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Magnesium and Recurrent Headaches / Migraines

Thursday 08-01-2015 16:41:00
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Ever cowered in the corner of a dark room in intense pain? If so the good news is you're not alone. Around 15% of the adult population suffer from migraines, some so vicious they last for days. But what causes these disruptive disorders and how can we best deal with them when they occur?

Migraines can differ greatly from person to person. For some they take the form of pressure headaches accompanied by a sensitivity to light whereas for others, vision can fail completely with many complaining of zigzag lines and an inability to focus. One thing all migraines have in common is pain. There are many medications that claim to be 'engineered to fight the pain associated with migraines' however, in reality, these do very little but temporarily mask the situation and do nothing to stop them returning in the future.

There may be a genetic link with regards to migraines as over half of sufferers have family members who are similarly affected. Some people do not experience their first migraine until later life, although they can still be prevalent in children where they can sometimes indicate underlying learning difficulties.

How can Magnesium help with Headaches?

Magnesium is a natural mineral essential to all living cells. It plays a number of key roles within our bodies ranging from a host of enzymatic reactions to its unique ability to increase absorption rates of other minerals, such as calcium. Magnesium is an extremely popular treatment for migraines and with good reason. A 1996 study involving 81 participants, all of whom suffered from regular chronic migraines, concluded that sufferers taking around 600mg of Magnesium daily had a 41% reduction in migraines over a 12 week period.

10 Common Triggers of Migraines

Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Some of the most common potential migraine triggers include:

  • Allergies to environmental toxins
  • Bright lights and loud noises
  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke
  • Skipping meals or fasting
  • Alcohol
  • Tension headaches
  • Foods containing Tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish) monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates.
  • Other foods that are known to sometimes trigger migraines include chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus and onions.

Magnesium Rich Foods

Although supplementation is a great way to make sure your body has a sufficient supply of Magnesium, this can be both costly and time consuming. Instead, we recommend eating a well balanced diet rich in dark leafy greens, whole grains and nuts all of which contain readily absorbed Magnesium.

Magnesium Supplements for Migraines

Side Effects and Other Precautions

The most common side effects of high doses of Magnesium include diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. This is a sign your body has reached its absorption limit and dosage should be reduced. People with kidney failure have a higher risk of problems from high doses of Magnesium so supplementation should be avoided.

References:

The Migraine-Magnesium Connection
http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/magnsium-to-prevent-migraines/
 
Magnesium
http://www.americanheadachesociety.org/assets/1/7/Magnesium_-_October_2013.pdf
 
Should you be taking Magnesium?
http://www.migrainesurvival.com/should-you-be-taking-Magnesium
 

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