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Twenty-five million Americans suffer from migraines. Statistically, more women experience migraines than men, especially in the twenty-to-fifty-year-old age group. The following biochemical events involving low magnesium have been identified in migraine sufferers and may set the stage for a migraine attack:
- In women who have not yet reached menopause, estrogen rises before the period, causing a shift of blood magnesium into bone and muscle. As a result, magnesium levels in the brain are lowered.
- When magnesium is low, it is unable to do its job to counteract the clotting action of calcium in the blood. Tiny blood clots are said to clog up brain blood vessels, leading to migraines. Several other substances that help create blood clots are increased when magnesium is too low.
- Similarly, magnesium inhibits excess platelet aggregation, preventing the formation of tiny clots that can block blood vessels and cause pain.
- Low brain magnesium promotes neurotransmitter hyperactivity and nerve excitation that can lead to headaches.
- Several conditions that trigger migraines are also associated with magnesium deficiency, including pregnancy, alcohol intake, diuretic drugs, stress, and menstruation.
- Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and allows them to dilate, reducing the spasms and constrictions that can cause migraines.
- Magnesium regulates the action of brain neurotransmitters and inflammatory substances, which may play a role in migraines when unbalanced.
- Magnesium relaxes muscles and prevents the buildup of lactic acid, which, along with muscle tension, can worsen head pain.
A group of 3,000 patients given a low dose of 200 mg of magnesium daily had an 80 percent reduction in their migraine symptoms. This 2001 study did not have a control group, so the results could be questioned, but it aroused a great deal of excitement and triggered a flurry of research on magnesium and migraines. Much of that research was done by Dr. Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center, working with Drs. Bella and Burton Altura, who have been studying migraines and migraine treatments for many years. This research team consistently found that magnesium is deficient in people with migraines and many other types of headaches and, even more important, that supplementing with magnesium alleviated headaches.
Another research team, using 300 mg of magnesium twice a day, treated eighty-one patients who suffered ongoing migraine headaches. The frequency of migraines was reduced by 41.6 percent in the magnesium group but by only 15.8 percent in a control group that received a placebo. The number of migraine days and drug consumption for pain also decreased significantly in the magnesium group. The researchers concluded that high-dose oral magnesium appears to be effective in migraine treatment and prevention.
In 2012, Dr. Mauskop had sufficient clinical success and had published enough about treating migraine with magnesium to title his paper “Why All Migraine Patients Should Be Treated with Magnesium.” Dr. Mauskop enthused that “all migraine sufferers should receive a therapeutic trial of magnesium supplementation.” As he explains, “A multitude of studies have proven the presence of magnesium deficiency in migraine patients.” Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have produced mixed results, but, as Dr. Mauskop writes, this is “most likely because both magnesium deficient and non-deficient patients were included in these trials.
Unlike other research papers that hem and haw when it comes to conclusions, Dr. Mauskop’s paper makes a declarative statement: “Considering that up to 50% of patients with migraines could potentially benefit from this extremely safe and very inexpensive treatment, it should be recommended to all migraine patients.”
Tonight on our internet based radio show, we’ll be talking with Dr. Carolyn Dean about Magnesium and Migraine Mechanisms along with a wide range of health topics and safe solutions. You will love hearing the beneficial interactions with our callers and hosts alike including the body/mind connection, identifying the ‘conflict’ in the ‘conflict basis’ of disease and much more!!