May 27, 2014

A Prescription for Chocolate

chocolate

These days I’m averaging about 3 migraines a week, but have the near constant pre-migraine headache that makes me fearful the next big one is always just around the corner. I do have prescription medication to treat migraines but I don’t like how strongly it affects me. While considered pregnancy safe, it’s also not 100% risk free to the baby. Thus I’m reluctant to take it on such a regular basis. So at my last OB appointment we discussed prevention. Her main suggestion was a magnesium supplement.

Since the appointment I’ve been reading about magnesium and migraines online, and the verdict (at least to this lay person) seems mixed. What doesn’t appear to be in question is that migraine suffers tend to have lower levels of magnesium. One study found magnesium supplements reduced the number of migraines patients above and beyond the placebo affect, another study showed no difference. Alas, I haven’t found the actual papers, but here’s a summary. I did find a pubmed article entailed “Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium” and another “Should magnesium be given to every migraineur? No.” Alas, I lack the background knowledge to properly interpret the findings.

The good news is magnesium oxide, the typical supplement form, is pregnancy safe, and a category B. In contrast my prescription is a category C.

Under the “it most likely can’t hurt” philosophy, Domingo and I picked up some supplements. I also started reading about foods with naturally occurring magnesium since getting vitamins from natural sources are almost always better than supplements. In that list? Dark chocolate. The darker the better. I can now say there is a medical reason why I should eat chocolate. We picked up some of that too.

I’m not sure whether magnesium will actually help in my case. Many of the foods high in magnesium (aside from chocolate) I actually do eat on a fairly regular basis, including avocado, banana, black beans and spinach.

Here’s hoping, if nothing else, the supplement (and the chocolates!) can serve as a good placebo for me.

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