Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis
Magnesium might even help enhance learning and memory and prevent their decline with age and disease.
Having established that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells, a team of researcher at
Their study found that increased brain magnesium enhanced many different forms of learning and memory in both young and aged rats and supports speculation that inadequate levels of magnesium impair cognitive function, leading to faster deterioration of memory in aging humans.
To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying this magnesium-induced memory enhancement, the
researchers studied the changes induced in functional and structural properties of synapses. They found that in young and aged rats, Magnesium increased plasticity among synapses, the connections among neurons, and boosted the density of synapses in the hippocampus, a critical brain region for learning and memory.
The authors admitted that levels of magnesium higher than provided by a normal diet were used in the study. However, with low intake of magnesium world wide contributing to age-dependent memory decline, increasing magnesium intake might prevent or reduce such decline.
Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and dark leafy vegetables will help you meet your daily dietary need for magnesium.
Hippocampus the ridge in the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain that has a central role in memory processes.
Synapse is the small junction across which a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another nerve cell.
Synaptic plasticity is the ability of the connection, or synapse, between two neurons to change in strength.
Inna Slutsky, Nashat Abumaria, Long-Jun Wu, Chao Huang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li, Xiang Zhao, Arvind Govindarajan, Ming-Gao Zhao, Min Zhuo, Susumu Tonegawa and Guosong Liu. Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesium. Neuron, Volume 65, Issue 2, 165-177, 28 January 2010
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