Serum ionized magnesium levels and serum ionized calcium/ionized magnesium ratios in women with menstrual migraine

Headache. 2002 Apr;42(4):242-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2002.02075.x.


Objective: It has been suggested that magnesium deficiency may play an important role in menstrual migraine and that the serum ionized calcium (ICa2+)/ionized magnesium (IMg2+) ratio is important in migraine headache. Studies were designed to test these hypotheses.

Design: We prospectively evaluated 270 women seen at a headache clinic and in 61 women with menstrual migraine measured IMg2+, total magnesium, and ICa2+ levels so as to calculate the ICa2+/IMg2+ ratio.

Results: The incidences of IMg2+ deficiency were 45% during menstrual attacks, 15% during nonmenstrual attacks, 14% during menstruation without a migraine, and 15% between menstruations and between migraine attacks. The serum ICa2+ levels were within our reference range, but the ICa2+/IMg2+ ratio was elevated (P<.01) in menstrual migraine.

Conclusions: The high incidence of IMg2+ deficiency and the elevated ICa2+/IMg2+ ratio during menstrual migraine confirm previous suggestions of a possible role for magnesium deficiency in the development of menstrual migraine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Magnesium Deficiency* / blood
  • Menstruation / blood*
  • Migraine without Aura / blood*
  • Migraine without Aura / metabolism
  • Prospective Studies


  • Magnesium
  • Calcium