Magnesium is an essential mineral with significant anti-inflammatory properties.
The science behind it: Low levels of ionized Magnesium have been demonstrated in the serum, red blood cells, and cerebrospinal fluid of people who suffer from migraines. Magnesium prevents neurogenic inflammation and stabilizes the nerve membranes, reducing their excitability during migraine attacks. Magnesium is a powerful blocker of NMDA receptors and also decreases nitric oxide levels, which in turn may modulate glutaminergic transmission (glutamate is one of the most important neurochemicals implicated in the pathophysiology of migraines). This may result in interruption or prevention of cortical spreading depression or CSD. Cortical spreading depression, which is a slowly progressing cortical ischemic event, is believed to be the main event in the start of migraine headaches. Magnesium, especially when administered intravenously, significantly decreases circulating Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide (CGRP) levels. CGRP is a neurotransmitter and is released by the activated trigeminal somatosensory fibers and results in dilation of intracranial blood vessels and increases nociceptive transmission centrally in the brainstem and spinal cord. A number of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials have shown the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in relieving headaches, especially migraine headaches.
Research assessment: Magnesium enjoys level B evidence for efficacy in preventing migraine headaches by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Headache Society (AHS).