by Nils Osmar – June 5, 2022 – Medical disclaimer
Magnesium has many benefits, including some that are specific to the brain and to memory. The body uses it for various crucial functions, including protein synthesis, enzymatic reactions, glucose control, and the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. But it’s difficult for the body to transport it into the brain. With most forms of magnesium, when taken orally, small amount of the other forms d0es get into the brain, but most is blocked by the barrier.
According to a 2021 article called Magnesium and Brain Health:
Recent research on magnesium suggests that there might be additional roles for magnesium in the brain that are not necessarily associated with energy production…. magnesium is a regulator of neurotransmitter signaling in the brain, and is key to the main neurotransmitters – glutamate and GABA. …Through these roles, magnesium is important to neuronal processes.
Magnesium’s involvement in the mechanics of synaptic transmissions and neuronal plasticity, result in its impact on learning and memory. Increased levels of magnesium in the brain have been shown to promote multiple mechanisms of synaptic plasticity that can enhance different forms of learning and memory. …strengthening synaptic plasticity can help delay age-related cognitive decline.
A new form, magnesium threonate, was created by researchers at M.I.T. It was designed to bypass the blood-brain barrier. It does not exist in food or nature, but is available as a supplement. There is evidence that taking this specific form of magnesium may improve mental functioning and reverse neurodegeneration. See article.
Most studies looking into the efficacy magnesium threonate have been done with a dose of 1,800 mg/day (two 600 mg caps during the day, and one at night).
One study found that people whose minds were slowing with age began functioning on the level of people nine years younger after several weeks of supplementing with magnesium threonate.
Animal and Human Studies
Most studies have been animals (such as rats and zebrafish). Here’s a quote from a human study. The researchers’ goal was to find out whether cognition was improved, According to them, it was.
Here’s a summary from the study:
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-designed trial in older adult subjects (age 50–70) with cognitive impairment. Subjects were treated with MMFS-01 (n = 23) or placebo (n = 21) for 12 weeks and cognitive ability, sleep quality, and emotion were evaluated. Overall cognitive ability was determined by a composite score of tests in four major cognitive domains.
With MMFS-01 treatment, overall cognitive ability improved significantly relative to placebo (p = 0.003; Cohen’s d = 0.91). Cognitive fluctuation was also reduced. The study population had more severe executive function deficits than age-matched controls from normative data and MMFS-01 treatment nearly restored their impaired executive function, demonstrating that MMFS-01 may be clinically significant. Due to the strong placebo effects on sleep and anxiety, the effects of MMFS-01 on sleep and anxiety could not be determined.
The current study demonstrates the potential of MMFS-01 for treating cognitive impairment in older adults.
Shortcomings in the Human Study
Magnesium threonate appears to be promising, but in this video, Dr. Rhonda Patrick points out several problems with the human trial. She has said in this interview and others that she’d like to see more studies before taking the supplement herself.
What I’m Doing
I take Magnesium Threonate as a supplement (two 500 mg. capsules a day). I’ve found that if I take more than 500 mg at night, it’s mentally stimulating and can keep me awake. But some people have reported that it can help with sleep.