New research has been conducted on magnesium’s health benefits that can aid in dealing with those little lapses in memory as you get older including where you keep your keys or who you call.

Researchers from Beijing’s Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered that increasing your magnesium intake could help prevent memory loss as we get older.

Experts believe that our brain’s abilities may be affected by the way we eat. Researchers report that 32 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended daily intake of magnesium. This is a problem for many people and an opportunity to find out more.

For adults the recommended daily dose of magnesium is 400 mg/day for males and 300 mg/day for women who are not yet pregnant.

Adults over the age of 31 should consume the recommended 420 milligrams/day, for men; the recommended daily dose for women not expecting is 320 milligrams. “Magnesium is vital for proper magnesium glycinate  functioning of many tissues, including the brain. In an earlier study we found that magnesium increased synaptic permeability of brain cells.” Guosong Liu, Director at the Center for Learning and Memory, Tsinghua University, Beijing. “It was tempting to take it one step further and investigate whether an increase brain magnesium levels improved cognitive function in animals.”

Experts believe that the results can be applied to people even though the experiment was conducted on rats.

The study appears in the January 28, 2010 issue of journal Neruon, and demonstrates that increasing brain magnesium using a new compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT for short), aids learning, working memory as well as short and long term memory in rats.

Researchers also discovered that older rats performed better in a series learning tests. Guosong Liu, MIT’s first researcher on magnesium, discovered it can aid in memory and learning. His team then developed a new magnesium substance that is more effective than the traditional ones in raising magnesium levels within the brain.

The team then examined the way MgT causes synapses to undergo changes. Synapses are the points of contact between neurons that are crucial to transmitting nerve signals. Both young and old rats noticed the increase in synaptic force due to MgT. The increased density was seen in the hippocamp. It is the brain region that plays a crucial function in long-term memory as well as spatial navigation.

Susumu Tonegawa, a MIT researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory says, “This study not just emphasizes the importance of eating a balanced diet that is rich in magnesium but it also points to the potential of magnesium-based treatments for age-related declines in memory.”

Recognizing that aging does cause some loss of the ability to recall memories when not all information is being presented in a coherent manner, the researchers carried out other tests as part of the study.

They found that MgT treatment boosted memory recall in partial information circumstances in older rats however it had no effect on younger rats.

The authors of the study note that the rats used as control used in the study had an ordinary diet with a sufficient amount of magnesium. The study showed that magnesium levels were elevated to levels higher than those normally found in diets.

According to Liu, half of the world’s population is thought to be suffering from magnesium deficiency. “If MgT is shown to be safe and efficient for humans, these findings could have a major impact on public health.” Magceutics was founded by Liu. The company produces medicines to treat and prevent age-related memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re experiencing cognitive decline due to age, a diet that gives you enough magnesium every day is a smart and healthy choice.

There is a lot to discover about the impact of magnesium on memory. More research should be conducted to determine the relationship between the magnesium content in your diet and your cognitive capabilities.

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