What They Are Used For
A dietary supplement is a product that contains ingredients to supplement your diet. The dietary ingredients in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes. People take supplements for a variety of reasons, but usually to boost their diet or to try and help with their health.
Many people with migraine try supplements to help their symptoms. There are many different supplements that claim to be helpful for migraine and headache. However, there is limited evidence about how effective these are. Only a few have some evidence to show potential benefit including riboflavin , magnesium and Co-enzyme Q10.
What Amount Of Magnesium For Migraine Is Recommended*
As per the Johns Hopkins migraine handout, it is recommended to take 400mg twice per day, so 800mg per day.
During the Migraine World Summit presentation, Dr. Mauskop suggested starting with 400 mg once per day. Once you know that amount is tolerated by your GI tract, double it. If that amount is tolerated, he suggests tripling it. That would mean 1,200 mg per day. Thats a LOT of supplementation with capsules and/or powders and gummies. However, some people may only see improvement with higher amounts.
Since achieving 800mg/day or more of magnesium means quite a few capsules to swallow as well as an adjustment to the family budget, many people find it effective, easier and more practical to take different forms. For instance, they may take 1-2 capsules/day of magnesium threonate, 2 -3 capsules/day of magnesium glycinate and they rest of the daily dose as a magnesium carbonate/citrate drink from Natural Calm or a magnesium foot soak.
# Magnesium In The Body
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. The human body contains about 25 g of magnesium, of which 50-60% is found in the bones and 25% in the muscles.
However, it is involved in more than 300 biological reactions such as energy production, DNA, and protein synthesis.
Magnesium is recognized for its role in the nervous system and its action on muscle contraction.
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Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
First, magnesium regulates blood sugar levels. Why is this important? For people who have diabetes, blood sugar regulation can be tough. Poorly controlled blood sugar, particularly high blood sugar, can cause nerve damage.
There is an apparent link between low magnesium intake and type 2 diabetes, and many studies have found that magnesium supplements can assist in improving insulin resistance which in turn helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Therefore, by stabilizing blood sugar levels, magnesium can help reduce the side effects of diabetes which, as weve discussed earlier, includes neuropathy. Over time as blood sugar levels are better-managed thanks to magnesium supplements, patients should experience less nerve damage, giving the body the opportunity to heal nerves. As such, magnesium can reduce the pain caused by neuropathy while also reducing the chance that neuropathy will get worse with time.
Discovery Of An Essential Mineral
The term magnesium has its roots in the Greek word, magnesia, originally named for the district in Thessaly where it was discovered, along with manganese and magnetite.³ Centuries later in 1618, magnesium was separately discovered by an English farmer who tried to provide water to his cows from a well in the town of Epsom. It was observed at this time that the mineral, dissolved as a salt in the water, was capable of healing scratches and rashes. Thus, the substance was referred to as Epsom salt and, ultimately, was found to be chemically equivalent to hydrated magnesium sulphate.³
In 1808, Sir Humphrey Davy was the first to produce the metal through electrolysis of a mixture of mercuric oxide and magnesia.³ Its elemental form was finally prepared stably in 1831 by Antoine Bussy. Although initially referred to as magnium by Davy, the name of the mineral was later changed to magnesium. Magnesium has been since discovered in nature in the following forms: magnesite , an insoluble rock salt, magnesium chloride in the ocean, and as the central element in chlorophyll.³
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Topical Magnesium May Help With Your Migraine Symptoms
For those who experience migraine headaches, the pain can be debilitating, often taking the individual days to recover from the pain and symptoms. However, an often overlooked deficiency in magnesium can be a big contributing factor. Magnesium deficiency may play a role in the sequence of events that trigger the onset of a migraine. A very recent study looked at the serum concentration levels of magnesium between healthy individuals and those with migraine headaches during the migraine attacks and between attacks. These researchers found that the serum level of magnesium is an independent factor for migraine headaches. They found that patients who experience migraines had a lower serum levels of magnesium during the migraine attacks, and between the attacks compared with healthy individuals. 1
Dr Carolyn Dean, author of the book The Magnesium Miracle 2, Revised and Updated Edition listed several of the biochemical events involving low magnesium, which have been identified in migraine sufferers, and may set the stage for a migraine attack.
Given this multifaceted role of magnesium in migraines, the use of magnesium in both acute and preventive headache treatment has been researched as a potentially simple, inexpensive, safe and well-tolerated option. 4
If you struggle with migraine headaches, supporting your magnesium levels through the use of topical magnesium, may be a great first step in the right direction!
Which Type Is The Best Magnesium For Migraine
Teixido, M. Cary, J. Migraine: More Than a Headache. Johns Hopkins Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Updated May 14, 2014.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from others is that magnesium supplements for migraine prevention upset their stomach. I had the same issue when I first started taking a combination pill of magnesium oxide and citrate and I found myself visiting the toilet more than I would like.
After researching both types, I realized theyre commonly used in laxatives. Theyre also inexpensive, which makes them a popular choice for most people. It wasnt until I changed my supplements that I started seeing a noticeable improvement in my vestibular migraine symptoms.
If you are finding magnesium supplements for migraine aren’t helping with your attacks, it could be for two big reasons:
1. Your supplement is not very bioavailable, meaning its not being absorbed well. Typically its a poor quality supplement and the elemental value is low. Certain types of magnesium are more bioavailable than others.
2. If you have diarrhea after your dosage, your supplement is most likely not being absorbed well enough to provide any value.
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Tension Headaches And Magnesium
Migraines and headaches are two separate types of pain, however, its worth mentioning here the link between magnesium and headaches.
Magnesium deficiency will cause irritation and inflammation in the smooth muscles around the neck and scalp.
Magnesium relaxes muscles and prevents the buildup of lactic acid, which, along with muscle tension, can worsen head pain.
Magnesium may also help with winter headaches, which are often cluster headaches brought on by cold, dark, and stress.
What Patients Can Expect
The amount of relief you experience will depend on the source of your peripheral neuropathy. Patients who are at the earlier stages of diabetes may find that the combined effect that magnesium has can be particularly effective.
First, magnesium can help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetes patients, which will lead to an overall improvement in the condition of these patients, including the symptoms of diabetes such as neuropathy.
Next, magnesium can help people with diabetes deal with the pain of existing neuropathy while improving the rate at which nerves heal too. This allows diabetes patients to recover faster from setbacks. At the same time, magnesium will also relieve pain in patients while helping them sleep better.
Those who suffer from neuropathy due to the use of prescribed drugs, injury, or another reason can still benefit from the healing effects that magnesium has on the nervous system. Likewise, these patients will find pain relief too.
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What Exactly Is Neuropathy
Neuropathy occurs when nerves in the extremities of the body sustain damage for example, the arms, hands, and feet.
Sufferers have different symptoms depending on which nerves are affected.
Nerves that can be affected by neuropathy include autonomic nerves, which regulate blood pressure and bladder function, motor nerves, which are necessary for muscle control, and sensory nerves, which transmit pain and touch sensations.
Symptoms associated with neuropathy can be excruciating, including pains that burn, stab, and shoot in the body parts or areas affected.
Those suffering from neuropathy can also experience other problems including issues with coordination, muscle weakness, and difficulty with balance.
What Is The Scientific Evidence Of Magnesium For Migraines
Here is a study that notes the strong correlation between people suffering from a migraine and having very low magnesium levels.
They also point out that it is very difficult to accurately measure magnesium deficiency with routine blood work. They recommend using proxy measures that hint at a deficiency, such as cold hands and feet.
Here is a quote from their conclusion:
In patients with symptoms suggestive of hypomagnesemia such as pre- menstrual syndrome, cold extremities and foot or leg cramps, we suggest daily magnesium supplementation with 400mg of chelated magnesium, magnesium oxide or slow-release magnesium.
Note: They go on to mention that some people may experience diarrhea from their recommendations. This is one major reason we suggest not using magnesium oxide.
This placebo controlled study looked at whether magnesium supplementation could reduce the frequency and severity of migraines in children.
They concluded that magnesium supplementation significantly reduced the frequency of migraines, as well as significantly lowering the migraine severity compared to placebo.
This study was a review of several different studies on magnesiums role in migraine prevention and reducing migraine severity.
They found some evidence of reduction in both intensity and frequency of migraines when compared to placebo.
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How Well Does Magnesium Work
Whether magnesium supplements prevent migraines hasnât been widely studied, but a small amount of research suggests they might help. In a 2017 review published in the journal Headache, scientists analyzed the results of five âgold standardâ studies, in which magnesium supplements were given to one group of migraine patients, while a second group received inactive placebo pills.
One study found that people who took magnesium supplements had migraines on 43% fewer days than others given the empty placebo pills. Several of the other studies found that magnesium users had fewer migraine attacks than nonusers. But the quality of the studies was uneven. Overall, the researchers judged magnesium to be âpossibly effectiveâ for preventing migraines. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society reached a similar conclusion about using magnesium for migraine prevention.
Primary And Secondary Hypomagnesemia
Familial hypomagnesemia with secondary hypo- calcemia has been studied in various kindreds, and heredity has been found to be X linked in some families, and autosomal recessive in others . There are currently more than 30 known mutations in the TRPM6 gene that are associated with familial hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia. Another hereditary form of hypo- magnesemia, tubular hypomagnesemia/hypo- kalemia with hypocalciuria , is hypothesized to be due to two different types of genetic transmission, one autosomal recessive and one autosomal dominant with high phenotype variability .
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Properties And Potential Benefits
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a vital role in several physiologic processes including energy production, immunity and nerve function. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and is sometimes used to help treat diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that people who suffer from migraine-type headaches often have lower levels of magnesium than those who don’t get headaches. Magnesium might also help to reduce headache frequency.
What Form Of Magnesium Is Best For Migraine
Magnesium oxide is frequently used in pill form to prevent migraine, usually at a dose of 400-600 mg per day. Acutely, it can be dosed in pill form at the same dosage or given intravenously as magnesium sulfate at 1-2 gm. The most frequent side effect is diarrhea, which can be helpful in those prone to constipation. Diarrhea and abdominal cramping that is sometimes experienced is dose-responsive, such that a lower dose or decreasing the frequency of intake usually takes care of the problem.
Magnesium oxide in doses up to 400 mg is pregnancy category A, which means it can be used safely in pregnancy. Magnesium sulfate, typically given intravenously, now carries a warning related to bone thinning seen in the developing fetus when used longer than 5-7 days in a row. This was discovered in the context of high doses being given to pregnant women to prevent preterm labor.
The most substantial evidence for magnesiums effectiveness is in patients who have or have had aura with their migraines. It is believed magnesium may prevent the wave of brain signaling, called cortical spreading depression, which produces the visual and sensory changes in the common forms of aura. Other mechanisms of magnesium action include improved platelet function and decreased release or blocking of pain transmitting chemicals in the brain such as Substance P and glutamate. Magnesium may also prevent the narrowing of brain blood vessels caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin.
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How Do You Know If Youre Getting Enough Magnesium
The amount of magnesium a person should be getting depends on age and sex, but the average recommended amount is around 310-320 mg for women and 400-420 mg per day for men. Most people in the U.S. donât get enough magnesium from their diets, but older men and teenage girls are especially likely to have low magnesium levels.
How can you tell if youâre not getting enough? Unless your magnesium deficiency is severe, you probably wonât be able to tell. Even blood tests reveal less than 2% of the full amount of magnesium in your body, because most of it is stored in bones and cells.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and weakness, which are all fairly easy to chalk up to a different cause. Migraine sufferers are especially likely to be lacking in magnesium.
Migraines And Sleep Disturbances
It may come as no surprise to you that migraines are often associated with poor sleep, too little sleep, or insomnia:
A good nights rest is essential for both our survival and wellbeing. Sleep regulates and restores many of the bodys functions, like our learning, memory, and immune systems. Sleep also affects our mood, as well as our organs like the brain, heart, and lungs. It comes as no surprise, then, that sleep deprivation can negatively impact these systems and lead to mental and physical health problems. In fact, migraines and other types of headaches are among some of the most frustrating illnesses related to sleep deprivation. Sleep Foundation, Sleep Deprivation and Migraines
Poor sleep increases the severity and duration of migraines, as well as the frequency.
In good news, magnesium helps with sleep. Magnesium facilitates the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. It also relaxes the muscles and nerves, as discussed, so that you can ease into a more restful sleep.
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Magnesium For Pain Relief
Clinical experience, as well as research in nerve pain conditions such as pancreatic cancer, has shown that magnesium can be an effective treatment for pain. Although it is clear why magnesium can decrease muscle pain , why it would help nerve pain was less clear. A new study on rats to be printed in The Journal of Physiology confirms our clinical experience that magnesium decreases nerve pain while also pointing to how it works.
A major mechanism of pain is the excessive stimulation of a brain chemical called “NMDA.” The few medications that help decrease and balance this pain-carrying neurotransmitter have the downside of causing significant side effects. Magnesium seems to settle down NMDA without the toxicity. The upside of magnesium is that is very inexpensive . The downside is that it hasnt yet made it through the FDA approval process.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for the FDA. Magnesium is one of the over 50 nutrients in the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder. For those who get diarrhea from magnesium, Jigsaw Magnesium w/SRT from Jigsaw Health provides sustained-release magnesium and is very effective without causing the diarrhea side effect. In addition, magnesium oxide, though not as well absorbed, can be found for about a nickel per 500 mg tablet in most health food stores.
Can Magnesium Deficiency Cause Migraines
Magnesium deficiency may be a factor for a lot of people with migraine, says Dr. Mauskop. Routine blood tests might not detect a magnesium deficiency, but theres strong evidence that magnesium helps people with migraine.
Taking magnesium supplements daily can be an effective, low-cost, low-risk option for many people with migraine. Talk to your doctor about your potential risks and benefits because things that are low risk for many people might not be for you.
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# Magnesium In Migraine Pathogenesis
Magnesium is a very important intracellular element involved in many cellular functions.
However, magnesium deficiency can play a very important role in the pathogenesis of migraine by promoting cortical expansion depression.
These magnesium deficiencies may also cause impaired neurotransmitter release and platelet hyper aggregation.
Given the multifaceted role of magnesium in the pathogenesis of migraine, the use of magnesium in the treatment of acute and preventive headaches is a simple, inexpensive, safe, and well-tolerated option.
Studies have shown that treating acute headaches with intravenous or oral magnesium can be effective, particularly in certain patient subgroups.