Migraine is a well-known chronic neurological disorder. It affects more people than one might think. It is scientifically proven that more than 2/3 of the world's population has suffered from these horrific headaches at least once in their lifetime.
60 to 65% of patients have migraines due to a genetic influence. Hormones can also play a role in their development. Migraines manifest as severe headaches and nausea. These symptoms are also the reason why most people mistake them for common headaches.
Migraines are more common for women than for men. This kind of headache affects only half of the head and they can last from two to seventy-two hours. Other symptoms can include vomiting, "photophobia" and "phonophobia" (which is the sensitivity to loud sounds). These latter symptoms are more rare but still fall into the migraine group.
Despite the severity of symptoms, there are ways to treat migraines. Medication and surgery are two of them but medications can be severe and surgery has risks. Fortunately there is an easier method to treat migraines. This is with the help of magnesium.
Magnesium is a chemical element and it is the fourth most common element on Earth, after iron, oxygen and silicon. It is also the eleventh most abundant element by mass in the human body. Its plays many important roles for good health and this is why it is highly used in medications. Specifically magnesium is responsible for more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body. Some of its uses are vital like synthesizing proteins in the mitochondria giving the necessary energy in most of your body's basic cellular functions.
Another vital role that magnesium has is in synthesis in DNA and RNA. Several steps in this process require its assistance. It is present in a large number of important enzymes. 60% of the magnesium in the body is in bones and 27% in muscles. The lack of magnesium can cause big issues within the body.
In addition to these magnesium also helps to treat and reduce the symptoms that are caused by migraines. Researchers have proven the connection between magnesium and migraines because of its significant role in stabilizing blood vessels. Other studies have shown that magnesium levels affect not only serotonin receptors, and nitric oxide synthesis and release but also NMDA receptors. All these have been suspected to play a significant role in migraine.
Magnesium is also known as the anti stress mineral. It works as a natural tranquilizer, helping you to sleep better by relaxing muscle constriction, helping with nerve conduction and blood pressure, and aiding a more normal heart beat. Regular sleeping patterns are very important for those who suffer from migraines.
It is this combination of biological uses that give magnesium its effectiveness in treating migraines. Its affects on the nerves of the body, muscles, blood vessels and blood pressure help, not only reduce the frequency of migraines, but can also eliminate them all together at some point in treatment.
Of course there are some people who say the use of magnesium to treat migraines is simply hypothesis. Detractors say there is nothing really proven because studies have addressed the use of magnesium to alleviate the physiological responses that cause migraines and not the migraines themselselves. However, there are thousands of testimonials from patients who have suffered many years from migraines saying they have actually seen a big difference when they increased the amount of magnesium in their bodies.
There are two ways a patient can go about increasing magnesium. Either increase foods that are rich in magnesium, or take it as a supplement. Women's diets tend to be poor in these foods, so they need to take it as a supplement of some kind.
Foods that can increase magnesium in the diet are many. The list includes peanuts, almonds, "blackstrap" molasses, brown rice, bananas, beans, soy beans, tofu, broccoli, avocado, spinach, Swiss chard, tomato paste, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, chocolate, cocoa powder, succotash, black-eyed peas, cooked artichoke, whole grain cereals, beet greens, acorn squash, cooked okra, split peas, chickpeas, lentils, kiwi fruit, apricots, baked potato, milk, yogurt and raisins. While these foods can help you to raise magnesium levels, there are things to be aware of. Some of these foods, such as bananas, chocolate, almonds and others, could have the opposite effect and become a major migraine trigger.
This side effect of some foods is the reason why most physicians recommend the magnesium be augmented in the form of a supplement, like a pill. However you must be careful when you take it in combination with other medicines because it could decrease absorption of other compounds. Some affected prescriptions are "digoxin", "nitrofurentoin", "anti-malarials", tetracycline antibiotics, anticoagulants, some diuretics and iron supplements.
Magnesium for migraines can easily be found in drug stores, at the market or health food stores, as well as many Internet sites. However, because there are many grades of magnesium supplements, some are not as readily absorbed by the body so it is better to ask your physician for recommendations. You must also be very careful on the dose you take every day. Do not over do it because it might cause you some other problems, like diarrhea.