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Magnesium & Migraine

By Christina Peterson, MD

Should You Be Taking Magnesium?
Two doubleblind studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraine. In research studies, we have found that magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors, and also have an effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release, as well as on NMDA receptors—all brain structures and chemicals suspected to be important in migraine. In small studies, both migraine and cluster headache patients have responded acutely to intravenous magnesium. In a larger double-blind controlled study, the treatment group, receiving 600mg of magnesium for a 12 week period, experienced a 41.6% reduction in headaches as compared to only 15.8% reduction in migraine headaches in the placebo group.

What Does Magnesium Do?
It is responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions in the body. It is required for synthesizing proteins in the mitochondria, and for generating energy in most of the body’s basic cellular reactions. It is necessary for several steps in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Magnesium is also present in a number of other important enzymes. As important as it is intracellularly, 60% of the body’s magnesium is present in bone, and 27% in muscle.

Magnesium Supplements
If you decide to take supplemental magnesium, start at 400-500 mg/day in divided doses. The limiting factor for most people is diarrhea. If you are on a migraine preventative medication that is constipating, like amitriptyline or verapamil, this might be a plus.

WARNING: If you have heart disease or kidney disease, or are prone to kidney stones, talk to your doctor before starting on calcium and/or magnesium.

To be metabolized effectively, magnesium must be taken with calcium. The amount of calcium should be no more than double the amount of magnesium— this is the ratio commonly recommended for women. Men may require less calcium, and sometimes take a ratio of calcium-magnesium that is equivalent mg/mg.

Many people take in only 60-70% of the recommended daily allowance in the first place, and then things like stress and caffeine can deplete that further throughout the day. Migraine sufferers have been found to have a relative magnesium deficiency in their bloodstream between migraine attacks, and intracellular magnesium levels drop even further during a migraine attack.

Magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium sulfate are bioavailable — look for mixed salts of these forms, or magnesium gluconate, which is ionized, and is biologically active; if you develop diarrhea from those forms of magnesium, look for chelated magnesium.

Magnesium carbonate dissolved in CO2- rich water is 30% more bioavailable than magnesium found in foods or in pill-format.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

  • Peanuts*
  • Almonds*
  • Brown rice
  • Hazel nuts*
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Bananas*
  • Beans
  • Tofu*
  • Soy beans*
  • Avocado*
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato paste
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut butter*
  • Chocolate*
  • Cocoa powder*
  • Succotash
  • Cooked artichoke
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Cooked okra
  • Beet greens
  • Acorn squash
  • Chickpeas
  • Split peas
  • Lentils
  • Kiwi fruit*
  • Apricots
  • Baked potato
  • Raisins
  • Yogurt*
  • Milk

*these can be migraine triggers for some people

Magnesium-Drug Interactions

  • Digoxin – Decreased absorption due to magnesium
  • Nitrofurantoin – Decreased absorption due to magnesium
  • Anti-malarials – Decreased absorption due to magnesium
  • May interfere with quinolone or tetracycline antibiotics
  • May interfere with anticoagulants
  • Diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix) or hydrochlorothiazide can result in magnesium depletion
  • Iron supplements may interfere with magnesium supplement absorption

This article appeared in the April/May 2006 of the Headquarters Migraine Management newsletter, Dr. Peterson’s bimonthly newsletter on migraine awareness and education. If you’re not signed up to receive this electronic newsletter, you’re missing out!

55 Responses to Magnesium & Migraine

  1. Diana says:

    I’m thinking I might need to try magnesium again. I was taking it when I was also taking preventatives that seemed to maje my migraines worse, rather than better, so I’m thinking I didn’t even have a chance to find out whether it would help.

    Great post. Very good information.

  2. Jamie says:

    I listened to the webcast with about the 10 unexpected migraine treatments and the doctor that spoke about magnesium on there agreed that magnesium levels are low in patients with migraine. However, he said that for an unknown reason our bodies don’t absorb the amount they should (I guess why we have lower levels in the 1st place?) so oral supplements don’t work. He said he will treat his refractory patients with periodic IV injections and also use IV injections to abort migraine attacks in some patients – but that only the IV form is effective. I have no idea if he is correct or not but might be something to research before spending $ on oral supplements. I have been on an oral supplement for years and I am going to wean off and see what happens.

  3. Research has shown that migraineurs have lower brain levels of magnesium. I don’t think it has been definitively determined that we have defective magnesium absorption mechanisms.

    It is more likely that there is some genetic mechanism at play to account for the altered brain biochemistry.

    Magnesium supplements vary widely in their bioavailability, which is why I tried to provide information on the magnesium salts that have been studied for their absorptive capacity. Dissolvable powders and liquids tend to be better absorbed than tablets, but the various salts also dissolve at different rates.

    The main study that was done to show magnesium’s effectiveness in migraine used oral supplements, so clearly it is not just IV infusions that are effective. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8792038&dopt=Abstract

  4. Jamie says:

    Well, as I stated, I had no idea if he knew what he was talking about or not as he cited no studies. This German study did find a significant difference in attack frequency, but not in duration nor intensity. Hard to tell from only reading the abstract much about the study (I am at home and cannot access the entire paper) but it along with the fact that Dr. Peterson advocates it seems like there must be clinical evidence of efficacy. Personally, in the last two days as I have halved my dose to begin weaning off I have had a constant headache, but that could be due to anything…. I may start taking the full dose again for the next few days as I will be traveling and decide what to do after that.

  5. Kerrie says:

    What a great exchange! Thanks for the informative discussion.

    Kerrie

  6. Brian says:

    I began experiencing cluster headaches at age 17. I suffered miserably through college and grad school taking anything I could get from the doc. I then stumbled upon the magnesium-migraine connection when I was about 28. I began taking 250mg everyday and within 2 weeks my cluster headaches had disappeared. I had not experienced a cluster headache for almost 2 years. However, I stopped taking the magnesium supplements about 3 months ago and the headaches came back last month. I started the supplements again 2 weeks ago and the past several days have been headache free. It really works.

  7. Michele says:

    I have suffered from proximal hemicranial headaches daily for almost 3 years now. I had gotten into the habit of taken 2-220mg Naproxen twice a day to keep the headaches at bay. My neurologist suggested a combination of magnesium and B50. I don’t know if its a placebo effect or not, but I haven’t had any headaches in the last 4 days and I started this regimen about a week or so ago. I know it usually takes much longer (like several weeks to a couple of months) for supplements to take affect, but it seems to have worked quickly for me.

  8. Debbie says:

    I suffered from migraines for many years. By accident, I ate a couple kiwis during a severe migraine attack. My headache went away immediately and didn’t come back. Meanwhile, the meds I took over a few days had little to effect in keeping the migraine away. It would come back the next morning. I tried the “kiwi method” a few times and it’s hit or miss. When it works it’s great. No after effects.

  9. Jo says:

    I have been suffering from migraines for the last 20 years. This is the first I’ve heard of the connection between migraines and magnesium. Could someone recommend a type of magnesium and/or brand? I am excited to give it a try. Thanks!

    ******
    The kind I’m taking is a local brand, but this book is an excellent resource and is less than $6.

    The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headaches
    Kerrie

  10. mg says:

    I have an electrolyte wasting disorder and lose salt and magnesium from my kidneys. I have had migraines since I was 12. I tried all kinds of medication, but the best thing is magnesium and ibuprofen for me. I take 400mg daily and my migraines have almost disappeared and diminished in impact. I am going to try chelated magnesium because the dose I need to fix a migraine attack gives me diarrhea.

  11. Margot says:

    I went the NY headache center the day after a very severe migraine. I had what I call a “hangover headache.” The doctor gave me an injection of Magnesium and the throbbing headache diminished almost 100% in a matter of mins. I take it every day now, 500mg, and have had one since the apt (2 weeks) and it was so minor…I felt great a few hours later and now the next day!

  12. Toni says:

    I tried chelated magnesium and it still gave me diarrhea. I found some slow release magnesium that guarantees that won’t happen therefore you get true absorption. I’m looking forward to trying it. Meanwhile I stopped taking the magnesium about 5 days ago and now I’m having stomach cramps, is it related….should I have weaned myself off of it?

  13. Sheree says:

    I get migraines about once a month around menstration, and around ovulation. I have been taking mygrafew(1x daily) and magnesium(250mg 2x a day) multivitamin (alive 2x day) for about two months now and it has worked wonders, I have only had one minor headache in the past two months. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 3-4. I also use phyto-estrogen and phyo-progesterone cream 2x a day just a dab on each upper arm. Exercise is another key ingredient I’ve been walking 2 miles a day or every other day, I have been feeling great!

  14. Rob says:

    Try the magnesium citrate…remember they can cause diarrhea if take in too large of a quantity as well as if your diet does not include enough fiber. Avoid the oxide and amino acid forms of the Mg complex which is what most carry. If you go to the Vitamin Shop online or your local store they have the magnesium citrate in 100 and 500 ct bottles. Get the magnesium citrate or sulfate forms and look at taking 100% of the RDA for magnesium. Break your doses up and take them several times across the day with food! I suffered from migraines since I was 17 and through reading the Med Journals and studies really opened the door to the magnesium. Having access to the journals as a PhD candidate in Chemistry was VERY helpful in getting answers to my questions. I have been migraine free for years now. As a side note magnesium is key metal used in almost all neurological processes in the body including brain (seratonin regulation), digestive system and heart. It may be linked, per the literature, to decreasing frequency of certain types of heart arrythmia’s like preventricular contractions and reducing the frequency of digestive issues (indigestion, irritable bowel etc) PER THE LITERATURE and NOT MY OPINION OR ADVICE. Amazing that I learned it is one of the hardest metals to get your RDA of by way of your food intake. Furthermore, most physicians test for sodium, calcium and potassium but NOT magnesium levels in a blood screen???!!! When they did test mine, which I had to specifically ask them to do, I was on the edge of the low side of the scale…meaning the concentration in the cells was even lower!! So I had not been getting nearly enough magnesium in my diet. Was a very informational experience as I combed the journals and enlightened my family physicians as to this and provided them copies of the journal articles and they were astounded…none of them had kept up with current research in their fields. Instead of prescribing $200/month migraine meds – more than 3/4 of the patients might have just needed better diets, more hydration and a look into their blood chemistry and possibly a little supplementing to stave off this type of occurrence…

  15. Catherine says:

    Magnesium deficiency is a real problem, I recommend checking out dr. Caroyln Dean’s great book entitled “The Magnesium Miracle”. It is such an important body of work for those who suffer from Magnesium Deficiency or for those who do not find any relief from conventional medication or prescription.

    An important theme in this forum is the bioavailability of the elemental Magnesium present in a supplement. For those who have very sensitive stomachs, like me, I look for a Magnesium Supplement in powdered form and without any colors, additives, just pure mineral(s). This helps me absorb Magnesium for my medical condition BETTER than other products.

    The Magnesium Supplement I take is called Magnesol. It is in powdered form, in individual packets. Magnesol is an extremely popular Magnesium supplement in South America, and it is now available in the USA. This website, Magnesol USA, is where I purchase my mangesium supplement.

    I highly recommend it for its Magnesium purity and powdered form for quick absorption.

  16. Alan says:

    I had suffered for 25 years from almost daily migraines, taking either 2 Excedrins and if those didn’t work taking 30mg Imitrex. Eventually my blood pressure started to creep up to 140/90 and I went to a cardiologist after some alarmingly strange “heartbeats” (I also run about 30 miles/week). My magnesium levels showed low in blood testing, so he put me on 5 mg Amlodipine for the blood pressure and 250mg Chelated magnesium. Now instead of taking 10 Excedrins and 90mg Imitrex per week, I average only 1 Excedrin a week and NO Imitrex! Migraines are almost all gone! Don’t know if it was the magnesium or the Amlodipine or both, but I highly recommend trying this approach!

  17. Johnna says:

    I have had a migraine for darn near 3 weeks. I am pregnant, and have tried so many things. It was all natural. Some was a doctors doing. I am going out of my mind from all my symptoms. I have bloody noses, can’t keep food down, many more. I don’t think this will help for a quick fix like I need.

  18. Angie says:

    I have a headache ,,lol

    I usually use kiwi, it really does work magic most times but have none right now.. boohoo

  19. Sally says:

    My doctor told me today that magnesium could help my migraines and I’ve never heard of it! I usually get a migraine that lasts 3 days, 90% of the time caused by a hang over… But in the past couple weeks I haven’t drank any alcohol and I’ve been getting bad headaches which turn out to be migraines. I went to Walgreens and bought some magnesium pills so I’m going to start taking them every day. I usually never get a normal headache. It’s always straight to the migraine. First I will take some excedrin because the caffine really helps but usually I have to spend alot of money and pick up my maxalt prescription. I am willing to try anything to make these migraines go away so I really hope the magnesia helps…..:)

  20. Erin says:

    I have been told that the magnesium will help with my migraines. I bought a supplement that says it helps with nerve and muscle function. It is a 250mg tablet containing magnesium oxide and magnesium stearate. Will this combination be effective as far as the migraines go if magnesium is a factor?

  21. Tiza says:

    Glad I found this board.

    My husband used to have migraines and doesn’t. Then he stopped having migraines and just had headaches. But since we started taking our magnesium, he doesn’t have headaches like that anymore. The only kind of headache that he might get a little bit of is a sinus. We live where there’s tons of ragweed, and it’s bad if you’re allergic to it.

    Toni, you mentioned that you get diarrhea when you take your magnesium. Well, that’s part of the problem with some magnesium supplements. Not all magnesium is beneficial. In many supplements they put cheaper forms of mg in them.

    The type of magnesium that I take is magnesium malate, and it has a time release on it to where it doesn’t just dump in your system all at once. So you don’t get the diarrhea effect.

    Catherine, that is a great book. I have to order another one because I gave mine to my niece. Dr. Carolyn Dean is a wonderful person and a good doctor. Everyone should read that book.

  22. Tiza says:

    Oh, one other book that you guys need to read, which is by Dr. Russell Blaylock. It’s called “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.”

    Has anyone read this yet? He’s got some interesting information about migraines, then also about magnesium.

  23. Tiza says:

    Sally,

    If you’re getting a headache that is caused by a hangover, it’s because alcohol lowers your magnesium in your body a whole lot. I do drink wine, but I always take my mg. Might consider drinking some water before you go to bed, plus taking a good mg supplement.

    Maybe that will help.

  24. karina says:

    After reading so many comments about magnesium, I am going to start taking them, to tell you the truth I have tried everything, I tried so many products that would give me secondary effects and would make my migranes get worse!!! 4 years ago I started Chiropractic care and pretty much had migranes under control… maybe once a month when my period was coming, but then I got into a car accident and my migranes are bad…. right know I have not been able to keep any foods down because of the vomiting and nausea, it’s horrible… I hope this works!!!

  25. Christine McMullan says:

    Started taking B2 (Riboflavin) 400mg in divided doses, and Magnesium 150mg twice a day and it has helped ward off the daily migraines I’ve had for years. Initially recommended by a migraine doctor 10 years ago but I went off them, used Gravergol & Cafergot + Gravol which only helped for a short time, resulted in more pop-up headaches. The B2 + Mg is much cheaper as well!

  26. Gabi says:

    I’ve read conflicting reports about taking calcium with the magnesium for migraines. Do you know if any of the mag studies also supplemented calcium? I haven’t seen that listed in any of the studies I’ve read. I’m confused.

  27. Elaine says:

    I have been getting frequent migraines since age 47 (age 52 now). Biggest trigger is alcohol, my favorite pasttime. But even after giving up wine I still suffer migraines from other triggers. Headaches last 3 days if untreated.

    Using triptans now which work OK, not perfect. Want to find a way to prevent in the first place.

    Read a good article about migraines in the Nov. issue of Costco magazine–very worthwhile.

    Want to try magnesium and vit B2 now. Also, don’t forget EPSOM salts which are magnesium.

    Maybe if I take Magnesium and vit B2 I can have a glass of wine with dinner?

    Anyone out there know a antidote that can be used with alcohol to prevent migraine?

  28. Paulette says:

    Actually, the next best way to get magnesium into your body aside from an IV or injection, is from transdermal magnesium oil and/or magnesium soaks. This is amazing. I have been using magnesium oil on my body and soaking in magnesium flakes (either Epsom salts or magnesium chloride) and have not had a migraine in over a month. I can’t take any kind of magnesium supplements because of the bowel issues it causes. I used to have them every few weeks and lasted for days. I had them for over 30 years. I also believe in prayer and have a lot of faith in the Lord. I believe He led me to the knowledge of magnesium and its relationship to headaches.

    You can get magnesium oil from Ancient Minerals or Swanson. Do a Google search for magnesium oil and you will find them. I usually soak my feet once a day or every other day in magnesium flakes and I spray the oil all over my body when I get up in the morning before getting dressed.

    Just wanted to pass this info on to others. Hope it helps! God bless you all!

  29. Amy says:

    I just had to chime in here with my experience with magnesium – my doctor told me about it three weeks ago, and I’ve been taking supplemental magnesium as well as the Ancient Minerals oil spray, and soaking in epsom salts at night before bed.

    I’ve had migraines for 35 years, and I haven’t had a migraine in 3 weeks – it feels like a real miracle.

  30. Jennifer says:

    I researched and found that magnesium would help with migraines so I decided to give it a try. I was already on topamax and pamelor for preventative migraine treatment and imatrix for abortive and yet I was having a migraine almost every day. I started taking magnesium and stopped taking the pamelor. I normally get a migraine every time there is a storm. I didn’t get one today nor have I had a migraine in 4 days. That’s a record for me. I’m taking a calcium, magnesium oxide, and zinc supplement from Pharmassure. I’m going to look into the magnesium citrate form.

  31. Francisco herrera says:

    tengo 53 años y estoy sufriendo de Migraña desde los 30 años, cuando me da me dura entre 3 y 5 dias, he tomado cuanto medicamento sale al comercio, el Neurólogo me realizo estudios y según es Hereditario, mi madre sufrió esto por mas de 50 años y dos de mis tres hijas están sufriendo de esto y creo por los síntomas que mi Nieto de apenas 12 años tambien, quiero probar con el Magnesio oral de 500mg. en dosis compartidas a ver que resulta

  32. noelle says:

    My migraines are 3 day events. The level of pain waxes and wanes over those three days (ranging from level 6 – level 10) I wonder how much of the ‘waning’ portion is directly related to having eaten something magnesium rich, the headache abates a bit, and then comes back hours later? Interesting.

    I also get a series of ‘morning headaches’. Tired, hard to get out of bed, dull persistant pain. These go on for about ten days. But, they do get better as the morning wears on. Could my multivitamin be doing this?

    I would so much prefer to eat some foods off the ‘magnesium-rich’ rather than taking yet another med! Thanks for all the thoughts and advice posted here!

  33. Lady says:

    I AM NOT A DOCTOR. ANY ADVICE GIVEN HERE IS STRICTLY ANECDOTAL. If your doctor doesn’t respond well to the suggestion, a neurologist may be more helpful. If not, “integrative” doctors–MDs or DOs who tend toward open-mindedness toward this sort of thing–may be the way to go.

    My story:

    I’ve suffered from migraines since grade school. I went to doctor after doctor, tried dozens of medications and remedies, tried alternative therapies… Then I found a doctor who took a look at the “whole picture.”

    During my first trip to his office, at age 15 or so, after an extensive questionnaire and physical and interview, he said he wanted to try giving me Magnesium Sulfate intravenously (IV). It went in as a slow drip over 7-8 minutes or so, mixed with water to achieve an isotonic mixture. It worked miracles. Not only did my headache go away, but it helped with my anxiety about the pain. Many of us worry about when that next headache will happen. But this relaxed me and allowed me to think clearer than I had in years. (He also tested me for other deficiencies and allergies and immune function, etc., but the magnesium seemed to be the main culprit.)

    I recently had bronchospasm that didn’t respond to steroids. Doctors told me it was asthma, then that it was “normal” with no explanation, and they told me to stay in bed until it went away. I consulted my “full picture” doctor and he explained it’s all part of the magnesium picture–if my alveoli don’t have enough magnesium, they can’t relax enough to let air in and out, so I’m left gasping. A single injection of magnesium cleared up the problem after those frustrating 7 weeks of bedrest and doctor’s appointments. Even my veins and arteries have muscles that work better when I take magnesium–fewer circulation problems.

    At first, to boost my magnesium, I used Mg supplements (I prefer MagTab, a magnesium lactate pill that is slow-release and much less harsh on my GI tract–no bowel issues at all for me) in addition to IV injections. When I no longer experienced “gaps” of Mg deficiency–that cloudiness, headache, anxiety–creeping back, I could cut out the IV entirely and just be on my MagTabs.

    My doctor explained to me that, for some people, when we’re stressed or in pain, our body goes into fight-or-flight mode. You get a bit of an adrenaline rush (or a slow one, in the case of migraines), and magnesium rushes out of your cells and into your bloodstream in case you need it for something like running (because your body is in fight-or-flight). If you use up the magnesium exercising, you have to replace it anyway. If you don’t use up the magnesium in your blood, your cells don’t reabsorb it–it gets filtered out and wasted. Most people have enough that this doesn’t hurt them. Some of us are affected more.

    So, if you find yourself in pain and worried about your headaches, or even just in pain, see if your doctor is willing to try a single magnesium injection. They may not know the dosage, but that’s something they should be able to look up. FYI, the magnesium injections burn/sting a little, and they usually have to be done slowly via a drip or a slow injection (anywhere from 5-15 min, in my experience). My doctor gave me a solution of 2 ml Magnesium Sulfate 50% (5g/10ml) mixed with 8 ml of sterile water, to create a nearly isotonic solution that wouldn’t dehydrate or cause mineral leakage upon injection. I’m not saying that’s right, or that it’s the solution for everyone. Just sharing more information.

    I just recently jumped on the Magnesium boat again, and I’m lucky enough to know how to give myself an IV. In fact, let’s see–my head hurts right now, my neck is tense and relaxation techniques aren’t working, and I have trigeminal neuralgia shooting into my face. I’m going to try an injection.

    Okay. That took about 15 minutes including sterilization, filling the syringe with the magnesium/water mixture, finding a vein, and slowly injecting. Immediate results: Reduction of migraine pain from a 7 to a 3, and it’s going down more as I relax. I can relax my neck, and I’ve regained some range of motion. The neuralgia is letting up, too. Oh, and the anxiety about pain? Gone. I feel _peaceful_.

    I’ve seen the same treatment work for enough other people, and I’ve read up enough on the topic, to believe it’s the Real Thing.

    To sum up: Magnesium, among other supplements, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes, can greatly help some people with migraines. Some people can just take daily supplements. Others may need an IV boost at the beginning, then switch down to supplements. Some may be fine on supplements, but for those really bad days, an injection does the trick.

    To all of you still looking for the right combination: Good luck!

  34. Martin says:

    There are two things to note about magnesium:

    (1) it is very water soluble and has a short half-life in the body. So to maintain magnesium levels you need to spread the intake out during the day. For example, take it first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, and before going to bed.

    (2) magnesium intake from food is a strong function of what bacteria you have in your gut. The fraction of magnesium absorbed from food or oral supplements therefore varies a lot from individual to individual and can also vary if the bacterial populationn of your gut is disturbed. Some supposed “hereditary” factors are the result of related people sharing similar gut bacterial populations.

  35. Jerry says:

    Comment #34, can you please post the name of your doctor?

  36. Sophiesmommy says:

    Migraines or high blood pressure? I highly recommend Dr. Jay S. Cohen, MD books; such as, Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure, or Magnesium for treatment of Migraines.
    He explains what magnesium is, does for the body, and how much to take, and why. I have been on magnesium for a week now—no migraines (use to get 2-3 weekly) and high blood pressure is better already! You will not be sorry. Dr. Cohen explains how most people stop taking prescription drugs even when they have seriously high blood pressure or migraines, —prescription MEDS deplete the body of precious magnesium, a serious consequence that brings on migraines & high blood pressure.
    Once you possess the knowledge you will feel compelled to throw away with your high blood pressure & migraine pills. There is a much cheaper, simpler, and more healthy method to stop migraines and high blood pressure.

  37. Lori Rauscher says:

    I’ve been reading all these posts and I have to say that I just started taking magnesium for headaches that typically last 3-4 days and are triggered by weather changes, hormonal changes, alcohol and I am not sure what else. But I had heard about the connection between the headaches and magnesium before but never tried it. I have to say I am amazed how fast it works! I experimented with taking it along with ibuprofen but think that it works pretty well alone. I don’t really don’t like taking calcium supplements too – I wonder if there is danger in upsetting the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body if you don’t take other supplements in addition? I hate taking pills! ANy comments?

  38. charles says:

    my understanding, ratio is 3 cal:2 mag. Magnesium to help regulate calcium levels. you can try blend the supplement ( calcium and magnesium ) with fruits you like. i did that. is great.

  39. had migraines for years the frequency is more but the intensity is less now, but the pain has graduated down my neck which is granular during an attack every 48hours i am currently taking Naramig too many but without them i couldnt work so im going to see a specialist next week (i’m living in france at the mo’ so it’s going to be difficult as my french is not good ) i want to ask him about magnesium as a treatment as all other doctors have been down the same drugs trials on me.watch this space !!

  40. Saad says:

    Magnesium indeed is a mineral that has brought down my migraine severity enormously today. I have been getting migraines for a long time now, and they typically last 1-2 days where I can carry out almost nothing. I started with Magnesium because I started working out and found that people who exercise a lot develop a magnesium deficiency and hence should supplement it in their body. Since it is required by so many reactions in our body, it is an essential mineral for athletes. When researching on this mineral, I also chanced upon its value for decreasing migraines. In my research I found that Magnesium Citrate is the most highly absorbable form of the mineral. Unfortunately, this is also the form that is used as a laxative in higher doses – hence, the digestive problems.

    I have figured out the best way to take this supplement however, and I will share it here for the benefit of fellow migraine sufferers. I usually take my Magnesium Citrate first thing in the morning, when I am sure my bowels are empty. Then I take 1.5 or 2 pills of 200 mg Magnesium Citrate, and chew the pills in my mouth into a fine powder. Then I down it all with 1.5 to 2 glasses of water. Thats it. You can feel the rush of Magnesium once your body starts absorbing it (very unique tingly feeling), and you will hopefully get no diarrhea.

    How does this work? Because Magnesium Citrate primarily gets absorbed in the bowels by some kind of mechanism which pulls water into the intestines. This is what causes the laxative action. If you take it first thing in the morning, your bowels are usually empty which increase its efficiency of absorption. Secondly, chewing the pills to a pulp makes them easier to digest quicker. Lastly, drinking it with a lot of water makes sure that the Magnesium Citrate gets diluted enough that it doesn’t need to pull more water into your GI tract. Try it…and then say a little prayer for me to God if it works. Thanks.

  41. Olivia says:

    I have a friend that suffered from severe headaches and he took a treatment based on Magnesium and eating healthy foods,and now he is a lot better.don’t know for sure in witch dosage and what kind of magnesium he took,but he also ate foods as a source of magnesium.he studied a lot about the effects of magnesium on migraines and had good results.Your post is very informative.

  42. Kevin says:

    I went to a chiropractor for my migraines and they disappeared. I now am a chiropractor and can’t think of more than a handful of migraine sufferers over the past 12 years that I have treated who didn’t have their migraines disappear completely. We are talking about 100’s of sufferers with great results and we actually got to the cause of the problem which was pressure on the nerve system. Give it a try or you could keep trying things that give you diarrhea and may or may not work depending on the dose, the form, the time of day……………..
    I suggest a Maximized Living Chiropractor who will correct your spinal problems

  43. Clint Wilde says:

    After a person takes a magnesium supplement, about how long do you expect it will take for it to take affect?

    Thank you.

  44. Hovawart says:

    Let’s say all the forms of magnesium cause diarrhea for someone–is there any way to address the diarrhea?

    • That’s a good question. Doctors can give magnesium by IV, though it is expensive and inconvenient. There’s topical magnesium, which you rub on your skin like lotion, though there aren’t many (if any) clinical trials on it. I don’t know how well it is truly absorbed. You will absorb some magnesium by bathing with epsom salts, but I don’t know how much and if the dose is consistent. I recommend asking your doctor about topical magnesium. Perhaps you could take a small dose of oral and supplement as needed?

      Kerrie

  45. BJ says:

    I’m really happy I’ve stumbled onto this page. I’ve been looking to find some natural way of dealing with my migraines (which I’ve suffered from for nearly all my life). I regularly go to the chiropractor, while this helps, it hasn’t solved the problem completely. I’ll have a go at the magnesium now & get hold of the books recommended above. Thanks to evertone for their posts!

  46. peace says:

    Hi Guys,

    Maybe you can try biochemic cell salt no. 9 mag phos. It is safe and very effective. I have used it for cramps and I find that it works very fast. In this way, you can absorb the magnesium without fear of diarrhea.

  47. timesha says:

    just throwing it out there ive been takeing on accident 2 tablespoons of magnesium instead of two teaspoons daily so 3 times the daily recomended dose and i feel just fine and more energy i do have major frequent bathroom trips but other than that i feel great i will go down to 500mg and stay around there im still on my daily migrain medicin topimax 50mg daily wich is working for me just fine i love it but i can not get pregnate on it so im trying to find a alternate route

  48. Maureen says:

    Agree with comment from Gabi. I have read and been told by my doctor to avoid taking my magnesium with calcium. Calcium inhibits the absorption of the magnesium. On the flip side, if you are trying to increase your absorption of calcium, you should take the two together.

  49. Debra says:

    I just wanted to share my experience with magnesium in eliminating my migraines. I have not had a migraine in 15 months since I started taking magnesium glycinate. I suffered from severe migraines for over 16 years; five to six days a week with SEVERE headaches. Nothing helped – prescription medications or OTC – nothing helped. In recent years, I have resorted to drinking three to four caffeinated sodas a day (I wasn’t a soda drinker before at all) and taking three to four doses of motrin a day to get only a slight bit of relief. Someone told me about magnesium but that didn’t seem to help either. However, I was taking the wrong kind of magnesium. Fifteen months ago, I read that you have to take magnesium glycinate. I tried it and have been completely migraine free for FIFTEEN MONTHS! I still can’t get over it. I feel like I have been set free! I take two 200mg tablets for a total of 400mg a day. I feel like a new person! I have not had any motrin or prescription migraine medication in fifteen months.
    I now know of four other people who have also started taking magnesium glycinate and it has stospped their migraines as well.

  50. Jessica says:

    I’m glad I found this forum. I usually get a migraine once a month a day or two before menstration, but have been getting other headaches near my right temple for about a month. Last month I had a panic attack instead and was prescribed low dose xanax as needed, they help, but I don’t like taking meds. The neurologist suggested I try Mg and B2 (my fave grocery store doesn’t carry the latter, got a script for MgO). Took my first dose of magnesium with an ibu tonight, hoping it helps! I can’t take the lactate kind as lactose is my enemy, but I should probably have a glass of lactaid before bed tonight. My calcium intake is decent as I love bowls of cereal almost every night and try to drink one other glass or two each day, especially if I am having cheese or yogurt with a meal.
    I am also apparently dehydrated, I am on my third 16z bottle of water so far. Drank a whole one with the pills I just took. Two more to go before the end of the night! As if I don’t pee enough as is, ugh.
    I have an appointment on Monday with an ENT guy as I had fluid in my ear last week and was taking Sudafed PE for over a week and am still having sinus issues. My gp suggested an allergin blocking spray, but the only things that I allow up my nose are air, esters, and a finger when I have to.
    I am active, I try to walk most places and practice martial arts once a week, but I am not an athlete.
    I suppose being a mom doesn’t allow for an awesome diet all the time.
    Is 400mg at once a good idea, or should I ask the pharmacist if I can split these pills?
    Again, I don’t like meds, so I am trying a better approach so I don’t have to take them in the first place.
    Thank you for any answers/advice you give, as I know this may be one of those “tl; dr” posts.

    • Jessica, I really don’t know about taking 400 mg of the pills at once. A pharmacist could advise you better. I hope your ENT was helpful. If you continue to have sinus issues, you may want to look at your other symptoms. Many times migraines are mistaken for sinus headaches. It could be that you’re having migraines with different symptoms than you usually get.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

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