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Vitamin D deficiency

Maybe this isn’t news - but this guy claims that it is:

Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Patients With Chronic Migraine

July 7, 2008 (Boston, Massachusetts) — New research showing that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with chronic migraine suggests that this patient group, like other vitamin D deficient populations, is at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, malignancy, and other serious illnesses that have been linked to low levels of this “good-health” vitamin.

Investigators presented the results of an observational study here at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, which showed that 40.7% of patients with chronic migraine were deficient in 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The study also showed that the longer individuals had chronic migraine, the more likely they were to be vitamin D deficient.

"As far as I am aware, no one has looked at vitamin D deficiency in migraineurs before. Recognizing that vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in the general population, we know that patients with migraine have other health concerns, among them an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and fibromyalgia, conditions that have also been linked to vitamin D deficiency.

“So in this population, where we know there’s a good chance other health issues are present, treating vitamin D deficiency is something that we can easily assess and treat to try to minimize some of these other health issues,” study investigator Steve Wheeler, MD, from the Ryan Wheeler Headache Treatment Center, in Miami, Florida, told Medscape Neurology & Neurosurgery.

‘The First Person I Tested Was Myself’

Dr. Wheeler decided to investigate vitamin D deficiency in his own clinic population of chronic migraineurs after reading a paper published in 2007 (Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1159-1165). The study showed a strong link between the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

"Until that point, I had no idea vitamin D deficiency was a cardiovascular risk factor, although I was aware there was a link between migraine and cardiovascular disease.

A migraineur himself, Dr. Wheeler has a strong family history of cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Dr. Wheeler said he read several other studies on the negative effect of vitamin D deficiency on health, including a seminal review by world expert Michael Holick, MD, PhD, from Boston University Medical Center, in Massachusetts (N Engl J Med. 2007;357:266-281).

He pointed out that the research shows that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a variety of diseases in multiple-organ systems, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, stroke, and myocardial infarction.

After looking at the literature and considering vitamin D deficiency in the context of his own family history, Dr. Wheeler said the issue “became personal.”

“The first person I tested was myself, and I found I was vitamin D deficient (with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 8.2 ng/mL). Levels greater than 30 ng/mL are considered sufficient, but only for bone health. Optimal levels for other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, are still unknown, although it is believed they should be much higher,” he said.


Dr. Wheeler then decided to look at levels in his patients. He reviewed the records from consecutive chronic migraine patients who had vitamin D levels assessed at a single outpatient laboratory over a 6-month period.

The study consisted of 55 migraineurs. Of these subjects, 54 had chronic and 1 had frequent migraine attacks. The mean age of the subjects was 49.8 years. Vitamin D level consisted of total 25-hydroxyvitaimin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D2.

Optimal or sufficient total vitamin D was defined as levels greater than 30 ng/mL. Levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL were defined as insufficient, and levels less than 20 ng/mL were defined as deficient.

The study showed that 41.8% of patients had levels of 30 ng/mL or less. Of these, 27.3% had insufficient levels and 14.5% had deficient levels.

According to the study, there was a trend toward hypertension (26.1% vs 18.8%) and type 2 diabetes (13% vs 3.1%) in vitamin D deficient patients. The researchers also found a trend toward earlier onset of headache (14.3 vs 18 years) and migraine (16.7 vs 22.2 years) in vitamin D deficient patients.

There was also a trend toward osteopenia (71.4% vs 44.4%) with vitamin D sufficiency and a trend toward osteoporosis (22.2% vs 0%) with vitamin D deficiency.

According to Dr. Wheeler, the high frequency of vitamin D deficiency, with its concomitant risk for cardiovascular disease, malignancy, and other illnesses, suggests that it is an unrecognized yet treatable cause of cardiovascular disease and morbidity in migraine.

“Clinicians generally don’t recognize the importance of vitamin D deficiency, and so they don’t screen for it — not just in migraineurs, but in all of their patients. But it is something that is a condition that is easily treated and may confer major, wide-ranging health benefits,” he said.

American Headache Society 50th Annual Scientific Meeting: Abstract S33. Presented June 28, 2008.

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Hmm, that’s interesting.
I actually pitched this idea to my doc late last year, being housebound (zero sun exposure) and all… Imagine the look on my face when I read the results paper: 98 nmol/L (<25 = deficiency, 27-75 = insufficiency, 75-250 = optimal). :shock:


D is fat soluable, in your researching, did you ever come across a ceiling dosage?


Hmm, I guess I did, but the memory is gone by now… I was about to say that 400IU is very safe, only to find that 2000IU is considered perfectly safe with a big (5x) margin, even for children. :?
Wikipedia has a pretty good section:

4000IU appears to be more than safe and cause no side effects, according to a Swedish article from a physicians journal. It also mentions how a pair of doctors treating rheumatism gave patients 2500 micrograms a day - that’s 100 000 IU - for a year(!), and only one out of 25 patients developed hypercalcemia… So staying at 4000IU/day should be perfectly safe in pretty much all cases except when having diseases such as primary hyperparathyroidism, same cancers, etc (reading from the article ;)).

Whoa! Thanks for the Wiki article. I’ll start there and then i’ll get my blood tested before going higher than my current dose of 1000 IU a day. I know somebody who is taking 2000 IU a day to stay within normal range.

An interesting paper which appears to establish links between primary headaches, which include migraine, tension and cluster, and low vitamin D levels.

(Vitamin D Update: New Institute of Medicine Recommendations)


High levels of Vitamin D are part of my supplement regimen. The benefits to your entire system are enormous.

Really interesting study, thanks Helen

When my son started having occular migraines and severe fatigue (jn his late teens) they did a whole battery of blood tests, MRI etc. and the only thing that came up was very low vitamin D. He’d been going out in the early evening that summer and the previous one rather than during the day as he had been using creams and tablets for facial eczema that required sun avoidance. Sadly, although the occular migraines went he developed more classic migraine but the fatigue, muscle ache and associated fragility abated.


The bit that really made me sit up was

”One study revealed a significantly higher incidence of aura, allodynia, phonophobia/photophobia, autonomic manifestations, and resistance to medications in migraineurs with vitamin D deficiency compared to those with normal vitamin D levels.”

And here’s me with Vitamin D threw the floor and if my track record is anything to go by, perfectly capable of reacting to a Polo mint.

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When I had a full set of bloods taken early in January (deep in our winter) my Vitamin D come back as 28, very low and I was urgently prescribed huge doses of vitamin D3 to replenish this deficiency. As recorded elsewhere I struggled to take the supplementation and eventually after several attempts (different strengths, different brands, different consuming regimes - none of which helped) stopped taking it. A different GP I saw at our practice ordered another full set early in May which came as a great surprise to me as I’ve never previously had a full set of bloods taken as far as I recall in all the years I’ve been attending this practice. This time my Vitamin D level came back as 58. (U.K. Norm is 50). No explanation forthcoming. It seems VM/MAV isn’t the only unexplainable medical phenomenon around. I’d made no lifestyle changes. I most certainly had not been sun bathing. Not with the current late winter/spring weather this year and I’d barely managed half a packet of the prescribed :pill:. That result generated more questions than answers it seems.

The one thing I find really interesting though is that when I checked out my adverse reactions to the prescribed supplementation my symptoms were identical to those for ‘overdose of supplementation’. Something I found difficult to understand being as I had just been tests as being so deficient. Um.

I can’t seem to get my Vitamin D above 30 no matter what I do. My sister is the same way. Tried a 10,000 I.U. transdermal solution for 4 months … nope. Now trying a 4,000 I.U. activated form orally, we’ll see what happens with my labs next month but I don’t really care much at this point - its probably a genetic thing, everybody is different.

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I’ve read quite extensively about Vitamin D so far this year and noticed many references to levels being so individual as to advise a certain level as being the ‘correct’ one meaningless.

No doubt you saw this:

  • 20 to 35 ng/mL: get your PTH tested. If PTH is adequately suppressed (less than 30 pg/mL), supplementing is probably unnecessary.

What kind of supplements are you taking, if any? I’m just into fortified foods like cereals and fat spreads.

Fortified cereals etc must help people maintain a normal level but very little Vitamin D occurs in food apparently so they wouldn’t reverse a deficiency. I was taking prescribed Vitamin D soft capsules for a couple of weeks. Since nothing. Over recent years for MAV and other conditions I’ve tried multivitamins, Vitamin D and Calcium - OTC and prescribed - several times, Magnesium Glycinate, And B2 and I couldn’t tolerate any of them. I now take no supplements at all.