Magnesium has been found to decrease the frequency of migraine headaches if a daily dose of 600 mg daily is taken over twelve weeks. Other studies have found that magnesium supplementation may also be a safe and effective prophylactic therapy for children, and for women suffering from menstrual migraine.
Intravenous magnesium sulphate has shown promise as an effective magnesium migraine relief. A small 2001 study found that the treatment eliminated head pain in 86 percent of the patients studied. Another study of emergency room treatment in migraineurs found that intravenous administration of magnesium sulphate was just as effective in reducing migraine head pain as IV infusion of metoclopramide.
How does magnesium work as a solution for migraine headaches? The mineral helps to regulate serotonin and other neurotransmitter function,and promotes muscle relaxation, among other things. Research has found that migraineurs have lower levels of magnesium in the body than most people, which could explain why magnesium provides migraine relief.
A deficiency of magnesium can actually cause headaches and sensitivity to light. Magnesium deficiency is no a common condition and occurs most often in people who have a malabsorption problem, in chronic alcoholics and as a side effect of certain medications. People with a calcium deficiency may also have a related magnsium deficiency. Poor nutrition also has the ability to affect magnesium levels in the body. High sugar, fat and phosphate intake through processed foods can affect the absorption of magnesium.
The best way to get essential vitamins and minerals is through a varied and healthy diet. Red meat, green leafy vegetables, and whole grain cereals are all good dietary sources of magnesium. The vitamins and minerals found in your food are better absorbed than supplements, taste better, and are cheaper in the long run.
Some foods rich in magnsium may also be a trigger for migraine in some people. Almonds, cashews, soybeans, and seafood are all abundant sources of magnesium, but have been reported to trigger attacks in some migraineurs. Oral magnesium supplements can cause gastrointestinal distress at high doses. Nausea, bloating and diarrhea are common. When magnsium is taken as a supplement at levels high above the recommended dosage, it can be toxic to the body.
Symptoms of a magnesium supplement overdose include erratic heartbeat, skin flushing, dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness and loss of consciousness. Excess magnesium taken in dietary form does not cause side effects because the body excretes it naturally.