What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Magnesium Deficiency and Migraines

Researchers have been trying to find out for years why some people are more susceptible to migraines than others. Some research suggests there's a connection between magnesium deficiency and these types of severe headaches. It's estimated that as many as 50 percent of people who suffer from severe migraine attacks have low levels of ionized magnesium.

One study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health reports a clear connection between magnesium and migraines in numerous experimental and clinical studies. The study, conducted by the New York Headache Center, says that the connection is definitely there, but "the precise role of various effects of low magnesium levels in the development of migraines remains to be discovered."

The NY Headache Center study tested various subjects and discovered that those who were given an infusion of magnesium had near instant relief of their symptoms. Additional double-blind studies appear to show that sufferers of acute migraines can reduce the frequency and severity of their attacks by taking a daily oral magnesium supplement. According to the NY Headache Center, the reason magnesium works is because it has an effect on migraine-related neurotransmitters and serotonin receptors. The mineral also affects nitric oxide synthesis and release.

Types of Magnesium Treatments

The Department of Neurology at the State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn conducted studies in 1996 that strongly suggest that intravenous magnesium sulfate is highly effective at treating migraine attacks and headaches of all sorts.

Forty patients with moderate to severe headaches from an outpatient headache clinic were selected to participate in the study. Of the 40 patients, nine had cluster headaches, four had chronic tension-type headaches, 16 had migraines without aura and 11 had chronic migrainous headaches. The test subjects were given one gram of magnesium sulfate by intravenous.

The result was that pain was completely eliminated in 80 percent of the patients within 15 minutes of receiving the magnesium infusion. The pain did not get worse or recur in 56 percent of the patients. Not only did the magnesium eliminate the pain, but it also got rid of migraine-associated symptoms like phonophobia and photophobia.

Protection Against Heart Attacks Too

According to a study from the Harvard Medical School, those who suffer from migraines also tend to have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. The conclusion of the study was that since magnesium helps migraine attacks, it may also prevent death from heart attacks and strokes because magnesium is known for dilating and relaxing blood vessels for better blood flow.