4 Nutrient Deficiencies that Could be Causing your Headaches

“Oh, my head is pounding.”

We have all muddled through days when a headache gets in the way of what may have been planned. Before you grab that over-the-counter remedy to silence the drum banging in your head, experts say there could be several deficiencies that are contributing to your headache.


Water, water everywhere, but yet if we fail to drink enough it can spark a headache. According to the National Headache Foundation, even mild dehydration can cause a dehydration headache or even a migraine. Since it’s often not clear what is causing a headache, drinking a full glass of water and continuing to sip more fluids during the day is a simple way to ease the pain.

Magnesium Deficiency

Neurologist Dr. Joshua Daniel of Shore Physicians Group said many migraine headache sufferers are found to be deficient in magnesium when they have blood work done. He instructs patients to take magnesium not only to prevent the onset of future migraines because it stops the transmission of pain but also because there are no side effects. Magnesium is affordable and available over the counter, according to the physician.

Magnesium is abundant in the body but for some, it is not absorbed readily. It can be a genetic deficiency that keeps a body from absorbing sufficient magnesium or it could be inherited renal magnesium wasting where the magnesium is lost through the kidneys, excretion of excessive amounts of magnesium, stress, low nutritional intake or several other factors, according to information provided by the National Institute of Health.

Dr. Daniel said he includes magnesium with the IV fusion therapy to treat migraines that has proven to be very helpful with patients. He added that it is safe and has no contraindications for patients.

Fight Deficiency with Diet

Low levels of magnesium may contribute to migraines, according to Chris Kozmor, RN, M.Ed., director of the Shore Medical Center Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center. Kozmor suggests including plenty of magnesium-rich foods like spinach, avocado and almonds into a well-rounded diet to keep those headaches at bay.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Why does that sun (in moderation) feel good on your skin? While it warms you on a chilly day, it is also supplying vitamin D to your body. Most of us get an ample supply through our diets with fatty fish and dairy products, orange juice and cereals, and just by being outside. Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of side effects, but recent studies have also shown a possible link between the deficiency and headaches. On the flip side, too much vitamin D can have its own problems. Follow the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D according to age to help cut down on the frequency of headaches. The National Institutes of Health recommends 600 IU of vitamin D for adults ages 19 to 70. Adults 71 and older need 800 IU.

Vitamin B2 Deficiency

The B vitamins help to protect from headaches, according to the National Headache Foundation, but it is B2 (riboflavin) that really stands out and where a deficiency may lead to headaches. Eating foods high in vitamin B2 or supplementing with a quality vitamin may help improve energy metabolism and decrease the incidence of migraine headaches. Foods high in B2 include eggs, lean meats, green vegetables along with fortified grains and cereals. The NIH recommends 1.3 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females.

Each of the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, biotin, and folic acid) have a recommended daily allowance according to the National Institute of Health.  https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheet