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.
Magnesium And Your Migraines
Magnesium is a mineral involved in the functioning and health of many parts of your body, including your muscles, bones, heart, and nerves. A deficiency of magnesium has been linked to a number of health problems, including migraine development.
In the United States, magnesium deficiency is actually quite common and is mostly due to an increased intake of processed and refined foods, which are naturally low in magnesium.
A number of medical problems can also contribute to magnesium deficiency, like alcohol abuse, kidney disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain medications like proton pump inhibitors .
While magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraine development at a basic scientific level , experts aren’t quite sure how that science translates to the clinical level .
There are likely many factors involved in a person’s migrainesa very complex neurological disease. So while magnesium deficiency may make certain people more vulnerable to developing migraines, it probably is only one piece of the puzzle.
Proven Treatments For Migraines
Migraines can affect people in a variety of ways. No case is exactly the same. For some, conservative use of medications or injections is sufficient for managing migraines. For some, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or biofeedback work well. Dr. Lowenstein has been active in the research of migraines and the development of proven protocols. For patients interested in long-term relief from chronic migraine headaches, migraine surgery may make the most sense.
We are proud to provide proven migraine treatment to patients in the Santa Barbara area. To learn more about migraine surgery, .
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Bioavailability Matters With Magnesium For Migraine
According to Ancient Minerals, If one was to ingest the commonly recommended adult dosage of 300-400 mg magnesium per day in poorly absorbed form, it could equate to a usable dosage of only 12-16 mg.. They also go on to quote Holy Water, Sacred Oil: The Fountain of Youthwhere it is mentioned that magnesium is most effective when contained in the intestine for a minimum of 12 hours. If magnesium was going through the system faster , youre not getting the full benefits of the supplement youre taking.
One key word to know is bioavailability, which means how well the supplement is absorbed by the body. If the supplement youre taking is not very bioavailable, its not being metabolized and youre probably not reaping the benefits from it. As we age and our metabolism slows, it can be even more important to focus on bioavailability, as vitamins can become more difficult to absorb. This is why choosing high quality supplements is so important. Fillers, binders, and artificial ingredients or flavorings can all limit absorption. Magnesium itself isnt a highly absorbable supplement to begin with, but if you have a deficiency then your body will be able to absorb more than it would otherwise.
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.
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Magnesium Chloride & Magnesium Sulfate
You might be more familiar with epsom salts, also know as magnesium sulfate. Through research and discussion with other Migraine patients, it seems as if magnesium chloride is like Epsom salt on steroids. It appears to have better absorption and cellular penetration, as well as lower tissue toxicity. This form of magnesium is wonderful for topical applications, especially if youd like to supplement your oral intake. This would include adding it to a bath, foot soak, or applied topically in a lotion or spray form. Concentration of the solution, length of time it is in contact with the skin, and area it is applied all affect magnesium chlorides efficacy. Some find that if they do a soak for 20-30 minutes or apply to their feet before bed it helps to calm the body and promote a deeper sleep.
On the other hand, theres not a lot of great scientific research to back this up according to this 2017 study. I read a quote the other day that said something to the effect of a placebo is the perfect example of how healing starts with the mind. I personally believe theres more merit to topical magnesium than this study suggests, and its worth a try to see if it truly helps you. Since chloride is more expensive than epsom salts, I like to mix both if taking a full bath.
How Do You Know If You Are Deficient In Magnesium
Assessing your magnesium status is very tricky. Serum magnesium is not a good indicator as 98% of magnesium is stored inside cells or in bone. Serum magnesium test results can be normal even when someone is deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is found in large amounts in muscle and bone. Our bodies regulate serum magnesium well by taking what is needed from the food we eat and getting rid of the extra amount through our kidneys. It is also regulated by the release of magnesium from muscle and bone to maintain the steady magnesium levels we need. While imperfect, the best practical measure of magnesium is the red blood cell magnesium test. Ask your doctor to test your RBC magnesium if you are curious.
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Types Of Magnesium Supplements For Vestibular Migraine
Dizzy treatment, in the case of vestibular migraine, should entail working with your physician to determine if medication and supplements are right for you. Interestingly enough, sometimes all that is needed to improve a patients situation are supplements, in particular, magnesium supplements.
Upwards of 50% of those with migraines are deficient in magnesium. And even those that are sufficient in magnesium may still find relief with extra magnesium through supplements.
Before jumping into each type of magnesium supplement, its important to discuss with your physician if magnesium is right for you. Note that all magnesium supplements are not created equal.
For one, there are multiple types of magnesium compounds that can be helpful for certain situations. Additionally, youll want to pay close attention to the ingredient list on the label and avoid any with long lists of ingredients. Oftentimes, there are many additives that can lead to additional symptoms or aggravation in other bodily systems. Aim for the ones with just the compounds you need.
Magnesium Sulfate And Magnesium Hydroxide
These forms are potent laxatives so beware if you try them. Since the role of these magnesium salts is to draw water into the GI tract and help move the bowels, the magnesium is not considered very bioavailable and is just flushed down the toilet. We do not recommend either type. Magnesium sulfate is also known as Epsom salt and can be used to boost your magnesium transdermally. Read on for more about magnesium baths.
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How Does Magnesium Compare To Prescription Preventive Medications
Prescription medications come with side effects, and everyoneâs different when it comes to which side effects arenât too bad and which are just too much. One of the advantages of magnesium is that it doesnât come with as many side effects. But the flipside of that is that it also may not be as effective.
How To Use Magnesium For Migraines
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
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How Magnesium Is Regulated:
Magnesium in the blood reflects a balance between absorption in the gut and elimination through the kidney. Magnesium absorption is reduced by some stomach medications for reflux, called proton pump inhibitors. Some of them are over the counter — e.g. prilosec. This means that it is especially important to take magnesium supplements for migraine prevention, if you take a PPI. Magnesium is regulated through the kidney, where it is reabsorbed. Incomplete reabsorption causes magnesium wasting .
There are about a dozen genes that result in hypmagnesiumia – but these are extremely rare in clinical medicine, and finding them does not contribute to therapy .
Magnesium Pidolate And Brain Penetration
The dysfunction of the bloodbrain barrier has been described in several neurological disorders, including ischemic stroke and inherited and neurodegenerative diseases . This topic remains controversial: while some studies did not find changes in BBB during a migraine attack , there are studies in human subjects and animals that indicate that BBB permeability may be increased with migraine and headaches . BBB disruption has been associated with magnesium deficiency in the brain . It is therefore interesting to distinguish agents that exert a protective role on BBB and prevent its impairment in response to various challenges. There is evidence that magnesium has a protective role on the BBB in vivo , and a recent paper has highlighted that 10 mmol/L magnesium sulfate reduces the permeability in an in vitro model of the human BBB . This effect could be the result of the antagonism between calcium and magnesium in the endothelial actin cytoskeleton, which remodels intercellular gap formation, thus inhibiting the paracellular movement of molecules through the tight junctions .
Romeo et al. compared the effect of different magnesium salts at the same concentration in in vitro in models of rat and human BBBs. All salts decreased BBB permeability among them, magnesium pidolate and magnesium threonate were the most efficient in the rat model, and magnesium pidolate was the most efficient in the human model, suggesting differences in response between humans and rodents.
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What To Be Aware Of When Taking Coenzyme Q10 For Migraine
Again, there are very few side effects related to taking CoQ10. Over supplementation could result in a burning sensation in the mouth, loss of appetite and nausea, though this is unusual and very unlikely.
In fact, this compound is usually extremely well-tolerated in migraine patients, and has no adverse health risks related to it. Whats more, in terms of interfering with other migraine treatments, there is no crossover to be aware of great news if you have a wide repertoire of other coping mechanisms.
Magnesium In Migraine Pathogenesis
Magnesium is believed to be involved in a number of the aspects of migraine patho- physiology, and deficiency has been linked to cortical spreading depression , platelet aggregation , release of substance P , neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction .
NMDA receptors are associated with nociception and the resulting neuroplastic changes in the trigeminal nociceptive neurons, as well as with regulation of cerebral blood flow . Magnesium ions may block the NMDA receptor, thereby preventing calcium ions from moving intracellularly, and stopping the calcium’s effects on neurons and cerebral vasculature . Decreased magnesium levels therefore facilitate the NMDA receptor, increasing its effects on CSD, as well as the effect of glutamate on the NMDA receptor. The NMDA receptor has been shown to have a part in both the initiation and spread of cortical depression . Magnesium has been shown to block CSD induced by glutamate, and CSD is more easily initiated with decreased magnesium levels .
Nitric oxide plays a role as a synaptic modulator, affecting nociceptive processing in addition to its involvement in the regulation of blood flow both intracranially and extracranially. It augments the NMDA receptor-evoked currents, thereby facilit- ating glutaminergic transmission , which, as previously discussed, can be inhibited by magnesium. Production of NO can be inhibited by decreased magnesium levels.
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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.
Whats The Official Recommendation
According to the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society guidelines, magnesium supplementation is probably effective for migraine prevention, but no recommended dosage or form has been established .
Even though there is no formally recommended dosage for migraine prevention, most studies have used between 400 and 600 mg of magnesium per day .
Magnesium supplements can be taken with food to reduce stomach upset and increase absorption. However, they should be taken away from calcium supplements and high-phytate foods, since these can interfere with absorption .
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What Form Is Best
Magnesium supplements are available in different forms not just tablets. Orally there is: powder, capsules, liquid, syrup and tablets.
It also comes in: injections, intravenous magnesium and transdermal oil.
This is my choice capsules with power in them comes third.
- Injections or a push, if you are really deficient
It’s even more effective if you can take magnesium with cofactor Vitamin B6 , Vitamin B2 or a bioavailable B-complex. They can help speed up your absorption and provide faster relief.
There are great combination products like Migravent.
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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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.