It was actually over 70 years ago that it was first suggested that there is a migraine magnesium link. Today, many migraineurs take a daily magnesium supplement, and supplements targeted to fight migraine (such as MigreLief) contain magnesium. Magnesium has also been used intravenously in the emergency room to abort migraine attacks. Still, there continues to be argument about whether or not a daily supplement helps.
In June 2008, the journal Magnesium Research reported on a study with migraine patients without aura. Patients were given either a 600mg magnesium citrate supplement, or a placebo. The researchers used a number of techniques, including brain mapping and measurement of migraine attack frequency and severity.
Researchers found two interesting things. First, the patients with migraine on magnesium actually did have fewer and less severe attacks. Also, there was an increase in blood flow to certain parts of the brain in these patients. Somehow the magnesium is causing changes in the brain, and those changes are benefiting the migraineurs.
Taking magnesium for migraine
Notice that the type of magnesium in this study was magnesium citrate. I’ve always recommended the "ate" types of magnesium, such as citrate, because they tend to be better absorbed.
Secondly, the study used a 600mg supplement. The general recommendation for migraine has been 300-400mg. I suggest you try at least 400mg (many multivitamins contain 50-100mg, so you can take both). I recommend the Ultra-Mag Magnesium complex from Source Naturals, which contains a combination of magnesium citrate, taurinate, malate, glycinate, and succinate.
When I first read about this study at Dr. Alexander Mauskop’s blog, I wanted to double check the relationship between calcium and magnesium (Dr. Mauskop is the Director and founder of the New York Headache Center). He was gracious enough to confirm what my research had already told me. For migraine, do not buy a calcium/magnesium blend. Basically, it works like this. If you need calcium, take the calcium/magnesium because it will help the calcium absorb better. But take a separate supplement of magnesium at another meal for migraine. The magnesium will not absorb well in the presence of the calcium.
Again, if you need the calcium, take the calcium/magnesium blend at another meal. Always take the magnesium for migraine without calcium.