Magnesium oxide for headaches
Question: How is magnesium used to help with migraines? How do I know if I’m deficient and how much should I take? What are the side effects?
Migraine is known to have a strong genetic component, but what exactly
is wrong with the genes varies widely from person to person. One of the possible problems is genetic difficulty in absorbing magnesium.
Our research done at SUNY — Downstate showed that up to 50% of migraine sufferers and 40% of those with cluster headaches are deficient in magnesium. In addition to genetic reasons for magnesium deficiency, stress, alcohol, chronic illness, poor diet, gastro-intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, can cause depletion of magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential element that is vital to the function of every cell in the body. It regulates literally hundreds of chemical reactions, modulates the function of
various cell receptors, helps open and close blood vessels, and performs many other functions. Changes in some of these receptors (serotonin, NMDA, and others) and blood vessel constriction are intimately involved in the development of migraine headaches. Our research also showed that a regular blood test is completely unreliable.
So, how do you know if you are deficient and should take a supplement? Here are some other signs of magnesium deficiency: cold hands and feet or just feeling colder than other people around you, muscle cramps in your legs or feet, which often occur at night, and PMS symptoms in women. But you may be deficient even if you don’t have these additional symptoms and since there is little downside in taking a magnesium supplement, it may be worth a try.
It may take a month or two of daily intake of about 400-500 mg of magnesium oxide or chelated magnesium, before headaches improve. Magnesium can cause is diarrhea or stomach upset, so it should be always taken with food. People with impaired kidney function (you
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