The MAGNESIUM-Migraine Link

Intravenous & Transdermal Magnesium Chloride +
Magnesium 101
by the International Medical Veritas Association

Life Extention Life Extention

Men's Health Men's Health

Pain Relief at Bioenergetic SpectrumSupport Magnesium Clinical Studies

Magnesium is an essential mineral to the human bodyicon... * Is a Magnesium Deficiency Putting Our Children at Risk?icon * Magnesium's Benefits Go Way Beyond the Elementalicon...


..."It's very likely that Magnesium deficiency is a widespread cause of migraines, maintains Dr. Mansmann. Studies show that many people don't even come close to getting the Daily Value of Magnesium , which is 400 milligrams. "On a daily basis, 30 to 40 percent of American people take less than 75 percent of the Daily Value of Magnesium ," says Dr. Mansmann...

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Intravenous & Transdermal Magnesium Chloride
International Medical Veritas Association

� ���Magnesium has many known indications in anesthesiology and intensive care, and new studies are beginning to suggest its use in many other areas of medicine as well. For instance two studies have suggested Magnesium `s role in the treatment of acute migraine. Mauskop et al[i] demonstrated relief of headache within 15 minutes of intravenous Magnesium in 32 of 40 patients with migraine, cluster headache, or tension headache.

��� Intravenous Magnesium seems to be both safe and effective in acute severe asthma in all age groups and is used commonly and more frequently each year by emergency medical personnel. Numerous experimental, epidemiological and clinical studies have pointed out a relevant role for Magnesium deficiency in the development of many cardiovascular diseases.[ii] The common procedure of invasive cardiac intervention and intravenous Magnesium administration before reperfusion could become the gold standard in treatment of acute myocardial infarction.[iii]

� �Therapy with Magnesium is rapid acting, has a safe toxic-therapeutic ratio, is easy to administer and titrate.[iv] Magnesium has minimal side effects in usual therapeutic doses and has a large therapeutic index. Meaning it is so useful, so basic, that it is just negligent to be without it. In reality there is no medicine quite like Magnesium chloride when it comes to the effect it has on the life of cells. Used transdermally or in intravenously we have a potent yet natural substance that penetrates the cells with stunning result on the entire dynamic of cell biochemistry.�

��� Magnesium is safe and easy to use and is available for immediate use in emergency departments.[v] Magnesium has a clear role in the emergency management of a number of conditions but its application for a broad range of chronic conditions is ignored even though Magnesium plays a role in almost every vital function of the body.�The pharmaceutical companies and all who hold allegiance to them will hate this book and all that it suggests for Magnesium Chloride will reduce the need for many other vastly more toxic drugs available both over the counter and by prescription. Inexpensive because it is derived from the bountiful sea, there will never be a patent or company controlling its use.

��� All doctors and healthcare practitioners can benefit from the use of Magnesium chloride, applied transdermally, no matter what their specialty is, and so can each and every one of our patients.[vi]�Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular cation and the fourth most abundant cation in the body. It is an essential transmembrane and intracellular modulator of cellular electrical activity. Its deficiency in the body is nothing short of disastrous for cell life and the prognosis of any disease diminished.

���� Magnesium (Mg) deficiency commonly occurs in critical illness and correlates with a higher mortality and worse clinical outcome in intensive care units. Studies are now underway that have emergency crew personnel authorized to administer IV Magnesium immediately. Preliminary trial found "promising" effects of mg SO4 (mg sulfate) on stroke victims if given early enough, before getting to Emergency Rooms.[vii]�

��� Healing, overall energy production (ATP), skin integrity, cardiac health, diabetes prevention, pain management, calming abilities, sleep improvement, blood pressure improvement and maintenance are among the general uses Magnesium Chloride can be put to. The studies coming out every day provide more and more evidence of the need to pay attention, and provide adequate Magnesium to people of all ages, and in a form that will be easily absorbed and not interfere with other vital functions or pharmaceutical agents.�

What a few can do with intravenous Magnesium injections everyone can do with transdermal Magnesium �`oils` that really have no oil but feel very oily.

��� The correction of Magnesium deficit should be considered first in clinical practice. When Magnesium Chloride is understood properly (as the basic medicine it is) it will be prescribed to all patients as a foundation and support for all other therapeutic and pharmaceutical interventions. The same medicine that can be used as a treatment to limit myocardial damage in myocardial infarction[viii] can be used safely for a broad range of problems healthcare practitioners see everyday.

��� In summary, Magnesium is a safe and simple intervention (one of the highest considerations in most clinical situations) and should be the first thing we recommend our patients in most clinical situations. Transdermal mineral therapy with Magnesium Chloride is the most powerful, safe; first line all purpose medical intervention we have to care for many of our patients needs. With the simple application of an oily lotion on the skin or used in baths (epsom salts ~ Magnesium sulfate) we can easily have our patients take up their Magnesium to healthier levels. With patients who are deficient in Magnesium (the great majority of patients are Magnesium deficient) expect dramatic improvements in a broad range of conditions.

���� Magnesium Chloride, something strong enough to use in dramatic life threatening moments during emergency treatment, turns out to be the most universal medicine imaginable. Einstein believed that deep truths about the workings of the universe would always be "as simple as possible. The use of Magnesium Chloride simplifies our understanding of disease as well as the practice of medicine. It takes us back to medical basics, back to simplicity, back to what works. It takes us into one of the principle common denominators or causes of diseases and thus their cure.


Mark Sircus Ac., OMD
Director International Medical Veritas Association 
http://www.detoxchelationclinic.com
http://www.imva.info
http://www.worldpsychology.net
+55-83-3252-2195
www.skype.com ID: marksircus
�

P.S. The above will be added to the Magnesium book as will all the testimonials that are starting to flow toward me. I am just amazed at the truth of what I am continually finding out about Magnesium Chloride. Personally it is the first time in all my years that I have taken anything and actually felt a difference in my strenght and stanima. I also used it as a mouth wash for my gum problems and felt a change in my oral environment after only one application. This morning I found research to back up the relationship between periodontal disease and Magnesium .[ix]. Most chronic illness patients have periodontal problems, and oral infections and bone cavitation infections are common.� These should not be ignored, because these infections can become systemic and spread to other sites.�Please feel free to request the free e-book on Magnesium by emailing me personally until I can get it up on the web. I have had some reports also about its use in other mucous membranes with startling results but I will have to check this out deeply before communicating more.

The Magnesium Oil that I am using can be ordered through Global Light ( http://www.globallight.net/info%20page.htm ). In�the book I will eventually compile a list of other sources of pure powder, which can be used to treat the water we drink.

References:

[i] Mauskop A, Altura BT, Cracco RQ, et al. Intravenous Magnesium sulfate rapidly alleviates headaches of various types. Headache 1996;36:154~60.[Medline]

[ii] Crippa G, Sverzellati E, Giorgi-Pierfranceschi M, et al. Magnesium and cardiovascular drugs: interactions and therapeutic role. Ann Ital Med Int. 1999 Jan; 14(1):40-5.

[iii] Smetana, R. Wink, K. Magnesium , acute myocardial infarction and reperfusion injury. Medicine and Konrad Wink, University Clinic Internal Medicine IV (Vienna, Austria). Clin Calcium. 2005 Feb;15(2):261-4.(add this in for the date impact)

[iv] Crippa G, Sverzellati E, Giorgi-Pierfranceschi M, et al. Magnesium and cardiovascular drugs: interactions and therapeutic role. Ann Ital Med Int. 1999 Jan; 14(1):40-5.

[v] P Kaye and I O'Sullivan. The role of Magnesium in the emergency department Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK

[vi] Proper caution should be taken with patients with serious kidney disease.

[vii] http://www.fastmag.info/sci_bkg.htm ����� http://www.fastmag.info/index.htm���

[viii] Experimentally Magnesium has been shown to have a role in myocardial salvage, possibly by inhibiting calcium influx to ischaemic myocytes and/or by reducing coronary tone. It has also been shown to increase the threshold for depolarisation of cardiac myocytes, theoretically reducing the risk of malignant arrhythmia. In healthy humans it can reduce peripheral vascular resistance and increase cardiac output with no effect on cardiac work.

[ix] P. Meisel1et all. Magnesium Deficiency is Associated with Periodontal Disease��Dent Res 84 (10):937-941, 2005�International and American Associations for Dental Research


Magnesium 101

International Medical Veritas Association �

It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an�inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that�cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.

Dr. Steven Johnson

���� Magnesium , atomic number twelve, is an element essential for normal function of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Unfortunately, Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in the industrialized world today. This deficiency is the result of agricultural practices, food preparation techniques, and dietary trends. Despite the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Magnesium (350 mg. per day), it has been estimated that adults average less than 50% of this requirement. The health implications are nothing short of catastrophic.

��� There are basically two classes of minerals: micronutrient minerals, which are only needed in trace amounts, and mineral macronutrients of which we need fairly significant amounts. Most people are aware that we need calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc� in relatively large quantities. Unfortunately, the conventional medical paradigm in the United States has not realized the importance of Magnesium . Magnesium (Mg) supplementation is dramatically under utilized by conventional physicians. Though Mg deficiency is common it is usually not looked for, and therefore, not found or corrected. In most industrialized countries, Mg intake has decreased over time and is marginal in the entire population. [i]

When 1,033 patients who were hospitalized, over 54% were low in Magnesium . The worst part of the study showed that 90% of the doctors never even thought of ordering a Magnesium test.

Journal of the American Medical Association

��� There are over 200 published clinical studies [iii] documenting the need for Magnesium and many examples of miraculous cures from the use of this common mineral. Even DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors underestimate autistic children`s needs recommending only 50 mgs twice a day in oral form. Not much of that is going to get into the children`s blood and cells because oral administration of Magnesium is not absorbed readily and is made less available because of all the problems in these kids` GI systems. Professor Gilbert LeLord of France published six studies evaluating the use of vitamin B6 with Magnesium , on autistic children and adults. Their studies typically used as much as 500 mgs of Magnesium with more than satisfactory results.�

��� According to Dr. Norman Shealy,�oral Magnesium supplementation takes between 6 to 12 months to restore intracellular levels, whereas a transdermally-applied Magnesium lotion(with 25% Magnesium chloride) restores intracellular levels within 4 to 6 weeks. Some nutritional experts now believe that 750 mg. of Magnesium supplement per day is a more physiologic [iv] recommendation, but to take that much orally would not suffice and would upset the digestive system, cause diarrhea, and end up not being properly absorbed. There is great confusion about types of Magnesium being used to rectify deficiencies and metabolic problems in utilizing Mg. Good sources of Magnesium include whole grains, nuts, peanut butter, cottonseed, peanut and soybean flours, green leafy vegetables and spices. It's better to get Magnesium from foods rather than supplements, because high doses have a laxative effect--the body's way of preventing toxic levels.� But, unfortunately, we have to come to terms with that fact that the food values of Magnesium have been dropping over the last fifty years, making it extremely difficult to receive all we need from foods. The International Medical Veritas Association recommends a system of transdermal Magnesium therapy that bypasses the problems evident with oral Magnesium supplementation. (See treatment recommendations)�

���� Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body Magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of Magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of Magnesium constant. Magnesium is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of Magnesium is that of stabilizing membranes. Magnesium has a stabilizing effect not only for the cell membrane but also for various sub cellular organelles.�

Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. Unfortunately, Mg absorption and elimination depend on a very large number of variables, at least one of which often goes awry, leading to�a Mg deficiency that can present with many signs and symptoms.

��� To say that Magnesium is important in health and medicine is to underestimate the case for it is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Mg is extremely important for the metabolism of Ca, K, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, Na, Pb, Cd, HCl, acetylcholine, and nitric oxide (NO), for many enzymes, for the intracellular homeostasis and for activation of thiamine; and therefore, for a very wide gamut of critical body functions. Magnesium is a particularly crucial element for mediating the vital functions of the nervous and endocrine systems, it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. In the nucleus more than half the Magnesium is closely associated with nucleic acids and mononucleotides. Magnesium is necessary for the physical integrity of the double helix of DNA which carries genetic information and the code for specific proteins.

Enzymes ar protein molecules that stimulate every�chemical reaction in the body. Magnesium is�required to make hundreds of these enzymes work.

Dr. Carolyn Dean

��� According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, Of the 325 Magnesium -dependent enzymes [v], the most important enzyme reaction involves the creation of energy by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fundamental energy storage molecule of the body. ATP may be what the Chinese refer to as qi, or life force. Magnesium is required for the body to produce and store energy. Without Magnesium there is no energy, no movement, no life. Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of various compounds that have energy-rich bonds of any type. [vi] The formation of energy-rich bonds that require Mg2+ constitutes the necessary basis for all cellular activities. This alone establishes the critical biologic importance of Magnesium . Thus, fatigue is often reduced with Magnesium (and potassium) supplementation. The many enzyme systems that require Magnesium help restore normal energy levels.

The toxic effect of fluoride ions plays a key role in acute Mg deficiency. Fluoride ion clearly interferes with the biological activity of Magnesium ions. In general, Mg-F- interactions decrease enzymatic activity. [vii]

���� Dr. Dean is the author of "The Miracle of Magnesium ,"�she, and many other doctors and researchers are clear that Magnesium deficiency is a significant factor -- often the major factor -- in many other severe illnesses including heart attacks and other forms of heart disease, asthma, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, fatigue, diabetes, migraines and other headaches, osteoporosis, insomnia, and most cases of muscular problems. Dr. Steven Johnson puts it better:

The range of pathologies associated with Magnesium deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, Calcium deficiency (osteoporosis, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence, aggression, fibromas, K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), Fe accumulation, etc.

���� Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability. Magnesium -deficiency may also cause aggressive behaviour, �[viii] depression, or suicide. [ix] Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in Magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive. One� study [x] �confirmed earlier reports that a marginal Magnesium intake overexcites the brain's neurons and results in less coherence--creating cacophony rather than symphony--according to electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements. [xi] During half of the six-month study, 13 women consumed 115 milligrams of Magnesium daily--or about 40 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). During the other half, they got 315 mg daily--a little more than the 280 mg recommended for women. After only six weeks on the marginal intake, EEG readings showed significant differences in brain function.

Magnesium exists in the body either as active Magnesium ions or as�inactive Magnesium complexes bound to proteins or other substances.

���� Minerals, in general, rule over other nutrients, because vitamins, enzymes and amino acids, as well as fats and carbohydrates, require them for activity. There are 17 minerals, which are considered essential in human nutrition, and if there is a shortage of just one the balance of the entire system can be upset. A deficiency of a single mineral can negatively impact the entire chain of life, rendering other nutrients ineffective and useless. Magnesium is one of the key minerals that we need in relatively large quantities. The recommended daily requirement of Magnesium in the diet of human beings is between 280 and 350 mg per day, although some studies have shown a daily requirement of as much as 500 mg per day or more, depending on the body weight of the individual.

References:

[i]� Galan, P., Preziosi, P., Durlach, V., Valeix, P., Ribas, L., Bouzid, D., Favier, A. & Hercberg, S. (1997) Dietary Magnesium intake in a French adult population. Magnes. Res. 10:321-328.[Medline]

[ii] �June 13, 1990

[iii]� http://www.mgwater.com/

[iv] Means relating to a persons healthy or normal functioning

[v]Enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism glucokinase, hexokinase, galactokinase, phosphorylase phosphatase, phosphorylase kinase, phosphoglucomutase, 6-phosphofructokinase aldolase, triokinase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, glucose-6-phosphatase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, transketolase, phosphoglycerate kinase, phosphoryl glycerylmutase, enolase, pyruvate kinase, thiamine-pyrophosphate kinase, pyruvate decarboxylase, glycerokinase, glycerophosphatase, various pentoside kinases that activate B vitamins. Enzymes of nucleic acid and protein metabolism: RNA polymerase which allows the synthesis of RNA and especially that of messenger RNA which, associated with post-ribosomal factors of initiation and elongation and with polyamines, codes for amino acids to produce specific proteins; DNA polymerase which allows the reconstitution and recombination of DNA, ornithine carbamyl transferase, glutamine synthetase, carbamate kinase, argininosuccinate synthetase, creatine kinase, insulinase, leucine aminopeptidase which appears to be similar to hypertensinase. Enzymes of lipid metabolism acetylcoenzyme A synthetase, acylco A synthetase, beta-ketothiolase, diglyceride kinase, phosphatidate phosphatase, mevalonate kinase, phosphomevalonate kinase, lecithin-cholesterol-acyl transferase (LCAT).

[vi] The phosphoric anhydride bond that is found mainly in ATP or adenosine triphosphate, "the main fuel of life" (13), but also in GTP (guanosine triphosphate) as well as in other nucleoside triphosphates such as UTP (uridine triphosphate), CTP (cytosine triphosphate) and ITP (inosine triphosphate). It is also found in the phosphoamide bond of phosphocreatine, the phosphoenol bond of phosphoenolpyruvic acid, the mixed anhydride bond of 1,3-diphosphoglyceric acid and in the bond between an acid and a thiol group as in acyl coenzyme A or succinyl coenzyme A.

[vii] �A Machoy-Mokrzynska. Fluoride_Magnesium Interaction.� Fluoride (J. of the International Society for Fluoride Research), Vol. 28 No. 4; November, 1995, pp 175-177� http://www.mgwater.com/fl2.shtml Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Pomeranian Medical Academy, Szczecin, Poland.

[viii] Bernard Rimland. While no patient has been cured with the vitamin B6 and Magnesium treatment, there have been many instances where remarkable improvement has been achieved. In one such case an 18-year-old autistic patient was about to be evicted from the third mental hospital in his city. Even massive amounts of drugs had no effect on him, and he was considered too violent and assaultative to be kept in the hospital. The psychiatrist tried the B6/Magnesium approach as a last resort. The young man calmed down very quickly. The psychiatrist reported at a meeting that she had recently visited the family and had found the young man to now be a pleasant and easy-going young autistic person who sang and played his guitar for her. http://www.autism.org/vitb6.html

[ix] C. M. Banki, M. Arato and C. D. Kilts. Aminergic studies and cerebrospinal fluid cations in suicide. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol 487, Issue 1 221-230, Copyright � 1986 by New York Academy of Sciences�

[x] This is the first experimental study in which Magnesium intakes were tightly controlled and EEG measurements were analyzed by computer so they could be statistically compared.

[xi] http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/fnrb/fnrb1095.htm#calm

From the Rodale book, Prevention's Healing with Vitamins

While vitamin and mineral supplements are by no means the first line of treatment for migraines, there are a couple of therapies that just might work when all else fails. Here's what some experts recommend.

NUTRIENTS, DAILY AMOUNTS, AND APPLICATIONS

Magnesium : 3,000 milligrams (Magnesium gluconate), taken as 3 divided doses

Riboflavin: 400 milligrams

MEDICAL ALERT!

Doses for these two therapies are extremely high. If you wish to try these supplements to treat migraines, you should discuss it with your doctor.

People who have kidney or heart problems should supplement Magnesium only under medical supervision.

Ending the Pain

The hammering inside your head is utterly horrendous, as if someone were using your brain for a bongo. For what it's worth, you're not the only one with a built-in percussion section: Roughly 45 million Americans reportedly suffer from headaches each year.

Although tension headaches are by far the most common, chronic migraines are much more likely to send a desperate individual to the doctor seeking relief. "I use the term victim when I refer to chronic headache sufferers, because it's a very wicked syndrome," says Burton M. Altura, M.D., professor of physiology and medicine at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. "Besides the agonizing pain, these folks often have tremendous sensitivity to light and noise. Just snapping your fingers or clapping around them can be excruciating."

The one-sided, throbbing headache known as a migraine is actually more common in women; roughly 75 percent of those who get migraines are female. But what migraines lack in gender equality they make up for in severity. Some migraines are so extreme that they cause limb numbness, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting.

The good news is that medical research has come up with several vitamin and mineral therapies that might prove helpful for people who have been unable to find relief elsewhere.

"B" Headache-Free

Fifty-two quarts of chocolate syrup. Nine hundred bowls of cornflakes. These might prevent a migraine--if they weren't guaranteed to give you a stomachache first. They add up to a superhigh dose of riboflavin, which research hints may ward off the someone's-put-a-soccer-ball-in-my-head pain.

Fortunately for the 49 people in a Belgian headache study, they were able to take supplements to get the necessary 400-milligram daily dose. The migraine-prone people in the study received this high dose (it's about 235 times the Daily Value) every day for three months. In addition to the riboflavin, 23 of the people in the study took one low-dose aspirin a day.

By the end of the study, migraine severity decreased by nearly 70 percent in both groups compared with what it had been at the study's start. Aspirin had no added value. Also see: Most Pain Killers Deplete The Body Of The B Vitamin Folic Acid.

Why would something like riboflavin work? Researchers have noticed a deficit in certain energy generators in the brain cells of some people with migraines. They suspect that flooding the system with riboflavin could indirectly help regenerate this flagging energy system and somehow short-circuit migraine pain.

What's attractive about riboflavin, if rigorous scientific studies support these preliminary findings, is that it's likely to have fewer side effects than current headache preventives (although no one knows for sure the long-term effects of this much riboflavin).

"I wouldn't use it as the first line of attack, because we have other agents of proven value," says Seymour Solomon, M.D., professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "But since this appears to be a relatively harmless treatment, it would be worthwhile to explore it with patients who haven't responded well to standard therapy."

Although riboflavin generally is quite harmless, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before supplementing in such a high amount.

Making the Magnesium -Migraine Link

An increasing number of doctors believe that some of the most severe cases of migraines may actually be caused by an imbalance of key minerals such as Magnesium and calcium.

"Not all headaches are produced by this imbalance, but we now know that 50 to 60 percent of migraines are Magnesium -linked. And that's probably why no prescription therapy on the market successfully treats headaches across the board. They're simply not treating the cause," says Dr. Altura.

"Of the 17 people we've treated with Magnesium , 13 have had complete improvement," says Herbert C. Mansmann, Jr., M.D., professor of pediatrics and associate professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

The Magnesium -migraine link still is not commonly accepted by headache experts. In fact, Dr. Altura says that one of his Magnesium studies was rejected by a prominent medical journal at the suggestion of a top headache researcher. (Shortly thereafter, the study was published by another journal.) But the weight of evidence for Magnesium's use in the treatment of migraines is building. "There's no question that the literature strongly supports it," says Dr. Mansmann. "The so-called headache experts don't believe the data because they don't know anything about the development of Magnesium deficiencies within cells."

To understand why Magnesium might do the trick, it helps to take a look at how migraines happen.

Migraines are thought to be caused by vascular changes, or changes in the blood vessels, that reduce blood or oxygen flow in the scalp and brain. What causes these vascular changes? Things such as muscle contractions during times of stress and biochemicals called catecholamines and serotonin, which are circulating in the blood. Too much serotonin can cause blood flow to slow; too little can cause blood to move through too rapidly, explains Dr. Altura.

While mainstream researchers have long known that changes in serotonin and catecholamine levels cause migraine pain, stopping these changes has been a hit-or-miss proposition, says Dr. Altura. An aspirin, for example, temporarily inhibits the effects of serotonin but does nothing to prevent a migraine from coming back, he says.

Dr. Altura says he's the first to prove that loss of Magnesium from the brain is behind the problem. Without enough Magnesium , serotonin flows unchecked, constricting blood vessels and releasing other pain-producing chemicals such as substance P and prostaglandins, he says. Normal Magnesium levels not only prevent the release of these pain-producing substances but also stop their effects, says Dr. Altura.

Studies show that many people don't even come close to getting the Daily Value of Magnesium , which is 400 milligrams.

It's very likely that Magnesium deficiency is a widespread cause of migraines, maintains Dr. Mansmann. Studies show that many people don't even come close to getting the Daily Value of Magnesium , which is 400 milligrams. "On a daily basis, 30 to 40 percent of American people take less than 75 percent of the Daily Value of Magnesium ," says Dr. Mansmann.

What's more, several different things, from the caffeine in just two cups of coffee a day to the chemicals in most asthma medications, remove some Magnesium from your system. "We know that intake is low for a lot of people. We know that a lot of medications, such as diuretics (water pills) and a variety of cardiovascular medications, can increase Magnesium losses. We know that people with diabetes who have high blood sugar lose a lot more Magnesium in the urine and, as a result, run the risk of Magnesium deficiency," says Karen Kubena, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at Texas A & M University in College Station. Even stress, a frequent cause of migraines, can remove Magnesium from your system, says Dr. Mansmann.

According to his records, Dr. Altura says that about 50 to 60 percent of his migraine patients have low Magnesium levels. But once they begin treatment, he says, they often experience immediate relief. "We can say that 85 to 90 percent of these patients are successfully treated, and that's pretty miraculous," says Dr. Altura.

Can getting more than your share of Magnesium every day prevent migraines? Dr. Altura says it's still unclear. "I'd like to be able to answer that question. I can't at this point, but my guess is that it would," he says. In Dr. Mansmann's experience, a Magnesium gluconate supplement works best. "The advantage is that dose for dose, Magnesium gluconate causes one-third of the amount of diarrhea that Magnesium oxide produces and one-half of the frequency of diarrhea that Magnesium chloride produces," he says. It's also absorbed more quickly, he says.

The difference: Magnesium gluconate is more biologically active. "The active form of Magnesium is ionized Magnesium . When a substance is chemically bound, it's sort of neutralized, if you want to use a Star Trek term. When it's ionized, it is available to do what it is supposed to do, which in this case is possibly prevent constriction of blood vessels in your brain and scalp," explains Dr. Kubena.

Dr. Mansmann's migraine patients take two 500-milligram Magnesium gluconate tablets at lunch, two in the afternoon and two at bedtime, upping the dosage each week until their stools become soft, an indication that there is enough Magnesium in the body.

If you decide to give this therapy a try, you should be working with a doctor who is willing to monitor your progress. (People who have kidney or heart problems should supplement Magnesium only under medical supervision.) You'll have to pay attention to your calcium intake as well.

The Calcium Connection

Even if you monitor your Magnesium level like a maniac, you're still at risk for migraines if your calcium level is out of whack. The reason: Magnesium and calcium interact with each other.

It seems that higher than normal blood levels of calcium cause the body to excrete the rest, which in turn triggers a loss of Magnesium .

"Let's say you have just enough Magnesium and too much calcium in your blood. If calcium is excreted, the Magnesium goes with it. All of a sudden, you could be low in Magnesium ," says Dr. Kubena.

In fact, says Dr. Altura, people who have low Magnesium and elevated calcium levels are among those who are most successfully treated with Magnesium .

Food Factors

A host of foods contain chemicals that can cause severe headaches. Here's what nutrition experts say to avoid.

Say no to MSG. A flavor enhancer used in restaurants and in prepared foods such as soups, salad dressings and lunchmeats, monosodium glutamate (MSG), even in small amounts, can provoke severe headaches as well as flushing and tingling in headache-prone people, says Seymour Diamond, M.D., director of the National Headache Foundation and director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. In fact, one study showed that roughly 30 percent of those who eat Chinese food suffer these same symptoms. Although more research needs to be done, MSG seems to act as a vasodilator, which means it opens and then closes the blood vessels in the head. This process is exactly what happens in a migraine.

Because of all of the bad press, spotting MSG on food labels is harder than ever. "Natural flavor" and "hydrolyzed vegetable protein," for example, substitute for MSG in everything from frozen dinners, potato chips and sauces to canned meats.

Nix the nitrites. Commonly used as a preservative in hot dogs, salami, bacon and other cured meats, nitrites have been known to provoke migraines, says Dr. Diamond.

Corral the caffeine. The experts are divided here. Coffee, cola and tea all contain caffeine, which can act as a vasoconstrictor and, as a result, limit blood flow through the blood vessels in your head.

"A little bit of caffeine may help a headache, but you get either withdrawal or a rebound phenomenon from having too much," says Herbert C. Mansmann, Jr., M.D., professor of pediatrics and associate professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Still, even two cups of a caffeine-containing beverage a day removes precious Magnesium from your system, he says.

The bottom line: If you're having a problem with migraines, try avoiding caffeine and see if it helps, advises Dr. Mansmann.

Consider aspartame. Although few studies show a direct link between this artificial sweetener and headaches, some people do report problems with it, says Dr. Diamond. "My advice to people is that it probably won't bother you, but if you can relate a headache to it, you should not use it," he says.

To test whether this or any other food is causing your headaches, keep a diary of your meals as well as any headaches for a month. If it looks like one of the foods you're eating is causing the problem, cut it out of your diet and see if it helps, advises Dr. Diamond.

Keep track of tyramine. A whopping 30 percent of migraine sufferers seem to have sensitivity to an amino acid called tyramine. Found in stronger aged cheeses, pickled herring, chicken livers, canned figs, fresh baked goods made with yeast, lima beans, Italian beans, lentils, snow peas, navy beans, pinto beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, tyramine means migraine pain for many, says Dr. Diamond. Try eliminating these foods and see if it helps, he suggests.

Cut your kisses. Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine that, like tyramine, can cause headaches, says Dr. Diamond. (I still eat chocolate although I get slight headaches because the pleasure out weighs the pain.)

Ban the booze. The alcohol in drinks can dilate the blood vessels in your brain and cause a headache, warns Dr. Diamond. And drinking hard liquor can give you a double whammy. Chemicals known as congeners as well as impurities in scotch and other hard liquors have the same effect, he says.


Luckily, many alternative remedies have gained ground in the fight against migraine symptoms. Here are a few natural remedies that may help ease your headache pain.

Feverfewicon (Tanacetum parthenium)
This herb treats migraine pain by interrupting its main cause: Inflammatory reactions in your head that aggravate nerve endings and cause the blood vessels to expand. When taken daily, feverfew can prevent migraines, according to Gene Bruno, a nutritionist in New York City, as well as "reduce their severity, duration, and frequency." Be patient: The results can take four to six weeks. But if you stop taking it, your migraines might return.

Dosage: Bruno suggests 500 to 600 mg of standardized feverfew daily to treat or prevent migraines. Take two equal portions of feverfew on an empty stomach in the morning and evening.

GLAicon (gamma-linoleic acid)
In a study conducted in Berlin, the anti-inflammatory effect of GLA, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, reduced the severity, frequency, and duration of migraines in 86 percent of the participants. By reducing inflammation in the brain, GLA significantly lessened nausea and vomiting, allowing patients to switch from harsh prescriptions to aspirin and acetaminophen.

Dosage: Bruno says a dose of 1,300 to 1,600 mg of GLA from borage oil or evening primrose oil works best. Don"t use GLA if you take an anti-seizure prescription. "GLA may interact with these medicines," he warns. Take it on a full stomach in two divided doses, equally spaced during the day.

Magnesium
A recent Italian study found a strong correlation between migraines and hormonal fluctuations. In fact, 60 percent of the women studied got migraines right before, during, or immediately after their period. Estrogen hormones can block the body"s absorption of magnesium, leading to low blood levels of the mineral.

Dosage: "To treat or prevent a migraine, take 200 mg of magnesium twice a day," says Bruno. Take with meals to ensure optimal absorption.

Calcium and vitamin Dicon
A calcium deficiency can exacerbate migraine symptoms, says New York City endocrinologist Susan Thys-Jacobs, M.D. Scientists speculate that women suffer from migraines more often than men because "women are more prone to calcium deficiencies than men," says Thys-Jacobs, a leader in hormonal research. Most women experience low calcium levels during the premenstrual or ovulatory phase of their menstrual cycle. "The hormones that regulate calcium react negatively with high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which causes a deficiency that can trigger migraines," she says.

Dosage: Since vitamin D improves calcium absorption, Thys-Jacobs recommends taking the two supps together. "Take 100 mg of calcium and 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D on a full stomach."

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