Anyone who has ever had a migraine understands how tough they can be. After all, they can severely impair one's ability to perform daily tasks and entail excruciating pain. Unfortunately, they’re quite common since 1 out of 7 people encounters migraines daily.
With so many people suffering from migraines every day, can something as simple as magnesium actually provide relief?
Magnesium is a mineral naturally found in the human body. It has been the subject of much speculation and study as a potential, risk-free treatment for headaches and migraines.
What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is a more serious headache that is known for the intense and throbbing pain that is usually experienced on one side of the head or around the eyes. It is typically accompanied by one or more additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light. The pain can last for 4 to 72 hours and can become worse with time. While some people only suffer migraines periodically, many get attacks often. It’s possible for them to recur several times each week.
Not everyone experiences the same type of migraine and pain though. Here are the 3 most common types of migraines:
Migraine Without Aura
Often called "common migraine" or "episodic migraine," a migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine. It occurs without any warning signs and an individual must have at least five attacks per year to be diagnosed with migraine without aura.
Migraine With Aura
Around 1 in every 3 people who get migraines experience an “aura” or a warning sign just before the attack starts. Auras often affect one's sight. Many sufferers report seeing blind spots or flashing lights. Aura can sometimes include loss of the ability to speak, tingling or numbness, and motor problems.
Some people experience migraine symptoms like aura, nausea, and sensitivity to light or sound without the typical headache. This is called acephalgic migraine or a silent migraine. Silent migraines are more common in those over 50 and are occasionally misdiagnosed as a stroke.
What Causes a Migraine?
It is still unclear what causes migraines as there are many factors that can trigger them. According to some studies, low levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps control mood and facilitates communication with nerve cells) can cause blood vessels to swell and lead to migraines.
There is also research that suggests that migraines can be inherited. It is estimated that a person's risk of experiencing a migraine is 50% if one parent suffers from it and 75% if both parents have it.
A migraine is also more frequent among women compared to males and is often linked to hormonal changes.
Difference Between a Headache and a Migraine
A headache is a pain or discomfort felt around the head, neck, or around the face. It can be caused by different factors such as an injury, an illness, or an infection. Unlike migraines, the pain is restricted to the head.
On the other hand, a migraine is thought to be a neurovascular disorder that can affect other areas of the body aside from the head. These areas include the heart, eyes, and digestive system. A headache is one of its symptoms but not all headaches develop into migraines.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions throughout the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, maintaining healthy blood sugar and blood pressure, synthesis of protein and DNA, and supporting the immune system.
Studies have shown that magnesium is also effective at reducing the occurrence of migraines and the intensity of their pain.
Magnesium is naturally present in a variety of foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and several fruits and vegetables. It is also available as a supplement and an ingredient in antacids and laxatives.
Link Between Magnesium and Migraines
What’s the connection between magnesium and migraines? Studies show that people with migraines have lower magnesium levels compared to those who don’t get them. A drop in magnesium levels is believed to result in the constriction of the brain's blood arteries which may potentially contribute to migraines.
Oral magnesium or supplements have been found helpful in reducing migraines’ severity and frequency. It is believed that magnesium blocks the brain signals that result in aura while preventing chemicals that cause pain.
A study in 2021 also demonstrated that magnesium is as effective as valproate sodium in reducing migraine episodes without adverse effects. In addition, taking daily magnesium supplements is helpful for preventing menstrual-related migraines.
Where To Get Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium is a non-prescription supplement that is available over the counter in tablet, powder, and capsule form. However, due to its increased magnesium content, it is less soluble and has a poor absorption rate. In severe cases, a doctor could administer magnesium sulfate intravenously instead.
Because of its bitter flavor, most people prefer to take magnesium oxide with a glass of citrus juice. A beverage mix like Ionic-Fizz™ Magnesium Plus™ is an easy way to increase your magnesium intake. When the Magnesium Plus™ is mixed with water a chemical reaction occurs making the magnesium 100% pre-digested in the glass. Because of this, your body will be able to absorb more magnesium.
You can also increase magnesium consumption by eating food rich in the mineral, like:
- Nuts and grains
- Black beans and lentils
- Dark chocolate
- Tea and coffee
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Seeds such as pumpkin, chia, or squash
- Mackerel, tuna, and Pollock
- Low-fat yogurt
- Soy milk
Are Magnesium Supplements Safe?
Magnesium is considered a risk-free treatment for migraines because of how abundant it is in the body and how few side-effects there are.
However, taking too much magnesium can cause adverse effects such as:
If you are taking antibiotics such as aminoglycosides, you may need to look for a different solution. Antibiotics and magnesium combined can cause muscular weakness and other issues as well as interfere with absorption.
Magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure as well. Patients with high blood pressure who are on blood pressure medication may develop hypotension if they take magnesium.
Before taking any magnesium supplements, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor to guarantee your safety.
If you're a migraine sufferer, it may be time to take a closer look at magnesium. The mineral may provide you relief from excruciating pain. Consume it through food or take supplements like Ionic-Fizz™ Magnesium Plus™ to increase your magnesium levels and combat migraines.
If your migraine attacks are becoming too frequent and severe, get medical attention right away.