If you struggle with frequent migraine headaches, you know they're no joke — but neither is magnesium when it comes to relief.
"Magnesium has a great reputation as a safe and effective supplement that can help to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks when taken preventively, as well as potentially relieve symptoms during an attack when taken as needed," Dr. Frederick Godley, MD, an otolaryngologist and the president of the Association of Migraine Disorders, says.
Dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbances, and sinus pressure are just a few of the symptoms Dr. Godley mentions. He also says that magnesium can help conditions that often coincide with migraines like anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia.
Dr. Godley backs his positive claims by explaining how the right dosage of the mineral can increase cell energy production and reduce neural excitability and blood vessel constriction.
Before beelining it to the vitamin section of your local pharmacy (that means closing the Amazon tab, too!), know that Dr. Godley considers magnesium a drug that shouldn't be taken lightly.
"Because of the way that vitamins and minerals are marketed, it is easy to forget that they are really another chemical that has the potential to help and hurt us," he says.
I can't stress enough how important it is to have a conversation with your doctor to see if magnesium is right for you.
Despite how magical it sounds, magnesium isn't going to provide you instant relief. According to Dr. Godley, the average person needs to take daily supplemental magnesium (about 400 mg per day — more could cause diarrhea) for 3-4 months to know if it works for them.
And know that most multivitamins do not contain enough magnesium to affect a migraine — it's up to your doctor to create a program that works for you. Dr. Godley's two solutions are combining magnesium with an organic mineral to help with absorption (think magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium oil spray, and amino acid magnesium chelates) or eating magnesium-heavy food like nuts, legumes, and soy milk.
The good news is that within reason, magnesium can often be combined safely with other migraine medications, too.
"Magnesium can have interaction with over 200 drugs. That being said, there are only five drugs that qualify as a major concern," Dr. Godley says.
That's why he always urges you to talk to a medical professional before deciding if magnesium is right for you — especially if you're taking blood pressure medicines, antibiotics, muscle relaxants, or (pay close attention here!) you have kidney dysfunction.
Now that you've reached your research quota for the day, it could be time to call your doctor in for backup — because (safe!) relief from painful migraines is worth all of this investigating.