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People With Migraines Are Found To Have Deficiencies In Vitamin D

People With Migraines Are Found To Have Deficiencies In Vitamin D

If you suffer from migraines – or know someone who does – you are not alone. The Migraine Research Foundation (MRF) estimates that around 38 million people in the United States alone – and 1 billion people around the world – suffer from these painful headaches. 18% of women, 6% of men and 10% of children in America suffer from these headaches – and they are responsible for around 1.2 million visits to the emergency room every year.

In short, it is a major medical problem. But though migraines can sometimes be difficult to treat, new research coming out of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital could help doctors develop more effective plans of care.

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Why Migraines are So Difficult

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of reasons why migraines can be so difficult to live with. First, they are a cause of excruciating pain, usually on one side of the head, and can cause other problems like nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances like flashes of light before the eye and extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds. And while some people only get these headaches occasionally, others can have them on almost a daily basis.

One of the most frustrating things about migraines is that they can be caused by a number of other issues, including hormonal changes, changes in the level of serotonin (the “feel good” chemical in the brain), some medications (like birth control and nitroglycerin), and certain foods and food additives (especially MSG). Some of these things can be avoided while others cannot.

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The new research coming out of Ohio, however, might prove to be helpful to patients and doctors struggling to manage this condition, as low vitamin levels are emerging as another possible cause for this problem.

What the New Research Found

This new research is coming out of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCH), one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country and was led by Dr. Suzanne Hagler, a fellow in the division of Neurology and a professor at the hospital’s Headache Center.

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This study was based on research drawn from patients at the Headache Center itself. The study looked at the records of migraine patients – children, teens and young adults. Specifically, researchers focused in on the vitamin D, coenzyme Q 10, folate and riboflavin levels of these patients, since in the past, it was believed that low levels of these nutrients can cause or exacerbate migraines.

What the study found was that there is a definite link between mildly low levels of vitamin D – as well as coenzyme Q 10 and riboflavin, though no such link was found with folate. In greater detail, scientists working on this study discovered that:

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  • Overall, a high percentage of migraine patients showed lower than normal levels of vitamin D, CoQ-10 and riboflavin.
  • While women and girls were more likely to have lower levels of CoQ-10, men and boys were more likely to have mild vitamin D deficiencies.
  • People with occasional migraines were less likely to have low levels of CoQ-10 and riboflavin than those who have them on a more regular basis.

While more research needs to be done on this subject, it opens up an interesting line of study. In the future, doctors who are working with their patients to come up with a plan of care to manage this condition. If stronger links are found between low levels of these vitamins and minerals and the occurrence of migraines, then the use of supplements and dietary counselling on how to get higher levels of these nutrients in the diet might well become a larger part of migraine treatments.

In short, migraines can be caused by a number of different factors – and some are easy to control, while some are not. But the new research out of Ohio is drawing attention to the fact that vitamin deficiencies – which are relatively easy to treat – might play a larger role in this condition than people realized in the past. And this can give doctors and patients the ability to help treat migraine using supplements and specific diets to aid in the plan of care.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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