Migraine headaches are extremely common and can last from a few hours to three days. Unfortunately, these headaches are one of the least understood and poorly treated medical disorders, since they are likely result of a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors that vary from person to person.
We can also say that the migraine symptoms of those who suffer from them also can vary a lot. The most common symptoms of migraines are: throbbing, searing pain, which can be one-sided. Some patients also experience “auras” prior to onset, while other don’t. This type of headache can also cause other symptoms, such as: chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fever, and sensitivity to light, sound, and smells in some cases.
According to the latest statistics, almost 300 million people in the world suffer from migraines. About 6-7% of men and 15-18% of women suffer from migraine headaches. And, even more shocking fact is that almost 20 million migraine attacks occur every single day.
CAUSES OF MIGRAINES
Many studies have dealt with the causes of migraines, but none of them has managed to fully explain the occurrence of migraines. These theories are often incompatible, but most of them agree that the causes of migraine are the following:
1. VASCULAR CONSTRICTION IN THE BRAIN
Blood vessel constriction and a decrease in blood flow may often be a cause of migraines. This constriction is usually followed by dilation and stretching of blood vessels, which in turn activates the neurons responsible for pain.
2. CHANGES IN SEROTONIN
Migraine pain is also believed to be caused in the case of swollen and inflamed blood vessels, including those in the brain, as soon as the levels decrease.
3. A NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER RELATED TO NERVE CELL ACTIVITY
Migraines are believed to occur due to a neurological disorder related to nerve cell activity that sweeps across your brain, causing pain.
4. EXCESSIVE INCREASE OF BLOOD FLOW IN THE BRAIN
All patients suffer from excessive increase of blood flow in the brain. But, on the other hand, many medical studies state that these headaches aren’t preceded by constriction and decrease in blood flow, but rather by an increase of nearly 300%. However, when the migraine attack is in full motion, the blood circulation appears to be normal, or only slightly reduced.
Vitamin deficiency and migraines
Latest study has confirmed that Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements cause a two-fold reduction in migraines over a 6 months period. According to a different study, published in the European Journal of Neurology, in 2004, researchers pointed out that migraine attacks can be avoided by consumption of high doses of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
You should also know that the levels of homocysteine production can be increased by some gene mutations and dysfunctions. This can make you more prone to migraine attacks. According to a recent study, researchers have found that Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 reduce homocysteine levels. The researchers also found that depending on your genotype, one may need a higher or lower dose in order for it to work and to reduce the pain.
According to Professor Lyn Griffiths:
“… if all patients received the same vitamin dosage for the same period of time it would be expected that those with TT genotypes, having a reduced enzymatic rate, would metabolize less homocysteine over the treatment period compared to C allele carriers, thus resulting in a smaller reduction in homocysteine and consequent migraine symptoms.
Indeed, it may be that TT genotypes although having a higher risk of disease actually require a larger dosage of vitamins to exhibit the same effect as C alleles. Further clinical trials of much larger patient cohorts are required to test this hypothesis.”
Griffiths says that the optimal dose of B vitamins heavily depends on the genetic profile. “The success of our trial has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients,”-she adds.
Yet, migraine symptoms may be caused by another, even more widespread, type of vitamin deficiency.
A year ago, an observational study at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, found that around 42 percent of patients with chronic migraine were deficient in vitamin D. Researchers also found that the longer you suffered from chronic migraines, the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient.
This means that these new findings can be tacked on to the numerous health consequences of vitamin D deficiency.