Magnesium Boosts Brain Function

By Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

September 15, 2012

Magnesium Boosts Brain Function
A study shows that intake of magnesium1 above what is traditionally considered the normal dietary amount has a dramatic effect on improving multiple aspects of memory and learning. These findings held true for both young and old.

In the study, magnesium directly improved synaptic plasticity, which I previously explained is the key to the future health of your brain. Various regions in the brain associated with learning and memory experienced significant improvements in synaptic function as a result of magnesium dietary supplementation.

"Our findings suggest that elevating brain magnesium content via increasing magnesium intake might be a useful new strategy to enhance cognitive abilities," explains lead author Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing. "Moreover, half the population of industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. This may very well contribute to age-dependent memory decline; increasing magnesium intake might prevent or reduce such decline."

The data suggests that the daily recommendation of 400 mg of magnesium, while adequate for some important functions of magnesium, is not adequate for optimal brain function. Over the years I have seen significant health improvement in individuals consuming magnesium in the 600 mg – 1,000 mg range. Because magnesium tends to have a laxative effect the amount any one person can consume as a dietary supplement is sometimes limited by bowel function. However, for those interested in strategies to help maintain optimal brain function, higher levels of magnesium intake are likely to be helpful.

Magnesium is found in fruits and vegetables. However, minerals in food are at low levels due to excessive processing of food, poor farming that depletes soils, and the use of pesticides that interfere with the natural sulfur cycle, leaving us not only with chemically adulterated food but food that has lower nutritional value. It is now common sense to supplement fine quality magnesium.

Quality of magnesium supplements is important. Low quality forms of magnesium include magnesium oxide, magnesium aspartate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium sulfate. At Wellness Resources, we use highly absorbable, high quality forms of magnesium including magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate.

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