Migraine headaches are very common and can last from a few hours to three days. Sadly, these headaches are one of the least understood medical disorders that are not treated very well, since they are likely consequence of a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors that vary from person to person.
Furthermore, the experiences of those suffering from migraines also range to a great extent. Alongside the common symptoms such as throbbing, searing pain, which may or may not be one-sided, some patients also experience “auras” prior to onset, while some of them do not.
Migraines can also trigger chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fever, and/or sensitivity to light, sound, and smells in some cases.
Research has proven that more than 300 million people worldwide — about 6 to 7 percent of men and 15 to 18 percent of women — suffer from migraine headaches, and approximately 20 million migraine attacks occur every single day.
Causes of Migraine
The causes of migraines have been examined in a numerous studies, but none of them can fully explain the development of migraines in all sufferers. Once in a while these theories can be contradictory but most of them assert that the causes of migraine include:
- Excessive increase of blood flow in the brain. However, some studies concluded that these headaches are not preceded by constriction and decrease in blood flow, but rather by an increase of nearly 300 percent. Nonetheless, once the migraine attack is in full power, circulation functions normal, or only slightly decreased.
- A neurological disorder linked to nerve cell activity. Migraines are believed to happen because of a neurological disorder connected to nerve cell activity that sweeps across your brain, causing pain.
- Changes in the brain chemical 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.
- Vascular constriction in the brain. Migraines may occur from initial blood vessel constriction and a decrease in blood flow, followed by dilation and stretching of blood vessels, which activates the neurons which indicate pain.
Vitamin deficiency and migraines
According to the latest study, it was found that vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid supplements cause a two-fold reduction in migraines over a six-month period. This was also suggested by previous research, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology, which pointed out that migraine attacks can be avoided by consumption of high doses of B2 (riboflavin).
Furthermore, levels of homocysteine production can be increased by some gene mutations and dysfunctions, which can make you more prone to migraine attacks. It was discovered that vitamins B6 and B12 reduce homocysteine levels. In addition, researchers found that depending on your genotype, one may need a higher or lower dose in order for it to work.