Magnesium for Migraines

A Natural Strategy to Combat Migraine

Migraine attacks can be dev­as­tat­ing.  In addi­tion to headache, you can expe­ri­ence sen­si­tiv­i­ty to light or sound, nau­sea, shrink­ing of your visu­al field that leaves you inca­pac­i­tat­ed, and an over­all urge to with­draw from life and exist in a semi-alert state with all the lights out and the blan­ket pulled up over your head.

Though our sci­en­tif­ic under­stand­ing of migraine is grow­ing, it’s still lim­it­ed.  And there’s no defin­i­tive cure.  A few drugs have been devel­oped to light­en the painful toll of migraine, but they’re far from per­fect:

  • The relief is incom­plete
  • The headaches can bounce back if you stop tak­ing the drugs, and
  • The med­ica­tion can have unde­sir­able side-effects.

It’s nat­ur­al to look for any sim­ple, non-drug approach that promis­es relief.

Here’s a strat­e­gy that’s helped some peo­ple with migraine.

Three Reasons Why Magnesium May be a Migraine Sufferer’s Best Friend

  1. The brains of migraine suf­fer­ers have been found to have low­er lev­els of mag­ne­sium, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing an attack.
  2. Glu­ta­mate is the pri­ma­ry exci­ta­to­ry sig­nal­ing mol­e­cule in the brain.  If you’ve ever had a migraine attack, you know what too much “exci­ta­to­ry sig­nal­ing” feels like.  It’s prac­ti­cal­ly the def­i­n­i­tion of migraine.  That’s where mag­ne­sium comes to the res­cue.  Mag­ne­sium blocks the glu­ta­mate-trig­gered over­re­ac­tion of the brain.
  3. Mag­ne­sium sup­ple­men­ta­tion has been proven to low­er the fre­quen­cy, dura­tion, and inten­si­ty of migraine attacks.  In one study, those tak­ing mag­ne­sium saw their inci­dence of headache drop 40%.

How Much Magnesium Should I Be Taking?

A good place to start is with a dai­ly dose of 600 mg.  If you’re already tak­ing a min­er­al sup­ple­ment, check out the dose of mag­ne­sium you’re get­ting.  If you’re not get­ting an ade­quate amount, it’s time for an upgrade.

Excess mag­ne­sium is high­ly unlike­ly to be harm­ful, even in the long run.  Still, if you begin to see pos­i­tive results – dimin­ished headaches – try drop­ping your mag­ne­sium dose to 300–400 mg/day.

Your Individual Response

One firm rule in med­i­cine is that every­one responds dif­fer­ent­ly to poten­tial inter­ven­tions. It’s almost as if there are as many dif­fer­ent vari­eties of migraine as there are migraine suf­fer­ers.

That’s why there isn’t any treat­ment or tech­nique that’s guar­an­teed to work.  You may want to try the sug­ges­tion described here.  If it starts to work for you, that’s great.  If not, don’t give up.  Con­tin­ue to search for alter­na­tives until you find the sci­en­tif­ic approach that will help you alle­vi­ate your con­di­tion.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Every­thing you could hope to know — and more — about the role of mag­ne­sium in the brain

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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