Magnesium and Migraine Prevention

magnesium and migraine prevention
Migraines are an extremely debilitating condition; migraines occur most frequently in women between the ages of 20 and 45. In general, three out of four migraine sufferers are women too (source). If you are looking for a natural way to treat migraine, you might want to consider magnesium. Several clinical studies have shown that magnesium supplements may help to prevent migraine in some people.

The Symptoms and Causes of a Migraine

Migraine is not only disruptive to your life, it is a serious neurological disorder. There is no cure for migraine and therefore it is important to find a tool to manage the symptoms of a migraine attack. Symptoms may vary between sufferers but can include:

  • intense, throbbing pain on one side of the head
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • extreme sensitivity to noise, light and smells
  • visual disturbances
  • loss of vision
  • migraine with or without an “aura.”

The exact cause of migraines is not determined but it is believed that environmental factors and genetics contribute to the cause of migraine. Other common triggers for migraine attacks include hormonal changes in women (particularly around the time of their period), stress, certain foods, weather patterns, bright lights and changes in sleep patterns.

Magnesium and the Body

Magnesium is an important mineral that the body needs in order to function correctly. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the heart, kidneys and muscles are the most important organs of the body that require magnesium. A deficiency in magnesium may result in:

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • digestive disorders
  • cardiovascular disorders
  • hypertension
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • migraines.

(source: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch James F., Balch Phyllis A.)

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency may be caused by a number of medical conditions; these include:

  • prolonged periods of stress
  • intestinal viruses
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • heavy menstrual bleeding in women
  • excessive intake of coffee, salt, alcohol or soda
  • IBS.

Magnesium and Migraines

According to Rallie McAllister in Your Health: Magnesium Helps to Prevent Migraines (San Diego News Network), magnesium helps to regulate the levels of seratonin in the body. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter and if the brain’s seratonin levels are out of balance, the blood vessels expand to stretch nerve endings; this causes the severe pain experienced in migraine attacks.

Clinical Studies in the Use of Magnesium for Migraine Treatment

According to, there are several clinical studies that show the importance of magnesium in the prevention of migraine attacks; however, it is not yet clear how varying levels of magnesium contribute to the development of migraines. It is generally agreed that low magnesium levels play a role in the development of migraines; clinical evidence suggests that up to 50% of patients who suffered an acute migraine attack had lowered levels of magnesium.

Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium is found in a lot of food products. Magnesium supplements are also available, although exact levels of how much magnesium to take are varied. Rich food sources of magnesium include:

(source: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch James F., Balch Phyllis A.)

Taking Magnesium for Migraine Treatment

Clinical studies suggest that oral magnesium supplements may help to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. In addition, the intravenous use (injection) of magnesium during a migraine attack may help some people. If you suffer from migraine, it may be worth investigating the use of magnesium and the possibility of migraine relief by increasing your magnesium levels. Consult your medical practitioner for further advice on how to take magnesium to treat migraines.



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