It’s Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair to see his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. This is particularly bad news for those of you who suffer from winter migraines and headaches.
The reasons why migraines can increase with changes in the weather are not clear. Some researchers suggest that changes in oxygen levels, temperature, barometric pressure and even humidity may affect blood vessels associated with migraine occurrence in some sufferers.
It is also thought that migraines may increase with depression, and that depression rates increase in the winter. A current hypothesis being researches is that vitamin D deficiency may be involved both in depression and migraines.
Vitamin D levels seem to drop as migraine frequency increases. A study presented at one of the National Headache Society meetings stated that close to 42% of chronic migraine sufferers are deficient in vitamin D.
My guess is that this percentage is actually much higher if you use the optimal vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml as the goal, instead of the 25 ng/ml level used by most physicians.
Also, since we tend to get less exposure to sunlight during the winter months, vitamin D levels may drop even further.
Since Vitamin D is associated with so many health benefits besides just bone health, I suggest that everyone take at least 1000 IU of vitamin D-3 a day. Optimally, when your Dr. checks your vitamin D levels you have gotten them into the 50-70 ng/ml range.
Staying warm and hydrated during the winter months may help with migraines. Make sure your head, neck and hands are covered.
Irregular sleep patterns are also associated with migraines. In addition, try to keep the humidity in your bedroom up; dry air can affect breathing and oxygen levels, which may trigger migraines in some people.
Finally, for those of you who experience chronic migraines, preventing migraines rather than a lifetime of taking pain medications, is a reasonable and achievable goal. For more information on migraine prevention: www.migrelief.com