Minerals are micro-nutrients - they are required in minuscule quantities by living organisms for their optimum health and functioning. Dietary minerals are inorganic elements such as calcium, potassium, zinc, etc., that are essential for nutrition of humans, plants and animals. There are 25 known dietary minerals. Magnesium is one such mineral that is of special consequence to those who experience migraines.
A good sample of migraineurs (researches show as many as 50% of random samples taken from studies), are found commonly deficient in serum ionized magnesium. This situation could arise due to a number of possibilities such as diets low on the mineral, or intake of foods that inhibit magnesium breakdown and assimilation (such as caffeine, alcohol). Certain medical drugs such as oral birth control medication, erythromycin, warfarin, tetracycline, sulphonamides, etc., also reduce the availability of magnesium.
Stress and menstruation are also known to deplete magnesium levels in our body. Other reasons could include overuse of magnesium containing antacids, chronic renal insufficiency, use of laxatives, diuretic therapy, and more. (Source: Professional Guide to Diseases (Eighth Edition). Springhouse. 2005.)
The deficiency of magnesium in migraineurs cause conditions of pre-menstrual syndrome, which include bloating, irritability, sleep disturbances, anxiety, nausea and dizziness, temporary uncoordinated motor functions etc.
Apart from this magnesium is a key player in brain functioning. It regulates the opening and closing of ion channels in brain cells called neurons. When the body is low on magnesium, the entry of calcium in neurons is disturbed. This in turn triggers prodromal symptoms of depression, aura etc. Lastly, magnesium is also known to influence the levels of serotonin in our body.