines are intense headaches usually concentrated on one side of the head or in one area. They are usually very painful and maybe accompanied by an aura such as visual stimulus or a smell. They may also be accompanied by nausea. Changes in pressure in veins or inflammation in vasculature are often implicated in migraines. Many people have migraine trigger which may include certain foods or even changes in hormone levels.
Vitamin D deficiency linked to migraines in males
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that helps with calcium absorption. Although poorly understood, low levels linked to many neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and schizophrenia. Now migraines are linked to vitamin D deficiency as well. It can be assumed that since calcium is so important for neuronal function and for long term synaptic changes and cell maintenance that increases Vitamin D would help brain function. Vitamin D’s role may also be in preventing of changes in vascular tone which may be a cause of migraines. Vitamin D performs this role of maintaining veins and arteries in the body and prevents heart disease. Improving blood flow is also necessary for proper brain function. Changes in the tone of the veins and arteries may involve brain, inflammation and restricted blood flow.
Why this effect is specific to males and not females is equally interesting.
Vitamin D is most abundant from natural sunlight exposure. Vitamin D supplementation is important for those in less sunny, climates farther from the equator such as above the 37th parallel latitude. However, a daily dose of liquid vitamin D3 is nothing to scoff at in terms of preventing many medical conditions including those neurological, but also blood sugar regulation and more. Now migraines as well may be helped by maintaining proper vitamin D levels.
Interestingly people even in warmer sunnier climates are vitamin D deficient due to use of sunscreen. However only babies and elderly are recommended to supplement with vitamin D. Vitamin D levels can easily be checked by blood test and it is recommended to follow up on these levels in all individuals.
Vitamin D is also found in fortified milks and cheeses. However the best sources of non-fortified foods that contain vitamin D are salmon, sardines, tuna and eggs. For vegans, the only source of vitamin D is sunshine and mushrooms. However, mushrooms contain Vitamin D2 which is less readily available for use by the body unfortunately.
Coenzyme Q10 is linked to migraines in females
In girls and young women, Coenzyme Q10 is linked to migraines. Coenzyme Q10 resembles a vitamins and is important for mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial function has also been implicated in many neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Changes in mitochondrial function in women in middle age may be precursors to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, which effects more females than males. If baseline levels of Coenzyme Q10 are linked to migraines in girls and young women, then impaired or different mitochondrial function than males may be a key factor.
Certain medications are known to interfere with Coenzyme Q10 such as statins and beta blockers. Coenzyme Q10 has already been recommended by the Canadian Headache Society as an option for migraine suffers.
Coenzyme Q10 can also be obtained in the diet in foods like beef, chicken, salmon, sardines, walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, broccoli, spinach and avocados.