Magnesium is essential for memory, learning, mood and much more.
Magnesium is a cofactor for numerous enzymes that control nerve cell functions and synapse integrity. Synapses are the points where nerve cells make close contact with each other via their cell membranes to exchange information. The movements of ions such as Mg across the nerve cell membranes can change as we age, adversely affecting cellular excitability, chemical transmitter release, and synaptic plasticity (synapse adaptability).
The ability to store new information in nerve cell networks depends on the density and strength of the synapses, and their capacity to adapt to changing information inputs (synaptic plasticity). Additionally, loss of synapse density is correlated with age-dependent memory decline in rats. Numerous animal trials have been performed to measure the effect of magnesium-L-threonate on cognitive outcomes. In a recent investigation, feeding MgT to raise brain magnesium led to significant enhancement of spatial and associative memory in both young and old rats. From the results of this study, which also incorporated experiments with cultured nerve cells, the researchers concluded that increasing the concentrations of brain magnesium induces permanent enhancement of synaptic plasticity in networks of hippocampal neurons.
Dietary intake of magnesium is known to affect learning and memory. One interesting example is a study of Taiwanese adolescent girls. Hair samples from 148 female students were analyzed as a method of determining consumption of trace elements; the data showed that higher learning performance (as measured by academic records of the students) was associated with higher magnesium and zinc levels in their hair.
The brain’s hippocampus region is known to be essential for memory and learning processes. Ageing-related decline in memory and learning capacity of the hippocampus may be related to a magnesium deficit.
Dr. Kidd discusses two specific forms of magnesium: magnesium L-threonate and magnesium glycinate. These two forms of magnesium are the only forms of magnesium that are readily absorbed by the body.
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