Migraines linked to low magnesium

One in five Canadians suffers migraines, which are headaches caused by swelling of the blood vessels and nerves surrounding the brain. They can last anywhere from three hours to three days, causing pain, nausea and sensitivity to noise. There are many triggers for migraines including caffeine, menstruation and cigarettes.

At the New York Headache Center in Brooklyn, researchers evaluated 61 women with menstrual migraines and found them to be 30% more magnesium-deficient than normal during an attack. The incidences of magnesium deficiency were 45% during menstrual migraines, 14% during menstruation without migraine, and 15% at all other times. These results confirm magnesium deficiency played a role in their migraines.

At the Gulhane Military Medical Academy in Turkey, researchers treated 30 patients with moderate or severe migraine attacks with either 1 gram of intravenous magnesium or a placebo. All patients responded well to the magnesium. The pain disappeared in 13 patients and was diminished in the others. In all 15 patients, secondary symptoms disappeared. In the placebo group, only three patients reported mild changes.

All patients initially given a placebo were then given magnesium, and all 15 reported an end to their secondary symptoms and either an end to the attack (14 patients) or a decrease in pain (1 patient). The researchers concluded that magnesium treatment was efficient, safe and well-tolerated, and recommended further large-scale studies.

Sources: Headache. 2002 Apr;42(4):242-8; Headache. 2001 Feb;41(2):171-7