Magnesium for Migraine? What We Know & What We Don’t
Being that it’s the fourth most common mineral found in the body, it’s no wonder that magnesium is implicated in a vast range of functions and conditions. For instance, proper intake helps preserve healthy bones, aids in cardiovascular health, and can work to prevent diabetes.  Recently, based on some positive findings in the research, some doctors and health professionals have started recommending magnesium intake to help prevent migraine onset.  In fact, companies have even begun marketing special supplements as a means to take them on. 
But does this work? Are there side-effects or potential issues with taking magnesium supplements? Let’s take a quick look at the evidence.
The Right Levels
At the root of the theory that this can help are a couple scientific findings that low levels of magnesium in the brain are associated with migraine. One study noted a stark 41.6% decrease in frequency of attack among those that were taking regular supplements, compared to only 15.8% for those taking a placebo.  Furthermore, a report issued by the American Headache Society and authored by Dr. Deborah Tapper, noted a range of potential effects:
Migraine with Aura: According to Dr, Tapper, a majority of the evidence surrounding the efficacy of magnesium for migraine involves those cases that are accompanied by aura. As she puts it, “[i]t is believed magnesium may prevent the wave of brain signaling, called cortical spreading depression, which produces the visual and sensory changes that are the common forms of aura.” 
Menstrual Migraine: Ensuring a proper daily intake of migraine also helps with migraine headache associated with menstruation in women. This is especially the case for those who experience pre-menstrual attacks. 
Level B Rating: A challenge when it comes to assessing the efficacy of this approach for migraine is that it’s difficult to accurately measure levels in the body. The usual way that doctors test for levels of vitamins or minerals is by looking at them in the blood, but this is not accurate when it comes to magnesium. As such, the American Headache Society gives it a “Level B rating,” meaning that it’s potentially effective and has minimal side-effects, but may not work as well as other approaches. 
Clearly, there’s something to magnesium, but more research and a deeper understanding of how it all works is needed.
Sources & Side-effects
There is very low risk to taking magnesium, and therapeutic doses are around 400-500 mg a day, most often taken in pill form.  Still, it’s likely that it’s more efficient to consume it as it exists in foods. So where do you get your magnesium? Here’s a quick breakdown: 
Dark Leafy Greens
Mackerel, Tuna, or Pollock Fish
Clearly, it wouldn’t be too difficult to feature this mineral in your diet. Another big question, especially for those taking magnesium in concentrated pill form, is whether there are side-effects. It turns out that while they are relatively rare and mild, there are a couple you should be mindful of. The most common ones include: 
While those usually can be handled by lowering doses, there are some much rarer but more intense side-effects: 
Lowered Blood Pressure
The chances of these more intense side-effects are smaller; however, if you are looking to start taking therapeutic doses of magnesium, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Making Your Way
So is magnesium the secret solution to migraine? Will it work for everyone? While there are indications that taking it can help with certain kinds of migraine, it’s probably not the one, singular solution that it’s marketed as. Still, because of its high level of safety and low level of side-effects, it’s an option worth exploring. In the end, management of migraine becomes an individualized pursuit; things that work for some won’t for others. The important thing for the migraineur is not to give up and keep trying; beating this condition is more of a marathon than a sprint.
If you’re a chronic sufferer of migraine, the team at Migraine Treatment Centers of America may be able to help. Employing the latest in technologies and techniques, they’ve helped countless get a handle on their condition. Learn more by talking to one of their Patient Care Managers by calling (855) 890-7530 today!