Science reveals a new way to prevent headaches. Plus the common headache drug to avoid so you don't act like a douche nozzle.
Vitamin D Prevents Chronic Headaches
The benefits of supplemental vitamin D3 just keep adding up. Here's the latest:
A study out of Finland looked at the vitamin D levels of over 2600 men. No surprise here given the long Nordic winters and lack of sunlight: 68% of them had subpar levels of vitamin D. Here's the interesting part. The men with lower vitamin D levels also suffered from more headaches – twice as many. Most had daily or weekly migraines.
So if you want to prevent headaches, make sure you're getting plenty of vitamin D3. Keep in mind, this study doesn't support the idea that vitamin D will cure the headache you have now, but it looks like getting plenty of vitamin D prevents or minimizes headache occurrence.
Personally, I take 5000 IU daily of vitamin D3, maybe a little less in the summer months. (I also haven't had a headache in a decade or more. Hmm.) Remember, it's almost impossible to take too much; you'd have take 20,000 IU of vitamin D every day for months on end to get a negative effect. Given all the other benefits of supplemental vitamin D, it should be a staple supp for most folks.
Can Acetaminophen Turn You Into a Sociopath?
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) seems to reduce the empathy you feel for the pain of others. In a new study, subjects were given 1,000mg of acetaminophen or a placebo, then their "social pain" was tested. In short, those who took the common pain killer didn't care as much about the suffering of others.
Dr. Baldwin Way notes: "We don't know why acetaminophen is having these effects, but it is concerning. Empathy is important. If you're having an argument with your spouse and you just took acetaminophen, this research suggests you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse's feelings."
Other pain killers might also cause this little problem. They're being tested now.
How to Use This Info
If you have headaches often, make sure you're getting plenty of vitamin D. Oh, and maybe avoid taking acetaminophen too, especially if you're already kind of a prick.
- Mischkowski et al, From painkiller to empathy killer: acetaminophen (paracetamol) reduces empathy for pain. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci (2016) 11 (9): 1345-1353.
- Virtanen, J. K. et al. Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with higher risk of frequent headache in middle-aged and older men. Sci. Rep. 7, 39697; doi: 10.1038/srep39697 (2017).