Multiple Vitamin Deficiencies Associated with Worse Migraine Outcomes


A poster presented at AHS 2024 found that older patients tended to have more vitamin deficiencies compared to younger patients.

Patients with migraine who have multiple vitamin deficiencies may experience worse headache outcomes compared to patients who only have 1 vitamin deficiency, according to new research presented at the American Headache Society 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, held June 13 to 16 in San Diego, California.1

Multiple Vitamin Deficiencies Associated with Worse Migraine Outcomes / goodluz -

Multiple Vitamin Deficiencies Associated with Worse Migraine Outcomes / goodluz -

Around 16% of all adults in the United States suffer from migraine or severe headache, although women are affected more than men. The burden of this high impact chronic condition can leave many at a disadvantage; around 40% of those who suffer from migraine or severe headache are unemployed and similar numbers are classified as poor or near poor.2

READ MORE: Rural Patients Utilize ED for Migraine at Higher Rates

Research has shown that vitamin deficiencies—such as niacin, riboflavin and vitamin D—can be associated with migraine.3 Vitamin supplementation has now become a common treatment for patients with migraine or severe headache. However, while studies have examined associations between individual vitamins and migraine, there is currently a lack of research on how multiple vitamins may impact patients with migraine.

Investigators from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center conducted a study to examine the role of multiple vitamin deficiencies on headache outcomes. The retrospective chart review included 3430 patients who were seen at the center between January 1998 and June 2023. All patients had serum levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, folate, and/or coenzyme Q10 drawn at their initial visit. Patients were then placed into 1 of 5 groups depending on their number of vitamin deficiencies.

Of the patients included in the study, 184 had no vitamin deficiencies; 830 had 1 deficiency, 1234 had 2 deficiencies; 898 had 3 deficiencies, and 284 had 4 deficiencies. Investigators found that there were statistically significant differences in number of vitamin deficiencies between all groups, with older aged patients having the greatest amount. Although there were no statistically significant differences between all groups in frequency of migraines per month, there were significant differences between the mean PedMIDAS scores of the group with 1 deficiency to the groups with 3 and 4 deficiencies.

Additionally, the mean PedMIDAS scores of the group with 1 deficiency and the group with 2 deficiencies was close to significance. However, there were no statistically significant differences when comparing the groups with multiple vitamin deficiencies.

“Based on the analysis of the data, obtaining serum vitamin levels to assess for deficiency appears to be a reasonable step in the management of patients with chronic migraine, specifically those who are older adolescents and have PedMIDAS scores in the severe range,” the authors concluded. “Future studies assessing response to supplementation for patients with vitamin deficiencies would help to provide further clinical guidance.”

Check out more of our coverage from AHS 2024 here.

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1. Gong P, Horn P, Hershey A. Multiple vitamin deficiencies are associated with worse headache outcomes. Presented at American Headache Society 66th Annual Scientific Meeting; June 13-16, 2024; San Diego, CA.
2. Burch R, Rizzoli P, Loder E. The prevalence and impact of migraine and severe headache in the United States: Updated age, sex, and socioeconomic-specific estimates from government health surveys. Headache. 2021 Jan;61(1):60-68. doi: 10.1111/head.14024. Epub 2020 Dec 21. PMID: 33349955.
3. Nattagh-Eshtivani E, Sani MA, Dahri M, et al. The role of nutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine headaches: Review. Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Jun;102:317-325. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.03.059. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PMID: 29571016.
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