Can magnesium supplements help in migraines? - NL-061
People suffering from migraines know that it is much more than just a headache. That intense throbbing pain in your head (on one or both the sides) can leave you incapacitated and drained for days. Everyone has their own triggers but the most common include emotional stress, changes in sleep pattern, hormonal fluctuations for women (such as in periods), alcohol, certain foods, bright lights, loud noises, and skipped meals. Dehydration and weather changes can also trigger a migraine episode. Knowing and managing your personal triggers can help you prevent the onset of a migraine attack. Medications can help but chronic use can cause severe side effects including nausea, dizziness, constipation and serious addiction.
Can dietary supplements such as magnesium help? Research suggests that magnesium supplements can help prevent a migraine attack and also manage its symptoms. In fact, magnesium deficiency is known to contribute to tension headaches and migraine. It has been found that people who get migraines have lower levels of magnesium than those who don’t.
Magnesium supplements in migraine
Magnesium plays a crucial role in keeping your nervous system healthy. It regulates stress hormones and brain chemicals that are associated with stress, mood and anxiety. In fact, magnesium has a very interesting association with stress. While magnesium helps the body manage stress and calms nerves, chronic stress makes you lose more magnesium, depleting its level.
Poor magnesium levels can cause stress, depression and painful muscle contractions. As we know stress, whether emotional or physical, can be a big trigger for migraines. Stress also causes tension in the muscles, particularly in the neck. In fact, twitches, muscle cramps, tensed muscles, chronic pain and frequent migraines are often the early signs that you may have poor magnesium levels in the body.
Magnesium relaxes muscles, prevents muscle contractions and also reduces stress levels in many ways. In addition, it dilates and relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow to the brain. All of these qualities are very useful in managing symptoms of migraine. Magnesium supplements are also very effective in managing chronic pain, as magnesium blocks NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) nerve receptors that are involved in transmission of pain. Magnesium supplements can be used as a safer alternative to opioids and NSAIDs to manage both acute and chronic pain. Magnesium supplements can be very effective in managing menstrual migraines too.
1. Park et al. Efficacy and Safety of Magnesium for the Management of Chronic Pain in Adults: A Systematic Review. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2020.
2. Slavin et al. Dietary magnesium and migraine in adults: A cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2004. The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2021.