Does Magnesium Help With Migraine? – Side Effects And Benefits


Does Magnesium Help With Migraine – Side Effects And Benefits

Migraine is a debilitating neurological condition characterized by recurrent, pulsating headaches often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. It affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact quality of life. While the exact cause of migraines remains unclear, researchers have identified various factors that contribute to their development, including changes in brain chemicals, blood flow, and nerve signaling.

Link Between Magnesium And Migraine

Recent studies have revealed a potential link between magnesium deficiency and migraine, suggesting that magnesium supplementation may offer relief for migraine sufferers. Let’s delve deeper into the mechanisms behind this connection and explore the benefits and side effects of magnesium for migraine relief.

Which Magnesium Is Best For Migraine?

While “best” is subjective, the most common magnesium for migraine is magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is commonly eaten in pill form to prevent migraine. Magnesium oxide is an inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC) supplement that doesn’t require a prescription. However, it comes with it’s own side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.

Meanwhile, magnesium sulfate is also used though it’s often administered intravenously. Magnesium citrate is used as well, though more research needs to be done to explore its efficacy. If you’re allergic to gelatin, you can explore magnesium glycinate.

Using Magnesium Oxide For Migraine (The Best?)

Some sources say that only 4% of the magnesium in oxide capsules are absorbed by your body. This explains why it may not be the best magnesium for migraine even though it’s the most common form of magnesium supplement. You wouldn’t want to pay repeatedly for magnesium supplements your body can’t absorb.

How Much Magnesium For Migraine?

According to the John Hopkins Center, the recommended magnesium for migraine dosage ranges from 400 to 600 mg. If you’re pregnant in Category A, you can safely consume magnesium oxide in doses up to 400 mg. Magnesium oxide pills can be taken as an acute or abortive migraine treatment.

Magnesium sulfate is typically given in IV fluids in doses of 1 to 2 grams. It now carries a warning related to bone thinning seen in the developing fetus when used longer than 5-7 days in a row. This might mean pregnant women should avoid using magnesium sulfate as a supplement for migraine.

Using Magnesium And Riboflavin For Migraine: Double Power

Studies have shown that magnesium and riboflavin for migraine can be effective in migraine treatment. Magnesium reduces the frequency and intensity of migraine, particularly in individuals with magnesium deficiency or those experiencing migraines with aura.

On the other hand, riboflavin is involved in energy metabolism and antioxidant mechanisms in the body. Research suggests that riboflavin supplementation may also contribute to migraine prevention, although its precise mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood. Some studies have shown that riboflavin supplementation can lead to a reduction in the frequency and duration of migraine.

Side Effects Of Magnesium Oxide For Migraine

Some common side effects of magnesium oxide include:

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal cramping

To counter these side effects of magnesium oxide, you can lower the dosage.

How Does Magnesium Help With Migraine?

Here are some of the ways magnesium can help with migraine:

  1. Neurotransmitter Regulation: Magnesium helps to regulate neurotransmitters, chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) have been associated with migraine. Magnesium supplementation with anti-CGRP medication may help restore the balance of these neurotransmitters, reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines.
  2. Blood Vessel Stability: Magnesium promotes blood vessel stability and prevent excessive constriction (narrowing) and dilation (expansion). Blood vessel abnormalities are implicated in migraine, as changes in blood flow to the brain can trigger migraine attacks. By maintaining the stability of blood vessels, magnesium may help prevent migraine.
  3. Pain Relief: Magnesium has been shown to help with migraine because it possesses analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It can inhibit the release of certain pain signaling molecules, including substance P and glutamate, which are involved in the transmission of pain signals. By reducing pain transmission, magnesium may alleviate the intensity and duration of migraine attacks.
  4. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Migraine is often associated with inflammation in the brain and surrounding blood vessels. Magnesium exerts anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the production of inflammatory molecules known as cytokines. By reducing inflammation, magnesium may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Can Magnesium Help Migraine Aura?

The effectiveness of magnesium is observed in patients who experience or have experienced migraine. Migraine aura involves visual disturbances alongside migraine attacks though aura can also be sensory or aphasic. It is believed that magnesium may inhibit cortical spreading depression, a wave of brain signaling that causes migraine aura.

Additionally, magnesium can enhance platelet function, reduce the release or block the action of pain-transmitting chemicals such as Substance P and glutamate in the brain. It may also prevent the narrowing of brain blood vessels caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Can Magnesium Help With Menstrual Migraine?

Daily oral magnesium supplementation has demonstrated efficacy in preventing migraines associated with menstruation, particularly in individuals with premenstrual migraine. This implies that preventive use of magnesium can specifically target those with aura or period migraine, even among individuals with irregular menstrual cycles.

Clinical Evidence and Recommendations

Several clinical studies have investigated the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in migraine management, with encouraging results. For example, a meta-analysis published in the journal “Headache” reviewed multiple trials and found that magnesium supplementation led to a significant reduction in the frequency and duration of migraines.

Based on existing research, the recommended daily magnesium intake for migraine prevention is around 400-600 mg. Magnesium can be obtained through dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, for individuals with low magnesium levels or those who experience inadequate relief from dietary sources alone, magnesium supplements may be beneficial. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, as they can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and health status.

Does Low Magnesium Cause Migraine?

Due to challenges in accurately measuring magnesium levels, determining low magnesium levels in the brain can be difficult. This makes it hard to decide if low magnesium causes migraine. Certain individuals, such as those with heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism, and those taking diuretics for blood pressure, are more prone to low magnesium.

Migraine sufferers may also have lower brain magnesium levels, potentially due to reduced absorption from food, a genetic predisposition, or increased excretion compared to non-migraine patients. Studies have observed low levels of brain and spinal fluid magnesium in migraine patients between migraine attacks.

In 2012, the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology conducted a review of studies on medications for migraine prevention and assigned magnesium a Level B rating, indicating that it is likely effective and should be considered for patients seeking preventive therapy for migraines. Magnesium is often chosen as a preventive strategy, either alone or in combination with other preventive medications, due to its safety profile and minimal side effects.

Magnesium Glycinate For Migraine

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium is known for its high absorption rate in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Compared to other commonly used forms, chelated magnesium (magnesium bound to an amino acid) exhibits greater bioavailability. This means if you’re using magnesium glycinate for migraine, it can be easily absorbed. In practical terms, taking magnesium glycinate with meals ensures that the magnesium is effectively absorbed by the body rather than remaining in the GI tract and being excreted.

Additionally, the presence of glycine in magnesium glycinate offers potential extra benefits. Glycine, an amino acid, may have a calming effect on the brain and assist with sleep, making it helpful for individuals experiencing dizziness associated with vestibular migraines or seeking improved sleep quality.

Also, using magnesium glycinate for migraine is helpful if you’re sensitive to gelatin. Gelatin is a common ingredient found in many other magnesium supplements, making it a good choice for migraine patients.

Magnesium Interactions

Magnesium oxide can interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking to ensure there are no adverse interactions. Additionally, individuals with kidney disease or impaired renal function should exercise caution when using magnesium oxide supplements.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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