The Magnesium Migraine Connection
So what is the magnesium migraine connection? There are many theories about how magnesium is involved in migraine headache. What seems to be well accepted is that there are receptor sites in the brain that magnesium will bind to. These sites are normally excitatory in nature and the binding of magnesium seems to calm them down.
Severe lack of magnesium in the brain has been known to cause everything from apathy to psychosis in psychiatric conditions and can even cause seizures. Since migraine has been compared to a mini-seizure in the brain..the magnesium migraine connection makes sense.
Unfortunately up to 85% of all migraineurs are magnesium deficient. The levels of magnesium in the blood do not correlate to that in the fluid of the brain, so if you ask your doctor to check your levels, don't be surprised if he or she tries to put you off a bit.
While we don't know why migraineurs are more deficient in magnesium compared to the rest of the population, there are some things that can cause this.
The most common cause is inadequate intake through diet. For most people this is easily solved by eating a healthy diet and taking a multivitamin.
Other conditions that lead to low magnesium are diabetes and alcoholism, both of which cause more magnesium to leave the body through the kidneys.
The following medications can also result in more magnesium leaving the body through the kidneys: diuretics, aminoglycosides, cisplatin, digoxin, cyclosporin, and amphotericin B.
Most experts agree that the minimum daily intake of magnesium for migraineurs should be 400mg. Many of the studies done in the late '80's were at this dose and did show a significant reduction in headaches.
The research from more recent years has indicated that up to 800mg per day may reduce migraine frequency and pain. Of particular interest is the fact that this supplement seems to be effective in menstrual migraine and for barometric pressure headache.
One study showed that menstrual migrainers dip their levels of magnesium even further during the menstrual week. Yikes! No wonder that headache is so bad.
At the present time I recommend magnesium oxide . This form of magnesium seems to lessen the well known side effect of diarrhea which occurs about 10% of the time. Although magnesium citrate is absorbed easier, it definitely increases the risk of diarrhea.
Again, if you choose to use magnesium to help your headaches, remember to give it a least 90 days to have the full benefit. It takes the brain that long to make changes!
Dietary intake will also help.
Find sources of dietary magnesium for migraine.
Remember to balance
with calcium because over time, magnesium has the potential to pull calcium from the bones. Hopefully, proper supplementation will help and the magnesium migraine connection will not be so severe. It is best if you take your magnesium in the morning and calcium in the evening. If you take them together, they may acutally bind together and cancel each other out.