Magnesium glycinate for migraines and headaches – What the research says?

If you suffer from frequent migraines or tension headaches, you have heard that taking a magnesium supplement helps provide relief. Magnesium glycinate is extremely absorbable and bioavailable.

Before exploring the potential benefits of magnesium, it’s helpful to understand what underlying issues typically contribute to chronic migraines and headaches.

  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Dehydration or nutritional deficiencies
  • Muscle tension or neck/shoulder pain
  • Sensitivity to foods, chemicals, or environmental factors
  • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular schedules

Many migraine sufferers have nutritional deficiencies as well, especially in critical minerals like magnesium which play an important role in nerve transmission, muscular contraction, hormone regulation, blood pressure control, and more.

Role of magnesium

Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral that serves several vital functions. It aids in protein synthesis, cellular energy production, antioxidant activity, electrolyte balance, and more. Most importantly for headache relief, magnesium helps relax tight muscle tension and dilates blood vessels. Both effects directly address common migraine triggers. Studies have shown that those prone to chronic headaches frequently have low magnesium levels. While oral magnesium supplements help restore healthy magnesium status, only about 30-40% gets absorbed through the intestinal wall. Glycinate is the best magnesium to take.

Magnesium glycinate has been shown to have excellent absorption and bioavailability in the body. Specifically, glycine helps transport magnesium across intestinal and cell membranes more efficiently. It allows you to restore healthy magnesium levels with a lower overall dose. Compared to other forms like magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate, studies show magnesium glycinate leads to higher serum magnesium levels for a longer duration. It also tends to cause less digestive upset. According to research, potential benefits of restoring magnesium levels with a bioavailable magnesium glycinate supplement include:

  • Reduced migraine frequency and pain
  • Decreased muscle tension and neck pain
  • Lower systemic inflammation
  • Improved nerve transmission and circulation
  • More regular sleep cycles
  • Less anxiety and hormonal fluctuations
  • Help restore nutritional deficiencies

The magnesium content is also much higher per weight than other forms, allowing you to take fewer pills to reach an optimal dose.

What the research says?

Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that raising cellular magnesium levels, especially with highly bioavailable forms like magnesium glycinate, offers migraine relief and reduces headache frequency for many people. For example, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences gave migraine sufferers oral magnesium glycinate supplements or a placebo for 8 weeks. The magnesium group experienced significant declines in migraine frequency, use of abortive migraine medication, and systemic inflammation levels. They also reported lower associated symptoms like nausea, sound and light sensitivity, anxiety, and trouble concentrating.

Another 2018 double-blind study had similar findings, with migraine patients reporting fewer weekly attacks, less pain, and greater relief after taking magnesium glycinate supplements daily for 12 weeks.  While not every study shows dramatic differences between magnesium supplements and placebo for migraine relief, most experts agree restoring healthy magnesium levels is still beneficial for overall nerve function, hormone balance, sleep quality, and more. This directly and indirectly still lowers migraine triggers and frequency for many people according to the latest research.

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Lisa Schiller