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Can magnesium help migraines?
In recent years, the interest in herbal remedies for migraines and tension headaches has grown considerably. And a variety of different herbs, plants and vitamins have been touted as the best alternative to prescription drugs, but none more so than magnesium.
Magnesium is a key mineral for human metabolism to function properly and with over 300 chemical reaction in the body dependant on magnesium levels, it doesn't come as a surprise that a deficiency in this nutrient can have serious consequences. Every organ - but especially the heart and kidneys - needs the mineral to function properly and it also works to activate enzymes, boost energy production and regulate calcium levels.
Magnesium is found in an abundance of foods but the highest levels are found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Unfortunately, the majority of the population is lacking these superfoods in their diet, and if you are prone to migraines, this could be the trigger.
Recent studies have found that people who have regular migraine headaches tend to have diets that are low in magnesium rich foods, compared to those who have rare tension headaches or no headaches at all. Focusing on alternating your diet is a good step to take towards limiting your migraine risk.
Other clinical trials into migraines and magnesium supplements have found that those who did take supplements every day had less migraines, they didn't last as long or needed less medication to ease the pain.
Some experts also recommend taking a combination of the herb feverfew with vitamin B2 (also known a riboflavin) when you are actually suffering from a headache or migraine.
According the Migraine Trust, the success of magnesium supplementation may be depended on how high the dosage is. They recommend over 600mg of magnesium taken orally for a minimum of 3 to 4 months is needed to achieve any benefit for this kind preventative treatment.