Life Extension Magazine®
Woman in bed due to crippling migraine while scientist study magnesium for possible relief

Magnesium Mitigates Migraines

Magnesium helps prevent migraines and lessens their duration and severity. Two human studies published in 2021 corroborate these benefits. Previous findings show magnesium is more effective when combined with riboflavin and CoQ10.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on November 2021. Written By Chancellor Faloon.

Foods, such as beans, rich in magnesium that can help prevent migraines

Migraines are among the leading causes of disability worldwide.1

Roughly $78 billion is spent annually in medical costs for treatment.2

People who suffer from migraine commonly have low magnesium levels, especially during an attack.3-5

Blood vial with the label Magnesium Test being used to understand magnesium blood levels

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 48% of Americans are not reaching their magnesium minimum daily requirements.6

Magnesium helps to reduce arrhythmia, heart disease, and stroke risks, and helps maintain better bone density.7,8 Over 300 enzymes in the body rely on magnesium to function.9

New clinical trials have uncovered encouraging evidence for magnesium’s role in reducing migraine headaches.

Magnesium vs Conventional Medication

Magnesium periodic label that are studied for comparing conventional migraine medication

Two clinical trials published in 2021 compared the effect of magnesium to that of different types of conventional migraine medications.

In the first study, people with frequent migraines were randomized to receive either valproate sodium, a drug used to prevent migraines or 500 mg of oral magnesium every 12 hours for eight weeks.10

The number of migraine attacks, days, and the mean duration significantly decreased in both groups, leading the authors to conclude that magnesium “appears to be effective in migraine prophylaxis similar to valproate sodium without significant adverse effect.”

A second trial compared intravenous magnesium to two conventional intravenous migraine medications, prochlorperazine and metoclopramide.11

This study evaluated 157 patients, most of them female, who had to visit an emergency department due to the severity of their migraines.

Results showed that migraine pain decreased in all groups after 60 minutes, with none of the treatments showing clear superiority over the others.

Women are disproportionately affected by migraines12, and a new analysis of data suggests that increasing magnesium intake is particularly effective for treating migraines in women.13

A Successful Combined Approach

Foods like nuts and fish that are a source of magnesium, vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10

Preventing and treating migraines sometimes requires a multifaceted approach.

Several nutrients that work via different mechanisms have shown clinical benefits.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10 have shown good results in people who suffer frequent migraines.

Riboflavin’s migraine benefits have been known for decades, and a comprehensive review of the medical literature concluded that riboflavin reduces migraine frequency.14

CoQ10 lowers levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide, which is a neuropeptide that causes the progression of migraines.15,16

In a clinical trial of patients suffering three or more migraines a month, patients were randomized to receive either a placebo or an oral combination of 600 mg magnesium, 400 mg riboflavin, and 150 mg CoQ10 daily along with a multivitamin with minerals for three months.17

Compared to those taking the placebo, patients receiving the nutrient combination reduced the number of days with migraines by almost two and had significantly reduced intensity of migraine pain.

Taken together, the data suggest that for many people, increasing magnesium intake could help prevent migraine attacks, and lessen their duration and severity.

Summary

Researchers studying brain scans of migraine afflicted patient before increasing magnesium

Migraines are debilitating headaches that can last up to three days.

Clinical trials have shown that magnesium can prevent and relieve migraines and is even more beneficial when combined with riboflavin and CoQ10.

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the human body, but almost half of all Americans are not getting enough.

Increasing magnesium intake may help many people prevent migraines and lessen their severity and duration.

What you need to know

Woman feeling relief from severe migraines with a nutrient combination supplement

Migraine Relief at Last

  • Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches that can last from a few hours to as long as three days.
  • Oral magnesium has been shown to decrease the number of migraine attacks as well as their duration and severity.
  • In two clinical trials, oral and intravenous magnesium were found to be as effective as different conventional migraine treatments.
  • A combination of magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and CoQ10 led to significantly decreased migraine pain intensity.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

  1. Available at: https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/. Accessed October 15, 2021.
  2. Gooch CL, Pracht E, Borenstein AR. The burden of neurological disease in the United States: A summary report and call to action. Ann Neurol. 2017 Apr;81(4):479-84.
  3. Qujeq D, Zandemami M, Ahanger AA, et al. Evaluation of intracellular magnesium and calcium concentration in patients with migraine. Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2012 Jan;17(1):85-6.
  4. Talebi M, Savadi-Oskouei D, Farhoudi M, et al. Relation between serum magnesium level and migraine attacks. Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2011 Oct;16(4):320-3.
  5. Sun-Edelstein C, Mauskop A. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine. Expert Rev Neurother. 2009 Mar;9(3):369-79.
  6. Available at: https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/usual/Usual_Intake_gender_WWEIA_2013_2016.pdf. Accessed October 15, 2021.
  7. DiNicolantonio JJ, Liu J, O’Keefe JH. Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Open Heart. 2018;5(2):e000775.
  8. de Baaij JH, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2015 Jan;95(1):1-46.
  9. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/. Accessed March 30, 2021.
  10. Karimi N, Razian A, Heidari M. The efficacy of magnesium oxide and sodium valproate in prevention of migraine headache: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Acta Neurol Belg. 2021 Feb;121(1):167-73.
  11. Kandil M, Jaber S, Desai D, et al. MAGraine: Magnesium compared to conventional therapy for treatment of migraines. Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Jan;39:28-33.
  12. Burch RC, Buse DC, Lipton RB. Migraine: Epidemiology, Burden, and Comorbidity. Neurol Clin. 2019 Nov;37(4):631-49.
  13. Meng SH, Wang MX, Kang LX, et al. Dietary Intake of Calcium and Magnesium in Relation to Severe Headache or Migraine. Front Nutr. 2021 March-05;8(83):653765.
  14. Thompson DF, Saluja HS. Prophylaxis of migraine headaches with riboflavin: A systematic review. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2017 Aug;42(4):394-403.
  15. Dahri M, Tarighat-Esfanjani A, Asghari-Jafarabadi M, et al. Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation in patients with migraine: Effects on clinical features and inflammatory markers. Nutr Neurosci. 2019 Sep;22(9):607-15.
  16. Ho TW, Edvinsson L, Goadsby PJ. CGRP and its receptors provide new insights into migraine pathophysiology. Nat Rev Neurol. 2010 Oct;6(10):573-82.
  17. Gaul C, Diener HC, Danesch U, et al. Improvement of migraine symptoms with a proprietary supplement containing riboflavin, magnesium and Q10: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. J Headache Pain. 2015;16:516.