Magnesium and migraines
Only if you suffer from migraines you know the pain and how it can paralyze and endanger your daily social and family life. In addition to pain and sensitivity to light, migraines can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and other forms of sensitivity.
We all wish we had a magic wand and that there would be a 100% cure that banishes migraines and prevents them from ever coming back into your life. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. The cause of migraines must be found by every person by themselves, as there can be countless of them. However, there are some simple factors that can be introduced into your daily routine that can help reduce or even stop migraine attacks if we manage to eliminate the cause. Proper sleep rhythm and magnesium are just two of them.
Many people suffering from migraine attacks also completely avoid alcohol, strong sun, highly air-conditioned space, dehydration, artificial sweeteners and strong perfumes. But everyone needs to identify those “triggers” that can trigger a migraine attack. Yes, unfortunately it can also be a perfume, an air freshener or a seemingly completely innocent dish in a restaurant.
But right now we will discuss magnesium, which has been shown through studies to be able to help alleviate migraine attacks.
What is magnesium and what role does it play in the body?
The mineral magnesium is responsible for over 300 urgent processes and reactions in the body. It is required for protein synthesis in mitochondria and energy production in basic cellular reactions. It plays an important role in the synthesis of DNA and RNA and in various enzymes. It’s found in bones, muscles and in the brain. In addition to the above, magnesium is also needed for muscle relaxation, the functioning of the nervous system and the absorption of necessary minerals (calcium, sodium, zinc, copper, potassium and phosphorus). The body cannot make it on its own, so magnesium intake through food or supplements is necessary.
Magnesium also helps with the effects of stress, depression, sleep, digestion, muscle cramps… and perhaps the most important news for anyone struggling with migraines - it has been proven to help with migraine headaches.
How do we know that our body is deficient in magnesium?
There are about 25 grams of magnesium in the body of an adult. Only 1% of this is found outside the cells, the rest is found in the cells, muscles, bones…
Magnesium deficiency is associated with many diseases, syndromes and general well-being
Factors that may affect magnesium deficiency:
- increased sweating,
- certain medicines: antibiotics, medicines for stomach acid,
- birth control pills,
- various diseases: diabetes, thyroid diseases, nervous diseases,
- genetics and genetic defects (0.1-1% of the population).
Signs that we are deficient in magnesium can be:
- chronic fatigue,
- irritable bowel syndrome,
- cold palms and feet,
- muscle cramps, mostly at night,
- stronger PMS with women,
- sore feet in children,
- circulatory and heart rhythm disorders,
- sensitive teeth and gums,
- menstrual disorders.
Magnesium and migraines
If you suffer from migraine attacks, it is imperative to check that you are consuming enough magnesium. Most of us are undernourished with this mineral, and the reason for this is attributed to the poorer quality of food and water. But even if we make an effort and choose foods rich in magnesium, it is necessary to take into account that the body loses magnesium very rapidly, especially in combination with stress, alcohol, heavy sweating, accelerated digestion, menstruation and various medications (such as antibiotics and laxatives). It should also be noted that the ability to absorb magnesium is not as easy as its accelerated loss.
Magnesium to support the treatment or to prevent migraines
Several pilot studies show that magnesium levels in the brain are greatly reduced during a migraine attack in about 50% of migraine patients. Adding magnesium in the initial stage of a migraine attack can alleviate or shorten the pain.
Magnesium can also be a solution for those women who suffer from menstrual migraines and headaches. Lower levels of magnesium in the body have also been shown during menstruation and related headaches or menstrual migraines. And many times it is just a lower level or magnesium deficiency that is the cause of multi-day headaches or even migraines around the time of menstruation.
Most studies show an improvement in migraine symptoms and/or headaches with regular daily magnesium intake. The recommended intake for an adult is about 400 mg of magnesium. In patients with migraine, this dose usually needs to be doubled to improve symptoms (studies have been performed with 600 mg or more). It may take a month or two to improve the symptoms of migraines and headaches.
A side effect of taking magnesium can be accelerated digestion or even diarrhea. But some with chronic constipation, it is also a big help in relieving such problems. In any case, we should consult our doctor regarding taking magnesium in higher doses if we have impaired kidney function, kidney stones or we are taking any other medications.
It matters which form of magnesium we choose
Magnesium is available in various forms. The most common forms of magnesium are magnesium oxide, sulfate, carbonate, citrate, chloride… More expensive and less common forms are magnesium malate, chelate, taurate… How do we know which form will actually be efficient?
If you want a well-absorbed form that is also easy to consume, then choose the citrate form. The literature that deals in depth with migraines gives magnesium citrate an advantage over other forms.
These two books deal comprehensively with migraines and recommend taking magnesium citrate as a support in relieving migraines:
- The Migraine Miracle: A Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Ancestral Diet to Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Your Headaches for Good, by Josh Turknett MD
- The Migraine Cure: How to Forever Banish the Curse of Migraines, authors: Sergey A., M.D., Ph.D. Dzugan, Deborah Mitchell
What all studies of the importance of magnesium in migraines have in common is that they recommend higher levels of magnesium than recommended. The book The Migraine Cure recommends up to 800 mg of magnesium citrate at bedtime. However, if such an amount is causing us problems (especially digestive ones), this can be divided into two or more daily doses (morning and evening).
When searching for a good magnesium shape on the market, you can come across a bunch of obstacles:
- most magnesium supplements contain magnesium oxide or magnesium chloride;
- dietary supplements in tablet form have so many other unnecessary things added;
- dietary supplements in the form of powder mostly have artificial sweeteners and colorants added, which in the case of sensitivity and predisposition to migraines is of course out of the question.
Precisely for the above reasons, we decided to look for a pure, concentrated form of magnesium in the form of citrate, without additives.
Tri-MAGNESIUM DI-CITRATE contains 15.7% magnesium, which is one time more than ordinary magnesium citrate. It is a high quality organic form of magnesium, which is much easier for the body to absorb than other forms of magnesium. It is completely soluble in water and has no characteristic taste. What is extremely important about migraines is the fact that it is a product that is completely free of additives, sugar, sweeteners, lactose, gluten, carbohydrates and dyes. It is also suitable for vegans. Magnesium citrate can have a laxative effect, so in this case it is wise to divide the daily dose of magnesium throughout the day and not take it in a single dose.
Try it out, for maybe the low level of magnesium in your body is the reason for your headaches, migraines, leg cramps or general fatigue.
Some interesting facts for the end
Do you know how much magnesium a food contains and how much you should eat to meet the minimum daily requirement (350 mg of magnesium)? To consume 350g of magnesium, it would be necessary to eat:
- 83 g of sunflower seeds
- 206 g of almonds
- 583 g of spinach
- 745 g of arugula
- 614 g of salmon
- 700 g of tuna
- 1346 g of pork
- 1522 g of beef
- 1842 g of chicken
- 853 g of hard cheese
- 42 eggs
Are you still sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet?
- Palmery, M., et al. Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements.
- Tarasov, E. A., et al. Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy.
- Seelig, Mildred S. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). Journal of the American College of Nutrition 13.5 (1994): 429-446.
- Ramadan NM, et al. Low brain magnesium in migraine. Headache. (1989)
- Lodi R, et al. Deficient energy metabolism is associated with low free magnesium in the brains of patients with migraine and cluster headache. Brain Res Bull. (2001)
- Köseoglu E, et al. The effects of magnesium prophylaxis in migraine without aura. Magnes Res. (2008)
- Peikert, A., C. Wilimzig, and R. Köhne-Volland. Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. Cephalalgia 16.4 (1996): 257-263.