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Magnesium, Migraines, and Mitochondria

Magnesium, Migraines, and Mitochondria

An estimated 2.7 million Canadians, more women than men, suffer from migraine headaches. A migraine is often a throbbing, one-sided headache with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, or aura. An aura can be a quick disturbance of visual or neurological function, and usually precedes a migraine attack.

Causes for Migraines

There are a few different causes of migraines, and one or more could be at play in individual cases.

Changes in blood vessel pressure

One theory is that blood vessels increase pressure by constricting, and then reactively dilating. This sudden alteration in blood flow can lead to a migraine headache.


Another theory suggests that issues with mitochondria–the powerhouses of the cell–affect energy production, and causes a migraine.

Medication and stimulants

Tobacco use, caffeine consumption, and birth control pills can increase the frequency of migraines in certain people. It is also worthwhile to check if the side effects of any medications you are taking may be worsening your headaches.


Too large of an ingestion of salt can lead to a migraine 6-12 hours later.

Food intolerances

A possible underlying cause of migraine headaches is an intolerance to wheat, citrus, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, milk, beef, corn, cane sugar, yeast, mushrooms, and/or peas. Elimination of these offending foods for 8 weeks helped 60 migraine patients reduce their frequency of headaches from 402 to just 6 per month.

Magnesium, B vitamins and CoQ10

Interestingly, magnesium is typically deficient in migraine patients. Supplementation of magnesium can improve mitochondrial energy output, and reduce the frequency and/or severity of migraine headaches (5).

Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Niacinamide (vitamin B3) can be effective for migraine relief as they play important roles in mitochondrial energy production.

Coenzyme Q10 also benefits mitochondria and, as a result, migraine headaches.

Hormonal links

Estrogen has been linked to menstrual migraine headaches, and postmenopausal women may experience a reduction in migraines and tension-type headaches due to a decline in sex hormones.

Serotonin agonists like 5-HTP may acutely relieve and prevent menstrual headaches.

If you suffer from migraines and also have a history of fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome, you may benefit from mitochondrial support, magnesium, and 5-HTP.

An underlying cause of anxiety and insomnia may perpetuate migraine and tension-type headaches amongst postmenopausal women and the general population.

So what can you do about it..??

There are many migraine treatment alternatives; this was just a small summary of strategies for a big headache.

We are all unique, your Naturopathic Doctor can assess the possible causes for your migraines and suggest ways in which they can be relieved by using diet, nutrition and by removing the triggers.

Book a free introductory meet and greet to find out how naturopathic medicine could help your migraines.


This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Headaches? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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