Research shows that
people with migraines often have low levels of magnesium. Some studies indicate
that 200-600 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per day may reduce how often these people
get migraines (UMMC, 2011).
A 1989 study suggested, "Low brain magnesium is an
important factor in the mechanism of the migraine attack” (Ramadan et al., 1989).
Some headache patients who use magnesium report relief from
migraines. However, studies regarding the effectiveness of magnesium for
migraines are limited. Authors of a 1996 German study wrote that “high-dose
oral magnesium appears to be effective" in treating migraine (Peikert et al., 1996).
thought to affect changes in the blood vessels in the brain. Magnesium
supplements are sometimes recommended to prevent migraines. They are also
recommended to treat acute migraines.
Magnesium may be helpful for menstrual migraines, according
to some research. Treatment of migraines during pregnancy requires great care.
Magnesium may be a safer choice than powerful prescription medications.
When given intravenously, magnesium is "possibly
effective" for treatment of migraines, according to the National
Institutes of Health.
Magnesium is one of
several therapies being tested for effectiveness in prevention and treatment of
migraines. Other potential therapies include feverfew, butterbur, riboflavin, coenzyme
Q10, and vitamin B12.
Your body needs magnesium to be healthy. It is absorbed in
your small intestines and eliminated through your kidneys. About half of the
magnesium in your body is found in your bones. Most of the rest is in tissue
and organ cells. One percent is in your blood.
Magnesium is essential to muscle and nerve function. It
helps to maintain steady heart rhythm and to keep bones strong. Magnesium also supports
your immune system. Magnesium plays a role in blood sugar regulation and in maintaining
blood pressure. Research into how magnesium may help prevent and manage
diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease is ongoing.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
for Magnesium (NIH,
- age 1-3: 80 mg/day
- age 4-8: 130 mg/day
- age 9-13: 240 mg/day
- age 14-18: 410 mg/day for males, 360 mg/day for
females, 400 mg/day during pregnancy
- age 19-30: 400 mg/day for males, 310 mg/day for
females, 350 mg/day during pregnancy
- age 31 and over: 420 mg/day for males, 320 mg/day
for females, 360 mg/day during pregnancy
If you're thinking
about taking magnesium for migraines, ask your doctor if it's a good choice for
you. Tell your doctor about all dietary supplements you take. Supplements—even
those purchased over-the-counter—can react with other supplements or
interactions with magnesium supplements include:
that contain tetracycline. These can combine with magnesium in the gut and decrease
absorption of tetracycline.
and laxatives that contain magnesium. These can lead to elevated magnesium
levels in the blood. In extreme cases, this can cause magnesium toxicity.
Some forms of magnesium
tablets may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
The best way to get
your daily dose of magnesium is with a healthy diet. Magnesium is found in a
wide variety of healthy foods, including:
(peas and beans)
grains (unrefined—magnesium is absent from processed white flour)
water (varies by water supply—hard water has more magnesium than soft water)