In Summary

  • When the population was divided into four groups based on levels of serum vitamin D, the group with the lowest levels had more than a twofold risk of chronic headache compared to that with the highest levels.
  • Chronic headache was more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September.

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache, the University of Eastern Finland said on its website on Wednesday, citing a new study by the institution.

For the research, “Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with higher risk of frequent headache in middle-aged and older men”, the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, an ongoing prospective population-based cohort study, analysed serum vitamin D levels and occurrence of headache in approximately 2,600 men aged between 42 and 60 in the years 1984 to 1989.

In 68 per cent of these men, the serum vitamin D level was below 50 nanomoles per litre, which is generally considered the threshold for vitamin D deficiency. Chronic headache occurring at least on a weekly basis was reported by 250 men and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.

When the population was divided into four groups based on levels of serum vitamin D, the group with the lowest levels had more than a twofold risk of chronic headache compared to that with the highest levels. Chronic headache was more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September. Thanks to the shortwave ultraviolet B radiation from the sun, the average levels of serum vitamin D are higher during the summer months.

Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with the risk of headache by some earlier, mainly considerably smaller studies. In Finland and in other countries far from the Equator, the shortwave ultraviolet B radiation from the sun is a sufficient source of vitamin D during the summer months, but outside the summer season, people need to make sure that they get sufficient vitamin D from food or from vitamin D supplements, the University of Eastern Finland says. The findings are in the online journal Scientific Reports.

 

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