Magnesium for Migraines
Magnesium is a nutrient that is slowly becoming a super-nutrient. The various uses and benefits of this amazing mineral supplement seem to grow continuously and while many people are becoming familiar with its well-known restless legs, bone health and anxiety benefits few know it is also good for migraines.
Migraine headaches are the worst kind of kind head as anyone who suffers with them will tell you. What causes these migraine headaches in people is not entirely understood and the severity of a migraine from one individual to another varies considerably. There are many known triggers such as stress, alcohol, loud noise, bright lights and strong smells and as the intensity varies between people so does the trigger. For these reasons’ migraine headaches are notoriously difficult to prevent and take away, very often the only real solution is to sit down quietly or simply go to bed and sleep the headache off.
There are two types of migraine, with aura and without aura. Migraines with aura have a set of side effects that accompany the headache such as blind spots, coloured spots, zigzag lines and even temporary blindness leading up to headache hitting. The most common form of migraine, 75%, is a migraine without aura and this has none of the symptoms and the headache simply kicks in.
Magnesium for Migraines
While finding ways to take the intense migraine headaches away are being researched, equal research is being undertaken into the prevention of and lessening the severity of the headaches. One such area of research has been into supplements and studies have shown that an increased intake of magnesium reduces or comes close to preventing migraines in over 40% of sufferers. Because many of the triggers are stress, sleep or mineral deficiency related and magnesium is known to combat these it makes some sense therefore that the mineral could work for migraine prevention.
Studies have shown that a relatively safe level of 400 to 500mg of Magnesium Oxide taken daily has shown that 41% of people have a reduced level of migraines occurring. This easy to take supplement may cause slight diarrhea in some people but its effects are significant when it comes to migraine prevention, especially in migraines with aura.
How Magnesium Works for Treating Migraines
It is understood that magnesium in the brain may control some of the signaling, known as cortical spreading depression and prevent the symptoms of aura from occurring. While research continues into this migraine prevention other types of migraine headache are also being found to benefit or be reduced through the use of magnesium. Menstrual-related migraines have been noted to reduce in number and severity with higher levels of magnesium in the body.
In most cases, migraine prevention or reduction of severity can be aided with an over the counter magnesium oxide pill that is taken daily. However, for more severe migraine headaches intravenous magnesium sulfate given over a 5 to 7 period may be required. The results of the use of magnesium in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches is continuous and because the supplement is relatively safe and affordable it is well worth considering. However, as with all supplements, especially when dealing with headaches it is recommended that professional medical advice be sought.
For more everything you need to know about magnesium and magnesium supplements, check out our comprehensive information page here.
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Ron Goedeke MD, BSc Hons MBChB, FNZCAM
Dr Ron Goedeke, specialises in alternative and functional medicine. He is a foundation member of the New Zealand college of Appearance medicine and has been a member of the American Academy of Anti-aging medicine since 1999. With over 20 years of experience in the anti-aging field, Dr Ron Goedeke is recognized as one of New Zealand’s leaders in this new and growing field of medicine.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read on this website.