The role of magnesium in the progression of migraines has been studied extensively. Magnesium concentration has an effect on migraine-related receptors in the brain as well as neurotransmitters. Evidence suggests that up to 50% of people with migraines have lowered levels of magnesium and that rapid magnesium replenishment provides sustained relief in such people. Studies have also found that oral magnesium supplementation may also reduce the frequency of migraine attacks (Mauskop et al. 1998).
In cases of children with migraines with low magnesium levels, it was found that a 20-day course of oral magnesium picolinate seemed to normalize 90% of the patients. The data suggest that low brain magnesium may be related to migraine headaches (Aloisi et al. 1997).
Overall, studies have shown that magnesium can reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of migraine attacks. Magnesium has an excellent safety profile for those with normal kidney and cardiac function.
Standard dosing for adults and children over 8 years old is typically 350-600 mg per day; taking too much magnesium or a poorly absorbable form (such as magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate) may cause loose stools or diarrhea. The most bioavailable and absorbable forms include magnesium gluconate, magnesium chloride, magnesium glycinate and magnesium picolinate.