Migraine and CVD: New Research Explores the Link

Despite that migraine is ubiquitous, affecting as many as 1 in 4 persons worldwide, and that it has been linked to an increased risk of serious cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, little is known about how migraine increases that risk. A team of researchers explored this connection by assessing plasma vitamin K2 levels and arterial stiffness among a cohort of patients with untreated migraine.

Results of previous research have indicated that migraineurs are more likely to have stiffer arterial walls—a key CVD risk factor—than a matched control population of people who do not experience migraines. Additionally, separate previous research has shown that persons with vitamin K2 deficiency have associated vascular calcifications, which are also a CVD risk factor.


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In their case-control single-center observational study, the researchers set out to assess the connection, if any, between vitamin K2 deficiency and arterial stiffness in 114 untreated adult migraineurs compared with 82 age- and sex-matched control participants. They measured arterial stiffness using carotid‐femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV, the time taken for the arterial pulse to propagate from the carotid artery to the femoral artery), and they assessed vitamin K2 levels by measuring the levels of a plasma marker, dephosphorylated‐uncarboxylated matrix‐Gla‐protein (dp‐ucMGP).

The results showed that participants with migraine on average had significantly higher cfPWV times and significantly higher dp-ucMGP concentrations than the matched controls. Higher cfPWV times significantly correlated with higher dp-ucMGP levels.

The authors concluded that migraineurs have significantly stiffer arteries than persons without migraine, and the increased arterial stiffness is correlated with higher levels of markers for vitamin K2 deficiency. They call for further study into the effect of vitamin K2 supplementation to improve arterial stiffness, to prevent migraine, and to improve CVD outcomes in persons with migraine.

The study’s findings were presented at the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, held June 28 through July 1, 2018, in San Francisco. The abstract was published in the journal Headache on June 27.

—Michael Gerchufsky


Mansour AG, Ahdab R, Daaboul Y, et al. Vitamin K2 status and arterial stiffness among untreated migraine patients: a case‐control study [American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting abstract PF21]. Headache. 2018;58(suppl 2):90. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/head.13306. Accessed July 2, 2018.