Magnesium matters: why this mineral is crucial for brain function (2023)

Read on to understand one of the most important minerals for supporting brain health,Magnesium.

By regulating neurotransmitter activity, reducing inflammation, and improving blood flow to the brain, magnesium helpsPromote healthy brain function and overall cognitive health. Let's explore...

Magnesium may improve cell communication

Think of your brain as a car engine and neurotransmitters as spark plugs. Just as spark plugs ignite fuel to run an engine, neurotransmitters help transmit electrical signals between brain cells.

Simply put, neurotransmitters are chemicals in our brain that transmit signals between neurons, allowing us to think, move, and feel. When neurons communicate, they release neurotransmitters into the small gap (synapse) between them and then bind to receptors on the neighboring neuron. There are many types of neurotransmitters in the brain, each with their own specific functions and effects on our behavior and emotions. Some examples are dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.

Low magnesium levels can lead to an imbalance in neurotransmitters, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and even depression.

Magnesium acts as a cofactor of the enzymes involved in the production andneurotransmitter release. Without them, they couldn't do their job and the production of neurotransmitters would suffer. But don't stop there. Magnesium also regulatesNMDA receptor activity, which goes one step further to ensure that neurotransmitters are released in a controlled and balanced manner. If they are not, you will surely feel the difference. Low levels of feel-good hormones like serotonin can cause depression and anxiety, and spikes in dopamine can lead to addiction. Magnesium has shownincrease GABA activityin the brain, which can have a calming effect on the erratic activity of neurons.

Support learning and memory retrieval.

Brain fog often stems directly from a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps strengthen the connections between neurons in your brain that are responsible forLearning and Memory. When levels are too low, these connections can weaken, making it harder for you to learn and remember new things as you age. On the other hand, when your magnesium stores are full, it's like putting your brain into overdrive. Your neurons can communicate more efficiently, and you may concentrate better, retain information more easily, and feel more alert and focused.

But that's not all: magnesium also plays a key role in a function called synaptic plasticity. This is the brain's ability to adapt and change over time. When a magnesium deficiency occurs, this process can slow down, making it harder for the brain to learn, form new memories, and even recover from injury.

(Video) Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency: Brain Health and Beyond

Regulate the delicate balance of calcium

Think of magnesium like a traffic cop, directing calcium where it needs to go in your body. Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in brain function, but as we know, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Magnesium acts as a kind of gatekeeper to helpregulate calcium flowto ensure levels stay within the optimal range for optimal brain performance.

Calcium ions are also essential for the release of neurotransmitters. But without enough magnesium to balance it out, calcium can build up in places it shouldn't, like arteries and joints. This buildup may play a role in diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

Increase cellular energy production

Magnesium has been shown to support brain health through its role in ATP production. But first, what exactly is ATP and why is it important to your brain? ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is a molecule that serves as the main source of energy for all cells in the body, including brain cells. When there is a deficiency, your brain simply cannot function properly.

And this is where magnesium comes into play.Magnesium is a cofactor of several enzymes involved in the production of ATP.This means that if your brain cells are deficient in magnesium, they may not have the fuel they need to perform their functions.

Promote deep, restful sleep (and mental clarity)

If you're someone who has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, magnesium could be the hidden key you've been looking for. This is because this mineral plays a crucial role in theRegulation of the body's sleep-wake cycle., also called circadian rhythm.

As a deficiency develops, it can become more difficult for the brain to produce and maintain melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep.

But magnesium doesn't just affect sleep quality, it also has a powerful impact on mental clarity. When you're rested, you can think more clearly, concentrate better, and make better decisions. And the best? Magnesium helps promote the kind of deep, restful sleep that allows your brain to fully recharge.

(Video) Magnesium Is Essential for Good Brain Health | Brain Facts #shorts

Better blood flow to the brain.

Imagine that your blood vessels are like a garden hose. If the hose is hard and rigid, the water cannot flow. The same applies to our blood vessels. When they are stiff and contracted, blood cannot flow as quickly or efficiently. This can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain, which can affect our cognitive function.

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. Increased blood flow provides the brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function optimally. Magnesium may also improve circulation and play a role in "cooling down" inflammation. The inflammation can damage blood vessels, further restricting blood flow.

Magnesium matters: why this mineral is crucial for brain function (1)

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the linklow magnesium levels in a variety of neurological disorders.

By neurological diseases we mean diseases that can affect the nervous system, including migraines, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and many others. Magnesium deficiency is associated with aIncreased excitatory neurotransmitterssuch as glutamate, which can damage blood cells and lead to learning and memory problems. High levels of excitatory neurotransmitters are believed to cause a variety of cognitive disorders.

Another crucial function of magnesium is that it is necessary for the proper functioning of the blood-brain barrier. This intelligent system helps protect the brain from harmful substances that can enter the bloodstream. A break in the blood-brain barrier has been linked to a variety of conditions, including cerebral edema and certain types of stroke.

The missing piece of the migraine puzzle?

If you suffer from frequent migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. Throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea can make you unable to perform the simplest tasks. While many different factors can contribute to headaches and migraines, magnesium deficiency is often overlooked.

(Video) Magnesium: A Mineral to Calm the Mind // SPARTAN HEALTH 020

Magnesium affects the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help regulate pain and mood. When these neurotransmitters become unbalanced, your sensitivity to pain can increase, increasing your risk of developing migraines.

Research has shown thatPeople who suffer from migraine tend to have lower magnesium levels.. Magnesium supplementation may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines in some people. So if you tend to get them, you need to consider whether you may be deficient.

However, more research is needed to confirm the exact link between magnesium deficiency and neurological disorders.It is clear that magnesium is essential for healthy brain function.

How do you know if you can benefit from supplementation?

Here are some common neurological symptoms that could indicate a magnesium deficiency:

  • muscle spasms and tremors
  • insomnia and anxiety
  • migraines and headaches
  • numbness and tingling
  • cognitive and memory problems
  • Confusion and/or difficulty concentrating

Magnesium is an invaluable mineral that plays an important role in muscle and nerve function, regulates blood sugar levels, and maintains a healthy immune system. Despite its importance, many of us simply can't get enough of it. Some estimates suggest that more than 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Why is that?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

(Video) Why Is Magnesium So Important for Brain Health? Learn More with Dr. Davis

For one thing, our modern diets just don't work. Processed foods, refined sugar, and alcohol can lower our magnesium levels. Even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you may still not be able to meet your needs, as the soil our food is grown in is often deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.

Good news: It's relatively easy to increase your magnesium levels.

You can increase your intake by eating more magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts and seeds, or by taking a dietary supplement. For best results, choose magnesium supplements that contain high-quality, bioavailable forms of magnesium, such as: B. liquid magnesium chloride. Liquid formulas are absorbed faster than regular pills or powders, so you can reap the benefits even faster.

It's worth noting that some people are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency than others.

These include:

  • People with gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease that may affect nutrient absorption.
  • Those who regularly consume alcohol, which prevents the absorption of magnesium and increases the urinary excretion of water and essential electrolytes.
  • Older adults who may have decreased magnesium absorption due to age-related changes in the digestive system.
  • Athletes and physically active people who can lose magnesium through sweat.

*Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.*

Don't let magnesium deficiency wreak havoc on your system. Among other critical functions, magnesium can help regulate neurotransmitters, improve learning and memory, and increase mental clarity. By paying close attention to your levels, you can optimize your brain health in the long run.

(Video) Magnesium - an Essential Mineral for You


Magnesium matters: why this mineral is crucial for brain function? ›

Now, research out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that magnesium is also absolutely critical for the health of the brain. It can improve short-term and long-term memory and reduce the risk of age-related memory loss.

Why is magnesium important for the brain? ›

From a neurological standpoint, magnesium plays an essential role in nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction. It also functions in a protective role against excessive excitation that can lead to neuronal cell death (excitotoxicity), and has been implicated in multiple neurological disorders.

Does magnesium repair the brain? ›

The scientific evidence is mixed when it comes to using magnesium during brain injury recovery. Some studies show mild benefits in early TBI treatments, but most do not display any positive effects. However, there is also no evidence that magnesium is harmful, if you are not taking certain medications.

What form of magnesium is best for brain? ›

Some animal studies have found that magnesium threonate is more effective at increasing magnesium ions in the brain and improving cognitive function than magnesium sulfate. Therefore, doctors may recommend magnesium L-threonate to normalize an individual's magnesium levels and for potential benefits to the brain.

What are the symptoms of low magnesium in the brain? ›

Twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps are signs of magnesium deficiency. In worst-case scenarios, deficiency may even cause seizures or convulsions ( 1 , 3 ). Scientists believe these symptoms are caused by a greater flow of calcium into nerve cells, which overexcites or hyperstimulates the muscle nerves (4).

What food is highest in magnesium? ›

Magnesium-rich foods
  • pumpkin seeds, 30g — 156mg.
  • chia seeds, 30g — 111mg.
  • almonds, 30g — 80mg.
  • spinach, boiled, ½ cup — 78mg.
  • cashews, 30g — 74mg.
  • peanuts, ¼ cup — 63mg.
  • soymilk, 1 cup — 61mg.
  • rolled oats, cooked in unsalted water, 100g — 29mg.

What depletes magnesium in the body? ›

What causes magnesium deficiency?
  • a poor diet (especially in elderly people or those who don't have enough to eat)
  • type 2 diabetes.
  • digestive problems such as Crohn's disease.
  • long-term vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • kidney problems.
  • long-term use of diuretics.

Does magnesium clear brain fog? ›

Having low magnesium levels may negatively affect brain health. Supplementing with magnesium may help reduce certain symptoms of brain fog.

Does magnesium slow aging? ›

Given the role of magnesium in a myriad of cellular processes, it should not be surprising that magnesium deficiency leads to accelerated aging (R). There are many ways in which magnesium deficiency can lead to accelerated aging. Magnesium is needed to build, maintain and repair DNA.

Which magnesium for brain fog? ›

Only magnesium L-threonate has been shown to have a high affinity for the brain and have an effect on memory, learning, and cognitive function.

When is the best time to take magnesium? ›

Magnesium supplements should be taken with meals. Taking magnesium supplements on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea.

Does magnesium help dementia? ›

Evidence suggests that higher intake or circulating levels of magnesium (Mg) is associated with a reduced risk of dementia and a number of age-related diseases. Whether supplemental Mg above recommended levels is beneficial is unknown.

Who should not take magnesium? ›

People with diabetes, intestinal disease, heart disease or kidney disease should not take magnesium before speaking with their health care provider. Overdose. Signs of a magnesium overdose can include nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and fatigue. At very high doses, magnesium can be fatal.

What drinks are high in magnesium? ›

Fruit juices such as orange juice, cherry juice, and watermelon juice are all good sources of magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. According to the FNDDS, the average school container (124 grams) of 100% orange juice provides : 13.6 mg of magnesium.

How can I raise my magnesium levels quickly? ›

How To Raise Magnesium Levels Quickly & Naturally:
  1. Whole grains. Wheat bran and oats are rich in magnesium. ...
  2. Nuts. Almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, peanuts, and walnuts are loaded with magnesium.
  3. Vegetable seeds. ...
  4. Potatoes and leafy vegetables. ...
  5. Fruits. ...
  6. Rock salt and sea salt. ...
  7. Ragi. ...
  8. Coconut.
Aug 19, 2019

What vitamin is good for brain fog? ›

Vitamin D can improve brain health, reducing symptoms of brain fog. The brain treats vitamin D as an antioxidant, leading to improved cognitive function, more melatonin production, and hormone control.

Does vitamin D deplete magnesium? ›

Mg is essential in the metabolism of vitamin D, and taking large doses of vitamin D can induce severe depletion of Mg. Adequate magnesium supplementation should be considered as an important aspect of vitamin D therapy.

Is peanut butter high in magnesium? ›

Peanuts and peanut butter

Peanuts are legumes, not true nuts, however, they are also a good source of magnesium. A quarter-cup of roasted peanuts contains 63 milligrams, for 15% of the DV. You can get 49 milligrams in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, for 12% of the DV.

Are bananas high in magnesium? ›

Bananas may be best known for being rich in heart-healthy and bone-strengthening potassium, but a medium-size banana also provides 32 mg of magnesium, in addition to 10.3 mg of vitamin C (a good source) and 3 g (a good source) of fiber, according to the USDA.

Are blueberries high in magnesium? ›

In addition to antioxidants, blueberries are rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins C, E, and K.

What blocks magnesium absorption? ›

Phytates in the diet bind to magnesium and impair its absorption. However the quantities present in normal diet do not affect magnesium absorption. Other dietary factors that are thought to affect magnesium absorption are oxalate, phosphate, proteins, potassium and zinc.

What should you avoid when taking magnesium? ›

Antibiotics: Taking magnesium supplements may reduce the absorption of quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline antibiotics, and nitrofurantoin (Macrodandin). Magnesium should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking these medications. Quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics include: Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

What disease is caused by lack of magnesium? ›

Magnesium deficiency is a condition in which the amount of magnesium in the blood is lower than normal. The medical name of this condition is hypomagnesemia.

What's the best brain vitamin? ›

Vitamin B9, or folate, is a popular supplement and a key vitamin for supporting brain and neurological health, optimal neurotransmitter function, and balanced psychological health. Another benefit is that it helps encourage cellular detoxification.

What is the most important vitamin for the brain? ›

B Vitamins

When it comes to brain health, focus on the three B's : vitamins B6, B12, and B9 (folate). “These three types of B vitamins are necessary for the brain's normal functioning,” says Dr. Agarwal, “and any deficiency in them may increase the risk of memory loss and other forms of cognitive decline.”

Can low magnesium cause hair loss? ›

Calcium Build-up: Magnesium is important for regulating calcium levels in the body. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to excess calcium build-up in the hair follicles, which can cause hair breakage and hair loss.

Should over 60s take magnesium? ›

In the elderly, the importance of an adequate magnesium intake is reiterated as research shows it may preserve cognitive function. Eating a diet rich in magnesium foods can support the daily recommended intake. Another option to consider is food supplements.

Why do seniors lack magnesium? ›

A magnesium deficit in the elderly can occur due to inadequate nutrient intakes, multiple drug use, or altered gastrointestinal function. Magnesium has been targeted as a risk factor for elderly people and has been implicated in the aging process.

Should a 70 year old woman take magnesium? ›

This mineral helps in maintaining function in our nerves and muscles and supports a healthy immune system. It also plays a role in keeping our heartbeat steady and bones strong. Current recommended daily requirements of magnesium for adults 51 and older is 420 milligrams for men and 320 milligrams for women.

How long does it take for magnesium to start working? ›

In most cases, magnesium starts working within a week, since it's a fast-acting nutrient. You need to take it consistently to reduce anxiety and help you relax.

Can I take magnesium and vitamin D together? ›

Can you take vitamin D and magnesium together? Yes. In fact, it's probably best to take both together. Because so many people have low magnesium levels, vitamin D supplements on their own aren't very helpful for a large portion of the population.

Is it OK to take magnesium every day? ›

Nassar says that taking a magnesium supplement every day likely isn't unsafe for most people. Just be sure you're not taking too much magnesium. The maximum dietary allowance for most adults is around 400 mg or less.

Why take magnesium at night? ›

Magnesium for sleep

Some studies have found that magnesium supplements can: Make it easier to fall asleep. Improve sleep quality. Reduce symptoms of restless legs syndrome, which can interfere with a good night's sleep.

What is the number one supplement for dementia? ›

Vitamin B complex

Vitamins B6 and B12 are critical because they team up to form one of the best compounds for slowing down the effects of dementia. There is proof that memory-deteriorating genes can become more active due to a deficiency of these vitamins.

What mineral prevents dementia? ›

Vitamin C has been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by 20% when taken with vitamin E. To take advantage of its fullest benefits, you should take a dose of 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day.

Which nut has most magnesium? ›

Nuts are one of the most magnesium rich foods. Brazil nuts are the most mineral-dense, with 350 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving. Other good choices include cashews (250 mg), peanuts (160 mg), walnuts (150 mg) and hazelnuts (160 mg).

Is dark chocolate high in magnesium? ›

Dark chocolates are confirmed as an excellent source of magnesium (252.2 mg/100 g) and iron (10.9 mg/100 g): in chocolate containing 90% cocoa, their content corresponds to, respectively, 67.0% and 80.3 of Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) in the European Union.

Is broccoli high in magnesium? ›

Broccoli is not just a good source of magnesium, but it also contains other nutrients like vitamins C and K, fiber, and calcium.

Is 500mg of magnesium too much? ›

The UL for magnesium is 350 milligrams from supplements only. High-dose supplements can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and cramping in some people. Extra magnesium from food is safe because the kidneys will eliminate excess amounts in urine.

Should I take magnesium in the morning or at night? ›

Therefore, magnesium supplements can be taken at any time of the day, as long as you're able to take them consistently. For some, taking supplements first thing in the morning may be easiest, while others may find that taking them with dinner or just before bed works well for them.

Is magnesium hard on the liver or kidneys? ›

Magnesium supplements can cause excessive accumulation of magnesium in the blood, especially with patients who have chronic kidney disease. Accumulation of magnesium in the blood can cause muscle weakness, but does not damage the kidney directly.

Is Coffee high in magnesium? ›

Coffee isn't a great source of vitamins and minerals, but as a plant-based drink, it contains some, and a few that we should be getting more of. Let's start with magnesium. A cup of coffee contains about 7 mg, which is a drop in the daily-requirement bucket (420 mg for men, 320 mg for women).

Should elderly take magnesium supplements? ›

Seniors need magnesium for energy production. Magnesium is necessary for the structural development of bones. Aging people require sufficient amounts of the mineral to strengthen bones. The mineral transports calcium across cell membranes, which contributes to normal heart rhythms.

Which bottled water is high in magnesium? ›

Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water contains more magnesium than most mineral waters with 108 mg per litre.

Can low magnesium cause brain damage? ›

Mg deficiency leads to neurological disorders ranging from apathy to psychosis. Moreover, Mg has an effect on the regulation of synaptic plasticity (4). Several studies have suggested a neuroprotective action of Mg in the synaptic function (5).

What are 3 body benefits of magnesium? ›

Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation [1-3].

Does magnesium help brain fog? ›

Having low magnesium levels may negatively affect brain health. Supplementing with magnesium may help reduce certain symptoms of brain fog.

Can low magnesium cause dementia? ›

Magnesium deficiency has been found to stimulate secretion of inflammatory mediators such as interleukins, tumor necrosis factors and nitric oxide. These mediators are thought to stimulate atherosclerosis and thereby increase the risk of dementia [7].

What happens if you take magnesium everyday? ›

When taken in very large amounts (greater than 350 mg daily), magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death.

What are the 7 signs your body needs magnesium? ›

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency symptoms?
  • loss of appetite.
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • fatigue and weakness.
  • shaking.
  • pins and needles.
  • muscle spasms.
  • hyperexcitability.
  • sleepiness.

What is the best time to take magnesium? ›

Magnesium supplements should be taken with meals. Taking magnesium supplements on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea.


1. 12 Signs Your Body Needs More Magnesium
2. How Common Mineral Deficiencies Impact Our Health
(Mark Hyman, MD)
3. 8 Tell Tale Signs of a Magnesium Deficiency
(Thomas DeLauer)
4. Might Magnesium the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies
(The House of Wellness)
5. Why Magnesium Is A Miracle Mineral for Your Heart, Anxiety, Bones, Brain Health & Blood Pressure
(UNI KEY Health)
6. Your Best Magnesium! Dr. Mandell


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