Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeHeadIs Magnesium Good For Migraine Headaches

Is Magnesium Good For Migraine Headaches

Are There Any Possible Side Effects


Typically, if people get too much magnesium, their kidneys will just get rid of the excess in their urine. Still, you should not take magnesium supplements more often than indicated on the packaging unless directed by your doctor.

Taking too much magnesium can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, and extremely high intake can cause irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest. That said, it√Ęs very difficult for someone to accidentally take enough magnesium to induce the most severe side effects.

How Much Magnesium Oxide Should I Take For Migraines

Magnesium oxide is frequently used in pill form to prevent migraine, usually at a dose of 400-500 mg per day. Acutely, it can be dosed in pill form at the same dosage, or given intravenously as magnesium sulfate at 1-2 gm. The most frequent side effect is diarrhea, which can be helpful in those prone to constipation.

Magnesium Supplements For Your Migraines

This all being said, some organizations, like the Canadian Headache Society, recommend magnesium as a preventive migraine therapy in adults. In fact, the Canadian Headache Society suggests a specific magnesium dose600mg of elemental magnesium daily.

On the other hand, while the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology reported magnesium as “probably effective” in preventing migraines in their 2012 guidelines, they do not give recommendations on a specific dose.

This is probably because the scientific studies examining magnesium supplementation in migraine prevention have used different doses. So it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much magnesium a person needs to prevent migraines, and it likely varies by the person .

You May Like: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy

Magnesium Pidolate And Headache: A Challenge For The Future

Headache is characterized by high lifetime prevalence and, rather than taking preventative medications , most patients use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , mainly purchased in an over the counter setting without medical advice or prescription.

A literature evidence base suggests that magnesium deficiency increases the risk of headache. As shown in several clinical studies and reported in various national and international guidelines , the treatment of magnesium deficiency can reduce the frequency of headaches and, as a direct consequence, the use of NSAIDs and other therapies .

Magnesium pidolate has high bioavailability and good intracellular penetration and it may reverse the magnesium deficiency responsible for headaches, even after a short administration period. Tissue culture and animal model studies indicate that magnesium pidolate may be slightly more effective than other magnesium salts in crossing the BBB , and magnesium in general is believed to exert neuroprotective functions. Further studies on the tissue distribution of magnesium pidolate may help to better understand its specific properties.

How To Use Magnesium For Migraines

Magnesium for Migraine (graphic)

People with migraines can take magnesium oxide in the form of a pill to supplement their magnesium intake.

Alternatively, a doctor may administer 12 grams of magnesium sulfate intravenously if a person is having problems absorbing it.

Other forms of magnesium include:

  • magnesium carbonate
  • magnesium chloride
  • magnesium citrate

The body absorbs these different types of magnesium at different rates. The body has difficulty absorbing magnesium unless it is bound to something else, so magnesium supplements often contain other substances, such as amino acids, that also provide health benefits.

Some people prefer to boost their magnesium intake through their diet.

Foods that contain magnesium include:

  • nuts and grains

Magnesium occurs naturally in many foods. Increasing magnesium levels by eating more of these foods does not appear to have any associated risks.

However, taking too many magnesium supplements can cause some adverse effects, including diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting.

If a person experiences diarrhea due to a magnesium supplement, they should stop taking it. It is also essential for a person with diarrhea to stay hydrated.

People should also avoid taking magnesium supplements alongside a type of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides. Taking these substances together can cause muscle weakness and other problems.

An excessive buildup of magnesium in the body can lead to severe side effects, including:

  • an irregular heartbeat

Recommended Reading: What Piercing Is For Migraines

What Are Commonly Used Nutraceuticals For Migraine

The most common nutraceuticals used for migraine include riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, melatonin and feverfew. While you may have also heard of butterbur as an effective option, it is no longer recommended. When creating a preventative strategy for your patients, consider combining nutraceuticals with medications and lifestyle modifications.

What Types Of Magnesium Are Available

Because magnesium is unstable by itself, it likes to be combined with other minerals to form what is called a salt.

Magnesium can also be combined with organic acids to form magnesium acid complexes or with amino acids to form magnesium chelates.

Depending on what chemical is combined with magnesium, the bioavailability might change.

Bioavailability basically means the amount of a substance that is absorbed by the body. So, if a supplement has HIGH bioavailability, then most of it is absorbed.

There are MANY types of magnesium available to choose from, so weve broken down some of the most common forms below.

Read Also: What Is Migraine Weather

What Exactly Is A Migraine

  • A migraine is a condition that occurs with severe throbbing pain in the left side of the head and the forehead. It is a headache disorder that is recurrent and pulsating in nature.
  • On a global scale, about 15 percent of the people suffer from migraines. Its usual onset is at puberty, and it takes its worst form during middle age.
  • The causes of a migraine include fluctuation in the level of estrogen, skipping meals or fasting, alcoholism, stress, strong sensory stimuli, sleeplessness, and more.
  • The symptoms of a migraine are a pain in the head, sensitivity to light, smell, sounds, and touch, pain in the eyes, nausea, vomiting, the indistinctness of vision, and more.

Magnesium Benefits Migraine Headaches

How Magnesium Is Studied To Beat Migraines and Headaches

Feb 07, 2018Categories: Health & Wellness, Neurology

Magnesium is an electrolyte that knows how to multitask in the body. Dr. Howe uses magnesium to help control migraine headaches by blocking pain transmitting chemicals in the brain and stabilizing the firing of brain neurons. Magnesium is also helpful for muscle spasm and muscle cramps because it helps to stabilize the muscle membrane. Magnesium can be taken as a supplement, but you do have to monitor for stomach upset. It can also be obtained from dietary sources like avocado, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, kale, spinach and almonds.

Check out some smoothie recipes from Dr. Howe’s assistant, Maria, as a yummy way to get a dietary dose of magnesium!

Recommended Reading: Migraine Medicine With Caffeine

Magnesium Can Help Prevent Migraines

Migraine headaches are painful and debilitating. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise often occur.

Some researchers believe that people who suffer from migraines are more likely than others to be magnesium deficient (

38 ).

In one study, supplementing with 1 gram of magnesium provided relief from an acute migraine attack more quickly and effectively than a common medication (


People with frequent migraines may have low magnesium levels. Some studies show that supplementing with this mineral can provide relief from migraines.

What They Are Used For

A dietary supplement is a product that contains ingredients to supplement your diet. The dietary ingredients in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes. People take supplements for a variety of reasons, but usually to boost their diet or to try and help with their health.

Many people with migraine try supplements to help their symptoms. There are many different supplements that claim to be helpful for migraine and headache. However, there is limited evidence about how effective these are. Only a few have some evidence to show potential benefit including riboflavin , magnesium and Co-enzyme Q10.

Recommended Reading: How Long Do Migraines Last For

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 .

Magnesium Levels In Migraineurs

The Best Magnesium Supplements for Migraine

For many decades, it was postulated that magnesium deficiency played a role in migraine pathogenesis. However, the lack of simple and reliable measures of magnesium levels prevented further research to prove this theory. While low serum, cerebrospinal fluid and cerebral tissue levels of magnesium have been found to be low in patients with migraine , these results have been inconsistent, with both normal and low levels detected in the same tissues of some patients. The variability of results may be due to the need to measure ionized magnesium as a true reflection of magnesium metabolism, and the development of an ion selective electrode for ionized magnesium in whole blood, serum, plasma and aqueous samples has made an accurate and rapid measurement of ionized magnesium levels possible .

Also Check: Migraine Fever Chills

What Is The Link Between Magnesium And Migraines

Studies have found that up to 50% of migraine sufferers have low magnesium levels .

They have also shown that daily magnesium supplements can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines

One study even found that magnesium supplementation was more effective and fast-acting than a common drug used for the treatment of acute migraines .

Still, other research has found no benefit from magnesium supplementation, but this may be because the dose was not high enough .

Also, because magnesium status is so difficult to test, its possible that some studies results are thrown off by including both magnesium-deficient and non-magnesium-deficient patients.

What Is A Supplement

Riboflavin B2

Riboflavin plays an important role in cellular energy production in the body. Its role in mitochondrial energy metabolism suggests it may be effective in migraine. From the evidence available it is well tolerated and potentially effective as a preventive treatment for migraine. NICE Clinical Guidelines for managing headache state that riboflavin may be effective in reducing migraine frequency and severity in some people.


Magnesium plays an important role in a range of biological processes in the body. The evidence available suggests it may be effective as a preventive treatment for migraine. Some people do experience side effects including an upset stomach or diarrhoea.

Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 plays an important role in cellular energy metabolism in the body. The available evidence suggests it may be an effective preventive, but more research would be helpful.

Co-enzyme Q10150mg/day


Feverfew is a medicinal herb. There is limited evidence that it may be effective in migraine. From the studies available its not clear what is an effective preparation or dose.

Other supplements

There are a range of other supplements that are mentioned as treatments for migraine. These include melatonin, vitamins B6, B9 and B12, vitamin E and vitamin C. At the moment there is a need for more research into whether these have any benefit for migraine.

Don’t Miss: Migraine With Fever

Topical Magnesium May Help With Your Migraine Symptoms

For those who experience migraine headaches, the pain can be debilitating, often taking the individual days to recover from the pain and symptoms. However, an often overlooked deficiency in magnesium can be a big contributing factor. Magnesium deficiency may play a role in the sequence of events that trigger the onset of a migraine. A very recent study looked at the serum concentration levels of magnesium between healthy individuals and those with migraine headaches during the migraine attacks and between attacks. These researchers found that the serum level of magnesium is an independent factor for migraine headaches. They found that patients who experience migraines had a lower serum levels of magnesium during the migraine attacks, and between the attacks compared with healthy individuals. 1

Dr Carolyn Dean, author of the book The Magnesium Miracle 2, Revised and Updated Edition listed several of the biochemical events involving low magnesium, which have been identified in migraine sufferers, and may set the stage for a migraine attack.

Given this multifaceted role of magnesium in migraines, the use of magnesium in both acute and preventive headache treatment has been researched as a potentially simple, inexpensive, safe and well-tolerated option. 4

If you struggle with migraine headaches, supporting your magnesium levels through the use of topical magnesium, may be a great first step in the right direction!

A Few Words Of Caution

Migraine Headaches and Magnesium
  • An excessive dosage of magnesium can cause diarrhea, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
  • If you have a history of kidney problems, then avoid the intake of magnesium.

Magnesium is as powerful and effective as pain-killers, but unlike the harsh chemical drugs, magnesium supplements and ointments do not cause cancer and ulcer. Follow through with the ways of using magnesium for migraine headaches to cure the chronic disorder naturally. If in any case the pain persists then do not hesitate to consult a physician.

Don’t Miss: What Is A Migraine Headache

Help You Sleep Better

One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is insomnia, so some individuals take magnesium because it helps them sleep. People with an anxiety disorder often experience fatigue and are more likely to struggle with sleep because they experience muscle weakness due to magnesium deficiency.

There are two ways that magnesium helps individuals sleep faster. It can ease stress and induce muscle relaxation, which will help put you to sleep. It also promotes a healthy circadian rhythm, which helps your body get into a natural sleep cycle, meaning you will wake up feeling well-rested.

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.

Recommended Reading: How Long Does Sumatriptan Last

Magnesium Is Involved In Hundreds Of Biochemical Reactions In Your Body

Magnesium is a mineral found in the earth, sea, plants, animals and humans.

About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood .

In fact, every cell in your body contains it and needs it to function.

One of magnesiums main roles is acting as a cofactor or helper molecule in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes.

In fact, its involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including (

  • Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.
  • Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.
  • Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.
  • Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
  • Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.

Unfortunately, studies suggest that about 50% of people in the US and Europe get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium .


Magnesium is a mineral that supports hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. However, many people get less than they need.

Which Foods Have The Most Magnesium

Which Magnesium is Best for Migraines?

When trying to evaluate our magnesium intake, the first source we should look at is our daily diet. Healthy foods are foundational to raising magnesium levels and other essential minerals, and supplements should never be viewed as a substitute for a nutrient-rich diet.

While its beneficial to build a healthy diet with all of these foods, leafy greens are the best source for magnesium and overall mineral intake. This is because grains, seeds, and nuts contain a compound called phytic acid, which can reduce the bodys ability to absorb magnesium and other minerals like zinc and iron.

Also Check: How To Cure Migraine Naturally

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.

Read Also: Migraine Medications Without Caffeine

Which Form Of Magnesium Is Best

The majority of studies have used magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate to prevent migraines .

The American Headache Society officially recommends magnesium citrate since it is well studied, affordable, readily available, and has a relatively high bioavailability.

But, just because some forms of magnesium havent been studied specifically for the treatment of migraines doesnt mean they arent effective.

Many practitioners recommend other forms, like magnesium glycinate, lactate, or malate since they are also well absorbed can have other health benefits.

Some formulations, like magnesium taurate or threonate are especially promising for migraines due to their beneficial effects on the brain, but more research is needed.

The forms that should probably be avoided for migraines are magnesium ascorbate, aspartate, carbonate, gluconate, glutamate, hydroxide, orotate, and oxide.

If you find that you cant tolerate any of the oral magnesium supplements, it might be worth trying magnesium lotion, spray, or Epsom salt baths.

At the end of the day, the best supplement is the one you will actually use! If you cant tolerate one brand or variety, you can always try another.

You May Like: Pressure Points For Migranes


Popular Articles