Following a diet high in magnesium may be beneficial for preventing migraine headaches, as it dilates blood vessels in the brain and releases certain neurotransmitters that reduce pain. Up to 50% of people with an acute migraine attack have low levels of magnesium.
The role of magnesium in migraine headaches
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of migraine headaches. Researchers have found that people who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of both serum and tissue magnesium. Magnesium deficiency may cause headaches because:[1,2]
- blood vessels in the brain narrow
- certain neurotransmitters in the brain that cause pain are released
Do I need magnesium supplements to prevent headaches?
The recommended daily intake of magnesium for most people is up to 420 mg.
Studies have shown that taking 300 mg of magnesium twice a day can prevent migraines. Moreover, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society say that magnesium supplementation is probably effective for migraine prevention.
People with regular migraine headaches tend to have lower serum magnesium levels than people with no migraine problems.
It’s estimated that up to 50% of migraine patients are deficient in magnesium!
Why should I depend on food for magnesium?
But, we should be very cautious with high doses of magnesium from supplements. Excessive intake of magnesium from supplements can have various side effects. A daily supplementation with 350 mg is considered pretty safe, though.
Magnesium supplementation is a cheap and easy way to relieve migraine headaches.
You can find a wide variety of magnesium supplements at unbeatable prices on iHerb.
On the other hand, too much magnesium from food doesn’t pose a health risk in healthy people. The kidneys can remove effectively excess amounts in the urine.
So, it’s preferred to follow a diet rich in magnesium in order to maintain normal concentrations.
Certainly, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
Foods rich in magnesium
Eating foods high in magnesium is the best way to prevent migraine headaches.
Almonds, peanuts, spinach, cashews, whole-grain cereals, beans, and even rice and potatoes are good sources of magnesium. You should eat them regularly if you’re sensitive to migraine headaches.
(mg per 100g)
(mg per 100g)
|rice, brown, cooked
Actually, the richest foods in magnesium are seeds, nuts, and legumes. So, try to consume lots of these foods to prevent migraine headaches! Additionally, a diet high in magnesium helps us lose weight.
Also, water can contribute to the daily magnesium intake!
Phytate-rich foods, like beans and tea, may inhibit magnesium absorption, though. Avoid consuming them when taking magnesium supplements.
Moreover, almonds are the richest plant-based food in riboflavin (vitamin B2). Riboflavin helps relieve migraine pain as well, as it reduces inflammation in nerves.