Magnesium prevents migraine headaches, anxiety and depression if taken on a regular basis. In addition, magnesium can be helpful in the treatment of an acute episode of migraine headache, anxiety and depression according to experts.
Evidence that Magnesium Prevents Migraine Headaches, Anxiety and Depression
I see the beneficial effect of magnesium in preventing migraine headaches, anxiety and depression in my clinical practice. To me, this is the best evidence. In addition, several studies have shown the beneficial effects of magnesium on migraine headaches, anxiety and depression.
*One such study comes from the University Children’s Hospital, Belgrade, Serbia. The researchers aimed to evaluate the change in the disability levels, quality of life, and anxiety and depressive symptoms after 6 months of magnesium prophylaxis in children with migraine headaches. The study involved 34 children aged 7-17 years with migraine headaches. These children were given oral magnesium on a regular basis to prevent migraine headaches.
After 6 months of magnesium prophylaxis, disability due to migraine headaches significantly decreased, whereas physical and psychosocial well-being improved. Children also reported fewer anxiety and depressive symptoms.
It is refreshing to know that other physicians are also seeing the amazing effects of magnesium on headaches, anxiety and depression.
What Is Magnesium and Why is it Important?
Magnesium is a mineral that we get in our food. It plays an important role in the normal functioning of each and very cell in our body. In particular, it is involved in energy and carbohydrate metabolism, insulin secretion, insulin action, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Low levels of Magnesium increase your risk of headaches, anxiety, depression, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery spasms, muscle aches, fatigue, irritability, ADD/ADHD, dementia, lupus, menstrual cramping, systemic inflammation, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.
I use magnesium extensively in my clinical practice. Primarily, I use magnesium in patients with headaches, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, muscle aches and pains, and constipation.
An Epidemic of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency is rampant. Here are some of the reasons for this epidemic of Magnesium deficiency.
- The typical western diet is low in food items that contain Magnesium. According to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) only 1 out of 3 Americans consumes the recommended amounts of Magnesium in their diet.
- Phosphates in sodas, processed meats and other foods, combine with Magnesium to produce Magnesium phosphate, which is an insoluble compound and cannot be absorbed.
- Stress, both physical as well as psychological, causes a continuous release of adrenaline, which causes constriction of blood vessels, a rise in heart rate and an increased demand on the heart muscle. The body uses Magnesium to counteract all of these negative effects of excess adrenaline. Consequently, less magnesium is available for the rest of the body.
- Old age is also associated with low Magnesium due to a decrease in the absorption of dietary Magnesium.
- There are a number of medical conditions and drugs that can lower your Magnesium level.
Dietary Sources of Magnesium
The best way to get Magnesium is through foods that are high in Magnesium. Good dietary sources of Magnesium are seeds, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables and fish. Other foods that contain some quantities of Magnesium include beans, lentils, whole grains and figs.
Seeds and Nuts:
Pumpkin and squash seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts.
Seeds and nuts are highly beneficial for your overall health, especially if you are a diabetic. For example, almonds are loaded with good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids) and can help to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. Almonds are a good source of Biotin, fiber and Vitamin E. Almonds and other nuts also slow down the emptying of the stomach and consequently, slow down the rise in blood sugar after a meal. Therefore, a handful of nuts after a meal is much better for your health than traditional desserts.
Pumpkin seeds are important for your prostate health. Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium, which is important for the normal functioning of your thyroid, immune cells and prostate gland. However, too much Selenium can cause toxicity. About 1 or 2 Brazil nuts a day provide enough selenium for your body.
Note: Raw nuts are better than roasted nuts, as roasting decreases the amount of available Magnesium.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale.
Mackerel, Halibut, Pollock, tuna, and most other fish.
Beans and Lentils
White beans, French beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo), soybeans, and lentils.
Quinoa, millet, wheat, brown rice. However, diabetics should consume whole grains in small quantities, as these foods are rich in carbohydrates and can significantly raise your blood sugars.
If you cannot get enough magnesium in your diet, as is often the case, then take magnesium supplement on a regular basis. Various magnesium supplements are available. Magnesium Glycinate is one of the best forms of Magnesium supplement because of it’s high absorption rate and usually the dose does not cause diarrhea.
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