Magnesium and migraines
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If you suffer from migraines, then you know how terrible pain it can be very well and how it can paralyze and threaten your daily social and family life. In addition to pain and sensitivity to light, migraines can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, aura and other forms of sensitivity.
I wish I had a magic wand or that I could say that there is a medicine that will 100% cure migraines and prevent them from ever coming back into your life. Unfortunately, I don't have that. Everyone has to find the CAUSE of migraines, as there can be countless of them. However, there are some simple factors that can be introduced into the daily routine and which can help to reduce or even stop migraine attacks if we manage to remove the cause. I rely on the diet (LCHF/KETO diet), correct sleep rhythm and magnesium.
Sounds too easy, doesn't it? Well, in reality, I also completely avoid alcohol, strong sun, strongly air-conditioned rooms, dehydration, artificial sweeteners (aspartame and the like), flavor enhancers and strong perfumes. Those of you who have seriously dealt with your migraines know what I'm talking about. Everyone has to identify their own "triggers" that can trigger a migraine attack. Yes, unfortunately, it can also be perfume, air freshener or at first glance a completely innocent dish in a restaurant.
Today I will limit myself to magnesium, which has been proven through studies to help relieve migraine attacks. But if you are interested in how a change in diet works on migraine, you can read my blog about it: Ketones in the fight against migraines
What is magnesium and what role does it play in the body?
The mineral magnesium is responsible for more than 300 necessary processes and reactions in the body. It is needed for protein synthesis in mitochondria and energy production in basic cellular reactions. It plays an important role in the synthesis of DNA and RNA and in various enzymes. It is found in the bones, muscles and brain. In addition to the above, magnesium is also needed for muscle relaxation, for the functioning of the nervous system and for the absorption of necessary minerals (calcium, sodium, zinc, copper, potassium and phosphorus). The body cannot produce it on its own, so it is necessary to get magnesium through food or supplements.
It also helps with the effects of stress, depression, sleep (calming), digestion, muscle cramps... and perhaps the most important news for all of you who struggle with migraines - it has been proven to help with migraine headaches.
How do we know that our body lacks magnesium?
There are about 25 grams of magnesium in the body of an adult. Only 1% of this is found outside the cells (e.g. in the blood), the rest is found in the cells, muscles, bones...
Magnesium deficiency is associated with many diseases, syndromes and poor general well-being.
Factors that can affect magnesium deficiency:
- increased sweating
- certain medicines: antibiotics, medicines for stomach acid...
- contraceptive pills
- various diseases: diabetes, thyroid diseases, nervous system diseases
- genetics and genetic defects (0.1-1% of the population)
Signs that we lack magnesium can be:
- chronic fatigue
- irritable bowel syndrome
- cold hands and feet
- muscle cramps, mostly at night
- stronger pms in women
- painful legs for children
- blood circulation and heart rhythm disorders
- sensitive teeth and gums
- menstrual cycle disorders
Magnesium and migraines
I already wrote about migraines and my story with migraines in a blog: Ketones in the fight against migraines?
There are many different causes of migraines. Only by finding the real cause, which triggers an individual's migraine attack, can migraine be successfully managed. I have tried MANY things in search of the real cause of my migraines. The decisive factor was diet (gluten and sugar), which led to a destroyed immune system, allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions. We have to tackle the problem holistically!! For those of you who find that the classic diet can cause you problems, I wholeheartedly advise you to try switching to the LCHF/KETO diet. There is a lot written about this among the other blogs on this website.
If you suffer from migraine attacks, it is essential to check whether you consume enough magnesium. Most of us are malnourished with this mineral, and the reason for this can be attributed to the poor quality of food and water, which is mostly impoverished in today's world. Even if we make an effort and choose foods rich in magnesium, it must be taken into account that the body loses magnesium very quickly, especially in combination with stress, alcohol, heavy sweating, accelerated digestion, menstruation and various medications (such as antibiotics and laxatives). It should also be noted that the ability to absorb magnesium is not as simple as its accelerated loss.
Magnesium as a support for the treatment or prevention of migraine
Several pilot studies show that magnesium levels in the brain drop significantly during a migraine attack in about 50% of migraine sufferers. Supplementing with magnesium in the initial phase of a migraine attack can ease or shorten the pain.
Magnesium can also be a solution for those women who suffer from menstrual migraines and headaches. Even during menstruation and related headaches or menstrual migraines, lower levels of magnesium in the body have been proven. And often it is precisely the lower level or lack of magnesium which causes several days of headache or even migraine around the time of menstruation.
Most studies demonstrate improvement in migraine and/or headache symptoms with regular daily magnesium intake. The recommended intake for an adult is around 400 mg of magnesium. In patients with migraine, it is usually necessary to double this dose to improve symptoms (studies have been conducted with intakes of 600 mg and above). It may take a month or two for symptoms of migraines and headaches to improve.
A side effect of taking magnesium can be accelerated digestion or even diarrhea. For some with chronic constipation, it is also helpful in alleviating such problems. In any case, we should consult a doctor about taking magnesium in higher doses if we have impaired kidney function, kidney stones or are taking any other medications.
It matters which form of magnesium we choose
Magnesium is available in various forms. The most common forms of magnesium are magnesium oxide, sulfate, carbonate, citrate, chloride... More expensive and less common forms are magnesium malate, chelate, taurate... How can we choose the right one that actually has an effect (is well absorbed by the body) in all this flood of names?
If you want a highly absorbent form that is also easy to consume, then go for the Citrate form. The sources that study migraines in depth favor magnesium citrate over other forms.
These two books study migraines holistically and recommend taking magnesium citrate as a support for migraine relief:
- The Migraine Miracle: A Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Ancestral Diet to Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Your Headaches for Good by Josh Turknett MD
- The Migraine Cure: How to Forever Banish the Curse of Migraines by Sergey A., MD, Ph.D. Dzugan, Deborah Mitchell
All studies on the importance of magnesium in migraines have one thing in common, that is that they recommend higher levels of magnesium than recommended. The book The Migraine Cure recommends up to 800 mg of magnesium citrate at bedtime. But if that quantity gives us a headache (mainly digestive), we can divide it into two or more doses (morning and evening).
I only became aware of the importance of magnesium when I was researching and looking for the causes of my migraines. When looking for a good form of magnesium on the market, I encountered a lot of obstacles:
- most magnesium supplements contain magnesium oxide or magnesium chloride;
- dietary supplements in the form of tablets have a bunch of other unnecessary things added;
- nutritional supplements in the form of powder usually have added artificial sweeteners and dyes, which is of course out of the question in case of sensitivity and tendency to migraines. What's the good taste of magnesium if it can trigger a migraine attack?? Of course, this did not solve the problem.
Precisely for the above reasons, I decided to look for a pure, concentrated form of magnesium in the form of citrate, without additives.
Tri-MAGNESIUM di-CITRATE contains 15.7% magnesium, which is one time more than normal magnesium citrate. It is a high quality organic form of magnesium, which is much easier for the body to accept than other forms of magnesium. It is completely soluble in water and has no characteristic taste. What is extremely important about migraines is the fact that it is a product that is completely free of additives, sugar, sweeteners, lactose, gluten, carbohydrates and dyes. Also suitable for vegans. Magnesium citrate can act as a laxative, so in this case it is wise to divide the daily dose of magnesium over the course of the day and not consume it in a single dose.
Try it, the low level of magnesium in your body might be the reason for your headaches, migraines, leg cramps or general fatigue.
Finally, an interesting fact...
Do you know how much magnesium a certain food contains and how much you should eat to meet the minimum daily requirement (350 mg of magnesium)? To take in 350g of magnesium, you would need to eat:
- 83 g of sunflower seeds
- 206 g of almonds
- 583 g of spinach
- 745 g of arugula
- 614 g of salmon
- 700 g of tuna
- 1346 g of pork
- 1522 g of beef
- 1842 g of chicken
- 853 g of hard cheese
- 42 chicken eggs
Are you still sure that you are consuming enough magnesium in your diet?
Palmery, M., et al. Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements.
Tarasov, E. A., et al. Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy.
Seelig, Mildred S. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). Journal of the American College of Nutrition 13.5 (1994): 429-446.
Ramadan NM, et al. Low brain magnesium in migraine. Headache. (1989)
Lodi R, et al. Deficient energy metabolism is associated with low free magnesium in the brains of patients with migraine and cluster headache. Brain Res Bull. (2001)
Köseoglu E, et al. The effects of magnesium prophylaxis in migraine without aura. Magnes Res. (2008)
Peikert, A., C. Wilimzig, and R. Köhne-Volland. Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. Cephalalgia 16.4 (1996): 257-263.
07.09.2018, Katja, LCHF Style