Vitamin D Deficiency in Men Can Increase the Risk of Chronic Headaches

 In Research

Published Wednesday, January 4, 2017 7:22AM EST

New European research suggests a lack of vitamin D could have yet another effect on health, increasing the risk of chronic headaches in men.

Carried out by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, the team looked at 2601 men aged between 42 and 60 years who were taking part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD).

The men were tested for levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D), a marker for vitamin D status, with 68% of the men showing a serum vitamin D level of below 50 nmol/l, generally considered the threshold for vitamin D deficiency.

Related Stories

The men were also asked to report on the frequency with which they experienced headaches.

After dividing the participants into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels, the team found that the group with the lowest levels of serum vitamin D had over a twofold risk (116%) of chronic headaches in comparison to the group with the highest levels.

Chronic headaches were also reported more frequently by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September, a time when average serum vitamin D levels may be lower due to a lack of UVB radiation from the sun.

The new study adds to the growing body of evidence that a lack of vitamin D can have an adverse effect on health and increase the risk of various chronic diseases, with recent research also showing an association between a lack of vitamin D and conditions such as cognitive decline, multiple sclerosis, IBS and bladder cancer, with a lack of vitamin D while pregnant also associated with autism, ADHD and asthma in children.

Low vitamin D levels have also been found previously to be linked with an increased risk of headaches, although in smaller studies.

The results now suggest that in Finland and other countries far from the Equator, extra care should be taken outside of the summer months to ensure vitamin D levels are topped up with food such as oily fish, beef or calf liver, eggs and cod liver oil, or from vitamin D supplements.

The results can be found online published in Scientific Reports.