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The Best Forms of Magnesium for The Brain

Updated: Feb 24


Widespread Magnesium Deficiency:

Even for people eating a healthy whole-food diet, getting adequate magnesium is challenging in modern times. Over-farming has led to a widespread deficiency of magnesium in our soil and subsequently in our food supply. One of the primary reasons for this deficiency is the relentless cultivation of crops without allowing adequate time for natural processes to replenish essential nutrients like magnesium.


Magnesium is a vital component of chlorophyll, the pigment that enables plants to perform photosynthesis. When crops are continuously grown on the same land without sufficient crop rotation or fallow periods, they deplete the soil of magnesium and other nutrients, making it increasingly difficult for plants to uptake magnesium. As a result, magnesium levels in the soil decline over time.


Another factor contributing to magnesium deficiency in our food is the prevalent use of synthetic fertilizers in modern agriculture. While these fertilizers contain macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, they often lack essential micronutrients like magnesium. Farmers who rely heavily on these fertilizers to boost crop yields inadvertently exacerbate magnesium depletion in the soil. Furthermore, the excessive use of irrigation can lead to leaching of magnesium from the soil, causing it to wash away and further diminishing its availability to plants.


The consequences of magnesium-deficient soil extend to our diets. As plants struggle to absorb sufficient magnesium, they produce crops that are also low in this essential mineral. Magnesium is crucial for various biological functions in humans, such as muscle and nerve function, bone health, and maintaining a steady heart rhythm. The deficiency of magnesium in our food supply can result in health issues, including muscle cramps, fatigue, and even more severe conditions like osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems. Magnesium is also incredibly important for the brain.


Magnesium & the Brain

Magnesium plays a pivotal and often underestimated role in maintaining brain health and function. This essential mineral is involved in numerous biochemical processes that are critical for the brain’s proper operation. One of its primary functions in the brain is regulating the activity of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells. Magnesium helps control the release and reception of neurotransmitters, ensuring that brain cells communicate effectively. This, in turn, impacts various cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and mood regulation.


Furthermore, magnesium is vital for the stability and integrity of neuronal membranes. It helps protect nerve cells from excitotoxicity, a process where excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters can lead to cellular damage and neuron death. Adequate magnesium levels also support synaptic plasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections between neurons, which is essential for learning and memory. Additionally, magnesium aids in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, factors that have been implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In essence, magnesium’s multifaceted role in the brain underscores its importance in maintaining cognitive function, mental health, and overall brain well-being.


The Best forms of Magnesium for the Brain

There are many forms of magnesium on the market – Magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium aspartate, and more. Some forms of magnesium are very difficult for the body to even absorb, like magnesium oxide. Some forms are best used for certain types of issues, for example, magnesium citrate works great for constipation. Magnesium glycinate is great for muscle cramps. It is also true that some forms of magnesium have a greater effect on brain function than others.


Magnesium L-threonate is a form of magnesium that has been shown to be effective in increasing the magnesium concentration in the brain. This form of magnesium can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is a protective barrier that prevents many substances from entering the brain. By increasing the magnesium concentration in the brain, magnesium L-threonate is believed to have potential benefits for sleep, memory, and cognitive function.

Several studies have explored the effects of magnesium L-threonate on sleep. In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy, researchers investigated the effects of magnesium L-threonate on sleep quality in adults with insomnia. The study found that participants who took magnesium L-threonate had significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those who took a placebo. The researchers concluded that magnesium L-threonate could be an effective treatment for insomnia.


Another study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences investigated the effects of magnesium L-threonate on sleep quality in elderly individuals. The study found that participants who took magnesium L-threonate had significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those who took a placebo. The researchers suggested that magnesium L-threonate could be a potential treatment option for sleep disturbances in the elderly population.


Magnesium L-threonate has also been shown to have potential benefits for cognitive function. In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers investigated the effects of magnesium L-threonate on cognitive function in animals. The study found that animals who received magnesium L-threonate had significant improvements in cognitive function compared to those who did not receive the supplement. The researchers suggested that magnesium L-threonate could have potential benefits for individuals with cognitive impairment.



Magnesium di-malateMagnesium di-malate is a specific form of magnesium that combines magnesium with malic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in various fruits. This unique combination offers several potential benefits for the brain:


1. Enhanced Energy Production: Malic acid is involved in the citric acid cycle, a key metabolic pathway that produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of cells. When combined with magnesium, magnesium di-malate may support improved energy production in brain cells. This can help combat mental fatigue and enhance overall cognitive function, making it particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing brain fog or low energy levels.


2. Alleviation of Fibromyalgia Symptoms: Some studies have suggested that magnesium di-malate supplementation may be helpful for individuals with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it’s believed that the malic acid component in this form of magnesium may contribute to pain relief and improved brain function in fibromyalgia patients.


3. Potential Mood Regulation: Magnesium is known to play a role in mood regulation and stress management. By supporting the brain’s neurotransmitter function and reducing stress-related inflammation, magnesium di-malate may help promote a more balanced mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.


For many years we have been using OptiMag Neuro, a blend of magnesium L-threonate and magnesium di-malate in our clinic with patients suffering from insomnia, restless sleep, brain fog, fatigue, and memory issues. Many people that come to our clinic are taking a magnesium supplement, but not in the form that is most appropriate for their main health concerns. Some forms of magnesium are poorly absorbed by the body, and other forms don’t have the same effect on brain levels of magnesium as the ones discussed above. If you have questions about the best form of magnesium for you, or would like to try optiMag Neuro, contact us for more information. For those who are not local to the clinic, we can also send you a link for ordering.

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