Magnesium is a natural mineral required by the body to function properly. It plays a role in improving brain health, stabilizing blood pressure, and helping maintain a healthy heart rhythm and nerve function. A low level of magnesium in the body can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle cramping and muscle contractions. It is also linked with headaches and migraines.
Migraines can be really challenging to treat using traditional medication. This makes people seek alternatives to help prevent migraine episodes. Magnesium proves to be one of the potential remedies. Most people do not get enough magnesium from the diet, which leads to low levels in the body.
Types of Magnesium
There are different types of magnesium that are used in the treatment of different conditions. Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body. It needs to be combined with other substances for this purpose, which is why supplements often have magnesium combined with other substances such as amino acids.
Different types of magnesium used in supplements are as follows:
- Magnesium Carbonate: This type has a slightly higher level of magnesium and can lead to gastrointestinal upset.
- Magnesium Oxide: This type contains high magnesium levels and is often used in the treatment of migraines.
- Magnesium Sulfate: This is an inorganic form of magnesium, and only a small amount of it can be absorbed in the body.
- Magnesium Chloride: This is easily absorbed in the body.
- Magnesium Citrate: A large amount of this type can be absorbed by the body and is often used to induce bowel movements.
Is Magnesium Effective for Migraine?
Research shows that people with migraine have low levels of magnesium. A study found magnesium oxide to be effective in preventing migraine attacks without any adverse effects.(1) The research found magnesium oxide to be effective in preventing menstrual-related migraines.(2)
Magnesium oxide can be taken in the form of a pill. Magnesium sulfate can be taken intravenously. If someone does not want to take supplements, increasing the quantity of food containing magnesium can be an option.
Dark leafy greens are the best foods that contain magnesium. Other magnesium-rich foods are:
- Low-fat yogurt or kefir
- Dark chocolate
- Black beans and lentils
- Mackerel, tuna, and Pollock fish
- Pumpkin and squash seeds
Supplements, obviously provide a powerful boost of magnesium, but, it’s best to focus on the diet containing magnesium-dense foods. Recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women.(3)
Side Effects of Magnesium
If magnesium intake is increased in food, there are not many associated risks and concerns. Excessive magnesium intake through supplements may lead to diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting. If a person gets diarrhea due to magnesium supplements, they should be stopped immediately.
Magnesium supplements if taken along with aminoglycosides can lead to muscle weakness and should therefore be avoided.
Magnesium lowers blood pressure. Those taking blood pressure medications should take magnesium supplements with caution.
Excessive build-up of magnesium in the body can lead to:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Slowed breathing
- Gastrointestinal conditions
Pregnant women should speak with their doctor before taking magnesium supplements as high doses of magnesium sulfate can cause bone thinning of the developing fetus.
Magnesium for Migraine: Yes or No
Magnesium if taken correctly can be an effective treatment for migraines. Those with a history of aura find magnesium oxide helpful. Magnesium can be a better option than certain traditional remedies.
Therefore, magnesium can surely be considered in treating migraine.
If experiencing migraine for the first time or if the episodes have increased in frequency or severity consult a doctor. He can be the best person to guide on whether or how much supplement can be consumed and on which treatment to follow.
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