Magnesium May Be Effective for Migraine

Researchers looking to evaluate the existing evidence on the effectiveness of magnesium for migraine found that the mineral may be effective. The results of their analysis were published in Headache.

A comprehensive search of studies from 1990 to 2016 found 5 clinical trials that addressed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect of magnesium on migraine in adults. Researchers focused on the number of migraine attacks, as well as the reduction of migraine days.

The clinical trials used for this analysis covered menstrual migraine, migraine with and without aura, as well as standard migraine symptoms. One of the two Class I evidence trials—which are considered to be the most reliable trials for effective treatment—found magnesium can significantly reduce the number of migraine attacks compared to placebo.

Of the three Class III trials, a lower standard of evidence, two showed a significantly reduced number of migraine attacks and migraine days compared to placebo.

Based on these findings, researchers found grade C evidence (possibly effective) for prevention of migraine with magnesium. They suggest high levels of magnesium (600 mg) to be a safe and cost efficient strategy.

The use of magnesium, however, should be avoided in certain instances, such as when diseases besides migraine are present. Because of this, it should be discussed with your healthcare professional.

3 Comments
  • Judy Hardiman
    Posted at 18:55h, 19 January Reply

    So are you saying 600 mg is an effective dose in order to decrease migraine?

  • Nicci Eisemhauer
    Posted at 19:15h, 19 January Reply

    It would be excellent to share which specific chemical compounds used in these studies was published. A dose of 600mg is mentioned here, however 600mg of magnesium sulfate, citrate or oxide without a chelation is nigh upon useless. Oxide is the least likely of the three to self-limit with diarrhoea. The most bioavailable forms of magnesium are malate, glycinate and taurate that have been chelated with a method patented by Albion Minerals. Magnesium, as an electrolyte, is best taken in 2-3 daily doses and increased slightly during times of high rates of perspiration. Anecdotally, it seems some sufferers find better results with one compound over another. Hospitals usually have only sulfate and oxide in suspension, it seems. I wish they’d keep one on hand with a chelate for ER migraine protocols.

  • James W Banks MD
    Posted at 20:10h, 23 January Reply

    Good points Nicci Eisemhauer. The specific salt makes a huge difference, and chelated Magnesium is best for bioavailability, and I routinely recommend glycinate as it is more readily found than taurate and less expensive. Sulfate is best for IV use, citrate is best (or worst) for laxative effects and oxide most widely sold and often not very effective. Dosing 2-3 x/day is important and helps keep mag levels more stable. Slow-re lease forms of Magnesium (usually of mixed Magnesium salts) can be helpful for people who have difficulty tolerating
    The study acknowledges the diverse trial designs and varied products. Take home point – Magnesium supplementation can be beneficial in reducing migraines frequency and severity. Try Magnesium glycinate 400 mg twice a day for at least a month or 6 weeks minimum trial.

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