Migraines are a common health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It can last from a few hours to a few days and unfortunately there is no treatment yet. Migraines are caused by many factors which are different for each person. The symptoms are also different for everyone who experiences migraines but the most common are searing and throbbing pain which can affect one side or the whole head as well as “auras”.
Other symptoms of this health issue include fever, sensitivity to light and sound, sweating, nausea, vomiting and chills.
Causes of migraine
Even though this is a very common health issue, scientists are not yet able to explain why migraines occur. However, there are some theories about the occurrence of migraines such as:
- Excessive increase of blood flow to the brain
Some studies have shown that prior to a migraine attack, the blood flow to the brain is increased by almost three times the normal. However, once the migraine attack starts, the blood flow is normal or slightly reduced.
- Neurological disorders that affect nerve cell activity
Some scientists believe that migraines are caused by certain neurological disorders that cause pain because they affect the nerve cell activity.
- Changes in serotonin
The migraine pain could also be caused by decreased serotonin levels which cause the pain because they make the blood vessels in the brain swell and become inflamed.
- Vascular constriction in the brain
Migraine can happen due to activation of pain indicating nerves by restricted blood flow which is usually followed by stretching of the blood vessels.
- Vitamin deficiency
A recent study has shown that migraine can be reduced in a period of six months with supplementation of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Another study from 2004 has discovered that consuming high doses of vitamin B2 can significantly reduce the migraine attacks. Vitamins B6 and B12 can reduce homocysteine levels which are also believed to be causing the migraine attacks.
One of the professors in the study, Lyn Griffiths said: “if all patients received the same vitamin dosage for the same period of time it would be expected that those with TT genotypes, having a reduced enzymatic rate, would metabolize less homocysteine over the treatment period compared to C allele carriers, thus resulting in a smaller reduction in homocysteine and consequent migraine symptoms. Indeed, it may be that TT genotypes although having a higher risk of disease actually require a larger dosage of vitamins to exhibit the same effect as C alleles. Further clinical trials of much larger patient cohorts are required to test this hypothesis.”
She also claims that the dosage of vitamin B depends on the patient’s genetic profile. She added: “The success of our trial has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients.” However, migraines can also be caused by another very common vitamin deficiency.
A study conducted by the American Headache Society showed that more than 40% of the patients with chronic migraine had vitamin D deficiency. According to the researchers, you are very likely to be deficient in this vitamin if you suffer from chronic migraines. This is only one of the reasons why the deficiency in vitamin D should be taken very seriously.