Magnesium for Migraine (graphic)

Magnesium for Migraine

We’ve known about a link between migraine and magnesium for over 70 years.
Researchers now believe that magnesium is one of the best preventative treatments for migraine.

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Try a for 3 months to see if it helps
  • Take between 400 and 1200mg per day (if possible in 2 or 3 doses)
  • Start with a low dosage and raise it slowly
  • Do not take with calcium (check the label!)
  • If you get diarrhea, try a different type of magnesium or lower the dose
  • Eat foods high in magnesium (ie dark green leafy vegetables, beans)

For recommended brands & advice from other migraineurs, check here:

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13 comments… add one
  • Johnny Angel Jul 8, 2013

    I was on Magnesium for my severe migraine problem for about 6 months – did absolutely nothing for me.

  • Before I began with 600 mg magnesium per day, I had around 20 migraine days/month, now I have around 6 migraine days/month =)

    (I have eaten it around a year…) So for me magnesium gave my life back =)

  • Kerry Craig Jul 8, 2013

    It didn’t help me either. :-/

  • Theresa Maddox Jul 8, 2013

    Took it over 20 yrs, nothing for me either, BUT many women are deficient in mag, so it’s def worth the try!

  • I’m curious: What is your source for the assertion that patients cannot take both magnesium and calcium?

    Based on my understanding, this is not correct.

    For example, Dr. Andrew Weil does not believe this:

    There is nothing about it in Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s great info about herbs and supplements:

    Finally, for what it’s worth, I think it’s important to cite sources if you want your readers to be able to trust your information.

    • James Jul 9, 2013

      Hi Diana,

      Always great to hear from you!

      As always, the graphic above is a brief summary, so it’s hard to know exactly what information to include.

      I did extensive research into magnesium when I first started to recommend it. It’s actually a pretty complex topic when it comes to migraine, as I’m sure you know!

      I took a look at the articles you linked to, and they didn’t have a lot to say about calcium and magnesium, except that they are related and balance each other. However, it is true that most magnesium supplements you find in the store will also contain calcium. Basically, it’s because of this balance and how they’re absorbed when they’re taken separately and together.

      To clarify what I said above, they should not be taken together – in other words, at the same time. If you’re taking a calcium supplement or calcium/magnesium supplement, they should be taken at a different time of day. In other words, taking magnesium for migraine does not mean you can’t take calcium at all.

      Taking magnesium for migraine is different than taking it or calcium for other reasons. This has to do with how they interact and balance. When my research was leading me to this conclusion, I corresponded with Dr. Alexander Mauskop of the New York Headache Clinic, because I knew he had done extensive research on magnesium specifically for migraine. He confirmed this and added the suggestion that calcium simply be taken at another time of day.

      You’re right, I should write a longer article explaining this a little more, talking about how the balance works and how different types of magnesium supplements work better for migraine. I hope that’s a bit of a help in the mean time. 🙂

  • i take 2 every night but has never done anything for migraine

  • Rhiannon Morgayne Jul 10, 2013

    Magnesium IV works, but is hard to get, unless you can afford a Naturopath, which I can’t. It only works IV.

  • Becky Adkins Branch Jul 10, 2013

    You need to combine it with the other vitamins – 400 mg of B2, B Complex and CoQ10

  • Carol Halford Sep 26, 2013

    Thank you James for your endless efforts at providing info for migraineurs. I think it should be noted that dark chocolate contains a WHOLE lot of magnesium. But….that might be the very trigger for a migraine. Just thought I’d point that out. My migraines aren’t triggered by any foods so it works for me (smile)

  • Laura Dec 23, 2013

    Unfortunately, Mg never worked for me either. I was on it for 2 years. Nothing changed in my migraine frequency or the amount of pain.

  • Trista Jun 16, 2014

    Magnesium and avoiding chocolate and caffeine works for me. I had sever chronic daily migraines for about 8 months 7 years ago. I was working with a neurologist who tried Topamax, Depakote, and a blood preasure medication (I can’t remember which one), all of which had very little effect. I found this site and read and read. Finally I decided to start trying magnesium because it was simple and inexpensive and wouldn’t hurt anything. I quite the blood pressure medication and started taking Magnesium. It took the edge of the first day and each day they got better. It took a couple months to get to were I was not having the headaches regularly but they became less intense and I was able to get back to life. It also helped with my auras. I have the migraine that causes stroke symptoms such as loss of use in arms and legs and issues with speech. So having those symptoms disappear was great.

    I no longer take it daily, but if I can catch it really early on, if I take magnesium it stops my headache. If I don’t catch it fast enough, then I take Tylenol and magnesium. Tylenol never did a thing for the pain of a migraine before I used magnesium with it.

    For me, 500 mg seems to be enough. Even my daughter takes magnesium for her migraines and has since she was 5. She takes 200-250 mg depending on which one we find. We talked to her pediatrician about it and she thought it was a great idea. She has had abdominal migraines since she was an infant, of course I had no idea till I started researching migraines to get some relief for me. She also avoids chocolate and caffeine. She has become so sick to the stomach from dark chocolate that she threw up that same day. Regular chocolate she would throw up 3 days later and we had not clue why she was throwing up because there was no illness or link to what she ate that day.

    • Melissa Jun 18, 2014

      I agree with Trista; no caffeine, not even decaf anything (tea or coffee); no chocolate, and I do take one of the OTC magnesium tablets (a blend of things) twice a day. This is the first summer (and I live in the south) where I haven’t had lots of headaches. Still keep Relpax handy but take one only twice a month, maybe? This is wonderful. My migraines are not typical; usually pain in forehead, above my nose.

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