Magnesium and brain health

Today’s news-feed (March 29, 2023) included an “important article report”, entitled
“A higher dose of magnesium each day keeps dementia at bay”.

The report, from the Neuroimaging and Brain Lab at the Australian National University (ANU), states that the brain age of people consuming more than 550mg of magnesium daily is approximately one year younger at age 55, than that of people with a normal magnesium intake of about 350mg per day.

Dietary Magnesium is related to larger brain volumes

The original article, “Dietary magnesium intake is related to larger brain volumes and lower white matter lesions with notable sex differences “, by  Khawlah Alateeq, Erin Walsh and Nicolas Cherbuin,, DOI: 10.1007/s00394-023-03123-x, was published by Research Gate and reported by,  NIH and the European Journal of Nutrition.
The article involved more than 6,000 cognitively healthy subjects in the UK, aged 40-73.
It concluded that higher dietary Mg intake is related to better brain health in the general population, and particularly in women.
It follows a previous (2020) research gate article, by Zonderman.

My previous notes on Magnesium

Having found this article, I accessed my previous notes regarding magnesium, which reads as follows (abstract):
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for normal body functions: after potassium, Magnesium is the second most common metal in the cells.
It is involved in 300+ biochemical processes, activating many intracellular enzymes.
It is important for protein synthesis, membrane stabilization, antibody activity and immune response.        

Dietary Magnesium

Magnesium is a major constituent in many grains, fruits and nuts (especially, almonds). However, because the fields on which our food is grown have become magnesium-deficient over time, deficiency is very common in humans. Anyone who has constipation and (or) muscle cramps is probably either hypothyroid, or short of magnesium, or both.

In young people, the small intestine absorbs 30–50% of the magnesium intake: the percentage diminishes in old age, chronic Kidney disease and increasing intake.

The blood contains only 0.3% of the total body magnesium: half of the magnesium in the body is stored in bone, with less than 1% in body fluids.
In the brain, the concentration of magnesium is much higher than in the blood.

Magnesium and the Brain

In brain injury and in neurological diseases, the magnesium concentration goes down: prescribed magnesium reduces brain swelling, restores the ability of the blood-brain barrier to keep toxins out and improves the speed and efficiency of healing:
I interpret that to mean that in brain injury and neurological diseases, brain swelling and deterioration are due, at least in part, to low magnesium levels.

Magnesium and (just about) everything else

Magnesium deficiency is associated with constipation, muscle cramps, migraine, asthma, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, insomnia, chronic fatigue, dementia, osteoporosis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, constipation, brain injury, cerebral palsy, stroke and brain haemorrhage.
Therefore in these conditions, magnesium is recommended for treatment.
In short, magnesium is essential to health: your liability to these conditions will be reduced if you supplement your magnesium intake.

Magnesium can be given by mouth, intravenously or by intramuscular injection.
It is better taken at night, because it promotes sleep: it should be taken with progesterone and melatonin, because progesterone (reliably converted to Allopregnanolone), magnesium and melatonin work together to the generation of new brain cells, maintainance of existing brain cells and repairing of oxidative and inflammatory damage to their axons and dendrites.

The commonest magnesium “salts” recommended are the citrate, chloride, sulphate, gluconate, acetate and lactate.
The recommended daily allowance is 320-420mg/day.
Magnesium Bisglycinate and Threonate are theoretically better, because they cross the blood-brain barrier more reliably.
However magnesium citrate, available in capsules, is least expensive and works well.
A popular magnesium preparation, “calm magnesium”, is a very expensive powder.

Magnesium and chronic kidney disease

I had also filed an article, Published: 25 January 2022 in Clinical and Experimental Nephrology volume 26, pages 379–384 (2022), by Yusuke Sakaguchi , entitled
“The emerging role of magnesium in CKD”.
Dr. Sakaguchi concluded that magnesium is essential to bone health, preservation of kidney function and prevention of arteriosclerosis: he highly recommended it, in full dosage, as part of the treatment for chronic kidney disease.

The bottom line

Magnesium is an active player in approximately 300 metabolic processes in the body.
Most of us are at least slightly deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is a constituent of nuts, vegetables and protein sources; nevertheless, supplementing dietary magnesium is necessary for most of us.
There is no need for concern regarding “overdosage”, because unused magnesium in the diet is swiftly removed by the kidneys and/or the bowel.
If you do take more than you need, the resulting loose stool gives a quick reminder to reduce your dosage.
The article by Alateeq, Walsh and Cherbuin provides us with an additional reason to supplement our magnesium intake and I am happy to let you know about it.

Published by Dr. Gervais Harry

I am a Toronto-trained Urologist. I practiced in downtown Toronto, from 1977 to 1997, when I went to Saudi Arabia as chief of Urology at the Armed Forces (teaching) hospital in Tabuk. Returning to Toronto in Y2000, I switched to family practice. In 2007, began to prescribe Hormone Restoration Therapy and in 2012, I became a member of the American Academy of Antiaging Medicine [A4M]. I successfully wrote the A4M's written examination in December, 2013 and In May, 2016 I passed the oral examination, for accreditation as a BHRT consultant. In 2014 I began BHRT practice in Collingwood, Ontario and in January, 2017, joined the Stone Tree Naturopathic Clinic. Now I am 82 and have retired, but it seems wasteful to jettison my learning and experience: the medical establishment knows nothing of BHRT / Functonal medicine and I feel obliged to offer my knowledge in the interest of those who are willing to think outside the box. MY QUALIFICATIONS: MB, BS, (from UWI), 1964. LMCC 1969. FRCSC (Urology), 1974. ECFMG 1984. Florida license 1998 [inactive], ABAARM Certification [A4M], 2016. I am a Member of CSAMM [the Canadian Society for Aging and Metabolic Medicine], the OMA&CMA, SUSO, CUA, RCP&S/C. PRACTICE TO DATE: Consultation in Functional Medicine, including assessment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Andropause, Menopause, Teenage and Postpartum Depression/Panic Attacks, Thyroid Hormone malfunction, Infertility, Sexual Dysfunction and “the Undiagnosable”. ALL ARE WELCOME to read, comment or question!

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