Headaches are something that we have all been affected by in our lifetime. Whether it be after not getting enough sleep, or drinking a bit too much on a night out, we all know irritating, pounding feeling of a headache.
However, for some people headaches are more than just a nuisance. For some people they are a lifelong condition that seriously disrupts the quality of their lives and gets in the way of everyday tasks such as going to work or spending time with their kids. There are many different medications and drugs meant for migraine and chronic headaches sufferers, however majority of people who have long-term headaches avoid taking these drugs due to the side effects they induce.
Thankfully, new research has shown that many cases of headaches are caused by deficiencies of vitamins and other nutrients. This suggests that curing headaches, both short-term and long-term, may just be down to making sure that you’re getting the right amount of nutrition. Here are some vitamins that have been shown to help relieve headaches.
Researchers frequently find a correlation between vitamin D deficiencies and headaches. Researchers also find that many people who have sleep disorders are also deficient in vitamin D. This combined with the fact that one of the mot common causes of headaches are a lack of sleep led many experts to believe that increasing ones vitamin D intake will improve their sleep and will therefor relieve them of headaches.
Getting a good night’s sleep means for than just lying in your bed with your eyes closed for eight hours. Most people who have sleep disorders and vitamin D deficiencies commonly report that their sleep is not restorative, or that they are constantly waking up and having their sleep disrupted.
Many different types of fish prove to be effective sources of vitamin D, salmon and mackerel in particular. Mushrooms are also a healthy, low-fat source of vitamin D.
Vitamin B6, B12
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced by the body, and having high levels of homocysteine in the blood has been linked to many health problems, including headaches. Many experts have suggested that lowering homocysteine through vitamin supplementation may be able to reverse this effect.
One study found that having patients who suffered from migraines supplement with vitamins B6 and B12 significantly lowered their homocysteine levels as well as improving their migraine symptoms. Not only does this prove the link between homocysteine and migraines, but it also shows that consuming larger quantities of vitamins B6 and B12 has the ability to reduce this effect.
The best sources of vitamin B6 and B12 are protein-rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pork and soybeans.
Menstruation is a common factor for migraines in women, which is generally referred to as a “menstrual migraine”. Several studies have attempted to find a correlation between menstrual migraines and vitamin deficiencies, however the most significant correlation found was increased levels of the fatty acid compound prostaglandin in women who were menstruating.
This suggests that inhibiting the production of prostaglandin would reduce menstrual migraine intensity. This is where vitamin E comes in. Researchers found that vitamin E was able to inhibit the release of arachidonic acid, which gets converted into prostaglandin, and also inhibits the conversion process itself.
One 2009 study involved 72 women who were experiencing menstrual migraines. They gave some of the women vitamin E, and the others a placebo. At the end of the study, researchers found that women who were given vitamin E had less pain severity as well as less sensitivity to light and sound.
Healthy sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach.
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