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High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among those who suffer from cluster headache

Posted on: July 23, 2018   by  Vitamin D Council

Cluster headache is a type of neurological disorder that causes severe pain on one side of the head, usually centered behind one eye. During a cluster headache, individuals often experience agitation, flushing or sweating of the face, and redness and discharge of the eyes and nose. The pain usually lasts 30-60 minutes and recurs several times a day for weeks to months at a time.

Interestingly, about 80% of cluster headache sufferers experience a marked increase in headaches during seasonal changes. Since vitamin D levels vary between seasons, researchers hypothesize that vitamin D may play a role in cluster headaches.

In a new case-control study, researchers evaluated vitamin D levels among 28 patients with cluster headache, 36 individuals with migraines and 36 healthy controls. From October of 2016 to March of 2018, the participants had their serum 25(OH)D levels measured, along with the seasons in which these levels were obtained.

Average vitamin D levels among patients with cluster headache was 14 ng/ml. A total of 92.8% of these individuals had vitamin D levels

The researchers stated:

“In summary, this is the first report to examine serum vitamin D levels in patients with [cluster headache] compared to those of age-and sex-matched controls controlling for sampling season as well as other clinical variables.”

Past research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased frequency and severity of tension headaches. In addition, vitamin D supplementation has been shown to help treat migraine. However, more research needs to be conducted to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may reduce cluster headache duration or severity.

Based on the evidence to date, the Vitamin D Council recommends adults who suffer from chronic headaches supplement with between 5,000-10,000 IU vitamin D3 per day in order to achieve healthy vitamin D status (40-80 ng/ml).

Have you found that vitamin D has helped improve your headaches? If so, please comment below to share your experience, and consider sharing this article on social media to help educate your friends and family on this important topic.


Sohn, J. et al. Vitamin D deficiency in patients with cluster headache: a preliminary study. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 2018.

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