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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 OrganicNewsroom.com:

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 OrganicNewsroom.com: “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 OrganicNewsroom.com: “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!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • skcw
    3 months ago

    Great article! Thank you!

  • rachelmargaret
    2 years ago

    I have used Natural Calm in the past with good results. It is a water soluble ionic magnesium citrate (2 tsp = 325 mg of magnesium). The company claims that this particular preparation is “highly absorbable.” I liked it b/c I could keep my water bottle full of magnesium water, getting a high and continual dose throughout the day. It also did not cause me stomach upset.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Nice Rachel! That’s great to know. We’re glad you’re here!

  • VickiP
    2 years ago

    I have suffered with migraines for 40+ years.
    When I was diagnosed 4 years ago with breast cancer I was concerned about having migraines during my chemotherapy and/or radiation days. Both have a strict schedule to follow in order to get the best results. My neurologist suggested I begin taking one magnesium nitrate pill daily, which I did.
    I use an app for my migraine diary and I was amazed that my migraines decreased from 15 a month to 1 or even zero a month! I stopped taking magnesium after months of treatment, but had to continue one chemo med, herceptin, for a full year. Surprisingly, my headaches were still zero to one a month even without magnesium! Believe it or not, after my year of chemo ended, my headaches increased back to approx. 15 or so a month.The good news is that the herceptin did not have side effects for me. A friend said that I was the only one she knew who WANTED to keep taking my chemo med herceptin. I want to get the word out to the medical field. Studies should be done. This is how medicines meant for other treatments are discovered to work for something else! I would gladly go for a 30 minute injection every 3 weeks to avoid chronic migraines. Wouldn’t you?

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Wow Vicki P! That is super fascinating. I am so sorry about your diagnosis, but yes, I would definitely go for an injection every three weeks. I went for an injection every 4 weeks during my CGRP clinical trials, and you’re absolutely right, it is how it was discovered about those other medicines. Botox, for example! Thanks so much for being here!

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    7 months ago

    Hi again VickiP! Yes, i’m still here, no longer in a cgrp clinical trial but using Ajovy, as Aimovig proved unsuccessful and even (I think) caused some side effects. But I am writing an article right now about a friend of mine whose life has been changed by Aimovig, and i’m glad you’re having good luck so far! Thanks so much for checking in! ❤️

  • VickiP
    7 months ago

    Hi Elizabeth. If you are still a moderator/author on this website, I just wanted to ask you how the CGRP trial was for you. I have only had 1 injection of Aimovig, but I am feeling pretty good about this. I don’t want to jump the gun. I need to wait it out. So far so good!

  • Azure Fire
    2 years ago

    I’ve been taking Butterbur extract 50 mg for more than 7 years. It’s helpful for me. Admittedly, I still have my Maxalt, but this supplement has been a good thing for me. I also have a really nice essential oil aromatherapy roll-on in my purse at all times! It’s got lavender, rosemary & mint. When I begin to feel a migraine creeping up, I take my Maxalt & use this roll-on above my eyebrow bone & on my cheekbone. I also wave the open roll-on a few inches below my nose to give me a little bit of an extra push to Alleviate the pain. As always chamomile tea helps too.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Azure Fire! I tried Butterbur and had side effects, which I think is sort of unusual. I’m so glad it’s helping you! Lavender and rosemary bother me but I love peppermint and have some by my bed, in the bathroom, and my purse. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Wiff
    2 years ago

    Sorry Elizabeth, missed your reply.. yes, I ordered it from amazon. Amazon uk though so my links won’t be useful….

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thanks Wiff! I might check it out!

  • Wiff
    2 years ago

    Have you tried magnesium chloride baths? I have had amazing success with them (still taking some tablet form magnesium, but less). I don’t absorb minerals well through food, and I’ve always felt much better when I’ve been staying somewhere I can swim in the sea every day, but I never twigged it could be because I was topping up my magnesium! I’d recommend it heartily, and who doesn’t like a warm bath before bed anyway?! Sorted my restless leg and insomnia too…

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Okay, wow, I did not know that there were different types of Magnesium salts for bathing / dissolving in water. Thank you for that information! Do you have to order the Mg chloride online? I just checked my spray and you’re absolutely right, it is chloride as well. It’s amazing how this complicated topic reveals itself to be more and more complex as the comments continue! I am learning a lot.

  • Wiff
    2 years ago

    Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate, not chloride. It may have no practical difference for most people, but I am very wary of anything with sulphur as that’s a good trigger for me, and the chloride is better absorbed. Most sprays are the chloride, I believe. Magnesium is something that I seem to really need a lot of, not only the migraines but cramps, restless leg, poor sleep.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hello Wiff! I have tried epsom salt baths, which I believe is the same thing. 🙂 But even better, I like the spray magnesium I ordered online. It even works for my pre-teen daughter’s foot and leg cramps. I definitely agree that the more methods of administration we can come up with for this important mineral, the better. Thank you for being here!

  • adtowe
    2 years ago

    I’m so glad your wrote this article! So many people I talk to – migraneurs and doctors alike – have no idea that there is a difference! I did my research and have come to the same conclusion that Mg taurate is the best for migraines because it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

    For those of you looking for a reliable, allergen free Magnesium taurate, I highly recommend Douglas Laboratories Magnesium Taurate 400! You can find it on Amazon for about $20 and it is Prime eligible! Be aware: these are HORSE pills! But easy to swallow and definitely worth it! I started by taking 100mg (1 pill) and after a few days worked up to 200mg (2 pills) and am now working up to 300mg – 400 mg (3-4 pills.)

    BE CAUTIONED! Taking magnesium supplement can lessen absorption of other medicines, so it’s best to take it 2 hours before or after taking something else. Because these are quite large pills, I am trying to take 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening with my other meds around lunch or when I’m home from work. Always take Mg WITH FOOD for best results.

    Hope this helps!

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much adtowe for being here, and for your comment! I love how easy it is now to order any type of supplement online – it makes it so much easier for us to experiment and figure out (with our doctors) what works best for us. Take care!

  • vostie
    2 years ago

    I have had good results with Jigsaw Mag with SRT. It is time released so I do not have any gastro-intestinal side effects. I have worked up to 6 pills a day which is 750 mg of magnesium as Dimagnesium Malate. All other forms of magnesium really had significant side effects.

    No matter what form of magnesium you try, cycle up slowly as the “explosive” side effect of magnesium can hit you very hard.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Vostie, I am so glad you have also found a magnesium which works for you! Right now I am trying Malate during the first part of the day, and Glycinate in the second part to see if it helps my insomnia. And I actually saw online a blend of Malate, Taurate, and Glycinate! It’s nice to have so many options. 🙂 take care and thanks for being here!

  • GardensatNight
    2 years ago

    Oh wow. So that’s like 3750 mg per day total? That’s a lot more than I currently take. I only take 900mg since they give me 1000mg at the infusion center. Maybe that’s why I’m not seeing any benefit.

  • pwrnapper
    2 years ago

    I was reading more on the Vitacost Mag Taurate, which states 1250 mg per capsule, however I understand the body only absorbs 200 mg daily. The absorption rate is around 9%, which converts the 2500 recommended dose down to 200 mg per day, if that makes sense. One of those marketing gimicks saying 2500 mg is the dosage. For migraines and clusters how much are we supposed to take, absorb per day, I heard 900-1000 mg per day somewhere, anyone know for sure?

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Okay, this has been bothering me so I looked closer at the bottle of Magnesium Malate and for some reason the mg on the front is not the per tablet mg, it’s the total recommended dose per day. So 1250 is the total dose if you take three, and like you, 1000 is what I’ve been given in infusions. (I had one years ago and another in the ER recently). Phew!

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    This is what I was able to find on our site. Obviously this lists a much lower amount but also says magnesium oxide, which I know is not the best type. I would definitely 1) follow the directions on the type you purchase, and 2) talk to the doctor that provides most of your migraine care. Even if your doc doesn’t really know much about magnesium supplementation, at least s/he will know you are taking it and can let you know if there are any contraindications for you personally.

    Here is something “funny” which kind of horrified me yesterday after I left these comments. When I reordered from Amazon, I accidentally ordered the PREVIOUS magnesium type I was trying, the Magnesium Malate. I hadn’t been doing well so with brain fog and everything else I didn’t notice. I finally realized as I was checking the dosage for you yesterday. The conclusion is that it is NOT the magnesium taurate which seemed to work best it was the magnesium malate, for me personally anyway.

    https://migraine.com/blog/magnesium-for-migraine/

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Gardens, let me find an article for you that discusses the immense amount of magnesium often recommended for migraine. The bottle I have does list 1 – 3 as what to take and 1250 mg per tablet, but I want to make sure you have access to all the information! I’ll go do a search now 🙂

  • GardensatNight
    2 years ago

    What dosage do you take of the Magnesium Taurate? I have tried a bunch of different magnesiums but nothing works as well as when I get it by IV in the infusion center. I think I will order a bottle of this to try when my current mag runs out.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    It is 1250 mg per (huge) tablet with a recommendation of 1 – 3 per day. I take 3 per day. I want to point out too that Magnesium Malate also worked pretty well. Either Malate or Taurate would probably be worth trying! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • LAnnSmith
    2 years ago

    Thanks for this article, I needed to order more and changed to a different formulation. It’s probably time for a big review of everything, supplements and Rx. You have me thinking I should look into everything a little more deeply.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    LAnn, I have an embarrassing update. When I ran out of the taurate, I accidentally re-ordered my previous type, magnesium malate, and didn’t realize until yesterday. Therefore for me personally it is the malate that seems to be working after all. Like I said, it still could be coincidence, but malate is what I was taking throughout the spring too when I was doing a lot better and assumed it was all from my CGRP trial. I just wanted to make sure to update you with that information! And of course it could be something else making me feel better. We never really know, do we?

  • LAnnSmith
    1 year ago

    Thanks for the update. Malate is easier for me to find so that’s what I’ve been taking and it seems to work fine for me. I didn’t qualify for the CGRP trial near me because of having too many migraines. I’m looking forward to its release AND approval by my insurance.

  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi LAnn! Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment. The timing of the publication of this article is interesting, because I’d run out of my first bottle of Magnesium Taurate and during my awful last month only had it for the first two weeks. When I finally ordered more, I noticed a difference right away! I haven’t had a migraine in almost a week. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I’m going to keep taking it! Good luck with your review and let us know how you’re doing!

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