Numerous studies have indicated that individuals with lower levels of magnesium are more likely to suffer from migraine pain.
Although there is no cure for migraine, some studies show that consuming magnesium, through whole foods or supplements, can reduce the frequency of migraine episodes.
Magnesium infusion also provides quick and sustained relief in patients suffering from acute migraine pain.
According to a 1996 study published in Cephalalgia, individuals who took magnesium saw a reduction in the frequency of attacks by 41.6 percent, compared to 15.8 percent in the placebo group.
Some studies also indicate that magnesium may be helpful for women whose migraines are triggered by their periods. Caution needs to be taken for treating pregnant women for migraine, and magnesium proves to be a safer choice with no adverse effects.
From the National Institute of Health:
“Because of an excellent safety profile and low cost and despite the lack of definitive studies, we feel that a trial of oral magnesium supplementation can be recommended to a majority of migraine sufferers.”
Both oral and intravenous magnesium are widely available, extremely safe, effective, inexpensive, and meant for magnesium-deficient individuals.
If you have visited the pharmacy recently looking for magnesium supplements, you may have been overwhelmed by all of the over-the-counter choices available.
Not all supplements are created equal and some contain unnecessary additives and fillers that could make the supplement ineffective.
Take a look at the review of Top 10 magnesium supplements here, to make the process less taxing for you.
Common things to remember when buying magnesium supplements:
- They are available in different forms, including pills, powder, capsule, liquid, injections, and tablets.
- Injections and certain oral supplements are available only through prescription.
- The common limiting factor is the laxative effect of the supplements. If you are on a migraine-preventative medication that is constipating, such as amitriptyline or verapamil, this might prove beneficial.
- To be absorbed effectively, magnesium should be taken with calcium. For women, the ratio of calcium should be no more than twice that of magnesium. Men may require less calcium, and a combined ratio of 1:1 is recommended.
- Mineral salt forms of magnesium include citrate, taurate, glycinate, chloride, carbonate, malate, oxide, sulfate, glutamate, and aspartate.
- If you would like to consider taking oral magnesium, start with 400-500 mg/day in divided doses.
Alternative Magnesium Sources
Magnesium cream or oil – If you are sensitive to magnesium supplements, consider topical application of magnesium oil or cream. (Taking magnesium transdermally does not have the common laxative side effect.)
Epsom salt – Scientifically known as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is an effective way to get magnesium into the body without ingesting it. Soaking in a hot Epsom salt bath can bring quick relief for migraine pain.
Note: If you are allergic to sulfur, pregnant, or diabetic, do not use Epsom salt.
Consider a Magnesium-Rich Diet
The best way to get your daily dose of magnesium is with a healthy diet.
Magnesium is found in a wide variety of healthy foods, including:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Legumes (peas and beans)
- Nuts and seeds
- Unrefined whole grains
- Potatoes with skin
- Long-grained brown rice
- Dried apricots
While natural, whole foods should be your first choice to boost your magnesium levels, special care for absorption, knowledge of magnesium-rich food, and adequate consumption to meet the daily requirement can make the process a bit complicated.
Therefore, more doctors are recommending magnesium supplementation for improved health.
Side Effects and Interactions
Mostly considered safe, side effects mainly include lowered blood pressure and diarrhea. Side effects from overdose are not common as the body flushes out excess amounts of magnesium. (Do not overdose on magnesium or any other supplement.)
Magnesium can interact with medications, including medications for blood pressure, heart, and kidney disease, as well as diuretics, certain antibiotics, and muscle relaxants. Therefore, if you are taking these medications, talk with your doctor before using any type of magnesium supplement.
Magnesium can be a helpful tool in easing migraine pain naturally.
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Featured image courtesy of Flickr/Sarah