If you’re concerned about those tiny lapses in memory that occur with age, like where you put the keys, phone number or someone’s name, there’s a new study about the advantages of magnesium that offers some possibility.
Neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Beijing’s Tsinghua University find that upping the amount of magnesium you consume which is a vital mineral found in dark, leafy veggies as well as certain fruits, beans and nuts – could help with the memory lapses that we experience as we get older.
Many experts believe that diet could be a significant influence on the cognitive capacity of our brains Researchers mention an estimate that only 32 percent of Americans have the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. This is an alarming sign and a reason to know more.
For adults the recommended daily dose of magnesium is 400 mg/day for males and the recommended daily dose for women who are not yet pregnant.
Adults who are over 31 should consume 420 mg/day for magnesium glycinate women, and 320 mg/day for males. “Magnesium is necessary to the proper functioning of various tissues of the body, including the brain and in an earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium stimulated synaptic development in brain cells in culture,” explains Guosong Liu director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “It was tempting to go one step further and study whether an increase in magnesium levels improved cognitive function in animals.”
Experts are of the opinion that the results could be used on humans regardless of the fact that the test was done on rats.
The study appears in the January 28, 2010 issue of journal Neruon, and demonstrates that increasing brain magnesium using a new compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT for short), aids learning, working memory as well as short and long term memory in rats.
Researchers also found that rats who were older performed better in a series of tests. Guosong Liu, MIT’s first researcher on magnesium, discovered it may aid in learning and memory. The team he was with came up with a new substance that is more effective than traditional supplements in improving the magnesium levels within the brain.
The researchers examined the effect of MgT on synaptic activity. The connections between nerves and neurons which transmit nerve signals are known as synapses. Old and young rats noticed the increase in synaptic force because of MgT. This led to increased density in the hippocamp. It is the brain area that plays a significant part in long-term memory and spatial navigation.
Susumu Tonegawa at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory says, “This study not just illustrates the importance of having the consumption of a nutritious diet rich in magnesium but it also points to the potential of magnesium-based treatments for age-related declines in memory.”
Researchers also conducted research to verify that the capacity to remember information when you get older can decline.
The study found that MgT treatment improved memory recall in older rats, under limited information conditions but not in younger rats.
The study authors point out that the rats that were used as controls in the study ate an ordinary diet with a sufficient amount of magnesium. The results observed in the studies resulted from the raising magnesium levels to levels that are higher than you would receive in a normal food.
According to Liu that half of the global population is believed to suffer from magnesium deficiency. This research could have major impact on the health of the public if MgT can be shown to be safe for humans and effective. Magceutics was founded by Liu. This company makes drugs to prevent and treat dementia-related decline in memory and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re suffering from cognitive decline due to age, a diet that includes enough magnesium daily is healthy and natural.
Studies are ongoing about the benefits of magnesium on improving your memory and work is needed to study the connection between the magnesium you get in your diet in addition to body and brain magnesium levels, and the cognitive capabilities.