Q: My son started having heart palpitations at age 19. The doctors could find no cause for it. He lived with this constant scary feeling that he could die at any moment.

He went into atrial fibrillation twice over the years but was brought out of it. By the time he was 40, he was exhausted from all this. Even the Mayo Clinic found no physical reason for his irregular heart rhythm.

His doctor suggested he try magnesium. My son tried taking supplemental magnesium and was disappointed it did not help.

When I looked it up online, I found there are many different types of magnesium. The doctor didn’t tell us that! We found that magnesium taurate is supposed to help heart palpitations. His life changed overnight!

He is now 48 and living a more peaceful life. He recently admitted to me that he even considered suicide — it was such a horrible way to live.

A: Magnesium is essential for all cells. It is especially important for both muscles and heart health. If levels of this mineral drop too low, people are at higher risk for atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm.

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There are indeed many formulations of magnesium. Some, such as magnesium maleate and glycinate, are easier on the digestive tract. People with poor kidney function should avoid magnesium supplements.

Q: I started having migraines when I was 12, almost 60 years ago. Most of the time, over-the-counter medications like Excedrin Migraine worked to keep me functioning. But I had headaches at least two days each week and would end up having to go to bed in a dark room at least one day a month.

Since I don’t like taking prescription medications, I never tried any of the new migraine medicines. I recently had allergy testing done and learned that I am sensitive to foods in the nightshade family. Consequently, I stopped eating all nightshade foods about three months ago. Since then, I have had no more migraines! Is this typical for people with food allergies?

A: People who suffer migraines report a wide range of triggers. A few of the most common culprits include alcohol, especially red wine, chocolate, cured meats, aged cheese and fermented foods.

We could find no scientific studies to support nightshade vegetable restriction for most people with migraines. Such foods include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. You will find more information about migraine prevention and treatment in our eGuide to Headaches & Migraines. This online resource is located under the Health eGuides tab at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.