Did you know: in America the annual cost from headaches from missed work, medical treatments, mistakes on the job and medications is a staggering $31 billion a year?  Or, that over-the-counter painkillers can be dangerous to your health, even deadly?  About 12 million Americans experience headaches several times a week.

Frequent headaches are a way of life for many people and in many cases they aren’t even aware of the cause. So, believing the ads they’re bombarded with multiple times a day they reach for the pain relievers.

A new study done at The Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland indicates that lack of vitamin D may be the cause of many unexplained headaches. The researchers discovered that men with the lowest vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have frequent headaches as men with the highest levels

During the study researchers analyzed the blood of 2,600 men. The subjects ranged in age from 42 to 60. Scientists asked them to report the frequency of their headaches. The information was charted for five years.

Normal blood levels of vitamin D are 20-50 ng/mL.  The study showed that men with levels below 15.3 ng/ml typically suffered at least one headache a week. Those with vitamin D levels below 11.6 ng/mL were likely to have more frequent headaches, often daily.  A simple blood test can determine your levels.  Ideally, your number should be 40-60 ng/mL.  Ask your doctor for a 25 (OH) D test.

The researchers theorized that vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent swelling in the sensory neurons and the microglial cells in the brain and is essential for proper brain function. In the study information, they also note that previous studies show vitamin D prevents musculoskeletal pain, a major cause of tension headaches.

Vitamin D is essential to the nervous system, brain function and bone strength. Deficiencies have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and bone fractures.  Optimizing your vitamin D level strengthens bones, reduces overall mortality, strengthens your teeth plus being beneficial for eliminating or reducing headache pain.

Vitamin D affects cell growth, protects cells from damage due to pollution and chemicals and keeps hormones in working order.  Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.

The best way to get vitamin D is from sun exposure. But, for many of us getting at least 20 minutes of sunlight a day with your arms and legs exposed isn’t possible.  And as we age, our bodies gradually lose the capacity to produce vitamin D from sunlight.

Good food sources of vitamin D include wild-caught salmon and other oily fish such as sardines, herring and mackerel and cod liver oil. Although cod liver oil probably doesn’t contain vitamin D2, it does contain an array of different compounds derived from vitamin D3.  Mushrooms are also loaded with vitamin D.  If you read my September 20 article here in the Deming Headlight, you know that irradiated mushrooms pack a lot more vitamin D than normal mushrooms and that you can irradiate them yourself with sunlight.

You can boost your vitamin D with a quality supplement. The recommended daily dose is 5,000.

After increasing your vitamin D intake for one month, you may want to get a follow up blood test to be sure that you have reached an optimal level.

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