We all know that vitamins and minerals are a vital part of a healthy diet, but with migraine sufferers some of them can have a huge impact on the frequency and severity of their migraine attacks. Calcium and magnesium are two such minerals.
A 2021 cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between severe headache or migraine and the daily intake of calcium and magnesium. The study, which involved almost 11,000 American adults, found that having a high dietary intake of magnesium and calcium was linked to being less likely to suffer from migraines.
Women who had a high dietary intake of magnesium or calcium, either one or both, were inversely associated with migraine, while men who had a high dietary intake of calcium were inversely associated with migraine – magnesium levels having no impact on migraine likelihood for them.
The reason that higher magnesium levels seemed to help women avoid migraines and not men may have something to do with the menstrual cycle. In past studies, women who suffered from menstrual migraines and who were given magnesium supplements found that their migraine pain and the number of headache days was reduced, and that the impact of premenstrual complaints were reduced.
Studies have been conducted in the past exploring the effects of mineral supplements on migraines, but this study was looking purely at the intake which came via normal diet. The researchers found that the migraine sufferers had daily intakes of calcium and magnesium that were significantly lower than the recommended daily allowance.
The investigators focused on natural intake as, although supplements can help to boost low mineral levels, supplements can also cause nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhoea. It’s for this reason that it can be best to try and eat foods which are naturally high in calcium and magnesium rather than to rely on supplements.
However, though boosting magnesium and calcium levels appears to be a positive move for migraine sufferers, further longitudinal studies are needed to establish whether the link between migraines and low magnesium and calcium levels is causal or not.