Posted on Feb 05, 2010, 6 a.m.
Learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory may improve with increased magnesium intake.
Involved in hundreds of enzyme reactions with the body’s cells, magnesium is a mineral that is vital for the nervous system. It is estimated that fewer than 4 of every 10 Americans meet the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. Susumu Tonegawa, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues developed a new magnesium compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT), and found that it improved learning abilities, working memory, and short- and-long-term memory in a laboratory animal model. The magnesium also improved the performance of older lab animals on a battery of learning tests. Positing that MgT stimulates changes in synapses (nerve junctions), the team found that in young and old rats, MgT increased plasticity of synapses and promoted the density of synapses in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays important roles in spatial navigation and long-term memory. The team concludes that: “Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.”
Inna Slutsky, Nashat Abumaria, Long-Jun Wu, Chao Huang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li, Xiang Zhao, Arvind Govindarajan, Ming-Gao Zhao, Min Zhuo, Susumu Tonegawa, Guosong Liu. “Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesium.” Neuron, Volume 65, Issue 2, 165-177, 28 January 2010; doi 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.026.