What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an important mineral because it is required for many biochemical reactions within the body as well as maintaining normal brain function. Magnesium L-Threonate is a special form of magnesium designed to cross the blood brain barrier more effectively than other forms of magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiency and Mental Confusion
Low levels of magnesium can cause mental confusion, heart irregularities, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramping. And as many as half of all elderly people in the developed world are believed to be magnesium deficient! This is especially noteworthy for those experiencing mental impairments, but those who drink often, use diuretics, and women who take birth control pills are also at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency which could have future ramifications.
Magnesium for Sleep Regulation and Brain Function
Additionally, because magnesium is a powerful antioxidant needed to help the body make energy and for nerve function, being deficient can be problematic in many interconnected ways. Taking magnesium supplements can also sometimes improve sleep, help prevent headaches and even improve brain function.
Magnesium L-Threonate for the Brain
Magnesium (Mg) deficiency in the brain is one of the commonalities of Alzheimer’s Disease patients. Magnesium l-threonate (MgT)is a magnesium compound capable of increasing magnesium levels in the brain. But because it is difficult to boost brain magnesium levels with normal oral supplements, Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China along with a team of researchers at MIT developed the new magnesium compound, magnesium-L-threonate.
Once in the brain, it seems to have the ability to reduce amyloid deposits in the frontal cortex (the command center, decision making) and hippocampus (responsible for memory and spatial orientation) while protecting the dentate gyrus (formation of new memories) from synapse loss. Studying magnesium l-threonate using rats demonstrated a correlation between protecting synapses and improved memory. Dr. Liu states in his 2010 study: “We found that increased brain magnesium enhanced many different forms of learning and memory in both young and aged rats.”
Magnesium l-threonate crosses the blood brain barrier making magnesium more available to the brain. It is hoped that the neurons will neither be over stimulated (leading to burnout) nor under stimulated. It is a supplement that requires further study in human test subjects, but holds promise for students, the elderly, and pretty much anyone who wants the ability to focus productively for long durations. Animal studies have already indicated that magnesium l-threonate improves memory, mood, and learning.
Magnesium L-Threonate Dosage?
Because human studies are still required, magnesium brain supplement dosage remains a matter of guesswork. However, one brand of magnesium l-threonate capsules that I know of contains 670 mg/capsule, and recommends taking 2 capsules in the morning (1.34 grams), and 1 capsule in the evening (670mg).
Magnesium vs Magnesium L-Threonate on Supplement Labels
The labels may seem slightly confusing as they indicate different amounts of magnesium than magnesium l-threonate. The above, for example, contains 670 mg magnesium l-threonate but just 48 mg of magnesium per capsule.
Magnesium L-Threonate is also available in powder form. One source indicates the serving size contains 144 mg of magnesium and 2,000 mg of magnesium l-threonate. This suggests a starting point of 2000-2010mg of magnesium l-threonate per day and 144 mg of magnesium.
Anecdotal evidence indicates it may take 3000 mg/day to start perceiving the brain benefits we are hoping for.
Other Forms of Magnesium for the Body
Magnesium is also sometimes taken specifically because of its health benefits for the body and another form that does not need to cross the blood-brain barrier can be used instead of the more expensive magnesium l-threonate for these other purposes. Other common forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate and magnesium aspartate. When supplementing with magnesium citrate or magnesium aspartate the recommended dose is usually between 320-420mg/day. The upper limit still considered safe is 750 mg/day. Magnesium works best in conjunction with vitamin A and calcium. You may also receive some of the health benefits of magnesium by taking a bath with epsom salts because it contains magnesium sulfate. This can be a very relaxing way to wind down at the end of the day.
Food Sources of Magnesium
Some good sources of magnesium include: organ meats, nuts, seeds, tofu, dark green veggies, figs, and bananas. However, today, soil is often depleted of magnesium and many people do not eat organ meats, so it is a common deficiency and supplementation may be necessary for those at risk.
Magnesium L-Threonate Toxicity and SIde Effects
While magnesium toxicity is rare, too much magnesium l-threonate may cause the following side effects: nausea, throwing up, low heart rate and difficulty breathing.