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How do I Use Magnesium for a Migraine?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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When using magnesium for a migraine, it is recommended that you take between 400 and 600 mg per day. Spread this amount over several doses for the best results. You may want to start a lower does of 400 mg and increase it slowly. The main side effect is diarrhea, so lower your dosage if this becomes an issue. It is not usually effective at treating a migraine that has already begun, but it can be used in combination with pain medications in order to help prevent another one from occurring.

Studies have shown that patients see a reduced frequency of migraine when taking high doses of magnesium. Many of the individuals used in studies received supplements intravenously, but oral doses are sometimes effective as well, as long as they are divided into several increments throughout the day instead of being taken all at once. The main reason for this is that the body can only absorb a certain amount of certain nutrients at one time.

Talk to your doctor before using magnesium for a migraine to ensure that you are able to perform this regimen safely. Those with certain conditions may not be able to take a magnesium supplement in such high doses, including those with heart conditions. You may be able to under the supervision of a health care professional.

You may not be able to effectively use magnesium for a migraine once it has already begun. Studies have shown that frequent migraine sufferers tend to have low levels of magnesium in the blood, so magnesium is more helpful as a preventative measure. It is also true that some individuals may not absorb it properly, and intravenous delivery may be necessary to ensure it is properly used by the body.

If you have not been taking it previously and want to take magnesium for a migraine, there is generally no harm in starting your supplementation during an existing headache. You should also try eating foods which are high in magnesium such as broccoli, nuts, beans, and apricots, as well as other fruits and vegetables. This may allow your body to absorb it faster since food sources are often better implemented by the body. Be aware that certain foods which contain high doses of magnesium have been known to trigger migraines in certain patients.

Although studies have shown magnesium to be effective for some patients, you may also need a medication to relieve pain if a migraine does occur and possibly additional ones to prevent them from happening. Most times, medications can be taken alongside a magnesium regimen for maximum results. Be sure to speak with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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