Millions of Americans suffer from frequent headaches or migraines every year. Whether you have frequent headaches that are an annoying and painful inconvenience or you have debilitating migraines, avoiding them is probably top priority. Sadly, for many, avoiding headaches or migraines is not possible and all you can do is hope to mitigate the pain and discomfort. The Migraine Research Foundation reports on the staggering number of people who suffer from migraines, “Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine. Amazingly, over 12% of the population – including children – suffers from migraine. That’s more than diabetes and asthma combined!” There are a variety of prescriptions available to treat the symptoms of migraines, but not many to help prevent migraines from occurring in the first place. What may help prevent migraines is, in fact, not a prescription drug but a natural substance – magnesium.
Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a critical role in over 300 different chemical reactions in the human body. Magnesium rich foods include spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate, bananas, soybeans, sesame seeds, quinoa, cashews, summer squash and navy beans. In addition to food sources, magnesium can be consumed by taking nutritional supplements. The University of Maryland Medical Center describes how magnesium can be used to prevent and treat migraines, as well as the research that supports it, ” People with migraines often have lower levels of magnesium than people who do not have migraines, and several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels of magnesium. In one study, people who took magnesium reduce the frequency of attacks by 41.6%, compared to 15.8% in those who took placebo. Some studies also suggest that magnesium may help women whose migraines are triggered by their periods. Side effects from magnesium can include lower blood pressure and diarrhea. Magnesium can interact with medications, including heart medications, diuretics or water pills, some antibiotics, and muscle relaxers.” Many doctors are recommending magnesium as an alternative or supplement to prescription medications, particularly for patients who have other health conditions that may interact with prescription medications. Unfortunately, as WebMD notes, while often effective, it may take some time to see results so you have to be patient, ” She recommends magnesium “more than other supplements, and have found it to have the most robust effect in preventing migraines,” she says. You have to take magnesium for three months to get a benefit, says DeRossett. “People sometimes give up on it too soon.” Taking the correct dosage is important as well: 500 mg magnesium.” Before beginning any new medications or supplements, it is important to consult your physician who can offer advice based on your personal health history.