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Migraines can be challenging to treat using traditional painkillers, so many people look for alternative ways to help prevent them. One potential remedy is magnesium.

Magnesium is a natural mineral that helps keep blood pressure stable, promotes heart health, regulates nerve and muscle function, and builds bone, DNA, and protein. A lack of magnesium may also contribute to headaches and migraines.

Some people use magnesium to treat and prevent migraine symptoms, including a severe headache, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea and vomiting.

Magnesium supplements may cause cramps and vomiting.

Magnesium occurs naturally in many foods. Increasing magnesium levels by eating more of these foods does not appear to have any associated risks.

However, taking too many magnesium supplements can cause some adverse effects, including diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting.

If a person experiences diarrhea due to a magnesium supplement, they should stop taking it. It is also essential for a person with diarrhea to stay hydrated.

People should also avoid taking magnesium supplements alongside a type of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides. Taking these substances together can cause muscle weakness and other problems.

Magnesium can also interfere with how a person absorbs antibiotics. Therefore, a person should take any necessary antibiotics at least 2 hours before or 4 to 6 hours after taking these supplements.

Magnesium can also lower a person's blood pressure. People on medication for high blood pressure who take magnesium supplements could be at risk of hypotension, which is when the blood pressure dips dangerously low.

An excessive buildup of magnesium in the body can lead to severe side effects, including:

  • an irregular heartbeat
  • slowed breathing
  • coma

Magnesium supplements may also cause additional side effects in people with certain medical conditions, such as:

  • bleeding disorders
  • diabetes
  • kidney problems, including kidney failure
  • gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or a stomach infection

Anyone thinking about taking magnesium supplements should discuss it with a doctor first. A doctor can advise an individual on whether the supplement is safe based on their medical history.

Pregnant women should also consult a doctor before taking a magnesium supplement. They should also avoid taking high doses of magnesium sulfate intravenously, as it in the developing fetus.