Experimental Magnesium Compound Enhances Cognition In Rats
More and more, the influence of diet on various aspects of our health is being uncovered, often with very specific findings that leave us with obvious prescriptions for better health. Another study, published today in the journal Neuron, looked at the effects of a laboratory-designed magnesium supplement on the brains of rats of different ages.
Researchers from Tsighua University in Beijing, MIT, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Toronto, contributed to this study, which examined the effects of a magnesium compound, magnesium-L-theronate (MgT), on behavioral activity in rats. An earlier study had shown that the MgT did increase the frequency of synapses in cultured brain cells.
In this study, both the experimental and control groups of rats ate normal diets that contained appropriate amounts of magnesium from natural sources. The experimental group was was given dietary MgT supplements during the period of the study; the control group ate its regular diet.
The findings showed that both young and old rats showed improvements in learning and memory. Cellular examination revealed "an increase in the number of functional synapses, the activation of key signaling molecules, and an enhancement of short and long-term synaptic processes that are crucial for learning and memory," report the authors.
Though magnesium is supposed to comprise 11 percent of our bodies' composition, about half of us that live in industrialized countries have magnesium deficiencies. It is very possible, the authors speculate, "that low levels of magnesium impair cognitive function, leading to faster deterioration of memory in aging humans."
Until a supplement like MgT is available for humans, you may want to try eating foods with high magnesium content (You should see this list, Popeye!), or try a magnesium supplement currently available.