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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 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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