Migraines can be absolutely crippling for suffers, with many of us prepared to do pretty much anything to find a cure. However, new research is showing that if you suffer from migraines you are also very likely to be deficient in magnesium (1). So, can magnesium stop migraines? Whilst being deficient in magnesium is not good, the good news is that by adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet, or by using a high-quality magnesium supplement you can easily put it right.
So How Does Magnesium Stop Migraines?
Migraines are now known to have multiple causes rather than one specific trigger. The varying causes include the constriction of the brain’s blood vessel system, the build-up of red blood cell platelets, overstimulation of the brain’s neurotransmitters and nerve pathways, and abnormal functioning of the pain processing neurons in the brainstem at the base of the spine (2).
Magnesium Calms Nerves and Stops Migraines
For all of these potential causes, magnesium is very important in stopping them from developing. For example, magnesium has been shown to relax and improve the function of arteries and blood vessels (3), which also helps to reduce blood pressure (4). Magnesium is also very important for reducing stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain and calming nerves, and correcting any magnesium deficiency is also associated with a reduced build-up of red blood cell platelets.
Magnesium Reduces Cortisol Levels
Magnesium also reduces cortisol levels, and higher cortisol levels are associated with increased pain perception, and magnesium acts directly on GABA receptors in the brain and central nervous system. GABA is the natural valium, and GABA receptors are what Valium and other tranquilizers (aka benzodiazepines) directly act on. They are also directly related to how strongly we perceive pain, the more GABA receptors are activated the less we feel pain (5). So magnesium can prevent the things that can cause migraines to develop in the first place, and also reduce the amount of pain we feel whilst they are happening.
But What Does The Research On Humans Say?
There have been several studies that have shown magnesium supplementation to be effective in preventing migraines, and reducing the severity of migraines in children and adults (6, 7).
Another study found that a 1 gram serving of magnesium gave quicker and more effective relief from migraine than a commonly used migraine medication (8). Another study published in the Journal of Neural Transmission, titled “Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium”, found that with the potential results and the safety of magnesium supplementation everyone suffering for migraines should try magnesium supplementation, and then make a decision on whether to continue based on their own results (1).
So What’s the Best Magnesium Supplement for Preventing Migraines?
There are many different types of magnesium available the different types of magnesium have different qualities and rates of absorption by the body.
At Intelligent Labs, we’ve created the most effective form of magnesium for treating migraines. It contains primarily Magnesium-L-Threonate, this is magnesium that has been specially designed by scientists at MIT to be able to get through the blood-brain barrier, which is a semi-permeable protective membrane which separates the bloodstream from the fluid of the brain.
To be as effective against migraines as possible we need the magnesium in the brain, and other Magnesium supplements struggle to get themselves absorbed through this barrier. However, specific studies on Magnesium-L-Threonate have shown that it’s very effective at passing the blood-brain barrier, and increases brain magnesium levels by 2000% more than ordinary magnesium supplements (9).
Our supplement also contains Magnesium Taurate, which is specifically designed to act on the GABA receptors in the brain and central system to reduce pain and increase feelings of calm, it can even help you sleep better!
Finally, we use Magnesium Glycinate, which is the most absorbable form of magnesium in the rest of the body outside of the brain. We use this to ensure that there is no magnesium deficiency affecting any other body system that could impact migraines, other pain in your body, or any other health condition, to ensure complete peace of mind.
(1) Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. Mauskop A, Varughese J. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012 May;119(5):575-9.
(2) Theory Behind Migraine Emerges, Stephen Silberstein
(3) Oral Magnesium Therapy Improves Endothelial Function in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease, Michael Shechter, MD, MA; Michael Sharir, MD; Maura J. Paul Labrador, MPH; James Forrester, MD; Burton Silver, PhD; C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, Circulation. 2000; 102:2353-2358.
(4) Oral magnesium supplementation reduces ambulatory blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension. Hatzistavri LS, Sarafidis PA, Georgianos PI, Tziolas IM, Aroditis CP, Zebekakis PE, Pikilidou MI, Lasaridis AN. Am J Hypertens. 2009 Oct;22(10):1070-5.
(5) The role of GABA in the mediation and perception of pain. Enna SJ, McCarson KE. Adv Pharmacol. 2006;54:1-27.
(6) Oral magnesium oxide prophylaxis of frequent migrainous headache in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Wang F1, Van Den Eeden SK, Ackerson LM, Salk SE, Reince RH, Elin RJ. Headache. 2003 Jun;43(6):601-10.
(7) The effects of magnesium prophylaxis in migraine without aura. Köseoglu E1, Talaslioglu A, Gönül AS, Kula M. Magnes Res. 2008 Jun;21(2):101-8.
(8) Comparison of therapeutic effects of magnesium sulfate vs. dexamethasone/metoclopramide on alleviating acute migraine headache. Shahrami A, Assarzadegan F, Hatamabadi HR, Asgarzadeh M, Sarehbandi B, Asgarzadeh S. J Emerg Med. 2015 Jan;48(1):69-76.
(9) Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, Huang C, Zhang L, Li B, Zhao X, Govindarajan A, Zhao MG, Zhuo M, Tonegawa S, Liu G. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77.