Magnesium Supplementation for Migraine

Within the migraine community on Facebook I’ve seen much confusion about magnesium supplementation. With good reason! I was told as early as high school that taking a magnesium supplement would be a good idea for anyone suffering from migraine, along with Vitamin B2. However, I learned quickly that the grocery store magnesium citrate my parents were able to purchase caused lots of uncomfortable stomach issues so I stopped taking it.

With the availability of ordering everything and anything online, and with chronic migraine fully in effect for me by the late 2000s, I began to experiment with different types of oral magnesium. I successfully began ordering a 200 mg capsule of Vitamin B2, which enabled me to take only one easy-to-swallow pill per day. Magnesium was never that easy. I had only once received an infusion of magnesium in the hospital and had read some research that stated that no form of oral magnesium was really ideal, especially compared to receiving it IV. But the neurologist at the University of Michigan told me to take magnesium glycinate. Then Connie, my neurologist’s assistant, told me “any form was fine” and I was supposed to take it for pain relief, which sounded highly suspicious to me.

Magnesium types

I decided to delve further into some research about different types. One of my biggest issues is fatigue, and I read that magnesium malate is excellent for energy, so that is the type I’ve been taking for a couple of years. Here is what I learned today on

Magnesium Citrate – a combination of magnesium and citric acid, often used to prepare patients for colonoscopy or to regulate bowel issues.

Magnesium Glycinate – very bioavailable and usually the best option for quick recovery from standard magnesium deficiency; causes low digestive side effects.

Magnesium Oxide – less bioavailable, so used for stomach issues like sour stomach, constipation, and acid reflux.

Magnesium Taurate – magnesium combined with the amino acid Taurine. In my research today, it is looking like this is the best type for migraine, so I may switch. According to “Research has shown that Taurine in itself has been able to reduce the risk of heart attacks by 80%, balance electrolyte levels, and promote healthy immune function.” When combined with magnesium, the supplements have demonstrated the ability to treat cases of depression, promote vascular health, and prevent neurodegenerative disorders and migraines. Sounds good to me!

Magnesium Malate – This is magnesium combined with malic acid, which is the type I have been taking. It has been shown in studies to improve fatigue-related conditions. I must say, I have still been awfully tired.

Magnesium Theronate – a relatively new form of magnesium that was formulated specifically to be more bioavailable to the brain to treat neurodegenetive diseases like Alzheimer’s. Again from “It’s marketed as being a nootropic, capable of enhancing cognitive functions such as short-term memory, as well as overall alertness. Magnesium Theronate is the only compound discussed in this article that is considered to be a synthetic – meaning someone holds a patent restricting the ability of other companies to manufacture it. For this reason, Magnesium Theronate is often seen to be more expensive than other forms of the mineral.”

As with any other type of supplement you take, the most important thing is to discuss it first with your doctor. Research is still rather conflicted about oral magnesium relieving migraine, but it is something that might definitely be worth a try!

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