Magnesium Deficiency and Headaches

Magnesium deficiency can cause headaches, often called magnesium headaches. These magnesium headaches can be recurrent and migratory, meaning they can move around the head and body as your magnesium levels fluctuate. If you’re someone that suffers from chronic headaches, Magnesium Deficiency and Headaches might be a cause worth exploring. Talk to your doctor about getting a magnesium test to determine if magnesium deficiency is a factor contributing to your headaches.

Magnesium Deficiency can cause many different symptoms and have grave consequences if left untreated. It can lead to fatigue, stomach cramps, nausea, and poor stress management as well as long term bone health issues and increased risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. It is important to know the signs of magnesium deficiency and see your doctor for testing if needed. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains and legumes are recommended in order to maintain magnesium levels in the body.

magnesium deficiency and headaches

Magnesium is an essential mineral that ensures several physiological functions of the body. This mineral interferes with bone mineral density, blood pressure, and cardiac rhythm.

Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is quite common in the general population, precipitating symptoms such as chronic fatigue, anorexia (i.e., loss of appetite), muscle cramping, and digestive trouble (e.g., nausea, vomiting).

In fact, reports state that 75% of Americans are not getting sufficient amounts of magnesium through their diets.

Additionally, most people are unaware of the connection between magnesium deficiency and headaches. 

How does magnesium deficiency cause headaches?

According to research, magnesium deficiency is often present in people with migraines relative to headache-free individuals.

In one study, researchers found that regular intake of magnesium drops the incidence of migraine headaches by up to 41.6%. Furthermore, the daily intake of magnesium supplements helps patients with menstrual-related migraines.

Based on this data, some doctors prescribe magnesium oxide as a preventive treatment of migraines. Generally speaking, the recommended dosage ranges from 400 to 500 milligrams per day; this can be taken orally or injected intravenously in the form of magnesium sulfate.

Compared to conventional migraine treatments, which carry several adverse effects, magnesium supplements are very safe for regular use.

Interestingly, high blood pressure often causes headaches, especially in extreme cases.

Chronic blood hypertension is a very common medical condition that wreaks havoc on all organ systems, including the brain (e.g., headaches), heart (e.g., heart failure), and blood vessels (e.g., atherosclerosis).

This condition has several risk factors and complex pathophysiology that’s constantly changing.

Fortunately, magnesium can dramatically improve blood pressure, which eventually reduces the risk of migraine headaches. In a 2009 study, people who took 450 mg of magnesium per day had lower levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

However, these benefits were only present in people with chronic hypertension.

For people who are not interested in dietary supplements, you can always opt for naturally-occurring magnesium.

The richest foods in magnesium are dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, chard), which can hold up to 40% of the recommended daily value of magnesium with just one cup.

You can also find magnesium in the following foods:

  • Seeds (e.g., pumpkin, squash seeds)
  • Mackerel, tuna, and Pollock fish
  • Almonds
  • Low-fat yogurt or kefir
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Avocado
  • Figs
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate

If you are unsure about your magnesium status, you can always consult with your primary care physician, who may ask for blood tests to evaluate your nutritional state.

Magnesium deficiency is an extremely important problem that predisposes people to several health problems, including chronic headaches.

Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the role of magnesium in headaches and migraines. 

If you still have unanswered questions or concerns about magnesium deficiency and headaches, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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