How to Use Magnesium for Migraines

migraines and magnesium

Migraines + Me

I’ve mentioned before that I get migraines (Brityn gets them too and even more frequently than myself). I’ve had them since I was 11, but it’s never been so bad as it has been the last several years, especially during pregnancy. While pregnant with Graham, I got somewhere around 40 migraines in 40 weeks–all complete with visual aura (AKA where I go partially blind for 30+ minutes). It’s horrible! Not only do I feel bad, but I can’t drive or function completely, making parenting extra difficult.

I assumed that pregnancy triggered more migraines with its hormonal swings, along with getting much less sleep and mild dehydration on occasion. This pregnancy, my nurse midwife gave me some meds to use if I got a migraine to keep it from becoming a cluster migraine, but it didn’t prevent migraines from happening. The meds also contained caffeine, which is not helpful if I get a migraine in the later part of the day as the caffeine would keep me up and prevent me from getting less sleep–potentially triggering another migraine. The midwife also recommended upping my oral magnesium dosage, but I still got them sporadically. Everything I was reading about magnesium told me how ineffective it is absorbed when taken orally, unless you’re getting it from food sources. The reality is that I’m barely cooking these days and prioritizing magnesium-rich foods is just harder while pregnant and exhausted. I felt a little hopeless at moments, to be honest.

About two months ago, I saw a friend post about a topical magnesium spray on Facebook where she stated that she had gone from regularly occurring migraines to ZERO MIGRAINES IN SIX MONTHS of use. She wasn’t selling anything or part of some multi-level marketing group, and she wasn’t earning any sort of referral money. This friend just wanted to put some information out there for other migraine sufferers. For me, stumbling upon that post was a tender mercy straight from Heaven.

I’ve been more than six weeks now without a migraine since using EASE Magnesium spray by Activation Products. I’ve used it every day since getting it and have had plenty of triggers in that time: several nights of not enough sleep (I’m binging on library books late at night now that preschool is done), several days of not drinking enough water, and plenty of stress factors. Lots of triggers, but no migraines. Is this too good to be true? I don’t know yet, but I do plan to keep you posted. In the meantime, here’s some science on the matter.


Migraines + Magnesium Deficiency

True, overt magnesium deficiency is rare, but early signs include: “loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur [1,2]. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in hypocalcemia or hypokalemia (low serum calcium or potassium levels, respectively) because mineral homeostasis is disrupted [2].”

Magnesium inadequacy can occur when intakes fall below the [recommended daily amount] but are above the amount required to prevent overt deficiency. The following groups are more likely than others to be at risk of magnesium inadequacy because they typically consume insufficient amounts or they have medical conditions (or take medications) that reduce magnesium absorption from the gut or increase losses from the body…: people with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence and older adults.”

“Habitually low intakes of magnesium induce changes in biochemical pathways that can increase the risk of illness over time…: hypertension and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches.” Source for above information:

Migraines + Oral Magnesium

“Magnesium deficiency is related to factors that promote headaches, including neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction [52]. People who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of serum and tissue magnesium than those who do not.

However, research on the use of magnesium supplements to prevent or reduce symptoms of migraine headaches is limited. Three of four small, short-term, placebo-controlled trials found modest reductions in the frequency of migraines in patients given up to 600 mg/day magnesium [52]. The authors of a review on migraine prophylaxis suggested that taking 300 mg magnesium twice a day, either alone or in combination with medication, can prevent migraines [53].

In their evidence-based guideline update, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that magnesium therapy is “probably effective” for migraine prevention [54]. Because the typical dose of magnesium used for migraine prevention exceeds the UL, this treatment should be used only under the direction and supervision of a healthcare provider.” Source for above information:

Basically: magnesium levels recommended to keep migraines away can be above the recommended amount to take orally without bothersome side effects (i.e. gastrointestinal issues).

Migraines + Topical Magnesium

A 2010 study published in the European Journal for Neutraceutical Research states: “The therapeutic value of magnesium chloride as a transdermal application reaches well beyond the potential of dietary magnesium as it effectively saturates the tissues, delivering high concentrations of magnesium to where it is needed most i.e. at the cellular level, directly into the circulation, entering the tissue cells immediately” (source).

Another study from this year analyzed athletes’ and non-athletes’ use of transdermal magnesium and found “transdermal delivery of 56 mg Mg/day (a low dose compared with commercial transdermal Mg2+ products available) showed a larger percentage rise in both serum and urinary markers from pre to post intervention compared with subjects using the placebo cream” (source).

Basically: topical magnesium has scientifically shown to be absorbed well by the body with no side effects.

migraines and magnesium

If you’ve tried taking oral magnesium and are still dealing with migraines, would you be open to trying a topical variety? What do you have to lose? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments! Thanks for reading!

All presented information is my own opinion or linked to its medical source. I have no medical knowledge or training to replace your doctor’s professional advice. Always consult a medical professional before making any dietary changes or supplement additions.






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4 thoughts on “How to Use Magnesium for Migraines

  1. Thank you for the recommendation! I used to get about one a month and couldn’t function at all. That’s not helpful when you have young children. Luckily I seem to have broken that pattern and had my first one in over a year last week. I’m going to look into the spray.

  2. Thanks, Lee! I’ve been taking oral magnesium for a while now as magnesium has SO many benefits… but still experiencing migraines. I’m going to give the topical stuff a try.

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