What Magnesium Supplement Is Best for Migraine?

According to multiple studies, magnesium is a great option for migraine prophylaxis. The most substantial evidence for magnesium’s effectiveness is in patients who experience migraine with aura or menstrual-related migraine. This coincides with mounting evidence that people with migraine have low levels of magnesium in their brain and spinal fluid between attacks. 

Note that not every study has shown magnesium to be effective, but given the safety profile and accessibility, magnesium is highly recommended by every nationally-recognized migraine organization.


Most studies use 400-800 mg of magnesium per day for migraine prevention. As an acute therapy, it can be administered intravenously as magnesium sulfate at 1-2 gm. 

Why your magnesium supplement isn’t working:

  1. You haven’t been on it long enough. For some individuals, it can take four-six months for a supplement to reach peak effectiveness. 
  2. Limited bioavailability. In other words, your body cannot use the magnesium you are taking. This can happen with some of the cheaper forms of magnesium that have a low elemental value. 
  3. Poor absorption. if you are having diarrhea or unusually soft stools, this is a sign that your body is not absorbing the magnesium. 

Types of Magnesium: 

Magnesium L-Threonate – This is one of the only forms known to cross the blood-brain barrier, which can help with cognitive function and memory. More expensive than other forms. 

Magnesium Glycinate – Affordable and pretty bioavailable. Less likely to cause diarrhea than other forms. Can help with sleep, anxiety, and brain fog. 

Magnesium Malate – High bioavailability and minimal digestive side effects. Can be energizing so consider taking it in the morning. 

Magnesium Citrate – Often sold as a dissolvable powder, making it a good option for those who struggle with pills. Used to relieve constipation so if you have frequent loose stools, consider switching to another form. 

Magnesium Oxide – Widely available and cheap. However, it is less bioavailable than many other forms making it a less effective option. Usually used as a laxative or for heartburn. 

Magnesium Sulfate – Sometimes administered intravenously as an acute therapy. Research supports the use of 1-2 g of IV magnesium sulfate as an efficient, safe, and well-tolerated treatment of migraine attacks.

Should you get a blood test?

Standard magnesium blood tests cannot detect magnesium levels in your brain, and may only reflect 2% of total body stores, with the rest of magnesium residing in the bones or cells. 

Measurement of ionized magnesium or red blood cell magnesium levels is considered to be more accurate, but these laboratory tests are more difficult and expensive to obtain. Thus, your doctor may opt to skip the blood test and go straight to supplementation. 

Dietary Sources: 

  • Dairy products (milk and yogurt)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach)
  • Legumes, nuts, and seeds
  • Whole grains









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