Migraines correlate with many non-headache conditions, including susceptibility for vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency mimic migraines, making it harder to identify and treat. In order to prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency with migraines, it’s important to understand why it happens and what you can do to reduce your odds.
As any sufferer of chronic migraines can tell you, there’s more to a migraine attack than the crushing, long-lasting debilitating headache. Other ailments that occur at the same time as the trademark excruciating head pain can be nearly as devastating. Many migraine patients experience sharp eye pain, shoulder stiffness, vertigo, and fatigue on a daily basis.
Other common symptom of migraine- intense, stomach-turning nausea and vomiting– make it difficult to work or manage household duties. When frequent vomiting and diarrhea from migraines occur over a long period, they can also cause damage to the linings of the stomach and esophagus, leading to severe gastrointestinal problems. Ulcers, thinning of the esophagus and acid reflux are often comorbid conditions of migraine disorder.
Migraine Symptoms- a Short List
Migraines and vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a risk factor whenever there is long-lasting damage to the stomach or small intestines. That’s because your body relies on certain digestive enzymes in order to absorb vitamin B12, and these essential proteins are manufactured in the stomach. Damage to the intestines or stomach caused by harsh stomach acids interferes with your ability to produce these essential digestive enzymes that are required to access vitamin B12.
If you migraine attacks occur weekly, and they also cause uncontrollable vomiting and chronic diarrhea, then your chances of developing an inability to absorb vitamin B12 naturally from foods increases, along with your chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency with migraines.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
As mentioned earlier, some of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and migraines are alike. Migraines are a neurological disorder and likewise, side effects of low vitamin B12 levels result from peripheral nerve cell damage (peripheral neuropathy).
In order to catch an underlying vitamin B12 deficiency with migraines, it’s important to get your vitamin B12 levels checked by submitting to a blood screening.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that also occur with migraines include:
- Painful tingling and numbness in the extremities, including the hands, fingers, legs, feet, and tongue
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Muscular pain
- Muscle spasms or twitches
- Vision impairments
Migraine Headaches and Dizziness- Stop the Ride, I want to get off!
Treatment and avoidance
When vitamin B12 deficiency results from migraine and gastrointestinal damage, then it’s pointless to try to increase your dietary intake of foods that are high in vitamin B12. The only way to treat and further prevent malnutrition is to supplement with non-edible forms of vitamin B12. These include vitamin B12 injections, sublingual B12 tablets, or other over-the-counter (OTC) forms of vitamin B12 that do not require digestion through the stomach.
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Like this? Read more:
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Migraines and Meniere’s disease: a Match made in Hades
Natural Migraine Ingredients: 9 Must-Take Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet:Vitamin B12
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