How Well Does Magnesium Work
Whether magnesium supplements prevent migraines hasnât been widely studied, but a small amount of research suggests they might help. In a 2017 review published in the journal Headache, scientists analyzed the results of five âgold standardâ studies, in which magnesium supplements were given to one group of migraine patients, while a second group received inactive placebo pills.
One study found that people who took magnesium supplements had migraines on 43% fewer days than others given the empty placebo pills. Several of the other studies found that magnesium users had fewer migraine attacks than nonusers. But the quality of the studies was uneven. Overall, the researchers judged magnesium to be âpossibly effectiveâ for preventing migraines. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society reached a similar conclusion about using magnesium for migraine prevention.
What Form Of Magnesium Supplement Does Cove Offer
Cove offers 400 mg magnesium glycinate and citrate tablets. After working with leading headache specialists, we chose this formulation because it’s easily absorbed, calming, and most likely to be effective. You can get magnesium supplements delivered to your door with Cove.
You can also try taking magnesium in combination with other vitamins and minerals that can have a positive effect on migraine. Cove offers two of these:
- Beam is a first-of-its-kind migraine supplement that includes clinically-effective doses of magnesium, riboflavin and Coenzyme Q10, all of which have been shown in studies to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
- Oasis is a hydration supplement that helps your body replenish electrolytes you naturally lose throughout the day. It contains a clinically-effective dose of magnesium as well as sodium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins C, B6, and B12.
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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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.
Are There Any Risks In Using Magnesium For Migraines
Magnesium may cause negative reactions when taken with antibiotics, as it can interfere with their absorption. Taking magnesium supplements alongside certain antibiotics, such as aminoglycosides, can cause other problems, including muscle weakness.
Taking too many magnesium supplements can also lead to side effects such as cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you experience diarrhea with a magnesium supplement, stop taking it, and stay hydrated to restore any lost fluid.
People with certain medical conditions may experience additional side effects while taking magnesium. These conditions include:
Excess magnesium in the body can also cause irregular heartbeat, slowed breathing, and coma.
Always consult a health care provider before taking any new supplements, including magnesium.
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Almost No Side Effects
And I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! Magnesium has almost NO SIDE EFFECTS, when compared to other migraine preventative medications. The only side effect is diarrhea, but with so many different types of magnesium it can be easy to find one that you tolerate well.
If you are prone to diarrhea, first try switching what type of magnesium you are taking and always take magnesium with food. Another thing you can do is to start slow. Start by taking 200mg, if you tolerate that for a few days, then increase to 300mg, and keep following this same pattern until you reach a dose of magnesium that works best for you.
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.
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Dietary Intake Of Calcium And Magnesium In Relation To Severe Headache Or Migraine
- Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China
Background: Migraine is a common neurological disorder and is affected by nutrients. Calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that play an important role in nerve function. So we investigated the association between dietary calcium and magnesium and migraine.
Methods: We extracted 10,798 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of America in 1999 to 2004. We classified patients who reported having severe headache or migraine as having possible migraine. Multivariable logistic regression and restricted cubic spline regression were conducted to determine the association between dietary calcium and magnesium and migraine.
Results: We found that the adjusted ORs of the association between dietary calcium and magnesium and migraine for comparing the highest quintile intake with the lowest quintile intake were 0.77 and 0.69 , respectively. For women, the adjusted ORs of dietary calcium and magnesium were 0.72 and 0.62 , respectively. For men, the adjusted OR was 0.71 comparing the highest and the lowest quintile of calcium intake, but there was no statistically significant association between dietary magnesium intake and migraine. Joint analyses showed that the OR in the high-calcium and high-magnesium group was 0.74 compared with the low-calcium and low-magnesium group in women.
What Are The Side Effects Of Too Much Magnesium
Like with any dietary supplement, one of the most important questions about magnesium is what happens when too much is taken. While the element is generally well-tolerated by most healthy adults, there are some possible magnesium supplement side effects which are often related to its laxative effects. Fortunately, ReMag Magnesium Solution was formulated and has been proven to bypass the laxative effect.
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean there are several contraindications to magnesium supplementation
While most of these conditions are unlikely, its always wise to speak with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking other medications.
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Vitamins And Supplements For Migraine
Many patients want a natural approach to treating migraine. Here are some treatment options to discuss with your neurologist.
Many of my patients tell me they waited years before seeing a doctor for their migraine, thinking it wasn’t a serious condition. They thought the best way to deal with it was to grit their teeth and muscle through it. Now, many are active participants in their care and often tell me they want a natural approach.
I explain that vitamins and supplements may decrease the number of attacks or reduce the side effects of prescription drugs, but they aren’t cure-alls and can take time to become effective, as long as three months for some patients. For others, they may not work at all and may have side effects. With that in mind, here are some vitamins and supplements to discuss with your neurologist at your next visit, including some potential side effects.
Also known as riboflavin, this vitamin and it’s one of eight B vitamins that help convert food into fuel it also helps metabolize fats and protein. We don’t know exactly why B2 helps, but it could be because some people who are deficient in it are more prone to migraine. In a small study in the European Journal of Neurology, 23 people who took daily doses of 400 mg of riboflavin for six months reported half the number of headaches per monthfrom four to twoand reduced their use of medicines from seven pills per month to four and a half.
Can Magnesium Deficiency Cause Tension Headaches
Magnesium deficiency is present in 50% of migraine patients, with several EU and US guidelines recommending magnesium for the prevention of migraines. Magnesium deficiency leads to hyperexcitability of muscles and nerve fibres and may result in tension in the shoulder and neck area, which can cause tension headaches.
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How Can You Know If Youre Magnesium Deficient
Measuring magnesium levels in the body is difficult because most of the mineral is stored in cells and bone. Our bodies use just whats needed and store the rest in these locations.
The best available way of determining a persons magnesium levels is with a magnesium RBC test, also known as a magnesium blood test. As its name suggests, this test measures the levels of magnesium found in a persons red blood cells. If you want to know whether you are magnesium-deficient, you can ask your doctor to test your levels.
Magnesium Chloride And Magnesium Sulfate
Also known as Epsom salts, Magnesium Sulfate is one of the most common forms of topical magnesium. Magnesium Chloride is shown to absorb better, due to better cellular penetration.
- Found in Epsom salts, magnesium lotions, and sprays
- Magnesium Chloride is a slightly better option
- Easy to find and use
- Effectiveness varies, so good to combine with other forms of magnesium
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Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity
Although magnesium is naturally found in a variety of foods and some fortified foods, national dietary surveys show that most Americans of all ages eat less than recommended amounts. However, these deficiency levels are marginal and not likely to produce symptoms. The body also helps to preserve magnesium levels when stores are low by limiting the amount excreted in urine and absorbing more magnesium in the gut.
A true deficiency occurs with a long-term low magnesium diet, malabsorption, and large losses from alcohol abuse or use of medications that deplete magnesium .
- Signs of deficiency include:
- Abnormal heart rate
Toxicity is rare from food sources because the kidneys will remove excess magnesium in the urine. However toxic levels may occur with long-term use of high-dosage supplements. People with kidney disease have a higher risk of toxicity because their kidneys are not working properly and cannot flush out extra magnesium.
- Signs of toxicity include:
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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Can Lack Of Vitamin D Cause Migraines
Though research to prove that low vitamin D causes migraine is ongoing, several recent studies shed some light on the link. A report presented at a meeting of the American Headache Society found that 40% of people with migraines had low vitamin D levels. Those with deficiencies also developed migraines earlier in life.
How To Read A Magnesium Label
Magnesium labels are not as straightforward as they would first appear. The amount of actual magnesium, or elemental magnesium, should be labeled very specifically. When you see the label indicating you are getting Magnesium 400mg per tablet that seems like just what the doctor ordered. But, this labeling indicates that there is 400mg of the whole compound. Only a portion of that is actually magnesium. In this case, magnesium oxide which is 60% elemental magnesium . The 400mg magnesium oxide capsule therefore only contains 242mg of elemental magnesium.
The more accurate labeling of magnesium will result in a label that says Magnesium 500mg. This indicates that the actual amount in the capsule should be 500mg of elemental magnesium. We know that reading labels is so important when following an elimination diet for migraine. Its equally important for supplements.
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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.
Using The Right Form And Dose Of Magnesium Is Like Using The Right Key To Open A Lock
When trying to develop a treatment strategy, its important to use the most accurate solutions we have. Based on the current data, magnesium taurate and magnesium glycinate are two of the better options that may help those with mental health conditions. Psychiatric patients may also need more magnesium than the average individual but should consult a medical professional if their intake exceeds the FDAs recommended dosage.
Magnesium is best used as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan along with a proper diet, stress reduction techniques, and treating the root cause of your symptoms. We hope that this information can help you build a strong foundation for your health journey.
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Who Should Consider Magnesium
Because magnesium is extremely safe, anyone who experiences migraine may want to talk to their doctor about using it as a preventive treatment.
Due to the way magnesium works, it can be especially helpful for people who have migraine with aura. People with menstrual migraine also seem to benefit from daily magnesium.
How Does Magnesium Affect Mental Health
In our first article about magnesium, we explore the connection between magnesium deficiency and anxiety. In addition to anxiety, low magnesium levels have been linked with:
Higher levels of stress
Magnesium plays two important roles in the brain, which may contribute to these symptoms:
It blocks the activity of more stimulating neurotransmitters and binds to calming receptors, resulting in a more peaceful, resting state.
It helps to regulate the release of stress hormones like cortisol, acting like the brake on your bodys nervous system.
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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.
Is Supplementing With Magnesium For Migraine Safe
Many doctors say yes, but that doesnt mean you should not do your own research as well as consult your own healthcare provider.
According to Dr. Mauskop, its one of the safest supplements to use for migraine, but urges caution when someone has kidney disease. In an article I consider a must-read about magnesium and migraine, Mauskop discusses risks in his final paragraph.
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Can Children Take Magnesium To Prevent Migraines
It’s important to understand that the scientific evidence to support magnesium use in children with migraines is very limited. In other words, there are unfortunately not many studies on magnesium for migraine prevention in children, and the studies we do have are not strongly suggestive of its effectiveness.
Regardless of this uncertainty, be sure to discuss any supplement or dietary change with your child’s pediatrician. Also be aware that if your healthcare provider does give the OK for magnesium supplementation, he or she will likely recommend a pediatric dose.