Any natural, low side effect and safe approach to migraines is very welcomed.
I have found countless migraine clients that are low in magnesium that with simple smart supplementation, they get amazing relief. It is even so pronounced that if they miss a day or two of magnesium supplementation, the migraine monster will come back.
In this guide, we will be talking about magnesium and migraines but specifically talk about magnesium glycinate, vestibular and menstrual migraines.
Lol. I’ve had migraines for 50 years. I was so sick when I was still teaching! Was on Topamax for 20+ yrs but it stopped helping. My neuro put me on 500 mg Magnesium Citrate and 400 mg Vitamin B2 each day. Totally works! Better than in decades!— Janet Newman (@BorisandGracie) 29 September 2018
What is magnesium and magnesium glycinate?
Magnesium is a mineral, commonly known as the relaxation mineral.
It is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is responsible as a cofactor in over 600 reactions in the body.(1)
Half of the american population consumes less than the required amount of magnesium necessary to keep their body running properly and magnesium has been implicated in:
Type 2 diabetes
Elevated C-reactive protein
Atherosclerotic vascular disease
Sudden cardiac death
One study even found 75% to be magnesium deficient.(Link)
In one study using IV magnesium sulphate for acute migraine attacks, almost 90% became completely pain free.(2)
But there are some issues with magnesium supplementation that make it more complex than just take this pill every day which we will go into like:
Kinds of magnesium
Magnesium from your diet
Where you are losing magnesium
How to improve magnesium utilization by the body
Best ways to get magnesium into you
There is also a big problem with blood testing for magnesium levels as blood only contains 1% of our bodies magnesium and isn’t found to be a reliable indicator of how much magnesium we have or need.
Watch this video to learn about signs of magnesium deficiency:
Why magnesium glycinate for migraines?
Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that absorbs very well and this becomes crucial when we understand that it is not just about the nutrients that you put into your mouth, but also the amount of those nutrients that get absorbed and used by your body.
Generally, magnesium glycinate and threonate are recommended for their great absorption and utilization by the body and this is what I have found with migraine sufferers.
See this pin for different types of magnesium and what they are good for:
Kinds of magnesium
We need to understand the different kinds of magnesium because this can make all of the difference. When we are reading labels we want to see that the amount of elemental magnesium is our desired dosage.
If the label just says “magnesium citrate” but doesn’t have an elemental magnesium amount then the actual amount of magnesium molecules might be far less.
Like we talked about above, magnesium glycinate and threonate seem to work well but the thing with magnesium is that everyone responds differently.
200Mg of mag glycinate may work for your friend but not for you and this is why your own experience is most important.
Make sure to try different kinds, in different amounts at different times of day if what you are doing isn’t working for you.
Your body will make you well aware when you’ve taken too much. Because it is the relaxation mineral if you take too much or a kind your bowels don’t tolerate it may literally relax your bowels to the point of diarrhea.
Magnesium from diet
A supplement is just that, a supplement to an already solid program. Your core program is your diet, this cannot be avoided.
Our food is full of magnesium if we are eating the right foods and this is where the majority of our magnesium should be coming in.
The key here is that all of the nutrients that come bound up with the magnesium improve the body’s ability to use it and put it into important places like the brain.
Foods you must include in your diet for magnesium and other vitamins and minerals that improve its use:
- Seafoods(Mollusks, weeds)
- Wild rice
- Leafy greens(Collards, beet greens, spinach, kale, mustard greens, broccoli sprouts)
- Nuts and seeds(cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds)
- Organ meats especially liver
- Dark chocolate 80%+
See this pin for some of the best food sources of magnesium:
Where you are losing magnesium
Magnesium is known as the stress buffer.
It helps our body deal with stress but because of this, we have what is called the MBR or magnesium burn rate. (3)
The more stress, tension, illness, and exercise we have, the more magnesium our body is burning and the more magnesium we require to keep our brains a float.
You are constantly using magnesium and other nutrients and that is why having a solid nutritional base is the most important first.
Add these factors up to see how much magnesium you are “burning:”
- Dependance on “junk foods”, processed, packaged, fried, excess empty calories
- Mental/emotional stress
- Structural tension and trigger points
- Food allergies
- Coffee and caffeine
- Pops, sodas, colas
- Excessive menstruation
But just food is usually not enough for our magnesium needs unless we live a very de-stressed life and live on a completely organic/wild diet.
Over the years as we have continued to over plant food into our soils and do a really bad job of putting the nutrients back in, magnesium levels have dropped dramatically.
Our soil is over farmed and our top-soil that holds all of the microorganisms that make nutrients available to the plants are dead. This is one of the reasons organic farming is healthier.
Now we need to understand absorption.
How to improve magnesium utilization by the body and the best ways to get magnesium into you
Magnesium, just like every other mineral, vitamin and nutrient requires a number of others present so that it gets used by the body.
Some of the main nutrients that should come along with magnesium are:
- B vitamins(especially B6)
- Vitamin D
- + all of the nutrients you are most likely deficient in as a migraine sufferer
The next piece is to understand urine alkalinity and acidity.
When your urine is alkaline, you will excrete less magnesium and when it is acidic you will excrete more.
As long as you aren’t taking diuretics, making sure your urine is alkaline by using something as simple as pH strips is a key factor in making sure the magnesium isn’t being leeched out of your body.
Usually, acidic urine is the dark yellow urine.
The best way to make sure urine is alkaline is to get lots of potassium, this is best acquired through vegetables.
Then there is the issue of compromised digestion and intestinal parasites which can reduce the amount of magnesium you absorb, require lots of magnesium to deal with and parasites can actually steal it.
If digestion is compromised then supplementing is likely still a good idea but you can boost magnesium intake through:
- Topical magnesium spray
- Epsom or magnesium salt baths
One of the fastest ways to get the most magnesium right into your tissues is a hot Epsom or magnesium salt bath with 1 cup Epsom or magnesium flakes and 1/2 cup baking soda.
But a topical magnesium spray like magnesium chloride is an easy way to apply magnesium throughout the day and it can also make an effective deodorant when mixed with an essential oil.
It is important to remember that those with kidney disease should speak to their doctor about magnesium supplementation first.
Again, magnesium tolerance and effectiveness seems to be different for everyone.
Usually starting at a total of 200mg a day and ideally spreading multiple doses out throughout the day but at least twice a day is good so that your body has more chances to absorb it when it needs it most.
It is generally found that 400-600mg a day works well but some require doses of 1000mg-1500mg a day to start receiving enough.
After a prospective baseline period of 4 weeks they received oral 600 mg magnesium daily for 12 weeks or placebo. In weeks 9-12 the attack frequency was reduced by 41.6% in the magnesium group.”(Study)
Menstrual migraines and magnesium
One double-blind placebo-controlled study on menstrual migraines found that magnesium was more effective than placebo and that magnesium deficiency may play a role in how low your threshold to migraine trigger is. (Study)
Generally, if you are not supplementing with magnesium daily then at least starting with it on the 15th day of your cycle and into your period.
Vestibular migraines and magnesium
This study found that patients on these prophylactic therapies one of which was magnesium showed a decrease in duration, frequency and intensity of vestibular migraines.
Thedizzycook who is a chronic vestibular migraine sufferer takes a magnesium supplement daily and recommends it as well.
When dealing with magnesium and migraines it is important to understand:
– The kind of magnesium you are taking and what your body will tolerate
– Foods and activities that lower magnesium levels in the body
– How to get magnesium through diet as well as the cofactors and conditions necessary to keep it in your body
– Some of the fastest and most convenient ways to absorb magnesium
If you want to learn more about migraines because you are looking for better answers then join our community of over 15,000 members here.
Have you ever tried magnesium? Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone who needs more magnesium in their life.
Holistic Health Practitioner
Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.