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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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