This mineral may hold the key

ANTI-MIGRANE Eat magnesium-rich food like leafy greens, nuts, nuts, dark chocolate, seeds, and whole grain to quell the inflammatory condition

Do you experience severe throbbing and pulsating pain predominantly on one side of your head? Are you sensitive to light and sound? Do you have episodes of nausea and vomiting? You may be one of the many migraineurs who suffer from the debilitating and excruciatingly painful headache known as migraine. This condition can last for days.

Migraine occurs in stages. It often begins with prodrome when warning signs such as food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, constipation, and mood alterations occur. The second stage is called aura. It may happen prior to or during the actual migraine attack. It is characterized by a visual phenomenon that may manifest through flashes of light or even loss of vision. Other symptoms are numbness and hearing sounds. This stage is still reversible. Physicians may prescribe medications that could prevent a full-blown migraine attack. Failure to arrest an impending migraine attack will lead to the following symptoms that may last for hours or even days. Migraineurs suffer from severe headache on one side or both sides of the head accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting in some instances. The last stage is known as postdrome. A phase that renders the migraineur drained of energy and feeling weak for at least a day.

Migraine is a genetic condition but it can also be triggered by stress, menstrual period, alcohol, lack of sleep, weather changes, dehydration, and some medications. Some studies have suggested that stress promotes the excretion and depletion of magnesium in the body. Therefore, magnesium deficiency may lead to migraine. Migraine is a condition that is inflammatory in nature. That is why food that is anti-inflammatory and mostly plant-based must be consumed in greater amounts to help quell inflammation.

Magnesium is a potent anti-inflammatory mineral. Unfortunately, studies have shown that migraineurs have low levels of ionized magnesium in the body. In Maukusop et al’s study involving 40 patients during an acute migraine attack, they found that 50 percent had ionized magnesium levels below 0.54 mmol/l (normal adult range 0.54-0.65 mmol/l) despite all subjects having total serum magnesium levels within normal limits. Furthermore, after intravenous administration of 1g of magnesium sulfate, 86 percent of patients reported sustained pain relief over 24 hours.

Migraineurs must consume magnesium-rich food like leafy greens, especially our local malunggay, nuts like cashews and almonds, dark chocolate, seeds like chia and flaxseed, legumes and tofu, whole grains like quinoa and oats, and avocado.

Magnesium supplementation for migraineurs are also beneficial, especially when intake of magnesium food sources is inadequate. In conclusion to Alexander Maukusop et al’s research “Magnesium in Headache,” he and his colleague Lisa A. Hablon suggest daily magnesium supplementation with 400mg of chelated magnesium, magnesium oxide, or slow-release magnesium in patients manifesting symptoms suggestive of hypomagnesemia (low magnesium level) such as pre-menstrual syndrome, cold extremities, and foot or leg cramps. In addition, they recommend intravenous magnesium for patients who are unable to tolerate or absorb oral magnesium or who are non-compliant with daily dosing.

High intake of magnesium may cause diarrhea or abdominal pain. It is best to consult a registered nutritionist dietitian regarding proper oral supplementation or a physician for intravenous magnesium administration.

Source: Manila Bulletin (