Vitamin D status in children with headache: A case-control study

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Feb;23:222-227. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2017.09.010. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


Background: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin with hormonal properties, plays crucial functions in bone and mineral metabolism and has important regulatory functions in brain development, cell differentiation and apoptosis. Some studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and headache.

Material and methods: In this study, 147 patients with headache (migraine or either tension-type headache (TTH)) and 69 healthy controls, aged 5 to 16 years, were evaluated. Each group was also divided into two separate sub-groups based on presentation to the clinic in either high solar-exposure (HSE) and low solar-exposure (LSE).We retrospectively evaluated the levels of calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, and 25-OH vitamin-D3. Levels below 20 ng/ml were described as vitamin D deficiency and levels of 2030 ng/ml as vitamin D insufficiency.

Results: The levels of 25-OH vitamin-D3 were statistically significantly lower when compared to the control group (17.1±9.4 vs. 25.8 ± 12.8 ng/mL, respectively; p < 0.001). This held true for both the HSE and LSE group compared to the control group (for the group 1; 24.6 ± 11.8 vs. 32.1 ± 10.6 ng/mL, respectively; p = 0.007, and for the group 2; 14.5 ± 6.8 vs. 19.6 ± 13.5 ng/mL, respectively; p = 0.003). Also in headache subgroups (migraine and TTH), vitamin D levels were significantly lower than the control group (17.3 ± 9.0, 16.9 ± 9.9 and 25.8 ± 12.8 ng/mL respectively; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: There may be a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and headache, with particular significance in LSE. We suggest that this conclusion needs to be supported with randomised clinical studies containing a larger numbers of samples and controls.

Keywords: Children; Headache; Vitamin D deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Calcium / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Headache / blood*
  • Headache / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Phosphorus
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium