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How Much Magnesium To Take For Migraine Headaches

Where You Are Losing Magnesium

Can magnesium relieve headaches?

Magnesium is known as the stress buffer.

It helps our body deal with stress but because of this, we have what is called the MBR or magnesium burn rate.

The more stress, tension, illness, and exercise we have, the more magnesium our body is burning and the more magnesium we require to keep our brains a float.

You are constantly using magnesium and other nutrients and that is why having a solid nutritional base is the most important first.

Add these factors up to see how much magnesium you are burning:

  • Dependance on junk foods, processed, packaged, fried, excess empty calories
  • Medications
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Diarrhea

But just food is usually not enough for our magnesium needs unless we live a very de-stressed life and live on a completely organic/wild diet.

Over the years as we have continued to over plant food into our soils and do a really bad job of putting the nutrients back in, magnesium levels have dropped dramatically.

Our soil is over farmed and our top-soil that holds all of the microorganisms that make nutrients available to the plants are dead. This is one of the reasons organic farming is healthier.

Now we need to understand absorption.

But if you want to understand everything there is to know about hormonal and menstrual migraines and headaches see our full presentation on the 3 Linchpins That Destroy Hormones and Leave Your Brain in Pain click here.

This Supplement Has Been Used In Connection With The Following Health Conditions:

Used for 3 StarsMigraine HeadacheAdults: 75 mg twice a day of an extract standardized to contain at least 15% petasins children: reduce amount according to body weight Butterbur extract has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

Double-blind trials have demonstrated that butterbur extract can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks significantly better than placebo. One study has also shown it helps reduce the frequency of migraine headaches in children and adolescents, though there was no control group so it is not as clear just how effective butterbur extract is in this population. In a double-blind trial, supplementing with an extract of butterbur for four months was significantly more effective than a placebo at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. The amount of butterbur found to be effective was 75 mg twice a day of an extract standardized to contain at least 15% petasins. A smaller amount was ineffective. The most common side effect was burping.

Whats A Migraine Journal

  • Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
  • The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
  • What are your symptoms? Be specific.
  • Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
  • Note the weather.
  • Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
  • Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
  • Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
  • List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
  • How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
  • Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?

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How Can Patients Track Efficacy Of Nutraceuticals

As with many forms of migraine management, a headache diary is the best way to track the efficacy of nutraceuticals. It doesnt have to be complicated, says. Dr. Hindiyeh. Just, did you have a headache? Yes or no. And maybe a pain scale of how severe it was that day and thats it. When incorporating nutraceuticals into migraine prevention, encourage your patients to keep a simple record of headache frequency and severity to see whether there is a reduction over time.

Primary care practitioners are essential to identifying and treating headache disorders. The American Headache SocietysFirst Contact Headache in Primary Care program provides educational resources to empower healthcare professionals and improve headache and migraine care. Learn more about the program here.

What Is Known And Objective


Migraine headache is a relatively common, debilitating condition that costs our healthcare system over 78 billion dollars per year. Riboflavin has been advocated as a safe, effective prophylactic therapy for the prevention of migraines. The purpose of this study was to provide a systematic review of the current role of riboflavin in the prophylaxis of migraine headache.

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Evidence For Magnesium Working As A Migraine Abortive:

  • Orr reported that the Canadian headache society recommend “weakly against the use of” … magnesium. See the comment above about Canadian Headache Society’s.
  • Gertsch did not find substantial effectiveness in pediatric patients given intravenous magnesium.
  • Choi and Parmar reported “The meta-analyses have failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect of intravenous magnesium in terms of reduction in pain relief in acute migraine in adults, showed no benefit in terms of the need for rescue medication and in fact have shown that patients treated with magnesium were significantly more likely to report side-effects/adverse events.”
  • Shahrami found that magnesium was more effective than dexamethasone/metoclopramide. Of course, these latter two medications are not first line migraine abortives, so Shahrami was comparing magnesium to a questionable treatment.
  • Kelly et al suggested that magnesium is effective in migraine, but it is primarily useful for photophobia and phonophobia.
  • Cete et al suggested that 2 grams of IV magnesium was similar to placebo.

Can Magnesium Help Prevent Migraines

According to multiple scientific studies, the American Headache Society, and the American Academy of Neurology, the answer is yes. Not every clinical trial has shown magnesium to be effective at preventing migraine headaches, but thereâs enough evidence that it helps that itâs a good option to consider.

How can it help? Experts think magnesium may help prevent the wave of brain signaling, called a cortical spreading depression, that is thought to cause migraines. It can also reduce pain during a migraine attack by blocking pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain.

Research suggests that itâs especially helpful for people who have migraines with aura or menstrual migraines. Scientists believe it may help prevent aura by stopping your brain from producing the signals that cause it, but they arenât quite sure why itâs so effective against menstrual migraines.

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How Does Magnesium Prevent Migraine

In 2012, the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology gave magnesium a Level B rating among medications used for migraine prevention. This rating means it is probably effective and is an option for migraine preventive treatment .

Its believed that magnesium can prevent the brain signaling that causes visual and sensory changes associated with aura. It can also reduce or block pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain and may be helpful for brain blood vessels.

Magnesium In Migraine Prevention


Multiple studies have demonstrated drastically reduced levels of magnesium in migraine patients compared to controls, though only a few of these have been able to demonstrate reduced levels in the brain or in spinal fluid specifically.2,16 One large case-control study, which included 140 migraine patients and 140 individuals without migraine, found that migraine patients had significantly lower serum magnesium levels than non-migraine patients .17 Additionally, magnesium deficiency is a prevalent finding in patients who experience menstrual migraine18 and in childhood migraine syndromes.19 These findings, paired with the knowledge that adequate magnesium is necessary for proper nerve function and the prevention of vasospasm and platelet aggregation, implicate a relationship between magnesium deficiency and migraine occurrence, which has recently been supported by various clinical trials.15-20

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Discovery Of An Essential Mineral

The term magnesium has its roots in the Greek word, magnesia, originally named for the district in Thessaly where it was discovered, along with manganese and magnetite.3 Centuries later in 1618, magnesium was separately discovered by an English farmer who tried to provide water to his cows from a well in the town of Epsom. It was observed at this time that the mineral, dissolved as a salt in the water, was capable of healing scratches and rashes. Thus, the substance was referred to as Epsom salt and, ultimately, was found to be chemically equivalent to hydrated magnesium sulphate.3

In 1808, Sir Humphrey Davy was the first to produce the metal through electrolysis of a mixture of mercuric oxide and magnesia.3 Its elemental form was finally prepared stably in 1831 by Antoine Bussy. Although initially referred to as magnium by Davy, the name of the mineral was later changed to magnesium. Magnesium has been since discovered in nature in the following forms: magnesite , an insoluble rock salt, magnesium chloride in the ocean, and as the central element in chlorophyll.3

Side Effects And Risks

Some people find that the magnesium supplement for brain function can cause a laxative effect, especially if the magnesium isnt properly absorbed by the body. When you take a liquid magnesium supplement, you can enjoy a better absorption rate, thereby lowering any adverse gastrointestinal side effects.

Theres also the option to choose a topical magnesium cream, but its important to first test it on a small area first to ensure there is no skin irritation.

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How Much Should I Take And How Long

One bottle of Migravent contains 60 easy-to-swallow all natural softgel capsules. For adults, take one capsule three times daily with meals. We recommend continuing this supplementation program for up to 4-6 months to reach full efficacy. Resume supplementation program for another 4-6 months if symptoms begin to increase again.

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How Long Until You See Results

Which Magnesium is Best for Migraines?

Some specialists consider magnesium supplementation both an acute treatment as well as a preventive. However, most would classify it as part of a good preventive regimen that needs some time.

According to a study that Dr. Mauskop published, magnesium levels decreased before or during an attack for many of the subjects. When he treated with intravenous magnesium the pain was relieved in 80% of the patients who were deficient within 15 minutes.

Evidence that oral magnesium helps during an acute attack exists but is thin. Anecdotally, some people find relief. In my opinion, its a reasonable and safe intervention when trying to save our precious few acute medications or trying to attack the migraine from several angles including your acute medication.

When making the commitment to try magnesium supplementation, some neurologists believe you need to supplement for 1- 2 months in order to see results. Perhaps this is how long it takes for some of us to replenish our magnesium stores and support important biochemical reactions in our nervous system.

Remember to track your progress- Adding magnesium for migraine control may help more than you realize. Of course, youd notice if your attacks were reduced by 75% but would you notice if they were reduced by 25%? Whenever trying something new its important to track your results, so key an eye on your migraine diary.

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Where Do You Get Magnesium

Many foods are rich in magnesium, including spinach, legumes, nuts such as almonds and cashews, peanut butter, and whole grains. But to get the dose you need to prevent a migraine, youâll probably need to take a dietary supplement. Magnesium supplements are easy to find. You may see them paired with other minerals, vitamins, or medicinal herbs in products marketed for preventing migraines. Doctors can also treat migraines by giving you magnesium in a vein. This happens in a clinic to treat a migraine attack thatâs already underway.

Magnesium In The Body

Magnesium , the second most abundant intracellular divalent cation, is a cofactor of many enzymes and is involved in a plethora of cellular functions. It plays a central role in both glucose metabolism and in ATP function. Over 300 enzymes require the presence of magnesium ions for their catalytic action, including all enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP, or those that use other nucleotides to synthesize DNA and RNA. ATP exists in cells as a chelate of ATP and a magnesium ion. Because of the important interaction between phosphate and magnesium ions, magnesium ions are essential to the basic nucleic acid chemistry of life, and thus are essential to all cells of all known living organisms.

Magnesium is involved in the formation of phospholipids and the insertion of proteins into the phospholipid membrane, and is therefore critical to membrane stabilization . It also contributes to contraction of the cytoskeleton at the myoneural junction, playing a vital role in the function of both skeletal, cardiac and other smooth muscles.

Adult human bodies contain approximately 24 grams of magnesium, with 67% located in the skeleton, 31% intracellularly , and only 1-2% extracellularly. Of this amount, one half is ionized, and 25-30% is protein bound. As a result, levels found on routine serum testing, which only reflects that magnesium found in the extracellular space, is not represent- ative of true total body magnesium stores .

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Magnesium Supplements To Prevent Headaches

So, should we take magnesium supplements to prevent migraine headaches?

Studies have shown that taking 300 mg of magnesium twice a day can prevent migraines. Moreover, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society said that magnesium is probably effective for migraine prevention.

On the other hand, we should be pretty careful about the doses of magnesium we take from supplements. Excessive intake of magnesium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, depression, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat and many more.

The main reason for these health risks is the inability of the kidneys to remove excess magnesium. These may happen for doses of 5,000 mg per day, though. On the other hand, a daily supplementation of magnesium of 350 mg per day is considered pretty safe. Certainly, you should consult your physician before taking any supplements.

Magnesium For Migraine Everything You Need To Know

Migraine Headaches Gone Overnight – Magnesium!

This post may contain affiliate links. Migraine Strong, as an Amazon Affiliate, makes a small percentage from qualified sales made through affiliate links at no cost to you.

Medically reviewed by Alexander Mauskop, MD, FAAN**.

This is an evidence-based article from the authors of Migraine Strong. It includes scientific evidence from studies and peer-reviewed research papers. References to the evidence may be reviewed by clicking the hyperlinked words and/or numbers in parenthesis within the article.

Anyone in the know about migraine knows about magnesium for migraine. But, when you see a neurologist or headache specialist, the doctors may not lead with specific information on the best magnesium for migraine. They may even forget to mention it as they focus on other priorities like medications, therapies and/or tests for you.

Your doctors may be like mine they have info about it on a faded handout that they intend to give to you, but cannot locate the paper before you leave the office. So, you may head home without learning the importance of magnesium for migraine. Or, you may leave the office with incomplete information about how to optimize this supplement. They might have mentioned taking it, but did not suggest the best form of magnesium, range of magnesium dosage or potential side effects.

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Getting Relief For Migraine Attacks

However, chances are that despite your best efforts at prevention you wont be able to avoid all your migraines. When prevention fails you need to have some strategies for dealing with them when they do occur.

This is another area where you will need to experiment. Common suggestions are to:

  • Avoid bright lights and loud noises
  • Lay down
  • Stay cool, including putting a cold compress on your head
  • Drink plenty of water

Your milage may vary with these, though I have found that laying down in a cold, dark room does help.

However, the one thing that has helped me the most is something unconventional I take two Ibuprofen and then immediately drink a caffeinated, non-diet soda. It doesnt always work but quite often it will either stop the migraine in its tracks or at least dull the pain.

I stumbled across this trick on my own but later I checked and found a bunch of people online recommending the same thing. I cant explain why it works but it does, and Ive tried both tea and coffee in place of soda but neither does the trick.

Be careful with this though: while it works for me I can only imagine what a medical professional would think of it

Topical Or Transdermal Magnesium And Magnesium Baths

In addition to taking magnesium orally, you can try boosting the level of magnesium in your body via absorption through your skin. This is especially useful if you are unable to tolerate oral supplements.

To penetrate the many layers of our skin and get into our circulation, substances have to be able to penetrate the skin or get in via sweat glands and hair follicles. So, using topical magnesium in the form of gels, creams and oils may be helpful.

Bathing in magnesium sulfate and/or magnesium chloride salts may have even more benefit as the pores open and soften. Perhaps exposure of more concentrated amounts of magnesium to sweat glands and hair follicles helps to find its way inside.

Some people report consistent relief from warm foot soaks with magnesium chloride flakes. Jennifer Bragdon discusses how she relieves her dizzy symptoms from vestibular migraine in her recent article about natural remedies. Throwing a handful into a warming foot spa as you relax is a fun way to increase your daily magnesium intake. Topical lotions, sprays and roller balls are a nice option when youre on the go. Whether its raised magnesium levels or the warm comforting self-care that salt baths represent, relief may be yours.

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