Should You Be Taking Magnesium?
About 67% of American are deficient in magnesium. This may be because Americans are not consuming enough magnesium in their diets, because they are not absorbing the Magnesium the eat in food, or because they are in higher than normal need for Magnesium. Whatever the case, Magnesium deficiency has been implected in a variety of illnesses. Magnesium is tied to other nutrients in the body, and many conditions.
Two doubleblind studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraine. Research studies have found that magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors, and also have an effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release, as well as on NMDA receptors—all brain structures and chemicals suspected to be important in migraine. In small studies, both migraine and cluster headache patients have responded acutely to intravenous magnesium. In a larger double-blind controlled study, the treatment group, receiving 600mg of magnesium for a 12 week period, experienced a 41.6% reduction in headaches as compared to only 15.8% reduction in migraine headaches in the placebo group.This IV can give instant relief for Migraine headaches and acute back pain without drowsiness.
What Does Magnesium Do?
It is responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions in the body. It is required for synthesizing proteins in the mitochondria, and for generating energy in most of the body’s basic cellular reactions. It is necessary for several steps in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Magnesium is also present in a number of other important enzymes. As important as it is intracellularly, 60% of the body’s magnesium is present in bone, and 27% in muscle.
If you decide to take supplemental magnesium, start at 400-500 mg/day in divided doses. The limiting factor for most people is diarrhea. If you are on a migraine preventative medication that is constipating, like amitriptyline or verapamil, this might be a plus.
WARNING: If you have heart disease or kidney disease, or are prone to kidney stones, talk to your doctor before starting on calcium and/or magnesium.
To be metabolized effectively, magnesium must be taken with calcium. The amount of calcium should be no more than double the amount of magnesium— this is the ratio commonly recommended for women. Men may require less calcium, and sometimes take a ratio of calcium-magnesium that is equivalent mg/mg.
Many people take in only 60-70% of the recommended daily allowance in the first place, and then things like stress and caffeine can deplete that further throughout the day. Migraine sufferers have been found to have a relative magnesium deficiency in their bloodstream between migraine attacks, and intracellular magnesium levels drop even further during a migraine attack.
Magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium sulfate are bioavailable—look for mixed salts of these forms, or magnesium gluconate, which is ionized, and is biologically active; if you develop diarrhea from those forms of magnesium, look for chelated magnesium.
Magnesium carbonate dissolved in CO2- rich water is 30% more bioavailable than magnesium found in foods or in pill-format.
Foods Rich In Magnesium
- Brown rice
- Hazel nuts*
- Blackstrap molasses
- Soy beans*
- Cocoa powder*
- Cooked artichoke
- Black-eyed peas
- Whole-grain cereals
- Cooked okra
- Beet greens
- Acorn squash
- Swiss chard
- Tomato paste
- Sweet potato
- Pumpkin seeds
- Peanut butter*
- Split peas
- Kiwi fruit*
- Baked potato
*These can trigger migraines for some people
National Institute of Health: ods.od.nih.gov
Linus Pauling Institute: lpi.oregonstate.edu
Magnesium supplementation: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Magnesium for Tension headaches: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
MG for chronic fatigue: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
National Institute of Health: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov