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Increasing magnesium intake can boost brainpower - at least in rats

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January 29, 2010

Researchers have discovered that higher levels of magnesium in rats enhanced their learnin...

Researchers have discovered that higher levels of magnesium in rats enhanced their learning abilities and increased their long- and short-term memory

Your mother was right – eating your “greens” (which contain magnesium) is good for you. In fact, according to neuroscientists at MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing, rats who were fed a new compound that increased their brain magnesium demonstrated enhanced learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory. The dietary supplement also boosted older rats’ ability to perform a variety of learning tests. Great, if it’s not hard enough getting rid of the rodents now, imagine trying to remove smarter rats!

Magnesium, an essential element, “hides” in dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach and some fruits. Health professionals say people who get less than 400mg a day are risking allergies, asthma and heart disease, and possibly other conditions. In 2004, Guosong Liu and colleagues at MIT discovered that magnesium might also have a positive influence on learning and memory. They developed a new magnesium compound — magnesium-L-threonate (MgT) — that they say is more effective than conventional oral supplements at boosting magnesium in the brain. They then tried it out on lab rats.

“We found that elevation of brain magnesium led to significant enhancement of spatial and associative memory in both young and aged rats,” said Liu, now director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University. “If MgT is shown to be safe and effective in humans, these results may have a significant impact on public health.” Liu is a co-founder of California-based company, Magceutics, that develops drugs for prevention and treatment of age-dependent memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Half the population of the industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. If normal or even higher levels of magnesium can be maintained, we may be able to significantly slow age-related loss of cognitive function and perhaps prevent or treat diseases that affect cognitive function,” Liu said.

The researchers found that MgT increased the plasticity in connections among neurons, called synapses, in young and old rats. They also found that after increased levels of MgT were introduced to the rats, the density of synapses increased in the hippocampus, a critical brain region for learning and memory.

This study not only highlights the importance of a diet with sufficient daily magnesium, but also suggests the usefulness of magnesium-based treatments for aging-associated memory decline, said Susumu Tonegawa at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, who helped carry out the initial behavioral experiments. Clinical studies in Beijing are now investigating the relationship between body magnesium status and cognitive functions in older humans and Alzheimer’s patients.

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2 Comments

I feel that this article has the potential to be one of those important messages about your memory that you will ever read! I also am a boomer and have experienced physical ailments over the years, I suppose payback for all the things I did when I was younger, like downhill and trick skiing, racing motorcycles and generally abusing my body at what ever sport I did. I've had plenty of surgeries, back, arm foot etc, yet I still don't want to give in to the aging process. But you ask, so? Well, we have reached the age of consequences. Many of the people I see are overweight -- the candy bars, extra cocktails and steaks over the years have caught up with us. Many have osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and weight gain, just some of the boomers' biggest complaints. As we tend to participate less in activity, we attribute it to a slowing metabolism, and believe that it is just an expected part of aging. If this has been your experience too, then you need to read this, as this is something that important! For me at least it has been life changing, a miraculous change that has brought Hope, Health and Happiness, back into my life. Visit http://sunnydaze.stemtechbiz.com to discover how you can help your own body's renewal process by enhancing your own adult stem cells through economical supplements and in my opinion, has improved my health. I'm not selling this, but it is helping me. That's why I'm sharing this with you. Otherwise, let me ask you what are you doing to improve your health?

Mark Hedtke
15th February, 2010 @ 09:40 am PST

Mangnesium is a component of more than 300 different enzymes in the body and many of these enzymes involve neural function or cellular protection. Together with zinc and iodine, it therefore figures that correcting magnesium levels to the level nature intended should have remarkable effects. However, to best absorb the mineral, it should be taken on an empty stomach, ideally in the evening for sleep-enhancing effects. Individuals should also be aware that calcium can block the absorption of magnesium as both minerals share the same absorption site in the intestines.

Regards, Marek - http://www.blueprintfitness.co.uk

Facebook User
23rd February, 2010 @ 08:56 am PST
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