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26.12.2011


Magnesium supplement prevents migraine

Many people suffer from migraine: it's the most common neurological problem in otherwise healthy people. In 2003 neurologists at Kaiser Permanente in the US reported that magnesium supplements reduce the number of days that young patients suffer from headache by over forty percent.

In the 1990s neurologists at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit discovered that people who suffer from migraine have less magnesium in their blood than people who don't suffer from these crippling headaches. [J Neurol Sci. 1995 Dec; 134(1-2): 9-14.] Because blood vessels in the brain contract when there is too little magnesium, and because a magnesium deficiency can boost the production of the pain causing substance P, scientists hypothesised that a shortage of magnesium may increase the likelihood of migraine.

A healthy diet provides hundreds of milligrams of magnesium every day. The metal is found in foods like almonds and cashew nuts, beans and soya, leafy vegetables, fish and whole grains. But because of our fondness of junk food based on refined carbohydrates, it's easy to consume less magnesium than the amount nutritionists say we need.

In 2003 neurologists at Kaiser Permanente in California published the results of a study in which they had given 42 children aged between 3 and 17 a daily supplement containing 9 mg magnesium oxide per kg bodyweight. For someone weighing 80kg that amounts to 720 mg magnesium oxide per day. The researchers divided the dose over 3 moments in the day, and gave the children the supplement during meals. The experiment lasted 16 weeks.

A control group of 44 children were given a placebo.

During the study the number of days that the children in the magnesium group had a headache went down significantly. This did not happen in the placebo group.


Magnesium supplement prevents migraine


What's more, in the magnesium group the severity of the headache was also significantly less. That didn't happen in the placebo group either.

The researchers admit that this doesn't count yet as hard evidence. They recommend that further research be done on larger groups of sufferers.

Other supplements that studies have shown to be helpful against migraine are Q10 [1-3 mg per kg bodyweight/day] [Headache. 2007 Jan;47(1):73-80.] and vitamin B2 [25-400 mg/day] [Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.]. Some studies have shown that vitamin B2 supplementation halves the number of headache days.

NO precursors, such as L-arginine, which are effective against headache in other people, often have the reverse effect in migraine sufferers and can even bring on a migraine attack.

Source:
Headache. 2003 Jun;43(6):601-10.

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