Brain power. We want to preserve it as we age, but are there brain supplements that can protect our brain? One form of magnesium may be able to do just that.
Magnesium is one of those minerals that never seems to get the press it deserves. It’s not as glamorous as CoQ10, doesn’t sound as fancy as N-acetylcysteine and isn’t found in high concentrations in milk like calcium. Worse, if you take too much, you get the wonderful side effect of loose stools (which isn’t such a bad thing if you suffer from chronic constipation).
On the other side, magnesium is required in over 300 critical enzymes in the human body and is absolutely essential to our survival and to optimal health. The problem is that many of us are deficient in magnesium. Good food sources include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
Overall the number of Americans getting less than the recommended daily intake of magnesium is quite high. Looking at the list above, you can imagine that these types of foods may not be commonplace on the average American dinner plate.
But the story gets more interesting.
Magnesium is very, very important for your brain power and should be on the list of important brain supplements. But it’s just not easy to get most forms of magnesium to the brain because it just doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier very easily to enter the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). CSF is the fluid the brain floats in and the source of much of the nutrients the brain needs. Even if you ramp up the magnesium levels in the blood to much higher levels, only a small percentage of this makes it to the brain.
Under normal circumstances, for good brain power, this is enough. Magnesium can work alongside of phytonutrients and vitamins from our diet to counteract life’s daily stresses. But what about those with more challenged brain power, like…
- Mutliple sclerosis (MS) patients
- Seizures / epilepsy
- Past head trauma victims
All of these groups may benefit from higher levels of brain supplements like magnesium in the brain. What about someone with concerns over memory such as Alzheimer’s dementia? You bet. And maybe more so than the others on the list.
So how might we get more magnesium to the brain for these people who may benefit greatly from higher concentrations of magnesium for better brain power?
Turns out some researchers may have developed an answer in a specific form of magnesium called magnesium-L-threonate. In this particular article, researchers looked at the ability of magnesium threonate to increase magnesium levels in the CSF of rats.
Once they had established that it was effective, they looked at the ability of magnesium threonate to improve brain plasticity. What is brain plasticity? Remember how you thought you killed off all those brain cells in college, never to be replaced? Sure, you’re liver and stomach lining can replace itself, but not the brain.
Wrong. The brain has the ability to replace old, worn out cells. This process is called plasticity and it is generally a good thing in the brain.
Overall, the researchers found that magnesium threonate had a strong ability to improve plasticity in the brains of these rats. While this does not necessarily mean the same thing would happen in humans, I wouldn’t bet against it.
If you think you may fit into one of the categories that may benefit from some extra brain supplements, magnesium threonate may be for you. The form is a little more expensive, but it might make the difference.
If you have tried magnesium threonate yourself, what kind of changes did you experience?
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