Migraines due to a magnesium deficiency

Written by Nigel Simpkins

You are young. You are physically active. You are healthy. You are out of school and ready to take on college life. However, you tend to get a migraine almost once a month. This may hinder your studies and even your social life. Luckily, there are ways to prevent a migraine from happening.

In many cases, a migraine may be due to a magnesium deficiency. There are many ways to get your magnesium levels up to where it should be. You can start by consuming magnesium-rich foods. However, if you are looking at supplementing with magnesium or using a natural migraine supplement, is the first place you should look. It provides the best in-depth reports for many supplements which will help you make an informed decision on what to choose.

All you need to know about migraines

A migraine is characterised by a throbbing pain and intense sensation that is usually on the one side of the head. It can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even temporary loss of sight. This loss of sight is called an aura. Persons who have experienced this say that they see flashing lights, blind spots, or zigzag patterns. It usually comes first and the pain in the head follows. A migraine attack can last from anywhere between 4 and 72 hours – however, you can feel tired for about a week after such an attack.

For many years, migraines are believed to be related to a change in the flow of blood in the brain. A migraine starts when overactive nerve cells in the brain send out signals that activate other nerves that supply sensation to the head and face. This causes certain chemicals to be released (i.e. serotonin) that in turn cause certain blood vessels in the brain to swell – resulting in inflammation and pain.

The main cause of migraines is not well understood. However, depending on your age, gender, genes and circumstances, different things can trigger the onset of a migraine. Below are a few common triggers:

  • Stress – The change from school to college, new environment, new responsibilities and the pressure of succeeding or even fitting in may all be very stressful.
  • Food and beverages – The change in what you consume, for example, alcohol and caffeine, as well as foods high in nitrates (such as hot dogs and lunch meats).
  • Too little sleep – You may be studying too hard or even partying too hard. Remember, just because you are not a “kid” anymore, does not mean your body does not need rest.
  • Skipping meals/fasting – This may be due to the busy life that has recently hit you, however, it could negatively affect your body in certain cases.
  • Magnesium deficiency – This could be due to a low nutritional intake, loss of magnesium due to stress, inability to absorb magnesium or even during training.
  • Hormonal changes in women – This is usually during the menstrual cycle.
  • Physical factors – Intense training or even sexual activity may cause the onset of a migraine.

How can magnesium help?

Studies have shown that persons with a migraine tend to have low levels of magnesium in the brain, which may be due to a lack of absorption from food. Studies have also shown low levels of brain and spinal fluid magnesium levels between attacks. In other cases, magnesium may prevent the narrowing of brain blood vessels caused by serotonin (as mentioned above). Also, evidence has shown that a magnesium deficiency can impair exercise performance due to strenuous training. However, it is a vicious circle, because more training can cause an even bigger decrease in magnesium. As a result, you may feel tired and weak. This may also cause a lack of sleep. Thus, if you think you are healthy and fit – you may be deceiving yourself.

Because magnesium has been recommended due to its safety profile and lack of serious side effects, it is wise to choose a natural migraine supplement that provides a safe and effective dosage of magnesium. Other methods of increasing magnesium levels are through consuming foods high in magnesium. These are usually foods that contain fibre such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats. Other sources include tuna, kale, avocado, broccoli and dark chocolate, just to name a few.