Migraine sufferers know the signs all too well — blurred vision, intense pain, and a miserable day or two of cowering from bright lights and noise.
Migraines are debilitating, and even prescription drugs — expensive though they can be — often have little to no effect. These mysterious ailments strike with little warning and can render victims completely incapable of something even as simple as seeing and speaking.
Thankfully though, new evidence is emerging that shows that magnesium could spell the solution for both curing and preventing migraines. Though evidence is still largely anecdotal at this point, particularly given how little we understand migraines to begin with, one thing is clear: something magical happens when you make magnesium a part of your life.
What Happens When You Get a Migraine?
So what is a migraine anyway? Though they’re still just barely understood by even neurologists, migraines appear to be caused by a number of factors, ranging from dietary to genetic, even to environmental.
Based on observations taken during brain scans, it seems that migraines start with an initial wave of electricity that passes over the brain, dubbed a wave of excitation. This electrical stimulation triggers inflammation, creating intense pain.
For some sufferers, that inflammation can affect their brain’s ability to process information, and lead to strange neurological symptoms ranging from temporary blindness to numbness in the extremities.
What’s the Difference Between a Migraine and a Headache?
For those that have experienced a migraine and a headache, the differences between the two are clear.
Migraine pain is often concentrated in one specific place (though this may not always be the case) and can last up to a few days. Most notably though, migraines often have accompanying neurological symptoms (known as auras) that — alarmingly — are more reminiscent of a stroke than a headache:
Temporary blindness or blind spot
Flashing lights or spectrums in the eyes
Numbness in the extremities
Nausea and vomiting
Common Causes of Migraines
The causes of migraines are varied and far-flung, and sufferers commonly have a list of triggers they avoid more than long division:
Fluorescent lighting, blue light, screens, and flashing lights
Abrupt or disruptive sounds, such as beeps and sirens
Strong smells, often from chemical sources (perfumes, nail salons, etc.)
Lack of sleep
Magnesium’s Role In Migraine Prevention
Magnesium is an interesting mineral you don’t hear much about, but one that plays an absolutely critical role in our bodies. This innocuous little mineral is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes in the human body.
The big deal?
These processes are responsible for everything from turning proteins into energy, to regulating your hormones. In short, when you’re not getting enough magnesium, you’re like an engine without oil — you’ll still run, but how well or for how long is anybody’s guess.
Magnesium’s far-flung role in the human body makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly how or why it has the effect it does on migraine prevention, but it’s curative effects have been attributed to its well documented anti-inflammatory properties.
Magnesium oil has long been a favored remedy of athletes for muscle and joint pain, and not migraine sufferers are turning to magnesium oils and butters to massage into their necks, temples, and scalps for migraine relief.
The Best Way to Get Magnesium Into Your Body
The problem is, magnesium isn’t a mineral you find just anywhere. It favors whole, unprocessed foods, most of which most Americans don’t eat once a week, let alone every day. With a highly processed, packaged diet, it’s estimated that 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
Thankfully, one of the most effective ways to get magnesium into your system in a hurry is actually topically. Since this mineral is typically stored in muscle tissue and bones, magnesium oil is one of the fastest ways to get it working on inflammation.
If you’re like many migraine sufferers and typically feel one coming on in your neck first, have a jar of magnesium butter on hand, and massage it thoroughly into your muscles to help fend off an impending migraine.
On a maintenance level, magnesium is incredibly important to a healthy, functioning body, so try to work it into your diet whenever possible.
Magnesium glycinate is generally considered the most bioavailable form of magnesium supplementation — meaning your body can use it and put it to work — but minerals from your diet are always best.
Here are some magnesium-rich foods you can work into your diet:
Oatmeal is actually one of the richest sources of magnesium out there (and who can complain about a warm buttery bowl every morning?). However, make sure you’re getting whole, steel cut oats, and not processed junk. Remember: the more processes foods go through, the more their nutrient composition is broken down.
We LOVE our Thick Cut Rolled Oat Cereal — it’s 100% Non-GMO Project verified, and there’s just ONE ingredient in the whole bag. Try them out with a few of these overnight oat recipes, and tell us what you think!
Have you ever tried magnesium for migraine prevention and relief? Did it work? Tell us on Facebook and tag us in the post! @WheatMT