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J Headache Pain. 2010 August; 11(4): 301–307.
Published online 2010 May 13. doi:  10.1007/s10194-010-0223-2
PMCID: PMC3476351

The prevalence of headache may be related with the latitude: a possible role of Vitamin D insufficiency?


According to recent observations, there is worldwide vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) in various populations. A number of observations suggest a link between low serum levels of vitamin D and higher incidence of chronic pain. A few case reports have shown a beneficial effect of vitamin D therapy in patients with headache disorders. Serum vitamin D level shows a strong correlation with the latitude. Here, we review the literature to delineate a relation of prevalence rate of headaches with the latitude. We noted a significant relation between the prevalence of both tension-type headache and migraine with the latitude. There was a tendency for headache prevalence to increase with increasing latitude. The relation was more obvious for the lifetime prevalence for both migraine and tension-type headache. One year prevalence for migraine was also higher at higher latitude. There were limited studies on the seasonal variation of headache disorders. However, available data indicate increased frequency of headache attacks in autumn–winter and least attacks in summer. This profile of headache matches with the seasonal variations of serum vitamin D levels. The presence of vitamin D receptor, 1α-hydroxylase and vitamin D-binding protein in the hypothalamus further suggest a role of vitamin D deficiency in the generation of head pain.

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Selected References

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