Hello, Teri and Dr. Watson. I’ve seen many online conversations about taking magnesium for migraine prevention. In those conversations, many different forms of magnesium are discussed, along with many different dosage levels. I recently discussed this with my doctor, who said it could be a good idea to take magnesium, but he had no idea which form or how much to take. Can you offer any clarification? Thank you for your expertise and time, Maggie.
There is a lack of evidence for oral magnesium and migraine prevention to be able to give a good answer to this. In general, magnesium is safe (but one should always consult with their physician first) and its primary side effect is gastrointestinal distress/diarrhea. I personally recommend between 500-1,000 mg per day, divided morning and night, if tolerated. I do not think the type of magnesium makes a huge difference, but if you have side effects with one, trying a different one is reasonable.
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© David Watson and Teri Robert, 2017.
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist and the director of the West Virginia University Headache Center. Dr. Watson takes a special interest in migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. He strives to stay up-to-date on current research and treatments and regularly attends continuing medical education conferences. “Dr. Dave” is also very active in the migraine community, taking part in and leading advocacy efforts to benefit the entire community. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Runnin’ for Research, a nonprofit organization that helps interested patients and doctors set up races in their areas to raise research funding for headache disorders. He’s also a regular participant in the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s “Headache on the Hill” event and is co-secretary of the American Headache and Migraine Association. You can follow Dr. Watson on Twitter.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate in the area of migraine and other headache disorders, and has been writing for the HealthCentral migraine site since 2007. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association. She received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award for “ongoing patient education, support, and advocacy,” in 2004 and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society in 2013. You can find links to Teri’s work on her web site and blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.